Boca 45 has been hard at work delivering Donuts since January – crafting limited 7″ singles as coloured collector pieces. Now those tracks have been assembled into a album, complete with two new cuts.
In this instalment of our long-running feature series, the consummate selector selects his most cherished rap 45s with some thoughts on why they’re so special.
Listen to a preview here, and order the limited blue LP here – this will not be repressed and there are 200 copies only.
PHASE 2 – THE ROXY (DISC INST)
This is such a wicked 45. It’s from 1982. It’s about the club “The Roxy” which is where the early hip hop jams happened at an organised club in Manhattan rather than at block parties in the Bronx etc. It’s a primitive record but still sounds totally FRESH to my ears, it even has a cool little French rap in there.
I caught sight of The Roxy in the movie Beat Street which I watched pretty much continually in the mid-80s to be able to see the breakers / DJs etc that were going on at the time. It looked like the future had landed – such an important time.
I went on to make a track called The Roxy on my previous LP Forty Five with NYC native Emskee who kind of made a follow up to this track.
Bonus info – The back cover to this 45 is designed by graf writer Futura 2000 who went on to do a lot of the early Mo Wax covers.
BIG DADDY KANE – SET IT OFF (COLD CHILLIN’)
Over the past few years rap 7s have become a bit of a vogue thing. When I worked in a hip-hop store in Bristol in the mid-90s everybody wanted the 12’’ as it contained the different versions and sometimes even an acapella so you were getting more for your money!
I always bought 45s (especially rap 45s) because they were cheaper, that’s certainly not the case anymore! I always loved this tune anyway, it’s a total banger. Arguably Kane’s finest moment. It drops so heavy in a club (remember them people?). I wasn’t even aware of this being on a 45 until the early 00s when I was digging at Plastic Wax Records in Bristol. They were doing 4 7’’s for £1 and this was one of the bunch I bought. Probably the best 25p I’ll ever spend on any record.
CAVEMAN – I’M READY (PROFILE RECORDS)
A classic slice of UK hip-hop from 1991. Again, a real club banger. It samples Jimi Hendrix, I’m Ready – I have no idea if they ever cleared the sample – it doesn’t suggest that they did on the sleeve notes, which is funny.
It’s not like a straight loop. It’s a great bit of early programming and production. All of the Caveman stuff sounded really tight.
I think a lot of the early UK hip-hop producers had got into rave productions by this point but luckily Caveman didn’t. I’m part of the 45 Live collective and a couple of years ago at a festival down in Cornwall we booked MCN (the MC) to do a live set. When he dropped this tune the place went off. I was pogoing like a 17 year old!
EDAN – FUNKY VOLTRON/MAKING PLANETS (LEWIS/MICLIFE)
Double Header Donut from Edan released exclusively in Japan lifted from his 2nd LP, Beauty & The Beat. Hands down I think that Edan is one of the most talented out there doing it right now. I just really wish that he’d follow up that mentioned album from 2015.
He’s been doing other collaborations with Homeboy Sandman and Your Old Droog but there’s nothing like it when Edan lets loose solo. He does it all, the beats, the rhymes, the artwork and he’s an A1 DJ with mental records. He’s got the lot!
JAY Z & KANYE WEST – OTIS (ROC A FELLA RECORDS, 2011)
I didn’t get Jay Z for a long time. Funnily enough it was only after The Grey Album by Danger Mouse which mixed The Beatles’ White Album with lyrics from The Black Album that I started investigating Jigga Man further and appreciating his output.
Same type of thing with Kanye, completely slept on him up until recently, it was only when one of my sons introduced me to Yeezus that I started to understand his output. This single is an absolute belter. It’s hooked up and looped and produced really rough and ready, yet they are both billionaire super stars. It proves that you don’t have to shandy down your output just because you become popular. I was opening my sets with this record when I used to be allowed to play in clubs to crowds.
One day I’ll get to play it out loud again.