The second part of the Groove Attack Records label’s tribute mix is here!
Let me think for a sec, what more can I say about this mix, other than last week’s post from TwoMave?
It’s the B-side of the mix/podcast thought and realized to celebrate the legacy of the Groove Attack Records, the independent label from Cologne, Germany. Superrappin’ style, yep.
Good music that we liked immediately when they came out. A commercial policy, that of the German label, synonymous with quality and stubbornness, beautiful music that wins hands down, on a niche market first and on the time that passes then: this is, in brief, my thoughts on Groove Attack and its creative output in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The attention fell on them in a not so happy moment for hip-hop recordings overseas, at the end of the past Millennium, coinciding with the fading of the last offshoots of the so-called New York “underground renaissance”. The sound I liked was becoming scarce.
With age and experience, I know very well that this downward trend was physiological, almost inescapable after the overflowing of epochal records that we have had regularly, practically uninterruptedly, from the late 1980s to around 1997. Evolution, although not necessarily from the part you expect or want, in a certain sense.
From 1998 onwards the music was different.
Nothing strange, I repeat, cyclically the second half of a decade, in the history of various musical genres, has always been a breaking point and a turning point. Even in this case, the factors are nevertheless multiple. Causes might be the generational change, the evolution of sound and the progressive disappearance of valid US indie labels (Rawkus, anyone?).
Many protagonists of the U.S. Hip Hop scene of that time were furiously struggling to find some light in a market in crisis identity, upset by materialism, the so-called “bling-era”, and budgets that amounted to at least…let alone…we understand each other.
The fans of the tough stuff didn’t fare well, of course.
Finding good, new and appealing music was not a simple mission. And the Internet was just at its beginning, at least in Europe. In Italy, it was science fiction, and it still is today, but this is yet another story…
In this scenario, thanks to a work of international connections, scouting and research by a small independent label in Cologne, Germany, the third absolute world market in terms of numbers and possibilities for urban music, becomes a crossroads and a nerve centre for a new wave of raw uncut styles, which contribute to bringing (or bringing back) to the forenames that at home are not always given the right space.
Do not be surprised: Germany, musically less weighted than France but much more xenophilic and anglo-friendly than the latter, was the ideal springboard for productions that at that time reached all parts of Europe, arrived in Japan and returned to rebound in the States, thus giving lustre to artists who at home were sometimes a little less than underdogs, or old glories.
A guy named Jay Dee published for Groove Attack with his Slum Village crew before exploding worldwide, for example. Same goes for Madlib and Peanut Butter Wolf, with the then still small Stones Throw Records.
The late great Phife Dawg put together his solid debut album thanks to our friends from Cologne, for example. Groove Attack Records has been sheltering a long list of valuable artists, such as Edo G, Bahamadia, Mark The 45 King, Common, Dj Spinna, IG Off and Hazadous, Lone Catalyst, J-Live, and…want me to go on?
The scrupulous work of the label, carried out with seriousness and great creative freedom for the artists involved in the individual projects, supported by minimalist and contemporary graphics, has been embraced and supported by an international fanbase, bearing fruit that is enjoyable and timeless.
As evidence of this, in this selection that I personally took care of, made in league with the good deejay Jr Mastro from the Concrete Jungle Crew and the support of the national TwoMave, I propose the flavour of then filtered by my personal taste. The names are the ones mentioned above, do the pair with last week’s trip and magically you will find in your hands a 60-minute monographic virtual mixtape to play it loud.
Big things, and arrivederci.