This stunning set with unique “Kay-Dee Casebook” packaging – officially licensed from Charlie Ahearn by Kenny Dope and Kay-Dee Records, and packaged by Get On Down – is a hip-hop junkie’s dream. It presents a crucial rap artifact with the respect it has always deserved but, until now, has not been given. It is sure to sit on your shelf alongside other trophies from the music and culture that has touched the lives of so many over the past four decades.
-13 songs total, spread out over seven 45s (each with a different label color)
- Re-edited and Re-Eqed extended audio versions of each song, from original reels
- Extensive liner notes in a 28-page book, including dozens of images – from “Wild Style” director Charlie Ahearn, among other sources – as well as interviews with Fab 5 Freddy, Chris Stein and GrandWizzard Theodore
- The 14th side (the B-side of the seventh 45) features unique etchings with different “Wild Style” graphics
- Unique “Kay-Dee Casebook” packaging – all seven 7-inches fit into a book as self-contained pages
The year was 1981 and young, New York City-based filmmaker Charlie Ahearn was working on what would become one of the most important artifacts in the history of hip-hop music and culture: “Wild Style.” He was scraping by to fund his efforts, which were far from a surefire money-making enterprise. Hip-hop wasn’t even called “hip-hop” at the time, and it was still viewed as a fad, by both nationwide music listeners and a majority of the press.
As Ahearn and his crew continued to film scenes from “Wild Style” (which starred graffiti writers Lee Quinones and Lady Pink, among many other hip-hop and “Downtown” luminaries of the day), they reached an interesting juncture: what music would DJs in the film use in the soon-to-be-legendary live performance scenes?
The director – making a visionary move more than a half-decade before any sampling or music clearance lawsuits would appear – decided that he wanted to control the music to be used in these scenes. They would create their own breakbeats, instead of using known cuts of the day; for instance, The Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache” or James Brown’s “Funky Drummer.”
While Ahearn headed off to film more scenes, he left these important musical production duties to an up-and-comer who, thanks in part to his crucial role as Phade in the film, would grow to be one of hip-hop’s and graffiti’s most important ambassadors of the 1980s: Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Brathwaite.
Over the course of a week’s time in the late summer of 1981, the Wild Style Breakbeats sessions were completed and mastered. None of the three principal musicians who played on the Breakbeats were ever in the studio at the same time. And the final number of white-label-only Breakbeats 12-inches was, according to Freddy, only 100, making them some of the rarest “Holy Grail” pieces of vinyl in music history.
The original Breakbeats vinyl was given to the DJs in the film – including GrandWizzard Theodore, Charlie Chase and Kevie Kev Rockwell – who used them in live performance scenes, most of which were completed in the spring of 1982. Interestingly, out of 13 Breakbeats given to DJs, only five were ever used in these performance scenes or on the film’s much-revered soundtrack.