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Thursday, Apr 30 2015 | 06:30
Image: 1595601 MF Doom’s first group and their controversial sophomore
release Bl_ck B_st_rds reissued for Record Store
Day 2015 in the format of a children’s book. Included are
the full album on CD and a second disc of bonus
material. The back cover of the book houses a full color
7” picture disc featuring the group’s iconic mascot. The words “lost classic” get thrown around from time to time, but KMD’s sophomore album, Black
Bastards, truly ts the bill. Originally scheduled for release in the spring of 1994, Elektra Records
unceremoniously shelved it at the eleventh hour due to controversy over the provocative cover art.
Surviving group member MF Doom (then known as Zev Love X) – as fans know, his younger
brother Subroc was killed in 1993 – tried to release the album on other labels, but met more dead
ends. Sadly, it languished in hip-hop purgatory until six years later. Even then, the album had only
a limited release via small indie labels.
Beyond the fact that the controversy surrounding the cover – featuring the group’s long-standing
“Sambo” mascot being hanged by a makeshift gallows – was unfair, the group’s fans being denied
access to this album only compounded the injustice. Because musically and lyrically, it was a truly
amazing record, full of youthful creativity, tinged with the stress of growing up as Black men in
urban America. Unlike on the group’s 1991 debut, Mr. Hood, Subroc had fully come into his own as
both a producer and an MC on Black Bastards, and his untimely death made the album’s shelving
that much more tragic.
Heavily in uenced by the mind-bending spoken word album Blue Guerrilla by Gylan Kain (from
1970), songs like “What A Nigga Know” (the only single released o the album), the slippery,
bass-driven “Get U Now” and the album’s title track explore black consciousness viewed through
young-but-experienced eyes. Musically alternating between bouncy and raw – many times both
concurrently – the tracks gave both MCs the springboard they needed to express themselves
clearly, whether on the catchy, more lighthearted “Sweet Premium Wine,” the psychedelic, abstract
“Suspended Animation” or the intricate mash-up of television samples heard on the instrumental
“Garbage Day #3.” Finally given deluxe treatment more than two decades after its completion (and 15 years after its rst release), this special Record Store Day 2015 set features 2 CDs containing all
14 of the album’s original vocal tracks, with a second “bonuses and instrumentals” CD, which features rare cuts and remixes. The set also contains a 7-inch picture disc of the single
“What A Nigga Know.” It is all encased in a truly unique hard-page Children’s Book package with pop-up. You have never seen anything like this before!
Available from 18.04.2015
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