Get On Down: The Story Behind The Freshest Holiday Gifts For Rap Junkies This Season


Hip-hop has always been the dirty little mistress of the music industry. Record execs bankroll MCs and reap all of carnal benefits, but labels have historically treated rap like a disposable commodity that would soon be forgotten. As a result, even iconic hip-hop albums have lacked the slick photography and packaging that accompanied memorable rock and pop projects. It's an utter shame, but one that the innovative throwback specialists at the Malden-based Get On Down aim to correct.

“There's always been a stigma associated with hip-hop – even though it's the number one marketing force in the world,” says Get On Down co-founder Matt Welch. “Everyone from Microsoft to people selling organic food use hip-hop. But when it first started, people thought it was just a fad, and it wasn't taken seriously enough for records to get the proper treatment. Then it was just seen a hit-driven industry, and the thought was that people didn't care about rap albums like they did Dark Side of the Moon.'

On the clever hunch that rap nerds are some of the geekiest kitsch collectors out there, since last year Get On Down has dropped re-issues of classics from acts ranging from Biz Markie to Wu-Tang Clan. The boutique label also traffics in hard-to-find funk and soul – their extensive catalogue features rare gems, on vinyl and CD, from the likes of Muddy Waters and Bernie Worrell – but their blowout deluxe editions have mostly been homages to rap wonders that warrant canonization.

“When the music industry went through a gigantic sea change, and when file-sharing became really rampant, a lot of companies saw physical releases as a way of the past,” says Welch. “We felt the opposite – that people really want to connect with music more than just through a thumbnail on their desktop, and that they want something they can read, and hold in their hands. We've gotten great feedback so far – people feel like these projects are finally getting the justice they deserved the first time around.”

Raekwon | Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (10” Purple Vinyl)

Price: $29.95

Get On Down's best-selling item so far, the limited edition reissue of the Raekwon's purple debut cassette – complete with a lacquer display box and 36-page hardcover book – sold out in just a day. The good news, however, is that there's still time to cop the equally purple 10” vinyl version. If that doesn't scratch your Wu-Tang itch, then check for their essential collectible editions of GZA's Liquid Swords, Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers, and, coming soon, Ghostface Killah's Ironman (and I'm not just saying that because I wrote the liner notes for all three).

Fat Boys | Fat Boys (10” Pizza Vinyl)

Price: $29.98

Considering the lyrical and culinary tomfoolery throughout this first Fat Boys album – and in all of their music, really – it's not so ridiculous that Get On Down delivered this meal in a pizza box. With custom pepperoni vinyl that looks real enough to eat, the set also comes with a download card so you don't have to scratch this shelf-worthy specimen. There's also a 20-page booklet to chew on, plus digital access to rare interviews with the original crew.

DJ Nu Mark | Broken Sunlight (needle USB)

Price: $24.98

The glory of a USB release is the sheer amount of material that an artist can jam onto a thumb drive. Former Jurassic 5 DJ and traveling turntable showman Nu Mark takes advantage of the malleable medium, loading much more than just his debut studio project onto this disc disguised as a headshell. In addition to original tracks with the likes of Freddie Foxxx and Large Professor, this special run Broken Sunlight features a capellas, clean versions, pics, instrumentals, and even bonus beats. And for hardcore DJ heads, there's a download link to an hour-long peek at the making of Broken Sunlight, and live show footage including clips from Nu's widely heralded Playing With Toys shenanigans.

Nas | Illmatic (Gold Disc)

Price: CD $34.94

Arguably the greatest rap album ever crafted, Illmatic resurfaces through Get On Down in an even iller incarnation, if that's even possible. The gold CD is worth the bragging rights on its own merit; in addition to the glisten, the gilded pressing makes for the highest possible quality transmission. Also, unlike prior Illmatic reissues, this time Nas fans get a 48-page tome with lyrics, photos, and liner notes to set the mood for this trip down memory lane.

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
OTD Categories
VIDEO: Arctic Monkeys at the House of Blues
Rare Frequencies: Trouble and treble
Lady Lee's Lion's Den Playlist
HOMEWORK: Assignment #2: D-Tension
Ticket On-Sale Alert: Muse, Mariah Carey, Black Eyed...
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Bradley’s Almanac -
Band in Boston -
Wayne & Wax -
Aurgasm -
Anti-Gravity Bunny -
Clicky Clicky -
Soul Clap -
Lemmingtrail -
Jump the Turnstyle -
Loaded Gun -
Vanyaland -
Ryan's Smashing Life -
Boston Band Crush -
Sleepover Shows -
Boston Accents -
Pilgrims of Sound -
Allston Rat City -
Playground Boston -
I Heart Noise -
On The Download Archives