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August 21st, 2013 MATTHEW SINGER | Music Stories
 

Primer: Stones Throw Records

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Founded: In 1996 in Los Angeles.

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+.

 
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