Block Party Jams


I’ve just finished re-reading Ed Piskor’s graphic history of hip hop, which paints a brilliant picture of the DJs, rappers, and other characters who gave birth to hip hop in the early 70’s. It’s a nice reminder that, as I’ve said before, it was all about the DJ before it was all about the rappers, and there are some great stories in the book about the block party DJs from The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens who started the whole thing. Reading it again inspired me to throw together a couple of party jams using a bunch of records I’d always wanted to put into a mix.

The first is mainly stuff from the 70’s and early 80’s. It kicks off with a couple of classics that’ll sound familiar: Space Age was sampled in a house record that was the soundtrack to every imagined TV ‘club scene’ for a time, while in Dancing Machine of course, Michael Jackson showed everyone the robot. Next is some great early rap from the days before sampling; then EU use Go-Go to fire up Sugar Ray Leonard. After that it’s back home with Brooklyn Trucking, a couple of great disco/boogie tracks, and Funky 4+1’s first outing before That’s The Joint (heard here). Kurtis Blow’s yuletide rap was the first many people heard, selling half a million copies. But rewinding a few years, The Last Poets, backed by Kool & The Gang, contribute Sport, a cautionary tale from 1973 of a misspent youth in 1959 that might be the first real rap record. The tale was reprised by Melle Mel ten years later, who substituted ’79 for ’59. The mix ends with some lesser known Go-Go specially for Jon-boy. Just before that is a brilliant live Prince track from his peach’n’black period that we played over and over in that house in Westbourne Park while downing ‘lizard drink’. Come to think of it, the Shock sound system on Westbourne Park Road during carnival was probably pretty similar to those Bronx jams.

  1. Space Age – The Jimmy Castor Bunch
  2. Dancing Machine – The Jackson 5
  3. Willie Rap – Willie Wood and Willie Wood Crew
  4. Knock Him Out Sugar Ray – Experience Unlimited
  5. Do It (Till You’re Satisfied) – B. T. Express
  6. Get On Up (Get On Down) – Roundtree
  7. Give It To Me (If You Don’t Mind) – Conquest
  8. Rappin’ and Rockin’ The House – Funky Four Plus One More
  9. Christmas Rap – Kurtis Blow
  10. Hustler’s Convention – Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five
  11. Sport – Lightning Rod
  12. It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night – Prince
  13. Bop Gun – Redds and The Boys


Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.48.33 AMThe next mix focuses more on the 80’s and 90’s and moves further afield. It starts with a rare Cut Killer jam echoing NWA that you might have seen in the French movie La Haine. After a 45 King loop (another one Crawford hipped me to), we get some Japanese rapping you might recognize from the instrumental version that Mo’ Wax later re-released (heard in this mix). Then there’s a Lower Eastside-inspired jam from Ashley Beedle et al. that reminds me of a crazy summer Sean and I spent sleeping on the floor with about five others in Rivington St. Next MAW sample Gwen McCrae’s Funky Sensation (first heard while crashed at another home for waifs and strays a few years later: Mr Lee‘s place in Hoxton). Some later 80s/early 90s hip hop follows, and finally it’s back to the old school with a Jimmy Spicer track that was the basis for Bomb The Bass’s Megablast, classic Sugar Hill and Enjoy tracks, and a Grace Jones dub thrown in for good measure.

  1. Instrumental (La Haine) – Cut Killer
  2. Funk Box – The 45 King
  3. Koi No Formula – Takagi Kan
  4. Next Stop Delancey Street – The Ballistic Brothers
  5. Get Up – Masters At Work
  6. Fakin’ The Funk – Main Source
  7. Check The Rhime – A Tribe Called Quest
  8. Streets Of New York (instrumental) – Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
  9. Let Me Ride (Extended version) – Dr Dre
  10. Money (instrumental) – Jimmy Spicer
  11. Feel The Heartbeat – The Treacherous Three
  12. Pull Up To The Bumper (remix) – Grace Jones
  13. Monster Jam – Spoonie Gee meets The Sequence
  14. At The Party – The Treacherous Three


~ by ricardosevere on 03/01/2016.

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