Signature style: Hip-hop based around crackling rare grooves repurposed for rappers less willfully eccentric than just supremely, transcendently high.
For fans of: DJ Premier, RZA, scratched jazz
records, warped soul 45s, obscure ’70s funk albums dug out of a crate at
a swap meet, the surreal hip-hop.
Key releases: Quasimoto, The Unseen (2000); Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf, Big Shots (2003); Madvillain, Madvillainy (2004); J Dilla, Donuts (2006); Dam-Funk, Toeachizown (2009); Aloe Blacc, Good Things (2010).
Why you care: Unlike a lot of indie-rap imprints,
for which staying true to “real hip-hop” often means getting stuck on a
treadmill of traditionalism, for Stones Throw, the past has always acted
as a wormhole toward a wigged-out future. Founded by producer Chris
“Peanut Butter Wolf” Manak and made famous by hyperprolific,
extra-blunted beat junkies like Madlib and the late, great J Dilla, the
label is rooted in rap’s foundational elements—sample-driven production,
straight-spitting lyricism—but dedicated to stretching and bending them
at angles bizarre enough to keep listeners on edge and off-balance.
Lately, though, Stones Throw’s focus has drifted toward those artists
making the breakbeats of tomorrow. The neo-R&B end of its roster is
showcased on this current tour, which features the vocal duo Myron and
E, psychedelic soulquarians the Stepkids, and modern boogie-funk master
Damon “Dam-Funk” Riddick, who leaves his keytar at home and headlines
with a DJ set. While that would normally seem like a consolation,
considering how the dude’s record collection probably runs deep enough
to form the basis of a year’s worth of Stones Throw releases, that could
hardly be called disappointing.
SEE IT: The Stones Throw Soul Tour, featuring Dam-Funk, the Stepkids, and Myron and E, is at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., on Friday, Aug. 23. 9 pm. $10. 21+.