This summer, Craft Recordings is set to relaunch a legendary group of hip-hop titles originally released between 1989 and 1995 on Delicious Vinyl, the Los Angeles-based classic label whose catalog of West Coast party rock and conscious rap still gets play on radio and at functions worldwide.
Featuring audio remastered by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters, these LPs represent some of the most lasting music of the genre.
The reissues include smash hits “Wild Thing” (on Tone-Lōc’s Lōc-ed After Dark) and “Bust A Move” (on Young M.C.’s Stone Cold Rhymin’), as well as groundbreaking albums by Masta Ace Incorporated, which married West Coast and East Coast sensibilities, and the sensational second album from the Pharcyde, Labcabincalifornia, which was responsible for launching the career of producer extraordinaire J Dilla, who contributed to six songs including the immortal “Runnin’.”
This essential music paved the way for modern hip-hop. All five albums will be out on vinyl worldwide, with faithful replica packaging.
All titles are available for pre-order at the newly launched Craft Recordings web store. Use the special offer code “CLASSICWAX20” for a 20% discount off three or more of these titles.
About Tone-Lōc and Lōc-ed After Dark:
Tone-Lōc, born Anthony Smith, rose from relative obscurity to pop superstardom in 1989, when his collaboration with Young M.C. (Marvin Young), “Wild Thing,” borrowed a hook from Van Halen’s “Jamie’s Cryin’” and caught fire. It was the first Top 10 pop hit for a black rapper. With his hoarse delivery and unmistakable gift for storytelling, Tone-Lōc followed up the No. 1 smash with another Top 5 hit, “Funky Cold Medina.” Riding the popularity of these tunes, Lōc-ed After Dark would hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts and receive a double-platinum certification by the RIAA.
Lōc-ed After Dark was only the second rap album to top the pop charts — the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill was the first — and while the hits have been practically ingrained in American culture over time (thanks to being featured in movies, TV shows, and at generations of parties), the album holds up as a whole. Other than Tone-Lōc’s voice, the calling card is a funky, sample-heavy production by Delicious cofounders Matt Dike and Mike Ross, and the Dust Brothers, the team behind the Beasties’ Paul’s Boutique. Later in 1989, the practice of sampling came under legal fire and eventually mostly tapered off. Lōc-ed After Dark is one of the last true examples of the art form that was allowed to flourish commercially.
Track list: A1. On Fire (Remix) A2. Wild Thing A3. Lōc-ed After Dark A4. I Got It Goin’ On A5. Cutting Rhythms – B1. Funky Cold Medina B2. Next Episode B3. Cheeba Cheeba B4. Don’t Get Close B5. Lōc’in On The Shaw B6. The Homies
About Young M.C. and Stone Cold Rhymin’:
Earning his stripes as a collaborator with Tone-Lōc on the hit “Wild Thing” and the follow-up smash “Funky Cold Medina,” Young M.C. was on a roll when he stepped out on his own later in 1989. The young star released a solo Top 10 single, “Bust A Move,” which won him a Grammy® Award for Best Rap Performance and helped his debut album, Stone Cold Rhymin’, achieve platinum status.
In many ways, Stone Cold Rhymin’ is a sister album to Lōc-ed After Dark. Both feature Delicious cofounders Matt Dike and Mike Ross producing with the Dust Brothers, chopping and arranging samples. And both were engineered by Mario Caldato, Jr.—“Mario C” as he is known to fans of the Beastie Boys, whose music he also recorded.
“Bust A Move” is still ubiquitous wherever people congregate and have a good time, and the song “Know How” was featured prominently in the recent hit film Baby Driver. Stone Cold Rhymin’ remains a prime example of funky, sample-based hip-hop as the genre began to modernize. Fun fact: Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers plays bass on “Principal’s Office” and “Bust A Move.”
Track list: A1. I Come Off A2. Principal’s Office A3. Bust A Move A4. Non Stop A5. Fastest Rhyme A6. My Name Is Young – B1. Know How B2. Roll With The Punches B3. I Let ‘Em Know B4. Pick Up The Pace B5. Got More Rhymes B6. Stone Cold Buggin’ B7. Just Say No
About Masta Ace Incorporated’s SlaughtaHouse and Sittin’ On Chrome:
Formed by the famed lyricist and rapper Masta Ace — a key influence on Eminem — the group Masta Ace Incorporated, also known as the I.N.C., teamed up with Delicious to concoct a special mix of California-influenced funk beats and East Coast lyricism. It was a reverse version of what Ice Cube did a few years prior on AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted: Cali raps over East Coast beats. This time, the vibe was West Coast, but the whole group had a strong East Coast pedigree and was entirely based in Brooklyn: Masta Ace, Lord Digga, Paula Perry, R&B vocalist Leschea, and Eyceurokk (Eyce, Uneek, and Rokkdiesel).
