Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wild Style Completionisms




Stickup Kids: "A to the K?"  "A to the mother fuckin Z."
(feel free to click on any pic to zoom in) 

Related to Elements: DJ, MC, B-Boying, Graffiti, Wild Style, Crate Digging

Of all the Old School Hip Hop movies, Wild Style is the absolute best.  Billboard Magazine is even more flattering.


"#1 Hip-Hop movie of all time" - Billboard Magazine

That's not too bold of a claim since it is essentially a fly on the wall view of the birth of the forthcoming worldwide cultural Hip Hop explosion.  The tale is told from an insider's perspective where you see the original 4 elements of Hip Hop all on equal footing.  Even at the grand finale scene of the movie, the raw energy and talent doesn't reach beyond the South Bronx's Amphitheater.  Nevertheless, this is where it all began, and the confidence and freshness factor of this movie's real life players can't be fucked with.  

Now, 30 years down the line, you can pop in the DVD and it's still as fresh now as it was back then.  No other movie unidealistically touches the reality of early days of Hip Hop more than Wild Style.



Right, But What about the Music?




Various Wild Style Records, the OST CD and 30th Anniversary DVD


One of the very first records I ever bought was the Wild Style Soundtrack.  When the mailman dropped it off on my stoop I was stoked and soon after unboxing it the stoked feeling turned to "Oh, wait, this is kinda flimsy."  Turns out I bought a "bootleg\unofficial" copy.  For all intensive purposes "Bootleg" and "Unofficial" are the same thing, but Discogs says it like that so I guess I better follow their lead.

Still, I had the soundtrack and I was elated.  I reluctantly realized it didn't sound the best but, frankly, back then I was happy to have any classic Hip Hop record even if it was just a crappy boot.

At some point I realized I wasn't happy enough.  It sounded like crap and I knew an original copy had to be out there.  But back in those days that original OST went for 50-100 bucks on Ebay (which is incidentally why it had been bootlegged) and that was well out of my financial grasp.

Luckily, the good people at Mr Bongo out of the UK had guys like me covered because they procured the rights to a legitimate and nicely pressed 2LP reissue with Bonus Tracks.

Obviously I was all over that along with other various Wild Style records along the way...

TLDR.  Fast forward to today, I finally got the original copy and hell yeah, it was worth the wait.  It sounds just as sweet as I hoped it would. 



Various Wild Style Records (click to zoom in)


Wild Style Soundtrack: The Bootleg vs the Original



Other than tell-tale wear and tear the covers look the same

The covers may look the same but the original can be identified by extra printing on the back cover and on the record label.



If it doesn't say "Jem" it's fake.  (click to zoom)

Look for the "Manufactured by Jem Records" writing on the back cover and on the record label.



Click to zoom in on the label of the "unofficial" Wild Style OST


Click to zoom in on the label of the Original Wild Style OST


The bootleg is the absolute worst sounding pressing so it should be avoided at all costs.  The Mr Bongo 2LP pressing is fantastic and so is the OG.  I personally like the OG best because of the way the songs are originally mixed.  It's almost like a DJ mix not unlike the style of mixing on the classic Street Sound's Electro compilations.  Mr Bongo's (and\or Beyongolia) versions are great pressings too but listening to it them has more of a compilation flow and "feel" to it.


The Wild Style Theme Rap 12" (Animal) 1983

Wild Style Theme Rap 12"

The version on this twelve inch single is VERY different from the rap of the same name on the OST.  This seems more electo-beat laced.  It has thicker production and it's a different beast of a classic altogether.  I was a bit surprised to see how dope this was when I played it expecting the album version.  Grandmaster Caz will always be the man, but back in 83 he was making undeniable moves on hot singles like this one.


"Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album" Origins

DJ Black Steel Presents: The Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album LP (Music of Life) 1990


During my early Wild Style collecting years I came across the "Original Wild Style Breakbeats"


the "Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album" record cover
OWSBBA back cover "Straight Outta the South Bronx"


OWSBBA record label

What's the deal with this album?  Who the hell is DJ Black Steel?  I felt compelled to find out the origins.  Apparently there is this rare record out there called the Wild Style Test Pressing and he was one of the insanely lucky dudes who had a copy.  

Yeah, right!  What kind of holy grail tall tale is this?  Turns out it's very true, let's get it straight from the horse's mouth...  Check out what Freddy Fresh said on the matter.


"Taken from my book...
ANIMAL RECORDS (Wild Style Soundtrack) This record was originally available through special screenings of the B Boy culture documentary of the film by the same name. At the end of screenings they would sell the album soundtrack of this film. I purchased my copy in 1983 at a screening of the film at the Bell Theater University of Minnesota. There were a handful of test pressings made of the instrumental versions of the songs as well, these were made for the DJ’s in the actual film to play and scratch with etc.. A few copies leaked out but almost NO ONE has an original test pressing of this record. (see test pressings, bootlegs etc..) see scan near end of book

6005 Wildstyle Soundtrack (Grand Wizard Theodore – Military Cut, Busy Bee Vs. Rodney C – MC Battle, Cold Crush Brothers vs. Fantastic Freaks – Basketball Throwdown, Fantastic Freaks at the Dixie, Grand Wizard Theodore – Subway Theme, Cold Crush Brothers at the Dixie, Double Trouble – Stoop Rap, Double Trouble at the Amphitheater, Busy Bee at the Amphitheater, DJ Grand Wizard Theodore – Gangbusters, Rammellzee & Shockwell at the Amphitheater) **** 1983
This album has been reissued through Beyongolia Records London England and includes 6 exclusive tracks not on the original Wildstyle album they are (Busy Bee’s –Limo Rap, Grandmaster Caz – South Bronx Subway Rap, Busy Bee – Street Rap, Fantastic Freaks at the Amphitheater, Fab 5 Freddy – Down By Law) 1998"
and
"Wild style inst. originally released as TEST PRESSING 20 copies or so is INVALUABLE.  The Black Steel EP (Music OF LIFE) is the same thing basically and much more available.. also the BONGO cats in London re-released this and is fantastic pressing." - Freddy Fresh (source: Oldschoolhiphop.forumco.com)

This info about this uber-rare Wild Style Test Pressing was in fact taken from his own book, Freddy Fresh's Rap Records Volume 2...


Info from Rap Records Volume 2 on pages 31 and 637
Chalie Ahearn signed Wild Style Test Pressing pic courtesy of Rob at TSL

BTW, this book is an incredible crate diggers' reference.  Here is a link to Freddy Fresh's Shop page with active links to buy it. 

However, recently it has been brought to light that as many as 100 of these test pressings exist...

Quote from Sureshot La Rock Confirms 100 Test Pressings were made



Regardless, who am I kidding if I think I'll land one of those hundred known blank white label test pressings?  Let's be realistic here.  These Original Breakbeats Album and Mr Bongo's Instrumental Beats album will have to suffice. 




Mr Bongo's and Beyongolia Wild Style Incarnations

 

Wild Style Original Soundtrack 2LP Version (Beyongolia) 1998

You've seen the cover... Back of Wild Style OST 2LP (zoom in for track list)


Wild Style OST 2LP shown in center with Gatefold Open, Nice shot of the Amphitheater.  (zoomable)

The Wild Style OST 2LP pressing not only sounds good, but as already mentioned. it's also got a few bonus tracks and a gatefold cover.


Wild Style Instrumental Beats LP (Beyongolia) 1998



Front cover of Wild Style Instrumental Beats



Track listing and back cover of Wild Style Instrumental Beats

As mentioned above these Wild Style Instrumental Beats are exactly that.  A Wild Style Test Press for the rest of us kinda deal.  Very similar to the "Wild Style Original Breakbeats" but different track lengths and a few different tracks altogether.  Having both this Instrumental Beats and the Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album isn't essential unless you are a completionist.  Frankly, I should have two of both since they are screaming to be juggled.




