My family moved to New York in ’82. First in Harlem and then we moved to the Bronx. By the time I was in high-school I was traveling all-city on the trains embracing the evolving sound of New York. The thing I remember most were the spots. The spots could have been in the basement of a project building, in someone’s brownstone, a high school gym, anywhere. Someone set up a sound system and a party would pop off.
I think my favorite were the dancehall parties of the nineties. They were the culmination of it all. You had the og Jamaican sound system, mixed with the hip-hop styled selector (DJ) setup, featuring the new style island DJ (MC) chatting. But the thing that got me into it all were the old tapes of 70’s era hip-hop parties. DJ and MC battles of non-stop break beats and live drum machines.
The work I’ve been doing with Concrète Sound System as a live set is in many ways indebted to this lineage. So when Hank Shocklee asked me to put together a mix for his site, I immediately thought of using the opportunity to pay an homage to that line. I hit up Elucid and rebuilt the system which had been damaged from the crash of 2012. The result is Ultimate Break Beats – over 55 modern break beats in under an hour, done in a way which represents today as much, if not more than it is a throwback to the past.