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Top Five Hip Hop Moments: Anticpation of a New Release

by Travis on August 25, 2009

What’s good my people? I feel like we don’t talk like we used to and I happen to be in a writing mood tonight, which is rare these days. I have plenty I could be doing, answering the five million emails I’m behind on, doing some research on my new affliction (collecting vinyl) or getting my ass handed to me on Madden 10. But for some reason, I longed for the good ole days when I rambled on about stuff and you all read. Life has been busy and my work schedule isn’t as conducive to running a blog as it was a couple years ago. Then the fact that blogs have become the “way” to promote your music to the internet masses, meaning that everyone and their dog sends me music to check out and I’m struggling to keep up.

Enough of the bitching though, times are tough all over. I’m actually sitting here eagerly waiting to put in a new CD I got today. It’s an advance copy and I’m not sure I’m ready to say who it’s by. If you are a close follower of WYDU and know which artists are closely associated with the site and which one of those has an album due out in the very near future, you should be able to figure it out. What do I bring it up? No, not to rub it in, but to bring up the fact that it’s not to often that I’m actually anticipating a release much these days. Yes, we got some big ones on the horizon, Jay-Z and Raekwon which while I’m being a bit cautious with both, I am eager to listen to both. But for some reason, it’s releases like this one from P….errr, almost let the cat out the bag, or even the Felt 3 project from Slug and Murs.

The whole point though of all this non sense is; What happened with Tuesdays? Those of you over 30 will remember the significance of new release Tuesdays. It’s when we ran to the record store and most of the time, you didn’t really know for sure what you would find. Yeah, The Source had some release dates, but those were a month old by the time we got to see them in the mag and just like now, they change more than a 16 year old chick getting ready for her first date. If you were like me, you bugged the shit out the record clerk about release dates, but sometimes even those weren’t trust worthy. I know us old fogies bitch about “missing the old days”, but honestly, it’s the lack of excitement for the new releases that really bug me the most. Don’t get me wrong, if it wasn’t for the internet, my musical collection would be a lot less than it is now and I don’t mean that I wouldn’t have mp3′s. The net has caused me spend lots of money on stuff that I probably wouldn’t have back in the day. These days though, anything new is leaked way before it’s official release day, which makes that “new music Tuesday” chatter rather obsolete. All this got me thinking about some of my “new music Tuesdays” of days past. I figured in honor of this new release by Pa….ahhhh, almost did it again, but in honor of this new album that is giving me that warm fuzzy feeling of anticipation and expectations and the fact that J-Zone dropped an ill post on Dante Ross’ blog about his top 10 digging stories, I would drop my top five stories about going to the store to pick up some new music, whether it was a Tuesday, a Sunday or a Saturday. On with the show…..

5. Picking up Redman’s Muddy Waters in the rain.

I was living in Salt Lake City, a place that still gives me the heeby jeebies when I think about it. At this time, Redman was probably my favorite artist after dropping two albums (Whut…Thee Album and Dare Iz….) and the lack of a vehicle wasn’t going to stop me from getting his latest release on that Tuesday. My Jimmy was in the shop and I had only been in Salt Lake for a couple months at the most. I knew there was a large mall downtown, about five blocks where I lived, right by the Temple Square, which I tried to avoid for the most part. But it was the closest place within walking distance. The problem though was the fact it was pouring rain and about 40 degrees out. Like the Post Office though, neither rain nor sleet was going to stop me from getting that CD.

I set out in the rain and start the trek only to go down one block too far, then one bock to far up, by the time I find my way to the front door, I’m completely soaked. I find my way up to the Sam Goody’s or Musicland (which ever it was) and bug the shit out of the pimple faced clerk to get the shit out of the back because it’s not out on the floor yet. After waiting for another 15 minutes for the underpaid mall employee to fish it out of the boxes, I venture back out into the cold and rain. Two hours after I originally set off to get the album, I get back to my apartment in the dark and wetness. To make a long story short, I was cold, wet and slightly pissed off and that probably had something to do with being initially disappointed with the album. Although, I still don’t hold it in as high of a regard as a lot of hip hop heads do.