Wild Style Instrumental Beats Record Label


 

Wild Style Lesson EP (Mr Bongo) 2007


Jumping on "the Lessons" bandwagon, Mr Bongo released the Wild Style Lesson EP on the 25th anniversary of the movie.   



Wild Style Lesson EP in rotation


This Wild Style Lesson EP is a collection of a mega-mix, some alternate mixes, remixes and even a collection of "scratch tools" made from select movie dialogs and related Wild Style sound effects.  This isn't as corny as I thought it would be, it's actually well-wicked and completely different from the OST.  



Wild Style Lesson EP back cover (zoom in for track listing)


Grandmaster Caz & Chris Stein ‎– Wild Style Theme Rap 1 / Wild Style Subway Rap 12" (Beyongolia) 1998

 

 

Grandmaster Caz & Chris Stein - Wild Style Theme Rap 12" Front Cover

Grandmaster Caz & Chris Stein - Wild Style Theme Rap 12" Back Cover

After synchronizing this Mr Bongo version with the original single on Animal Records it proved that this is essentially the same thing as the original 12" release.  However, to my ears at least, the original sounds much better at 45 RPM.  


Discogs Link: Grandmaster Caz and Chris Stein - Wild Style Theme Rap 1 / Wild Style Subway Rap 12" (Benongolia) 1998





Wild Style Original Soundtrack CD" (Rhino) 1997


Wild Style OST CD on Rhino Entertainment (back) (zoom for track listing)




There have been other CD versions of this, but really this is the only one that you need in for road trips.  Manufactured at the high quality levels you'd expect from Rhino Entertainment, this disc is official and it sounds nice and loud.  The tracks are unmixed unlike the original LP.



Wild Style 30th Anniversary DVD (Submarine Deluxe) 2013

 
Wild Style 30th Anniversary DVD (gate fold open) with Booklet


The movie was painstakingly remastered in a labor of love with this nice reissue by Submarine Deluxe.  This comes with 2 Discs including the original movie and extra features including interviews of the cast and crew.  A thorough book of some never before seen photos is a nice addition as well.  Wanna know where they are now?  Put in the second disc.  


Great photos faithfully compiled within this booklet.  (Zoom in for a peek)


Wanna see more iconic photos?  Flip through the book or watch the visual slide show on the first disc.  I've seen the film many times on good old VHS and I don't even have to tell you that this obviously blows that out of the water.  Even if you already have the DVD, hardcore fans of the movie should buy this for the added footage and valuable information within.  I learned a lot from this DVD and book including a lot of interesting back stories.  


What's Missing From the so-called Completionist Collection?


Ok, you got me.  I don't have every single incarnation of the movie and it's soundtracks, EPs or singles.  For example I clearly don't have the white label test pressing.  I have learned to live with that and I suppose I can still die a happy man never even glimpsing it, knowing I at least have the music on vinyl.  




Rare Wild Style Theme Rap Japanese 7"


Also, I don't have the above shown seemingly impossible to find Japanese 7" versions of Wild Style Theme Rap, nor do I have the promo version of this 7" in a plain white sleeve.  

BUT, I do have the 12" version which I am assuming is a longer edit of the same song.  Will I pay an arm and a leg to get this even though I already have the 12"?  Don't tempt me.  I probably would.  Incidentally if you have any leads on these please contact me here by posting on this blog and I'll move heaven and earth if needed to get it.

Not to mention there are other foreign pressings of the Wild Style Soundtrack.  While I consider myself a completionist, I don't feel the desire to get the same music with a simple "Made in France" sticker on it, that's just silly.  True, I got the collector sickness, but there is still a smidgen of common sense ruling my accumulation quirks.  

