Top-5: Basso


Basso is a king of the Growing Bin empire, one of key collectors of rare jazz, ambient, new age, rock whatever in the world. And not many of us know about his passion to early rap and hip-hop stuff. So we were also surprised when we got such top-5 from Basso: “Top-5 gangster / hardcore rap albums of 1991” 🙂

Above The Law ‎- Livin’ Like Hustlers, 1990 (LP, Ruthless Records)


I didn‘t have to think long about the number one. why? because there‘s not a bad a track on the album. I can‘t even pick a fave from it. Smooth flowing raps, wonderful samples and subtle production (Dre coproduced the whole thing) This is one of the records that got me into digging for the original funk, soul and jazz tunes used in the production. Thanks to this I got into the music of Quincy Jones, Young Holt Unlimited, Cameo, Love Unlimited Orchestra, BT Express and Vicky Anderson. Definitely among my top ten rap LPs . Clever dudes might note this album is from 1990. Middle finger, haha…


Comptons Most Wanted – Straight Checkn ‘Em, 1991 (LP, Orpheus Records)


The chilled voice of Mc Eiht in combination with some wonderful breaks by the Isley Brothers, Funk Inc., Teddy Pendergrass, Johnny Guitar Watson, Joe Simon, etc is pure gangster heaven. Productionwise quite similar to the ATL record. Sample based funky shit from the capital of gangster rap.


Tim Dog ‎– Penicillin On Wax, 1991 (LP, Columbia)


Fuck Compton was a clever move that got Tim Dog a great deal of attention and a bit of loot too. Not 100% gangster rap, but gangster enough to add it to the list. Straight forward Hardcore Rap produced by the Ultramagnetic MCs‘ TR Love, Moe Love and Ced Gee. Met him once when he toured Germany and he was kind of enough to supply us youngsters with some drinks from backstage. The hardcore thing was just business to thi nice fellow. Anyway, let‘s talk hardcore: Step To Me, Bronx Nigga and Can‘t Fuck Around are my faves here. Raw energy…


Hijack – The Horns Of Jericho, 1991 (LP, Warner Bros)


UK Hardcore rap at it‘s very best. I‘ve seen Hijack perform live twice that year and I‘ll never forget their flashlight in a total dark room intro. Phantom Of The Opera and The Contract featuring Katch 22 are just killing it. I still have their international terrorist group Tee. I guess I wouldn‘t make the trip through US border with this shirt on 😉


Silver Bullet ‎– Bring Down The Walls No Limit Squad Returns, 1991 (LP, Parlophone)


Silver Bullet are taking the breakbeat style Britcore of groups like Hijack, Gunshot and Son Of Noise to another level. Darker, faster, no compromise! By the way – these were the days when Techno Raves still had breakbeat floors …


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Words and photos by Basso
Cover photo: Denis Panchenko (

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