Animal Records – founded by Chris Stein of Blondie fame – only ever released two albums in its brief early-80s history. Wild Style remains the most seminal soundtrack in hip-hop history, a snapshot of the scene as it evolved from the streets to the recording studio. But it’s not just a vital document, it’s also a damn good listen.
The line-up is a who’s who of those who stood out from hip-hop’s nascent block party days. The Double Trouble pairing of Rodney Cee and KK Rockwell, The Chief Rocker himself, Busy Bee, the mighty line-ups of both The Cold Crush Brothers and The Fantastic Freaks. The music captures the free-form, roaming nature of the film – it’s rough at the edges, it’s occasionally amateurish, but it’s completely, utterly glorious.
The original Animal track listing, of which this is a reissue, is full of recurring sounds and motifs, all of them co-produced by Chris Stein and Fab Five Freddy, stepping away from breakbeats to produce a sound that reminds you of them, while being totally unique. The epic drums are courtesy of Lenny ‘Ferrari’ Ferraro, a Vietnam vet and punk drummer whose career spanned stints backing Aretha Franklin and Lou Reed.
A1. Grand Master Caz & Chris Stein - Wild Style Theme Rap 1
A2. The Chief Rocker Busy Bee vs Lil Rodney Cee & D.J. Grand Wizard Theodore - M.C. Battle
A3. The Cold Crush Bros vs The Fantastic Freaks - Basketball Throwdown
A4. Kevie Kev, Master Rob, Prince Whipper Whip, M.C., Rubie Dee, Dota Rock, D.J. Grand Wizard Theodore - Fantastic Freaks At The Dixie
A5. Grand Wizard Theodore & D.J. Kevie Kev Rockwell - Military Cut-Scratch Mix / A6. Grand Master Caz, JDL, Easy AD, KG, D.J. Charlie Chase, D.J. Toney Tone - Cold Crush Bros. at The Dixie
B1. Double Trouble, Rodney Cee, K. K. Rockwell - Stoop Rap
B2. Rodney Cee, K. K. Rockwell, D.J. Stevie Steve - Double Trouble At The Amphitheatre
B3. Grand Master Caz & Chris Stein - Wild Style Subway Rap 2
B4. The Chief Rocker Busy Bee, DJ AJ - The Chief Rocker Busy Bee, D.J. AJ At The Amphitheatre
B5. D.J. Grand Wizard Theodore & Kevie Kev Rockwell - Gangbusters Scratch Mix
B6. Rammellzee & Shock Dell & The Grand Mixer DST - Rammellzee And Shock Dell At The Amphitheatre