Various Artists

Yo! Boombox: Hip Hop, Electro, Disco Rap 1979-83

Soul Jazz • 2023

When London-based label Soul Jazz released the first of its »boombox« compilations of early hip-hop from 1979 to 1982 in 2016, the return to the early days of rhyming art created around turntable loops or performed to replayed disco grooves felt like a breath of fresh air. Following three releases up to 2018 and a subsequent five-year hiatus, there is finally a sequel, aside from minor additions. There is also little sign of a busy rap routine in the selection, which this time goes back to 1983. From today’s point of view, the rhythmically awkward cascades of words and the lyrics that like to target musical occasions – partying, dancing, feeling good – don’t quite achieve the flow and more complex messages of some of the later rappers, but that’s only a partial drawback. What early bands like Chapter III, Sinister Two or The Carver Area High School Seniors lack in sophistication, they more than make up for with euphoria, unpolished good humour and a clear commitment to dancing. Much of it is as unfamiliar as ever, but one hit is instantly recognisable: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s »Super Rappin’ 2« should win over even the biggest sceptics. Three times Yo!