Harlem icon Bobby Robinson passed away a few days ago. His career in the music business was astounding; he was a consummate independent record man in a world of conglomeration.
I came to his hip-hop imprint, Enjoy, late in the game; in my “younger” days, I just assumed that anything released pre-Run DMC was old school schlock and then someone played me “Spoonin Rap” and my mind was blown. Sugarhill, obviously, had the bigger rep and sales but while the Sugarhill sound in hip-hop’s formative years was loud, brash and fonky, the best singles I heard from Enjoy were the opposite: lean, sparse and funky. The secret was that Bobby had drummer Errol “Pumpkin” Bedward as his in-house producer, then still in this teens(!!!). Bedward and his band, Pumpkin and His Friends, produced the best of the early Enjoy singles including “Love Rap” b/w “New Rap Language,” one of the most potent A/B-sides I know from that era.
For Robinson’s part, his success seemed to be a combination of hiring the right talent and also being in the right place at the right time. Sylvia Robinson (no relation) had opened the floodgates with “Rapper’s Delight” and Bobby was able to get Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to record with them as well as Spoonie Gee and the Treacherous Three. As I learned in The Big Payback, once Bobby’s records began selling and Sylvia was unable to entice those artists over to her label, she simply stepped to Bobby, waved a check at him and procured them that way (say nothing else about Sylvia but she didn’t f— around).
In any case, Enjoy still ranks as one of the most consistent of any of the old school labels in terms of quality, a testimony to the talent that Robinson collected there for a brief, shining time, and Bobby’s own relentless pursuit of that next hit.
Please check ego trip’s breakdown of the top 10 Enjoy Records.
(You didn’t know ego trip had a website now? Get familiar).
Also peep out this classic comp (reviewed in Classic Material!): The Best of Enjoy Records
Thanks for the tip about egotrip. It has been a fun read.
Bobby Robinson’s passing has had me knee deep in some of the old discs. How come my copy of “Superrappin” doesn’t have the “Message” verse?
Is the version you have on “The Best of Enjoy Records”? If so, that one fades out early. The full version is ~11 min.
Mate, for someone who really knows what they are talking about (and you do) you really should know better. You’re talking about RAP music. Hip Hop is a movement.
KRS One said it best:
“Rap is something you do, Hip Hop is something you LIVE”
Uh dudes, when I said “late in the game,” I didn’t mean, “yesterday.” I meant, “not at the same time I was listening to old Sugar Hill Records.”
And quoting KRS? Really dude, really?
The problem with quoting KRS is?
Either way, Hip Hop is still not a genre.
It’s many things. Including but not limited to a genre
Yeah sorry, you’re wrong Rap as a musical genre is an element of Hip Hop. Rap was around a long time before Hip Hop was even thought of. Ok, “long time” equates to a matter of a few years but in the context of the timeline of something so young, a few years is a long time. The music is called Rap, then there are other elements such as B-Boying or graffiti.
Think about it, what are they doing? They’re rapping right? They’re not hiphopping!
It’s really not going to look cool when you’re trying to sound like an authority on the subject when you ain’t. When you have lived it for 30 years, cool. You haven’t.
The Kris quote describes it pretty good like it or not.
I’m still not understanding what your first response was to. Or what your subsequent responses have been about. You seem to think we’re arguing about something but if that’s the case, I can’t figure out what the argument is actually over.