So other than the test pressing (which won't happen) and the 7" (also, won't happen) I am finally done buying Wild Style records.  It only took me 18 years to feel some sense of finality, but alas, it's finally over.  Unless of course some new-jack label comes along and unearths a hidden chapter of Wild Style that doesn't exist.  In that case I'll probably have to bite on that too.  


DJ Black Steel & The 45 King ‎– 22 Wildstyle Beats 2CD (Music Station) 1995

Picture courtesy of Discogs


As per Discogs, this 2CD has the original DJ Black Steel Wildstyle Breakbeats untouched on disc one and disc two has the breaks mixed, looped, juggled, and extended by the incomparable 45 King.  No doubt an unforgetable mixtape that I'm sleeping on but according to Discogs this has not been sold there so I'm guessing I'll never see this in person either.




But You Forgot About These! (Update)


Since dropping this blog post on DWG Forums a few more omissions were brought to my attention.  Some are promo versions of a few I already have, some have yet to be added to Discogs, and others are just amazing eye candy I cannot justify omitting from this blog post update.  It goes without saying that I'm envious of the owners of these newly discovered holes in my soul.


DJ Black Steel Presents: The Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album LP (Music of Life) (Later Reissue)

 

Front Cover (Picture courtesy of Benjamin Hatton)
Factory Sticker and Label (Pictures courtesy of Benjamin Hatton)

This later (mid 2000's) reissue on Music of Life is not listed on Discogs.




DJ Black Steel Presents: The Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album LP (Bootleg) (Music Station)

 

Music Station/Dancefloor Dist./Disc-stinct Bootleg  (Photo courtesy of Manphat)

Apparently this bootleg has "extended versions" of the original original breakbeats.  



Grandmaster Caz & Chris Stein ‎– Wild Style Theme Rap 1 / Wild Style Subway Rap 12" (Beyongolia) 1998 (Signed Test Pressing)

 

 
Photo Courtesy of Cro

 
Signed by Grandmaster Caz! (Photo Courtesy of Cro)

Another Discogs omission...  As if having the test pressing of this isn't cool enough, Cro's copy is signed by the man himself!



What, No Love for the Tapes?


Wild Style Movie (VHS) (Irish)

 
Photo courtesy of Jesper


Wild Style Movie (VHS) (Pyramid)

 

Photo Courtesy of Jesper

Then there's the good old VHS release of the movie.  Mine was a generic copy of a copy but luckily Jesper was kind enough to provide a few foreign copies of the movie.  It's something that you take for granted that there are countless variants of the video tape from countries all over the world.  

And the cassettes too, there are numerous versions out there of the cassette that I haven't accounted for.  


Yet more Relics... Posters, Flyers, and original Tickets!

 
Flyer courtesy of Soul Safari


Original Poster! (photo courtesy of Sureshot La Rock)


Tickets to the filming.  Be there to make history!  Courtesy of Atilladahun


Front of Admissions Ticket (Courtesy of Atilladahun)


It's not enough that they gotta taunt me with autographed test pressings of singles I never knew existed but then they gotta pour lemon juice all over my wounds with original admission tickets to the filming of the movie, movie posters from back in the day and even an original flyer!  These are so cool and historical I certainly can't blame them for pointing these out to a mezo-completionist such as myself.  These are the kind of special pieces that true fans will never get rid of at any price.  So I'll have to live knowing that these are out there and maybe if I am lucky I'll get to touch them some day.  


As per DWG member Beattrooper via private message...

There's 4 more Wildstyle bits out there.

Wildstyle Theme 12" Japan issue from 83' on Toshiba promo only (Thick Sleeve)
Wildstyle Theme 12" UK Test press 83'
Wildstyle Soundtrack vinyl LP with Obi strip and lyric sheet (1995?)
Wildstyle Soundtrack Cassette with obi boxed like a VHS comes with a small booklet of photos again from 83' (this is rarer then the 45!)
I guess I haven't even scratched the surface of this iceberg.  As more of these pieces come to light it's becoming more and more apparent that I'll never get a chance to become a true Wild Style completionist. 




