Today I decided to write about a few CD's I wish I still had in my crates. Back when I started this blog and I used to upload CD's from my collection and I remember looking for some of these joints before I remembered that I no longer owned them. I'm gonna tell the story of ten old CD's I really wish I could've held onto somehow. I also wish I never let my boy BASEK (Ayo, peace Connecticut! © Raekwon) "borrow" my old Stress Magazines (#'s 11 & 16) with both parts of the Lo Lifes/Ralphie's Kids story...ironically enough, he stole them. Well, here goes:
The Groove Active Collection (1995) OM Records
This compilation was one of the first ever releases from San Francisco based Electronica and Hip Hop label OM Records and it was also one of the first ever Enhanced CD produced. It had some nice extras like footage of San Francisco area graf dominated by TWIST pieces. It also had footage of a few spoken word performances on it which was totally unheard of at the time. It mixed some Jazz influenced Hip Hop with Jazz influenced Trip Hop tracks and it's pretty damn rare now.
I got a promo copy of it back in 1996 when I was working with an ill fated Hip Hop magazine that actually folded before it ever published (*rolls eyes*). I remember playing it in my old (but brand new then) Mac Power PC 6100/60 and thinking to myself that this was the future for the music CD. Not too long afterwards, Loud Records started releasing Enhanced CD's as well. I sold this CD to CD Spins, the used CD/DVD store I used to work back in 2000 for $10. I wish I kept it but I had some groceries to buy and I didn't get paid until the following week.
Abstrakt Workshop (1995) Shadow Records
Abstrakt Workshop 2 (1996) Shadow Records
I got both of these CD's at the same time from a store called Nuggets located in Kenmore Square that also sold used vinyl, cassette tapes, VHS movies and CD's for only $8 (one of the few spots from that era that are still in operation). Since they were both promo copies and no one who worked there was really familiar with Trip Hop or Electronica of any kind they lowballed the price. I played these compilations for years before they ultimately ended up finding themselves at the bottom of my crates years later. Nowadays, both of those compilations are highly sought after by collectors.
Once the whole Electronica craze really kicked off and Massive Attack, Goldie, Tricky, Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, Moby, Lo Fidelity All Stars, The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy blew up people began looking for all of the early Electronica they could get their hands on regardless of genre (?). There was some kind of feeding frenzy where people were buying up LTJ Bukem, DJ Food, Up, Bustle & Out and DJ Vadim CD's like the world was ending or some shit like that.
I sold both of these compilations to my own store for $16 dollars (Abstrakt Workshop 2 was a double CD so I got more for it) so I could have pocket money. In 2000, I was making $7 an hour (only because I had previous record store experience...Tower Records paid $5.50 initially but $7 an hour once you became a manager (?)) plus, I got paid every two weeks with no chance for overtime. I made exactly $421.12 after taxes for 80 hours of work for about 8 months. Welcome to America, kids!
ColdKrushCuts-DJ Krush, Coldcut & DJ Food (1997) Ninja Tune Records
I bought this double CD remix/mix of classic Ninja Tune tracks back in 1998 when I was working at Tower Records. Between 1995 and 1999 I went through a bit of a Junglist phase. I often found myself perusing the selection at Satellite Records (R.I.P) or Biscuithead Records (R.I.P) just stopping short at ever buying a pair of Jnco or Kik Wear Jeans (remember those?). I actually played the hell out of this album for a while but by 1999 it had managed to find it's way to the bottom of my crates like many of the other CD's on this list.
I remember being about $10 dollars short of paying my overdue cable bill in full back in 2000 and still a week away from getting paid at CD Spins. I walked down to my store on Winter St. at Downtown Crossing with this CD and a DVD I hated ("The Player's Club" I think?) and came away with $15. I then trekked to back Boston Checkcashers on Mass Ave, paid my Cablevision (remember them?) bill and got my service turned back on before my mom got home from work and found out it was off in the first place. Living check to check is fuckin' ghey, son!
Invasion- Various Artists (1997) Night & Day Records/Rap Et Ragga
I didn't add this one last time because I didn't remember what the hell happened to it. It wasn't into last year that I actually remembered that I gave this CD to an Arab woman that I used to work with at CVS that not too recently emigrated from Paris, France to Boston back in 2005. In January 2007, I had lined up all of the CD's I was going to upload to Poisonous Paragraphs and I tore my entire closet up looking for this CD to no avail.
I don't really regret giving this CD up as much as the others because it eased some feelings of homesickness and nostalgia for a friend and co-worker but I REALLY liked a great deal of the tracks on it. It's not available for download anywhere online and I just recently found the cover and tracklisting on Discogs after a gang of searching. If anyone has this obscure out of print French Hip Hop compilation in their posession then please don't be shy and upload it for me.
IAM-L'Ecole Du Micro D'Argent (1997) Delabel Records
I loved this album. I don't understand a word of French but the beats & flows were just ridiculous and Hip Hop is universal. I sold this CD to a visiting student for $15 dollars back in 2000. Since it was an import (and rarely in stock at record stores) it was actually a deal to cop for that much back then since it could've run for close to $25. Imports have since been made pretty much obsolete by iTunes, eMusic, Pandora, Rhapsody & Amazon (before that Napster, LimeWire & Kazaa). I remembered selling this CD, at least.
Sure, I had money in my pocket for a minute. Yeah, I was able to cop a few cases of Ramen Pride Chicken & Beef noodles but dammit I still missed that CD...even though it was available for free download all over the internet by 2006 I still wish I had a physical copy of the jawn.