4. Buying a bootleg of Ice T’s Rhyme Pays

In those early days of my hip hop listening, I wasn’t aware of the concept of “bootleggers”, so when the State Fair (yeah, they really have those) and there was a shady character selling tapes for something like $5 a tape. I can’t really remember how I knew about Ice T or if it was just something I bought because of the cover, which is quite possible. It was still early in his career and before Power came out. I bought the tape and noticed there was no liner notes and the cover itself was very cheaply and xeroxed looking. Of course two weeks later, the song titles were gone from the tape and while I played the shit out of the tape, I never had lettering disappear like that from tapes. This all probably explains why he wasn’t there four days later when I went back to get more tapes from him.

< span style="font-weight: bold;">3. Buying copies of Big Daddy Kane’s “Long Live The Kane” and Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock’s “It Takes Two” on the same day.

I can remember this day rather vividly, a late summer day in 1988. I hitched a ride with one of my parents, who were going to the grocery store. In the same strip mall as the grocery store was 5 Mile Records, named for the road it was on. I had just received some money for doing my chores, which I think at that time was cleaning horse stalls (don’t laugh, it gave me some good times listening to a lot of hip hop tapes) and it was right after the first ever episode of “Yo! MTV Raps” came on, so I was buying every artist that I saw on that initial show that had an album out. It just happened to be that it would be Big Daddy Kane, who’s “Raw” video had been on that initial showing (and was also on the Colors soundtrack that I played a lot that summer already) and Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock, who had the theme song for that initial Yo!, I thought “It Takes Two” was the shit.

Thinking I was pretty hot shit, I went straight over to my best friend’s house. He was into hip hop, more or less because I was, so these new tapes weren’t as monumental to him as it was me. None the less, his parents were gone so we pumped up the each tape as load as his little bookcase stereo would let us. I think we played each tape three times apiece, I think this was the day I realized that I would have a long love affair with hip hop. Years later, the Rob Base didn’t get much play past the first month or so, but the Big Daddy Kane got enough play that I had to put white out on side A just so I would know which side was which.

2. Jacking a promo copy of Pete Nice’s “Dust To Dust”.

I know part of being a snot nosed teenager is lifting tapes, records or CDs from the local record store. I’m sure most of us have done it once in our lives. Personally, I’ve never been one to do much shoplifting, mainly because my Pops would have beat my ass without hesitation. The one time I decided to sneak out with a tape almost bit me in the ass. I was a HUGE 3rd Bass fan back in the day, so the break up affected me much like EPMD split would others. Then came a lukewarm MC Serch solo effort, so the ball was really in Pete’s court. Also, given the fact that Pete was like my idol in those days, my anticipation was sky high by the time I saw the promo tape in my local record store, the Record Exchange.

They had a boombox with tapes that you could put in and give them a listen. Pete’s album had been pushed back a few times already, but they had an advance promo copy in their tapes. I was running late to somewhere by the time I noticed the tape, but that wouldn’t stop me from listening to it. Although I was against shoplifting, I really wanted to hear this tape, so my plan was to slip the tape into my coat pocket, take it home that night and listen to it and bring it back the next day. They would never know. Or so I thought….

I got the tape out with no problems, took it home and gave it a listen, thinking it was somewhat of a disappointment and that I risked my ass to get it out of the store. The next day, I expect no problems putting the tape back. As soon as I walk through the door and their alarm section, the thing goes off. I have no clue why it chose that time to go off. I left the tape case with the metal strip in the tape case with the rest of the listening area stuff. I must have looked like I seen a ghost, because the clerk asked me if I was alright. No, no I wasn’t alright, I just shit myself, thanks. Needless to say, they watched me pretty closely the whole time I was in there, or at least I was convinced they were watching me closely the whole time I was there. I was stuck between trying to put it back or just bolting out of there, hoping the damn thing didn’t go off again. In the end, I panicked and rushed out of the store as fast as I could without drawing more attention to myself than I already had. No alarm that second time through and I ended up losing the tape sometime later that year in my bottomless pit known as my car.