 

LBNL, Wild Style Comic Book Art

 
Here's a late but worthy addition... Check out the Wild Style comic book!  Some seriously enlightening reading for Wild Style fanatics. 

Ed Piskor's story behind the Wild Style story.
You can own these limited addition books while supplies last.  Piskor is a hot Hip Hop specialty artist right now and the artwork in these pages is spectacular so who knows how long they'll last.  They are currently available at Fantagraphics Books.


Special Thanks to all the bonus information and pics from DWG members Chris, Sureshot La Rock, Cro, Atilladahun, Manphat, Benjamin Hatton, Jesper, Soul Safari, and Beattrooper and other members there.  Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

  -rchecka



Reference: Quick Links To Discogs Wild Style Related Records and CDs

 

Various - Wild Style Original Soundtrack LP (Animal) 1983

Grandmaster Caz and Chris Stein - Wild Style Theme Rap 12" (Animal) 1983

Grandmaster Caz and Chris Stein - Wild Style Theme Rap 7" (Japanese) (Chysalis) 1983 
 
Various - Wild Style Original Soundtrack LP (Animal) Unofficial/Bootleg 
 
Various - Wild Style Soundtrack 2LP (Beyongolia) 1998 
 
DJ Black Steel - The Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album LP (Music of Life) 1990  

DJ Black Steel - The Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album LP Bootleg (Music Station) 1995

Various - Wild Style Instrumental Beats (Beyongolia) 1998 


Grandmaster Caz and Chris Stein - Wild Style Theme Rap 1 / Wild Style Subway Rap 12" (Benongolia) 1998

Various - Wild Style Lesson EP (Mr Bongo) 2007 
 
Various - Wild Style CD (Rhino) 1997

DJ Black Steel & The 45 King - 22 Wildstyle Beats 2CD (Music Station) 1995 


 

Known records missing from Discogs:


DJ Black Steel - The Original Wild Style Breakbeats Album LP (Music of Life) (Factory Stickered Reissue) 

Grandmaster Caz and Chris Stein - Wild Style Theme Rap 12" (Beyongolia) Test Press




Also allegedly missing from Discogs:


Grandmaster Caz and Chris Stein - Wildstyle Theme 12" (Japan issue) 1983 on Toshiba promo only

Grandmaster Caz and Chris Stein - Wildstyle Theme 12" (UK Test press) 1983


Various - Wildstyle Soundtrack vinyl LP (with Obi strip and lyric sheet) 1995(?)


Various - Wildstyle Soundtrack Cassette (with obi boxed like a VHS comes with a small booklet of photos) 1983




See Also:

Wild Style The Movie 30th Aniversary DVD (Submarine Deluxe) 

DJ Skeme's The Nostoglia King - Wild Style Autographed Poster Blog Post 

Charlie Ahearn's Wild Style Era New York (Interview + Gallery)

An Original Amphitheatre Jam Poster (jpg)

The Big Breakdance Contest  Extra Tidbit:  Some of the B-Boys and B-Girls of "the Big Breakdance Contest" were featured in Wild Style.  Watch their incredible routines in the Big Breakdance Contest on my Youtube Channel.





Sunday, February 2, 2014

PSA: Crate Digging Tip #24 - Safely Removing Stickers From Record Covers and Record Labels with Goo Gone



A Crate Digger's Staple Cleaning Tool, Goo Gone


Related to Elements: Crate Digging, DJ, Graffiti


The following is a UNPAID endorsement of a great product, Goo Gone, that does exactly what it promises and it works perfectly on even old priceless records as well...  Scrutinizers feel free to click on any pics to zoom in.

