Just got the 2nd edition of Freddy Fresh’s tome in the mail. A couple years ago Fresh took on the task of cataloging every rap record by label, and now he’s back again with an updated version. To give you an idea of just how updated. The first volume was just 300 pages, this is more than twice that.
Obviously the first thing any rap dork worth his weight is going to look at a book like this and try and find what’s missing. Like the last edition, this noticeably skews towards the North East (though he’s added comprehensive coverage of early UK rap, which I don’t personally care about at all). I could sit here all day and whine about how Sick Wid It, arguably one of the most influential independent rap labels of the 90s, is entirely absent. Or how Wrap, a fairly major Southern label, is represented by just one release, and so on. I had been meaning to put together a list of these sort of releases for Freddy forever, so I guess that’s as much on me as it is him. And the first volume had a strict cut off of 1980s, this one expands to the early 90s, when things got really crazy and everybody had a rap record, so you can’t really blame Freddy for missing some things.
A few more minor complaints:
- The insistence on listing absolute top of the market ebay value for records and the return of the strangely unexplained star ratings (rarity? value? quality?). The random rap market is in constant flux. Todays $200 record could easily be tomorrows $20. I can just already see every crusty record dealer in the world gripping this catalog, trying to oversell me on Black Rock & Ron. “TWO STARS IN FREDDY FRESH.” As if that means something.
- Some of the scans are of low quality, clearly borrowed and resized from ebay auctions. Given the network of online record collectors I don’t think it would be difficult to get some high quality scans. Or just leave them out. I am not so desperate to know what the alternate Front Page Records label looks like that I am going to squint at some overly pixelated blur.
- The fact that it’s a book and not a website. I love books, I hope they never go away, but it’s hard to deny that this sort of constantly evolving database would probably be more efficiently served by a well edited wiki. Discogs is ok, but it’s non specific club leanings are just overwhelming.
- No more ugly graffiti fonts, please. I swear to god the cover says “The Pap Records.”
Still. It’s a list of thousands of rap records. What more do you want? Cop it.