1. Blockbuster Fucks Up and Puts Out Wu-Tang Forever 2 Days Early

I’m not sure there ever was an album so highly anticipated as was Wu-Tang Forever. Okay, I guess it depends on who you were a bigger fan of, Nas, Biggie or Wu (you might even argue NWA in that as well). Me, I think the Wu’s second album had me in a small frenzy, especially after hearing “Truimph” on some mixtapes I had come across by then. At a time, it was all I wanted to hear.

Two days before it’s Tuesday, June 3rd, release date on a Sunday night, my then roommate and I were in the Blockbuster down the street from our apartment looking to rent a movie. While standing in line with our movie, I start to peruse the magazines, then the CDs that they put right by the checkout line for those impulse purchases. What I saw sitting there made me do a double take. It was the Wu-Tang double album, “Wu-Tang Forever.” I snatched it up with quickness, thinking someone would immediately realize their mistake and my prize and the rest of them away and put them in the back. I quickly paid for the CD and bailed out the store before they could realize their mistake, which I’m sure they never did. Again, the anticpiation and the built up expectations kind of let me down, but at least I got one over on Blockbuster after all the late charges they have got me over the years. Fuckers….

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vincentlopez August 25, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Only old people like us really understand the feeling of anticipating a release for months or even years. I practically grew up in a record store since my mother worked in one in the 70’s when I was between 2 and 6 years old. I loved staring at the record covers (especially Parliament and Ohio Players). Even in high school, there was no internet, no cell phones, rarely ever a leak, etc. You had to listen to those late night college radio shows to ‘tape’ the B-sides that you couldn’t find in stores. Of course, the bad albums were hyped up as much as the good but from ’87 to ’98, I visited 3 or 4 record stores every week. And when it was time to buy Big Daddy Kane’s first two albums, every BDP album, Gangstarr and Nas’ albums in 1994 or Tribe’s albums in 1991 and 1993, I will never forget those days. I have so many of these memories and it’s a shame that none of my younger family members ‘feel’ this way about new albums at all. They download random songs for their mp3 players and that’s it. Music is instantaneous and disposable for them.

Astro August 25, 2009 at 6:28 pm

The first website I frequented was one that listed release dates, this was between 94 and 97. They listed release dates week-by-week, going out several months. Lots of albums were pushed back, and some never came out, but I still eagerly checked every week to see what was coming up.

I don't know if there was more than one site back then that listed rap release dates, this was just a single-page thing I found through Yahoo. I think it morphed into a bigger site later. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

Robert August 26, 2009 at 1:14 am

I absolutely agree with Vincent and growing up in Canada in the late 80's and early 90's it was hard to buy hiphop tapes and wax.
Anyways,I was reading a local newspaper in the spring of 1989(dang,that's 20 years ago!!)and one of the major record store at that time,Sam the Record Man had the then new Walking like a Panther of LL Cool J on sale for 5.99$ for 9h am
to 11 am and I rushed to the store and I never been as excited to buy an album in my life and it's true,I feel sorry for the kids because they won't learn to appreciate music albums like we did.

Anonymous August 26, 2009 at 2:12 am

That Pete Nice story is hilarious HAHAHA!! I actually dig that album. I always liked Pete's off-balance style kinda like Sadat X was my favorite Brand Nubian MC. I remember really anticipating the 1st Wu album and cuting outta school early to get a copy at the WIZ.Ah good memories! GReat writing!

Zilla Rocca August 26, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Nothing was worse as a teenager with no car than going to HMV or The Wall or Sam Goody…
and week after week…
finding out a post-"Forever" Wu album was pushed back.

Take your pick: Tical 2000 (which I thought was just a cruel joke after so many damn delays) Uncontrolled Substance (same here), Beneath the Surface, Supreme Clientele, etc.

Yet somehow, those goddamn Killarmy CDs always dropped when they were supposed to!

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