We've seen them thousands of times on records and record covers, those pesky price tags, those DJ marking stickers on the label or on the run out groove, those "Hello, My Name is" BPM indicators, the file labels on the cover, or in the worst case, old masking tape with song info blasphemously written on them by the previous owner of your precious records.  They have become the eye sores we've learned to live with that have devalued the records for sellers and collectors alike.  As a collector, when we see them stuck on we know we better get a discount.  Consequently online sellers know if they sell a record without pointing them out, they may come back, returned by a pissed off buyer who wanted the "perfect" cover.

Truth is, we don't need to live with those stickers any longer.  The fix has been "out there" for a long time, but apparently, it is not a well known fix.  Often when people ask how to remove these things I mention it and get a strange look or a "You'll ruin the cover!" response.  "You'll make the ink run! Are you crazy!?"  or even "Don't tell people that!  You'll make the record label peel off, ya jerk!"  It's time to put that naysayer nonsense to rest with a little show and tell session.  Bottom line is, if you have a lot of records, sooner or later, you'll need this stuff to get rid of the stickers that are, for better or for worse, a very real part of collecting vinyl.

For this demonstration I chose 3 different types of very common sticker problems commonly plaguing record collectors.   The old stuck-on price tag, the file label, and the dreaded old masking tape stuck to the cover.

The Price Tag:




The steps for each sticker removal technique, regardless of the problem are always the same.  


The 4 Steps for Removing Stickers from Records: 

 

1. Squirt Goo Gone on the sticker and let it pool on the surface and nearby surrounding area.  (Careful it comes out pretty fast!)  Don't be afraid if it goes all over, you can wipe up the excess easily and it does no harm.

2. Let the Goo Gone pool sit on the label for 30-90 seconds.  It takes a few moments to soak into the sticker while you wait.  Don't worry, everything will be just fine as it sits there.

Scratchin'!  What is it?!


3. Lightly scratch with your fingernail the sticker and you'll notice the edge of the sticker starts to come up easier with each scratch.  Eventually you'll be able to grab the sticker and slowly peel it off easily.  If there is any residual sticky stuff from the sticker scratch it off easily.  If the residual sticky stuff is pesky add another squirt and it'll come right off as well.



4. Wipe away any remaining Goo Gone liquid with a towel to shine the record and enjoy the pleasant orange smell.




VoilĂ !  There is no evidence that this even had a price tag! 

 

The Record Cover Sticker:

For 23 years (guessing) this sticker has covered this spot.

 Repeat the same 4 steps above for record cover stickers.  


Ya know the rules!  It's not ever coming off. Wrong, it's coming right off!


Huge improvement.




The Dreaded Old Masking Tape:

Let Me Show You...

24 years gone in 30 seconds.


The tape was there, now it never was.  If I was a seller, I could raise my asking price


As a bonus, after wiping it down with a towel it revives the shine of the gloss

I have successfully removed all types of stickers from even no-gloss card-stock covers, even recycled cardboard covers show no sign of the tag or Goo Gone residual markings.  It evaporates quite quickly so even if a wet spot briefly appears on a glossless cover, give it a minute and it'll be gone along with the goo.

BTW, It also seems to work well on kid records crayon marks, some non permanent ink, and other sticky imperfections.  But I would not try this on hand painted covers, that may result in damage to the paint.  I only have one hand painted cover so it's not as if this is a major concern worth mentioning, but I should anyway just in case others have hand painted covers to be wary.  Also, It will remove a record company's factory placed stickers just as easily so be extra careful around factory stickered sleeves.  


So if you are a buyer, keep in mind, if the seller discounted a record because of a sticker on the cover, regardless of how anal you are, you can buy it at the reduced price and easily remove the sticker with a $5 bottle of plain old Goo Gone.  One bottle will do hundreds of records.  If you are a seller, you might be selling it for more after you apply this technique to your pre-sales tactics.  Some covers are hard to find in good condition and this will be safe on even the rarest of records.  Remove the sticker, raise your cover condition, and consequently raise your profits.

This stuff works, I use it myself all the time, and I recommend it to anyone irked by stickers on records.