This Record Store Day, UGHH has decided to celebrate a hand-picked mix of still-active underground legends with recent releases, canonized underground icons and a couple of cult favorites—creating exclusive sale bundles to salute some of the artists who have made a significant impact on the culture. In doing so, we aim to illustrate underground hip-hop’s longevity—as well as its staying power.

There has been a lot of debate about the state of the underground, recently. Some believe that, thanks to internet technology and the power it gives independent artists to reach wider fan bases, the underground has become the new mainstream—while others attest that, as long as a corporate music industry controls the majority of what does and doesn’t become successful on a mainstream level (despite some exceptions), the underground will continue to exist. Although it is clear that exactly what the underground is has evolved since the polarized “Rawkus Era” of the late ’90s, when emcees were either “independent as fuck” (to quote Company Flow’s old motto) or soulless commercial puppets (with no in-between), we at UGHH subscribe to the ideology that being dubbed underground is more than just an indication of one’s financial status or level of notoriety—and know firsthand that, musically, the underground is very much alive and healthy.

 
Speaking of Rawkus Records, considering that it’s funding was actually provided by the son of Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, maybe the financial divide between underground and mainstream hip-hop was always a little more complex than once perceived. Regardless, unlike many mainstream artists (who tend to come and go, catering to a fickle corporate music industry that’ll sign and discard talent at the drop of a mixtape), underground emcees and producers often maintain longer, more influential careers. Just ask DOOM, Pharoahe Monch or El-P, to name a few—and try to remember all the one-hit wonders with platinum singles that came and went during the 30 odd years each have been in the game.

In the words of the great DJ Premier, who recently dropped his second PRhyme project with Royce Da 5’9” and remains as influential as ever: “Underground will live forever, baby. We just like roaches: never dyin’, always livin’…”

 

“And on that note, let’s get back to the program…” — Preemo

 

This year, underground Long Island legend Roc Marciano released the sequel to his gritty, soulful masterpiece Rosebudd’s Revenge, one of “UGHH’s Top 10 of 2017”—a contender for one of 2018’s best, as well. Though RR2: The Bitter Dose is only available to pre-order, the original joins his album with former group The UN, UN or U Out, his solo debut Marcberg, his sophomore release Reloaded and his 2013 mixtape The Pimpire Strikes Back in our Roc Marci vinyl bundle.

Having released one of this year’s strongest albums to date, we felt it only right to salute versatile Detroit producer and emcee Black Milk with a bundle. The CD version contains his three most recent joints: No Poison No Paradise, If There’s a Hell Below and, his latest, FEVER—as well as his collaborative project with Danny Brown, Black and Brown! Though FEVER is not yet available on wax, the vinyl bundle includes all of the other aforementioned albums, in addition to Tronic and Album of the Year.

One of the most consistent and celebrated artists the underground has ever spawned, London-born, Long Island-raised DOOM is a cultural icon. With over a dozen albums and collaborative projects under his belt, created using various aliases, the masked super villain has not slowed his conquest for world domination—releasing his most recent collaboration with Czarface this year. In our CD bundle, Czarface Meets Metal Face is offered alongside his fraternal group KMD’s Black Bastards, his solo debut Operation: Doomsday, Madvillainy (his Madvillain collaboration with Madlib), his sophomore album under the MF DOOM moniker, Mm.. Food, and The Mouse and the Mask (by DANGERDOOM, his group with Danger Mouse). In the vinyl bundle, Mm.. Food is replaced by KMD’s first album, Mr. Hood.

What is there to say about Detroit legend J Dilla that hasn’t already been said. Considered the G.O.A.T. by many, Dilla influenced an entire generation of producers—and his signature style has been emulated time and time again. One of the most original, timeless and universally-loved artists hip-hop has to offer, Jay Dee unquestionably made his mark on the game before passing in 2006. Our CD bundle includes his early work with Slum Village (Fan-Tas-Tic, Vol. 1 and Fantastic, Vol. 2), Ruff Draft and his Champion Sound album with Madlib (as Jaylib)—while the vinyl version swaps Donuts for Ruff Draft, and also includes posthumous releases The Shining and The Diary.

Before his untimely death in 2015, Brooklyn representative Sean Price had already become an underground icon in his own right. One of rap’s most consistent lyricists, his tongue-in-cheek wordplay and inimitable, pocketed flow earned him the number one spot on UGHH’s Top 10 of 2017″ list for his posthumous masterpiece Imperius Rex last year. Though he established himself as half of Heltah Skeltah and a member of the Boot Camp Clik, to celebrate his memory, we’ve created a vinyl bundle of his always-stellar solo studio projects: Monkey Barz, Jesus Price Supastar, Mic Tyson, Songs in the Key of Price and Imperius Rex.

Hailing from Connecticut, Apathy is a Northeastern fan-favorite who built a rep as part of the Demigodz crew. In 2017, he released the acclaimed self-titled Perestroika, a group project with D.I.T.C.’s own O.C., and followed it up with a solo offering this year. The Widow’s Son features a ridiculous cast of collaborators including Pharoahe Monch, M.O.P. and AG, as well as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Nottz and Buckwild on production—and both albums join Weekend at the Cape, The Black Lodge, Honkey Kong, Connecticut Casual, Handshakes With Snakes and Dive Medicine: Chapter 1 in our CD bundle, while the vinyl version excludes Weekend at the Cape, The Black Lodge and Honkey Kong.

