CO-PRODUCED & WITH ARTWORK BY THE LATE JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
The original issue of the 1983 song “Beat Bop” by lyricists Rammellzee and K-Rob has been heard by many, but held by few. Only a reputed 500 of the song’s initial run, on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s one-off Tartown Records label, were made with jacket cover art by the infinitely influential graphic artist (and moonlighting musician and producer). They remain one of hip-hop’s “Holy Grail” items, selling north of $1,500 if you can even find one. The audio, which clocked in at over 10 minutes, was issued – with no picture sleeve – on Profile Records soon after the Tartown pressings, and went on to influence countless MCs, with its minimal, languishing funk beat (produced by Basquiat) and Rammellzee’s and K-Rob’s next-level lyricism.
Consider the early vocal tones of the Beastie Boys (who also sampled the track), or the huge part it played in the sound of Cypress Hill and B-Real. His voice is almost homage to Rammellzee’s on ‘Beat Bop’, while they also lifted the chorus of ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’ and even a sample of ‘Cypress Hill’ from the track too. It’s unsurprising – this is a multi-layered, complex song that reveals a little more of itself each time you play it but remains damn funky.
This reissue boasts the vocal and instrumental versions in full, as well as both the full cover and label artwork from the original Tartown Release.
Rammellzee left this Earth in 2010 and Basquiat passed away in 1988 – with this reissue, their important contributions to the formative years of hip-hop on wax are remembered and celebrated. A must-own for any hip-hop purist.
A. Beat Bop (Vocal) / B. Beat Bop (Instrumental)