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SMALL FACES - immediate years $30.99 PRETTY THINGS - unrepentant
VELVET UNDERGROUND -peel slowly... £49.99
PINK FLOYD - shine on ST 29.99
QUEEN - complete collection £369.99
ROXY MUSIC - thrill of it all $43.99
ROLLING STONES - voodoo box $229.99
PINK FLOYD - division bell ST 69.99
FRANK SINATRA - reprise years $479.99
BEATLES - complete CD collection $259.99
ELVIS - walk a mile (70's coll) Sol .99
BILL NELSON - my secret studio £34.99
TOM PETTY - playback
VIDEO RESERVOIR DOGS - Mr Blond edit £49.99
STAR TREK - Movies Collection 5369
Lots more rare and limited box sets avarlable..... come in and see.
nrnonos-vrorooaomrs 217 - 221
ARCYLE STREET, GLASGOW
Def before dishonour
To celebrate ten years of fine hip hop, Def Jam have released a four-CD set of their ﬁnest moments. Alastair Mabbott pays homage to a label that changed the face of music.
Remember 27 August 1993 and the death of ‘def’? Since ‘def' could now be found in the dictionary. reasoned the co-founder of DefJam Records. Rick Rubin. its street value was negligible. He gave the word a proper New Orleans send-off, Dixieland combo and all the trimmings.
But as far as his ex-partner Russell Simmons was concerned, the health of ‘def' had never been ruder. The indie label they had founded to popularise the sound of the street had expanded and diversiﬁed into such concerns as the Phat Farm clothing company and the HBO channel’s Def Comedy Jam. At the point his estranged partner was kick-starting his renamed American Recordings label with that funereal promotional stunt. DefJam was worth $70 million.
The signiﬁcance of DefJam can't easily be overestimated. Motown has always sprung to mind as an example.
(or the 60s. or forever. depending on your pickiness). it was so far underground in the early days that no one outside the scene would give it the time of day. And although it now seems inevitable that some entrepreneur would break through and make it big with the music. it was the duo of Simmons and Rubin — one black. one white — who actually brought it off. From humble beginnings. DefJam became a brand name you could trust. Just as they believed in nurturing careers rather than just releasing records, the label provided a focus that nursed rap and hip hop through its difﬁcult years to the dominant force it' is today.
Even though rap had existed since l979
lt‘s eleven years since the ﬁrst Def Jam release, and ten since Simmons and Rubin inked a major label deal with Columbia, which is where the cumbersomely-titled DefJam Music Group III(‘ Ten Year Annr’rermry boxed set takes its cue.
Of the 60 tracks in the collection. half are by the triumvirate of LL Cool J. Public Enemy and The Beastie Boys - i three ofthe earliest signings, and a trio that covered a lot of bases. Cool James. 3 ladies' man. the boasting B-Boy in gold chains and Kangol hat. Ten Year
; From humble beginnings, Def Jam became a brand name you could trust. Just as they believed in nurturing careers rather than just ! releasing records, the label I provided a focus that nursed I rap and hip hop through its a difficult years to the i dominant force it is today. Anniversary Set kicks off with his | boornbox manifesto ‘1 Can't Live 1 Without My Radio'. an opening clan'on call that couldn't be on a more i apprOpn'ate note. Public Enemy were the ! consciousness-rousers that Def Jam l initially didn't want to touch. I Politically and musically. they were the heavyweights that were sold woefully ! short by terms like ‘the black Sex
V i R S
The Beastie Boys
Pistols'. Whether they realised it at ﬁrst or not, DefJam had a cultural phenomenon on their hands. Their tracks are spread liberally throughout this non-chronological compilation. and. with the possible exception of ‘Public Enemy £l ’, an early recording that's tentative by their standards. their authority compared to the tracks on either side of them is overwhelming.
And then there were The Beastie Boys. three geeky white boys who. like Rick Rubin. were into heavy rock before being seduced by rap. They pop up like the clowns that ﬁll in the spaces between acrobats and dancing horses, but they’re usually welcome when they do.
There are ﬁfteen other acts on here. from the weird and essential Slick Rick to EPMD and Onyx to the sweet R&B of Oran ‘Juice' Jones and the smooth LA rap of Warren G.
In fact. the label’s Californian operation is a rare example ofa Def Jam blind spot: DefJam West didn’t open for business until I993. long after LA had established itself as a rap centre with lee-T, lee Cube. NWA. Dr Dre and the emerging Snoop Doggy Dogg. But never mind. Acts like Warren G and ‘hip hop gangstress' Domino — 800,000 records sold. and counting — gave Def Jam their credibility in the West.
It’s a label sampler, not a historical overview. Thus. we don't get any Run- DMC who. despite their close links with Russell Simmons. were never actually on DefJam. And the wider rock/rap crossover, so exciting a feature of the late 80s. is represented by The Beastie Boys‘ ‘Fight For Your Right’ and Public Enemy's collaboration with Anthrax. ‘Bring Tha Noize'.
But with barely a moment wasted. Ten Year Anniversary is packed with sounds that changed the world. And listening to the vibrancy and verve of the artists on it. they seem to know that that's what they were doing. Spread out across four CDs, the voices seem to talk to each other across the tracks and across the years in a commentary, a massive rappers' showdown.
You'll have to shell out a cool £40 for the set. but there'll be few other boxed sets this Christmas that deliver what the title promises.
Thanks to Fopp records. Cockburn Street who just happen to have the boxed set in.
52 The List 15 Dec 1995-11 Jan 1996