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Friday, November 2, 2012


The top producers in the hip-hop game are just as equally important to the culture and the music as the top-notch emcees in the industry, something that the British based label BBE (Barely Breaking Even; distributed by Rapster Records) understood. From 2000 to 2008 BBE released several outstanding albums in their Beat Generation Series; a series of albums showcasing one producer or a production crew for each album. Kicking things off things with Jay Dee’s classic “Welcome 2 Detroit”, an extraordinary musical dive into Detroit hip-hop, twisted house music, bossa nova, jazz, funk, and much more. In a similar matter DJ Pete Rock released an equally stunning, but mainly, instrumental disc; “PeteStrumentals” featured new mixes of unreleased instrumentals from Pete's vaults dating as far back as 1990-1995, sprinkled with a few emcee cuts by the likes of The UN, Bumpy Knuckles, Nature and CL Smooth. 

All in all ten albums were released in the Beat Generation series before BBE calling it quits, and a vast majority of them was straight up incredible. DJ Spinna’s “From Here to There” was an exceptional release and probably the most diverse album out the bunch (possibly only with the exception of King Britt’s "Adventuures in Lo-Fi"). Even Black Eyed Peas’ dropped a really good album that might have fans of the old B.E.P. fans satisfied, (though Fergie followers might more than likely use it as a beer holder or a flying frisbee). You also got solid releases by DJ Jazzy Jeff: “Return of the Magnificent” and 2002’s “The Magnificent”; the latter released under Jeff Townes name although it's really an album by his production crew Touch Of Jazz, as Jeff only produced about half the record. The last piece of the puzzle was not surprisingly Madlib’s stunning solo album for the label, “King Of The Wigflip” that still gets heavy rotation over at my place and in my iPod.
I would love to see The Beat Generation series continue for a long time, many of the absolute top notch producers in the game has had an entry in the BBE canon, but there’s plenty of more that I would love to hear. But you take what you got, and recently some of the original albums has been re-issued in 2xCD packages, often including all instrumentals, acapellas and new and very informative linear notes. As if that wasn’t enough, Spinna and Mr. Thing have just released a banging mixtape highlighting the best out of those 10 discs that’s definitely worth a spin. Read more about this and the rest about the projects on The Beat Generation's site.
As a little bonus I added the Jay Dee produced Slum Village joint from the aforementioned Jazzy Jeff / Mr. Thing mixtape - a song that originally was cut from "The Magnificent" despite it having appeared on a promotional sampler from the album that was released shortly before the actual retail release. If you don't own that mix, maybe this is new to you - and it's a definite must hear. If you still don't got the Beat Generation series, I strongly recommend you to pick up at least the majority of the albums; if you're a fellow beat head like myself I doubt you will be the least dissapointed in 90% of these releases. So pick them up one after another unless your name's Ingvar Kamprad and let BBE take you a journey of quality beats, strong rhymes and musical styles you might not expect from these A-list producers. On behalf of Jazzy Jeff / Mr. Thing and their recent mixtape –and in the words of Jay Dee – “TURN IT UP!!”

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