Record Store Day: Hip Hop

Record Store Day is fast approaching. The day is full of exclusive releases, reissues of rare classics, and all things any vinylphile would love. Something Record Store Day does well every year is representing hip hop, both contemporary trends and long lost classics. This, the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day, is no different. Let me tell you three hip hop releases that have me clamoring for two turntables and a microphone.

First is Danny Brown‘s single “Ain’t It Funny.” Off the rapper’s latest, Atrocity Exhibition, the single is a 3 minute tour de force. With instrumentals that are grimy and unforgiving and lyrics that wax cryptic and ominous, “Ain’t It Funny” is an indictment to hip hop values and the derisive laughter focused at celebrities–a message underscored heavily in the video directed by Jonah Hill. The B-side includes the Adult Swim single “Worth It,” which boasts Clams Casino as the beat maker. In other words, this is 12″ is a must have.

Another 12″ single to catch is Big L‘s “Devil’s Son.” The song kicked off the horrorcore rap scene (ahem, Tech N9ne). Floating over weirded samples, Big L is able to wax luciferic without losing an ounce of narrative or the tension of the most realistic hip hop. The song was so controversial that it was cut from 1995′s Lifestyles Ov Da Poor & Dangerous. This Record Store Day exclusive comes not only with the song, an instrumental version but also 4 often boot-legged but ultimately unreleased tracks from Big L’s studio sessions during that time.

Ending this list is the king of East Coast hip hop–the one and only Notorious B.I.G. The rapper’s 1999 album Born Again is, as are all things Biggie Smalls touched, classic. Pressed on two gold LPs, Born Again will be available for the first time on vinyl since 2000. The album features a deep and star-studded cast of MCs, from Busta Rhymes to Lil Kim, from Snoop Dogg to Missy Elliott, from Ice Cube to Nas. The album swerves from smooth delivery to rapid fire bursts. Truly a testament to the power of collaborating between masters of the craft, Born Again spins as a blueprint to make a great hip hop album–a formula often attempted but never achieved with as much precision as the original.

While these releases (and more!) will hit the shelves on April 22nd, the day isn’t relegated to new vinyl only. Throughout the day (and Sunday), Mills Record Company will be bringing out a metric ton of fresh used wax for your perusal. There will also be live music in the evening on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be refreshments. Are you excited yet? Have you marked your calendars?

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