Every creative act, no matter how edgy and forward thinking, has some precedent. Even the most progressive artist, no matter how groundbreaking, cannot deny a connection to an earlier era of genius. In few places is this link more evident than in hip-hop, an art form built on musical artifacts and hooks from decades past, reconfigured and reinterpreted via contemporary recording and sampling technology.
And judging from the sounds of modern-day hip-hop, artists from Stax Records were prominent figures in those record collections. Stax, re-launched in 2007 as a division of Concord Music Group, offers a glimpse of hip-hop’s roots with the release of The Soul of Hip Hop, Volume I, a collection of classic tracks from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The 14 songs featured in this first volume are just a few of the Stax gems that have since become sampling mainstays for some of the most prominent hip-hop artists of the past two decades — all of whom owe an incalculable debt to the label’s rich legacy of soul, R&B and funk. The Soul of Hip Hop, Volume I will be available at all digital and retail outlets on March 31, 2009.
1. 24-CARAT BLACK — “Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth”
2. THE EMOTIONS — “Blind Alley”
3. BOOKER T. & THE MGs — “Melting Pot”
4. THE BAR-KAYS — “Humpin’”
5. THE DRAMATICS — “Get Up and Get Down”
6. ISAAC HAYES — “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”
7. ISAAC HAYES — “Hung Up On My Baby”
8. DAVID PORTER — “I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over”
9. WENDY RENE — “After the Laughter (Comes Tears)”
10. CHARMELS — “As Long As I’ve Got You”
11. THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS — “Why Marry”
12. RUFUS THOMAS — “Do the Funky Penguin (Part 1)”
13. LITTLE MILTON — “Packed Up and Took My Mind”
14. WILLIAM BELL – “I Forgot To Be Your Lover”