Elusive, Bronx-bred trio the Juggaknots are true artists’ artists—revered by practically every emcee that arose from New York City’s underground hip-hop scene in the late ’90s. Though the all-sibling group of Breeze Brewin, Buddy Slim and Queen Herawin only release projects every decade or so, their existing two studio albums, Breeze’s starring role on Prince Paul’s A Prince Among Thieves and some sporadic vinyl releases have managed to uphold the group’s legacy—despite most of their projects’ limited availability. Just last year, over 20 years after its release, a reissue of their classic self-titled debut flew off of UGHH’s shelves—so we decided to secure some rare 12″ vinyl singles (“She Loves Me Not,” “New $/Sumday,” “WKRP In NYC/Generally/J-Solo” and “Berzerkowitz”), as well as the even rarer CD mixtape The Love Deluxe Movement, straight from the source and offer them as part of our exclusive Juggaknots bundle.

This Extensive Collection From The Group’s Dilla-helmed Era Is A Comprehensive Overview Of Fan-Tas-Tic V.1 and V.2. This is a comprehensive overview of the underground group’s Dilla-produced tracks across four compact discs. The CD includes the entirety of the namesake albums Fan-Tas-Tic Volumes 1 & 2, instrumental versions, and a bonus fourth collection of remixes and obscurities, featuring collaborations with Madlib & Pete Rock, and select cuts from Best Kept Secret, the group’s rare release under the name J-88. The Fan-Tas-Tic Box is a veritable crown jewel for any fan of J Dilla or Slum Village, as well as an outstanding entry-point into the legacy of an underground hip-hop production hero.

Double-cassette version of this consistently popular release!

Cassette Store Day double features! “Choosing BBE’s contribution to Cassette Store Day must have been the easiest decision in our 20 year history. Production legend J Dilla’s legacy is still gathering momentum, his influence reaching far beyond his chosen genre of hip hop. His weapon of choice to share his music throughout his career? Tapes. Lots of them. Our close friendship with Dilla resulted in BBE releasing not only his debut solo LP ‘Welcome 2 Detroit’, but also his final, posthumously completed masterpiece ‘The Shining’. For Cassette Store Day, and for Dilla, we are proud to present both trailblazing LPs on one single, strictly limited cassette tape. So open up the case, slide the tape into your Walkman, sit back and enjoy 2 hours of the most iconic hip hop of all time.” – BBE Records

The Shining will now be released as a 10×7″ box set with instrumentals! The Shining serves as showcase of J Dilla’s talents which features him not only as a producer, but also as a rapper, singer and musician. Featured guests on this album include Busta Rhymes, Common, Pharoahe Monch, D’Angelo, Madlib, Black Thought, MED, and Guilty Simpson.

Sold out since the holidays, we’ll have restock of this Detroit classic back in stock at the beginning of the week! Every wobbling bass note of J Dilla’s production has been preserved and every freestyle line of T3 and Baatin has been re-created, to maintain the legacy of a late-90s rap classic, and the legend of one of hip-hop’s greatest beatsmiths.

‘The King Of Beats’ feature’s 40 tracks from Jay Dee’s groundbreaking ‘Batches’ created using his SP-1200. In addition the CD release contains “The Lost Scrolls” and an additional 15 cuts created by Dilla on his MPC which was recently donated to the Smithsonian for their National Museum of African American History and Culture scheduled to open to the public in 2016. “The King Of Beats” is more than a collection of Dilla’s unheard works, it’s a glimpse inside the mind of a creative genius, a view into Dilla’s artistic process and a must have for any who call themselves a fan of his musical legacy.

The 15 cuts featured on this vinyl edition are from the groundbreaking “Batches” collection, but were crafted by Dilla using the MPC. This release is more than a collection of Dilla’s unheard works, it’s a glimpse inside the mind of a creative genius, a view into Dilla’s artistic process and a must have for any who call themselves a fan of his musical legacy.

Instrumental version of this Record Store Day banger! The tracks come straight from multi-track masters found on 2-inch tape shortly after Dilla’s passing in 2006. Many were mixed by Dilla himself. Those that weren’t have been mixed by engineer Dave Cooley, who worked extensively with Dilla during his years in Los Angeles. Using Dilla’s original demo mixes as his guide, Cooley attempted to finalize Dilla’s vision for these tracks, while keeping all of the elements that Dilla had in place in his original demos present. The Diary is now available as an instrumental release, featuring production by the likes of Madlib, Pete Rock, Nottz, House Shoes, Karriem Riggins and others. This is a must have for the vinyl collection.

The Shining will now be released as a 10×7″ box set with instrumentals! The Shining serves as showcase of J Dilla’s talents which features him not only as a producer, but also as a rapper, singer and musician. Featured guests on this album include Busta Rhymes, Common, Pharoahe Monch, D’Angelo, Madlib, Black Thought, MED, and Guilty Simpson.