The Beat Assassinated-DJ Cam (1998) Inflamable Records
I used to love this CD and I was a huge fan of DJ Cam going back to 1995 or so when one of my friends from high school used to get these tapes from his cousins in Paris and I used to dub them off him. I bought this CD from Tower Records as an import using my employee discount and a gift card I got from one of my then supervisor for my outstanding work. I had this album for about a year before I met some girl from Paris and we started talking about DJ Cut Killer, DJ Cam, IAM and the state of French Hip Hop in general (it was 2000) and if it also entered the Jiggy Era.
She told me that one of her favorite recent albums was DJ Cam's "The Beat Assassinated" but she lost it at Logan Airport and she didn't want to spend what little money she had left to buy an American import copy that cost an arm and a leg. She was staying at a friend of mine's house near where I lived in the South End so I told her I was going to get something to eat real quick and come right back.
I went back to my house around 3 blocks away and dug into my crates and pulled out my copy. I brought it back over to her at the apartment and surprised her with it. She was happy as hell when I gave it to her and I heard she even played it on the way to Logan before she flew back to Paris...the next day. Oh well.
I didn't feel up to shelling out $25+ dollars to get another copy. Now that all of these different music blogs exist I can find it all over the place for free. I still have the instrumental for "Success" eternally burned into my memory forever from when I used to freestyle to it back in the days.
Northern Sulphuric Soul-Rae & Christian (1998) Sm:)e Communications
I bought this joint at Tower Records back in 1998 when Sm:)e Communications released it in North America. I was familiar with Rae & Christian's work through their Grand Central releases and production/remixes for other artists. I enjoyed this album for about six months before I sold it to some drunk kid from New Zealand for $20 at a Boston University party because he didn't know it had been released in America yet. I guess he didn't notice that the cover was slightly different on it.
I forgot that I'd even sold it until back in December 2006 when I was lining up the CD's I was going to upload when I started up Poisonous Paragraphs I couldn't find it anywhere. I was ransacking my entire closet before I remembered selling it to that crazy ass drunk dude from Auckland back in 1999. Now it's hard to find old Sm:)e Communications albums but I'm sure it's up on the blogs now. The old Jeru and Jungle Brothers tracks and the instrumentals were some of my favorite tracks from it.
Ki-Oku-DJ Krush & Toshinori Kond0 (1999) Instinct Records
I'm still kicking myself in the ass about letting this one go to this very day. We used to have a policy at the store that we wrote down all of the music we played in the store when I worked at CD Spins...the thing is that we often brought in our own music to play rather than play music from the store because what if the album you're dead set on playing is sold out? To remedy that, we often brought our own CD's in to work.
If any of you ever saw the movie "High Fidelity" then you have an idea of what it was like for me working at CD Spins. We used to field esoteric music questions from customers and engage in these music debates and make lists all day long. We also had a DVD player in the store so we'd occasionally play these DVD versions of Dragon's Lair and Dragon's Lair II for fun. One day, it was my turn to play a CD so I took out "Ki-Oku" and put it into the CD player. It was playing for about 15 minutes before this older Black guy was walking by, heard it on the external speakers and entered the store.
He asked what was playing and my boy Jay pointed him to me. I told him it was "Ki-Oku" by Toshinori Kondo (whom he'd heard of) and DJ Krush (whom he hadn't) and that it was mine and not available for sale in the store. I told him it might be at the HMV 50 feet away or the Strawberries just more than a block away (the HMV was gone by the next year). He said thanks and went to cop it.
About 30 minutes later he came right back and told me that when he searched for and asked for this CD (I wrote down all the info on it and even showed him the cover) at both spots he was met with blank stares by clerks as well as management. He offered to buy mine off me for $25 dollars. I couldn't say no to being able to cop some groceries on the way home so I caved in and sold it to him right there on the spot.
This was yet another CD that I didn't remember I sold until I was searching for it years later and I couldn't find it for the life of me. I later remembered that I sold it to the old Black dude that I put on to Rob Swift when he walked into the store the next month while I was playing "Soulful Fruit". I called and reserved him some copies of "Soulful Fruit" and "The Ablist" at Newbury Comics that same day. I saw him on the street a few years ago and he still remembered me and told me that he still plays those CD's. If you see "Ki-Oku" for download online anywhere check it out.
Mixer presents Rae & Christian (2000) Moonshine Music
I gave this CD to some cute college chick back in 2000 while I was hollering at/in negotiations with her. A couple of days later I got into an argument with the co-owner of CD Spins for being an asshole to his employees and subsequently killing the store (through sucking the soul out of it, selling random shit like Newbury Comics did & expanding too soon). I was dangerously close to busting his ass before ultimately quitting and leaving the store. I ended up getting banned from that location for a while and he pretty much told the guys that worked there that he'd fire them if they associated themselves with me (which the other owner Bill lifted about a week later after he found out about it).
I soon lost contact with that girl and since I didn't work in the warehouse I couldn't get my hands on any of the other copies of that mix CD that we had in stock. It turns out that it was a rare CD with a limited run of pressings and I never saw another physical copy of it ever again. It was a damn good mix, too. It was the first time I could actually sit through Swollen Members "S & M On The Rocks" without feeling the need to stuff cotton in my ears on some cartoon shit.
This CD also signifies the end of my record store working days. A few weeks later I'd start doing nightwork cleaning oven hoods and being the occasional bodyguard to paranoid drug users and dealers in Boston's Leather District. Wait until I get a goddamn book deal. LOL.