Thursday, May 6, 2010

(C)Rap Masters

Once again comes a post that (more than likely) no one on the planet except my brother will have any interest in, save for other nostalgic retards like me. The year was 1987 and my brother arrived home fresh from the local mall with K-Tel's latest compilation cassette, Rap Masters, advertising "Today's Hottest Rappers!" Um, rap "masters"? Who the fuck were these bands? Not that we New Jersey suburbanites were overtly hip to the rap scene but we were close enough to NYC to have a clue. Of course we knew Run-D.M.C., and my hipper-then-me brother probably knew about Whodini and Stetsasonic. But I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone today who remembers Worse 'Em, B. Fats or Steady B (except the PA State Correctional Board - heyooo!) Yeah, Mantronix I guess had what you could call a few quasi "hits" but you would have to put up quite an argument to call them hip-hop founders. As far as the mp3's, no, I was too lazy to rip the cassette, instead I searched and scoured for singles of the songs and crunched them all together. Interestingly, after listening to all of the tracks, I discovered that K-Tel must have done a little "shortening" of the songs to fit their cassette release. A little snip of a drum beat bridge here, cut out a verse there... great! Exactly 20 minutes each side! Rest assured though folks, you're getting the full original album-length tracks, no second-hand K-Tel mixes here!

All that aside, the weirdest track on the album has gotta be the Issac (sic) Hayes / Millie Jackson duet "Do You Wanna Make Love." Nope, it's not rap (more like terribly cheesy R&B), but it did appear on Millie's 1979 Royal Rappin's album so maybe that qualifies it (although that would make the "Today's Hottest Rappers" claim a little thin unless by "Today's" they really meant "This Decade's".) Who knows - I'm sure the intern putting this one together from the batch of K-Tel's recently purchased "urban music" song rights couldn't have given a shit. Actually, some 25 years after its release, Hayes' song is the funniest on the album when one imagines it's South Park's Chef doing the singing.

Strangely the cassette is labeled on the spine as "Volume 1," and while I'm sure the masses were clamoring for another hot compilation, K-Tel sadly fell into bankruptcy. It resurfaced years later peddling Hooked On Classics to the masses and eventually died its final death with the dot bomb in 1998.

9.6.14 update: One drunken, very boring evening this week I scoured the internet for some lossless versions of this LP's tunes (a successful venture save for Steady B's "Cheatin' Girl" which was never released on legitimate CD), compiled and re-ripped them into glorious 320 kbps mp3's. Enjoy.

No comments: