November 12, 2006



Let's talk about a more important cassette transfer project. Diplo's latest Mad Decent podcast episode, entitiled "from the bronx river housing projects to the rest of the galaxy," certainly makes this project less urgent but does not, unfortunately, render it unnecessary.

In junior and senior years of high school, my Friday mornings were often pretty crispy because I had been up until two or three the previous night/morning listening to Afrika Islam's Zulu Beats show on WHBI. The tapes I made of those shows spurred my record collecting—a game I am now retired from—and served as the rough checklist I would refer to, and imitate in the absence of any solid data on the records I'd become obsessed with. ("Do you have 'Chocolate'? It goes...'Chocolate! Chocolate!'") Diplo's mix begins with a few minutes of a show I don't think I ever heard, and then goes into shows that are burned into my brain. The asides, the particular deck-to-deck looping of "Cavern," the shout-outs to people I never learned anything about, and all the pre-recorded drops: "And don't forget..." "...and that's the way you spell Zulu." "...none hotter."

There are Zulu Beat moments missing from Diplo's podcast that I'd like to see on the web some day, especially any of the "Birthday Tapes," pause-button mixes Islam made of his favorite beats, one slammed into the other, each whole concatenation a preview of the next fifteen years of hip-hop production. Also, I think many people would enjoy Red Alert's Gong Show (which was the first time I heard Red Alert's voice), and Islam's story about getting stopped for speeding. (And he played Bambataa's "Time Zone" an awful lot.)

There is a P-Brothers Zulu Beat CD from a year or two ago that compiles many of Islam's finest broadcast moments, but I assume it's hard to get now and I don't remember what's on it. Maybe they covered all of this. You know how English people are about American music. They care more about some of our moments than we do. This is why Michael Jonzun is all "Huh?" here but could probably be elected to Parliament.

Posted by Sasha at November 12, 2006 10:13 PM | TrackBack