Our next three Hip-Hop Records of the Month — which you’ll receive if you sign up for VMP Hip-Hop in January, February and March 2023 — feature a Wu-Tang rapper’s solo debut, a West Coast rap classic and one of 2022’s best records in the genre.
January: Inspectah Deck’s Uncontrolled Substance
In January, members of VMP Hip-Hop will receive Inspectah Deck’s Uncontrolled Substance, the first solo record from the Wu-Tang Clan wordsmith. Released in 1999, four years after the intended release date of Inspectah Deck’s debut — due to the near-mythic flood in RZA’s basement, which had detrimental effects on several Wu-Tang projects — Uncontrolled Substance proves it was worth the wait, showcasing Inspectah Deck’s varied skills as lyricist, storyteller and producer.
The first-ever reissue of the acclaimed album, the VMP exclusive edition of the record is pressed on 2LP “Cop Car Blue” colored vinyl with lacquers cut by Cicely Balston at Alchemy Mastering at AIR and comes with Listening Notes written by Steven Potter.
“Instead of trying to make a Wu-Tang Clan Anthology, I’m eventually going to book every solo member for our Hip-Hop subscription, I swear it,” VMP Director of Music Andrew Winistorfer said. “But anyways: Part of the biblical flood that took out RZA’s studio and many of the beats earmarked for the second wave of Wu-Tang Clan albums, Inspectah Deck’s delayed solo debut shows off his rapping ability and why he was the most feared swordsman in the entire group: Everyone else is painting impressionistic works, and he’s off inventing cubism in his bars. An underrated classic, this is finally back on wax where it belongs.”
Sign up now to receive Uncontrolled Substance.
February: The Coup’s Genocide & Juice
Our February Hip-Hop Record of the Month is Genocide & Juice, the biting and satirical 1994 sophomore album from The Coup. Genocide & Juice was a self-assured level-up for the Oakland group, building on their first full-length, Killl My Landlord. The VMP exclusive edition of the record — available here on 2LPs for the first time — is pressed on Orange Galaxy vinyl with lacquers cut by Cicely Balston at Alchemy Mastering at AIR, and a Listening Notes booklet written by David Ma.
“It’s replete with colorful samples, thorough skits and big bass, a perfect intersection of ’90s sample-based ingenuity and West Coast funk,” Ma writes in the Listening Notes, later adding, “Genocide & Juice is mainly two things: neighborhood tales and unapologetic worldviews bound with fisted activism. But there are voices and sound effects woven throughout that give it more texture. Killer production that was able to sound both clearly professional while retaining its edge.”
Winistorfer said of the record: “The radical rap of the Coup is one of the best live hip-hop shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been pulling for us to do a record by them for more than two years. Thankfully, we were able to make this one happen: one of the funkiest, most furious albums to ever be committed to wax. Hear Boots Riley before he made incredible movies like Sorry to Bother You, as he wages war on everything and everyone. A stone-cold classic of West Coast rap, it belongs in every rap fan’s collection.”
Genocide & Juice will be available for sign-ups starting January 19.
March: Earl Sweatshirt’s SICK!
In March, members of VMP Hip-Hop will receive Earl Sweatshirt’s pandemic opus, 2022’s SICK! The first-ever vinyl release of the reflective album, the VMP exclusive edition is pressed on 180g “Tabula Rasa” colored vinyl, with lacquers cut by Barry Grint at Alchemy Mastering at AIR and a Listening Notes booklet by Marcus J. Moore.
“One of 2022’s best rap albums,” Winistorfer said, “We’re honored to be the vinyl home of Earl Sweatshirt’s SICK!, an album the former-Odd Future lyrical miracle made during COVID, and which is delivered with his trademark wit and existential searching. We featured Earl as a store exclusive something like 6.5 years ago, and it’s cool to give him his spot in our Hip-Hop subscription.”
The fourth studio album from the 27-year-old rapper, producer and new father, SICK! made it on VMP’s list of the Best Albums of 2022, for good reason: As Moore writes in the Listening Notes, “What we hear on SICK! is the most realized version of Earl to date: a man with the same wandering spirit as before, but with a newfound command of his celebrity. This Earl is far more serene and grounded in who he really is.”
SICK! will be available for sign-ups starting February 16.
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