If I were to try and define an origin story for my musical interests, this tape would be right at the beginning of it.
My aunt used to cut my hair. And when I would visit her house for a haircut, I’d also hang out with my cousin Greg, who’s about six years my senior. It was him that introduced me to hip-hop, scratching, the magic of Philly MCs, and breaking. While I never attempted a windmill, I did latch onto hip-hop music from the moment he first played it for me. This tape was one he gave to me when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old and it was my sole hip-hop possession until I purchased Fat Boys and L.L. Cool J vinyl with my own money. The one song that stuck with me most was UTFO’s “Roxanne, Roxanne.” I even went so far as to use the instrumental for an anti-drug rap I performed with friends for an elementary school “Say No to Drugs” project (“Coke, nose candy, dust, it’s all the same, / If you use it… you’re insane!”).
The first side features a 24-minute Roxanne mix that aired on Power 99 (WUSL) in Philadelphia. I love it for its simplicity — from the basic scratches over the dub version of Sparky D’s “Sparky’s Turn (Roxanne You’re Through),” to the heavily echoed Lady B “oh my goodness!” at the end of “The Real Roxanne,” to the dope electro-tinged “Do the Roxanne (Dance)” by Dr. Rocx & Co.. It closes out with a super-rare live Disco C Roxanne rhyme over Sparky D’s instrumental. The flip side has a couple more Roxannes as well as UTFO’s “Bite It” which I loved for the beatboxing Gremlin. Just for fun, there’s some “Pac Man Fever” and Billy Idol as well.
I’m glad to finally get this tape digitized because it’s one of those that got to the point it would get eaten by my tape deck every other time I played it. Now it’s safe.
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