Masta Ace was already hip-hop famous as part of New York’s legendary Juice Crew, with his claim to fame being the first verse on Marley Marl’s classic posse cut “The Symphony.” After he released a solo album in 1990 (Take A Look Around), which featured a guest spot by Eyceurokk, Ace expanded the collaboration in 1992 by forming Masta Ace Incorporated (the I.N.C.), and he began to build his career as a frontman and bandleader.
The group’s debut album, SlaughtaHouse, released in 1993, zeroed in on the idea of the fake gangsta. It was the beginning of the G-funk era, and everybody was switching their style all of a sudden. But where did all these supposed tough guys come from? Masta Ace had questions about who was really authentic and also about what gangsta rap meant for hip-hop as a whole. One year later, the rapper Common would pick up Masta Ace’s themes and voice similar concerns on his song “I Used To Love H.E.R.”
Following Eyceurokk’s departure, the remaining four members of Masta Ace Incorporated released their second album, Sittin’ On Chrome, in 1995. The album included “Born To Roll,” a hit that broke the Top 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, as well as two more Hot 100 singles: “The I.N.C. Ride” and the album’s title track. Ace has continued to release critically acclaimed work, make even more conceptual albums, and receive recognition from his peers as a “rapper’s rapper.”
SlaughtaHouse track list: A1. A Walk Through The Valley A2. SlaughtaHouse A3. Late Model Sedan A4. Jeep Ass Niguh – B1. The Big East B2. Jack B Nimble B3. Boom Bashin – C1. Mad Wunz C2. Style Wars C3. Who U Jackin (featuring Paula Perry) C4. Rollin Wit UmDada – D1. Aint U Da Masta D2. Crazy Drunken StyleD3. Saturday Nite Live
Sittin’ On Chrome track list: A1. Intro A2. The I.N.C. Ride A3. Eastbound A4. What’s Going On! – B1. The B-Side B2. Sittin’ On Chrome B3. People In My Hood B4. Turn It Up – C1. U Can’t Find Me C2. Ain’t No Game C3. Freestyle? C4. Terror – D1. Da Answer D2. 4 Da Mind D3. Born To Roll D4. The Phat Kat Ride
About The Pharcyde and Labcabincalifornia:
Composed of Trevant “Slimkid3″ Hardson, Derrick “Fatlip” Stewart, Emandu “Imani” Wilcox, and Romye “Bootie Brown” Robinson, the Pharcyde were a group of true originals from South Central Los Angeles. Hardson, Wilcox, and Robinson were all dancers and choreographers who met on the L.A. underground club circuit in the late ’80s, worked together for a while, and served a stint as dancers on the hit TV show In Living Color. Stewart, meanwhile, performed at local clubs and eventually hooked up with the others in 1990. Under the tutelage of Reggie Andrews, a local high-school music teacher who has guided the careers of talents ranging from Patrice Rushen to Thundercat, the group learned about the music industry and the process of recording an album. They eventually landed a deal with Delicious Vinyl in 1991, and a year later released their eccentric debut album, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, which went gold. Opening slots ensued for acts like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, and appearances at Lollapalooza earned them fans outside of hip-hop. The single “Passin’ Me By” landed in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart and remains a hip-hop anthem and radio staple.
The follow-up album, Labcabincalifornia, was a sleeper classic that showcased the production talents of a then virtually unknown J Dilla. The first single from the album, the Dilla-produced “Drop,” was a hit, and the accompanying music video, performed backward and then played in reverse by director Spike Jonze, reinforced the group’s wildly creative reputation. The album would go on to produce two more successful singles: “Runnin,” which peaked at No. 55, and “She Said.”
Track list: A1. Bullshit A2. Pharcyde A3. Groupie Therapy – B1. Runnin’ B2. She Said B3. Splattitorium B4. Somethin’ That Means Somethin’ – C1. Drop C2. Hey You C3. Y? C4. It’s All Good! – D1. Moment In Time D2. The Hustle D3. Little D D4. Devil Music D5. The E.N.D.