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Date: 1975
Release: A&M/Horizon #0809
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“In France, and maybe the rest of the world, I am not considered like a real hip-hop DJ–and I don’t want to be considered a real hip-hop DJ, because I love so many different styles of music. My way of working came from the hip-hop, but I try to expand it.”

DJ Cam

The number of people who ought to concern themselves with the musical innovations of DJ Cam runs into the millions. A former Parisian graffiti artist, Laurent Daumail (aka DJ Cam) has released several undeniably hip-hop records that radically rewrite the rules of the genre. Neglected in his native France, audiences in the US, UK, and Japan have embraced his envelope pushing style of downbeat hip-hop, helping to amplify the global impact of such kindred artists as DJ Shadow and DJ Krush.

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Date: September 24, 2002 (release)
Release: Sub Pop #600
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Mos Def will make you believe in hip hop again. What’s that? You don’t listen to that crap? This album is reason to re-evaluate that stance. If you’re one of those that “Used to Love H.E.R.”, check out Mos’ debut and fall in love all over again.

Although the popular first single from the album (“Ms. Fat Booty”) may seem like standard fare, the opener “Fear Not of Man” is a tribute/update of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti‘s “Fear Not For Man”–a bold step away from the strict American/Jamaican musical orthodoxy of Hiphop. This sets the tone for the album; in the spirit of Fela he deals with real issues such as environmentalism (“New World Water”), under-education and other social/economic inequities (“Mathematics”), and racism (“Mr. Nigga”).

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Date: March 23, 1999
Release: Motel Records #3
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Bombay the Hard Way plays like the soundtrack to some imaginary 1970s B-films with names like Shaft’s Bad-Ass Pilgrimage To India or Ganges Ghetto Payback. Featuring the music of Indian composers (and brothers) Anandji and Kalyanji Shah, who wrote and produced soundtracks for the so-called “Brownsploitation” films made in India’s “Bollywood” during the 60s and 70s, this saffron-funk project is the brain-child of Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, Bay Area producer / remixer of Dr. Octagon fame, with additional beats provided by the immensely talented DJ Shadow. The end product is a potent cross-pollination of Secret-Agent-Man guitar themes, Blaxploitation grooves, jazzy horn and flute riffs, hip-hop beats and loops, and traditional Indian instrumentation.

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Date: 1983
Release: RHINO
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“Somebody… anybody… help me… scream!” insists Chief Rocker Busy Bee and you best believe the party people oblige. Recorded mostly in a dark and sweaty little rap club called the Dixie in the South Bronx, the soundtrack to the movie Wild Style may be the ultimate source for old school rap and hip-hop. It’s the original shit – slick, young rappers with the lyrical prowess boasting and bragging, badder than bad, all over the steadiest, funkiest beats and scratches. The film, the story of a legendary graffiti artist named Zoro who’s pursued by a reporter amidst the throbbing South Bronx rap scene, was made in 1982, predating what is considered the first rap album on CD, Run DMC’s 1984 debut. The music from the film sounds as fresh and visionary today as it did then, the rhythmic and rhyming skills of the rappers and DJs undeniable, flowing with finesse and rock solid confidence.

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