"The original Beats made their own rules, celebrating life at the margins of American society. The movement that begun in the 1940's with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs soon swelled to include other avant-garde poets and writers, as well as filmmakers and visual artists on both the East and West Coasts. There are many parallels between the Beat Poets of the past and the musical Beats of the now.
Although once rejected by mainstream society as outlaws, rebels, and being morally dangerous, today the Beats are recognised as icons of America's counterculture and as one of the most influential cultural movements of the 20th century. This statement originally made about the writers of the 50's is also a true expression of Hip-Hop music and its relationship with society.
The Beat Generation is a dynamic series of albums. It has started a frenzy of dialogue amongst the worlds 'beat' community. There are going to be some very exciting musical years- 'oh uh get ready...' "
You could have a long and very heated discussion about the present state of hip hop. Its global influence is impossible to refute, but with its widespread acceptance, many would say it sold its soul along the way. Even if you feel so though, there are still some artists out there who are laying it down for real, keeping the flame alive. Many of those could be found showcasing their style on BBE's Beat Generation series, whose manifesto (taken from BBE's site) can be read above. BBE brought in some of the most highly regarded hip hop heads, men like Jay Dee, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, Madlib, and others, and gave them the opportunity to record carte blanche, no strings attached. What resulted was a series of albums that shone forth as beacons of hip hop hope.
Now, 10 years after the series kicked off, BBE has put together a 10th anniversary compilation currated by DJ Spinna and Mr Thing that pulls together thirty six damn fine cuts that represent the breadth and depth the series established in its first decade. While that might seem like a bit of overkill, the truth is that you need that many to do justice to the various styles and aesthetics of the artists. In addition, there are additional continuous mixes, each roughly an hour give or take, tacked on to the end put together by DJ Spinna and Mr Thing on the CD version, and an added one by Chris Read on the digital release. This is not your top 40 hip hop; this is finely crafted art put together by masters of their craft. Don't expect to find all those hits you hear in the club or your local big box radio station. Pre-order a copy of the album HERE.
In addition to the compilation, BBE is also putting out some individual artists' 10th anniversary EPs with remixes and alternate versions of select songs from the original albums. Below you'll find an alternate version of a Roy Ayers interpretation by Marley Marl from his EP as well as a track from DJ Jazzy Jeff's album The Magnificent that also appears on the 10th Anniversary comp.
Marley Marl - Hummin' Featuring Roy Ayers And Edwin Birdsong (Roy Vibe And Scat Version) : The Beat Generation 10th Anniversary Presents: Marley Marl - Hummin'
DJ Jazzy Jeff - We Live In Philly (feat Jill Scott) : originally appears on The Magnificient / Beat Generation, also on The Beat Generation 10th Anniversary
Visit the BBE site.