Friday, May 2, 2014

K-Tel Days...

While my 10-year old cracker ass may not have had this exact record, I know it was some variation of this 1983 German K-tel compilation - complete with a "how-to" poster of breakdance moves and a tiny piece of fold-out cardboard to practice on. Needless to say, I absolutely fucking sucked at breakdancing and was relegated to doing such special needs fodder as "The Worm" behind everyone else during our ridiculous cul-de-sac performances. 30 years later my dancing skills have not improved in even the slightest but it's still great to listen to the proto-rap of the era, back when everyone rapped about having a good time and before anyone outside of L.A. knew what the fuck Compton was. My favorite track (thanks in no party to a pathetically unhealthy appreciation of Breakin' 2: Electric Booglaloo) is George Kranz's "Din Daa Daa" - an epic of cheesy Kraut rock that is as addictive as it is annoying. And that's not all the German hip-hop you get on this one, a here-today-gone-tomorrow trio named Reflexx offers the silly "Let's Kratz (A-Ja-I-Jo)" - a great snapshot of the strange Teutonic new wave (championed by Falco) coming out at the time. But they're not the only Europeans on this international release, Italy's Righeira offer the strange "Dinero Scratch" which sounds somewhat out of place here, and there's a forgettable French band (Bandolero) as well. A couple of Grandmaster Flash songs (including his classic "Whitelines") legitimize the whole thing and Whodini makes an appearance with "Rap Machine" and "Nasty Lady". You'll probably recognize "Let The Music Play" by Shannon as well. As with any K-Tel release though, there is a ton of unknown placeholder fluff. Some are underdog hits (the weirdly cute "(Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew" and cheerful "Breakdancing" - a token "keep trying, you'll get it" anthem to close the LP) while some are rather unlistenable (especially the aforementioned Bandolero) - their inclusion on a record you were supposed to "pop" and "lock" to is a little odd.

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