Andrew Winistorfer: Raising Hell is arguably the most important rap album of all time. It’s the first rap album where rappers were presented as rockstars, which is something that’s been a hallmark of rap music since then. [Before this album,] there was no such thing as the superstar rapper as it is today. “Walk This Way” was such a commercial crossover smash that it was on MTV in a way that no other rap video had ever been, prior to that. You could even say that Yo! MTV Raps [came to fruition] because of how big that video was, and that album was. In a lot of ways, where we are with rap music… it started in the Bronx, but the version we have today really kinda launched with this record.
Michael Penn II: I hear that. So when I hear “rockstar…” that argument suggests that we got to Lil Uzi Vert from D.M.C. somehow.
AW: I would think you can draw that line, right? Uzi goes to Thug, who goes to Gucci. Gucci comes from OutKast, OutKast is from Run-D.M.C.
MPII: There it is.
AW: Being that this album is 30-plus years old, it’s not like I’m trying to connect... The National to Elvis Presley, or something! You could just draw the lineage of so much of rap to this record. It was almost inevitable that we’d get to this record for Record Of The Month because of how important it is to rap & hip-hop.
Like the Da Brat album, it’s on that super-glowy neon vinyl. They did as close of a color match as they could to the front cover, with the neon-green that’s on the front. It was mastered from the original ½-inch analog master tapes at Battery Studios; they remastered it to digital, and it was pressed from digital. So, it’s not Triple-A, but it’s been newly remastered for this release from the original tapes. It’s not like any of the other versions of this that’ve ever come out; new remaster, new color, the whole nine.
MPII: So y’all had to dig up an artifact to get this tape, huh?
AW: I don’t know where they were housed — I would assume somewhere in New York — but they found the original tape. I mean, how many rap albums exist on tape after, like, ’95?
MPII: Know what I’m sayin’? Like, y’all pulled Excalibur out the stone. We probably had to borrow Excalibur from slowthai.