my homie tim the turk just sent me a link to download this album. here's the "story:" "Introduction: 17 years ago a small recording studio, TOP SHELF, located in the basement of a brownstone in the East Village section of New York, was looted during the Thompkins Square riots of 1988, displacing the recordings of many soon-to-be Hip Hop stars. The studio had been the meeting place for many rappers, neighborhood kids, and producers that would later be responsible for the greatest period of the Hip Hop age, "The Golden Era." A search commenced soon after the recordings were lost, but nothing was ever found. So sought after were the tapes, they soon acheived Holy Grail status amongst Hip Hop circles. Despite years of searching, and dozens of hopeless crusades, the tapes remained lost. No one was quite sure who took them or where they were... until now.
After an extensive investigation and search that lasted two years, the recordings have finally been recovered by Fab 5 Freddy and myself (Benjy Grinberg). They were found dozenss of miles from the site of TOP SHELF in an abandoned strage faciilty in North Jersey [woot! Jersey represent!]. ...We sought after the lost recordings of TOP SHELF because they were rumored to be among the hottest songs from that era, and we thought it was a tragedy that the world never got to hear them. It turns out that these two-inch tapes are truly a treasure chest--a time capsule of the energy and excitement of 1988 Hip Hop."
do you believe it? not sure if i do either. i'm downloading it right now. i haven't listened to it yet. i'll let you know once i do. what do you think? here's another message i got from the turk shortly after...
"...was bumpin that Top Shelf comp in the ride but now on listening again.....i think some of these shits is faked and they are new..........like that kane song.....thats NOT 88
heres what dude was sayin
Here's a little hip-hop mystery for you all...
A friend hit me on IM and said, "hey, what have you heard of this Top Shelf album?" I had no idea what he was talking about so he sent me here. The short story is that, supposedly, this compilation is made up of recordings lost back in 1988 when Top Shelf Studios in New York were looted. 19 years later and some of the tapes were found and voila.
If this story seems to push the edge of credulity, it's probably because it does (to me at least) sound rather implausible for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that for such a "Holy Grail" set of recordings, what is it doing on a super-limited distribution CD from Japan? Moreover, you'd think someone, at some point, would have shared, "oh yeah, there's all these lost tapes of hip-hop giants missing from '88."
The thing is though - the recordings themselves both lend credence to this back story's validity as well as undermine it because, in some cases, the songs really do sound like they could be vintage but in many cases, they also don't sound anything like what hip-hop in '88 would have been like, especially in the production department.
On the side of, "hey, maybe this is real," there's the Craig G (mis-typed on the album as Graig G) and "Catch a Lyrical Beatdown" which is a f r e s h cut in any era. Of course, his reference of Die Hard (which came out in 1988) seems juuuuuust a little too convenient but the flow and voice sounds right for the late '80s/early '90s and the beat is also reminiscent of the period though it sounds just a tad too sophisticated to be '88.
That's definitely why Biz Markie's song, "My Name Is..." (which I really like) doesn't sound convincing to me from the era. He's supposed to be 18 on this? Word? And the beat feels a few steps beyond, say, "Return of the Biz Dance" or "Albee Square Mall" (songs from '88).
You have to say this much: if this is a hoax, all the artists did a great job of trying to kick styles that sound "right" for the era, especially in some of the lyrical references to historical icons and nomenclature (the LQ!). And there's a few songs, like the Grand Puba and Black Sheep cuts, which, if not from '88 sound like they're still more vintage than what you've heard them kick in contemporary times. Intriguing.
wierd some DO sound authentic and then some cant be.......oh the japanese..."