If you sign up for VMP Hip-Hop for October, November and December 2021, you’ll be closing out the year with Records of the Month from Three 6 Mafia, Clipse and RZA. Read more below to travel from Tennessee and Virginia to New York City with these classic rap picks.
October: Three 6 Mafia’s When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1
October marks the 50th title for the VMP Hip-Hop Track, and members will receive Three 6 Mafia’s When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1. Although at the time Three 6 Mafia were pretty well established as the kings of Memphis rap, they hadn’t broken through outside of the South yet — until When the Smoke Clears. The first-ever wide vinyl release of the horrorcore classic, our edition is pressed on 2LP “Orange Mound” vinyl, mastered for vinyl by Mike Piacentini at Battery Studios.
VMP Country & Classics Director Andrew Winistorfer said of the album, “It is still crazy in retrospect that a group like Three 6 Mafia could win an Oscar, have a reality show, and write raps for movie stars. But all of that started, really, with When the Smoke Clears, which I think was the first intro for a lot of us into the world of Three 6; they played ‘Sippin on Some Syrup’ on pop radio stations for a while in 2000, that’s how huge this album was.
“It really set the table for everything that came next, all the accolades they deserved before this album and after, and it’s an honor for us to do the first complete vinyl release of this classic.”
Sign up now to receive When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1.
November: Clipse’s Hell Hath No Fury
In November, members of VMP Hip-Hop will receive the 15th-anniversary edition of Clipse’s Hell Hath No Fury, the duo’s universally acclaimed, ire-driven sophomore album. Pressed at GZ on “Dirty Money” Green vinyl, our 45 RPM-, 2LP-edition comes with new Listening Notes from Trey Alston. VMP first featured Clipse in Essentials, with Lord Willin’ as the May 2018 Record of the Month pick.
About the selection of this record, VMP Classics & Country Director Andrew Winistorfer said, “Hell Hath No Fury is as visceral and straightforward as its title; the brothers Clipse were sick of everything: their label, people jacking their slang and style, of lesser artists taking Neptunes beats and making day-old cheese with them. This is as mean and Spartan a rap album as has ever been committed to disc, an album that power bombs you over and over. Since we did the definitive version of Lord Willin’ on 2LP in Essentials a few years ago, it’s felt like an inevitability that we’d eventually do the same for this album.”
Winistorfer added, “It’s just kismet that it’s happening for the album’s 15th anniversary.”
Our edition of Hell Hath No Fury will be available for sign-ups starting October 26.
December: RZA’s RZA as Bobby Digital In Stereo
Following on the heels of VMP Essential’s September release of Wu-Tang Clan’s landmark debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), in December, members of VMP Hip-Hop will receive RZA’s solo debut, RZA as Bobby Digital In Stereo — a concept album with a loose conceit that casts RZA as a comic book antihero. VMP’s 2LP version is pressed on “Mantis” Green vinyl, with lacquers cut by Cicely Balston at Alchemy Mastering at AIR, and comes with new Listening Notes written by Paul Thompson.
Bobby Digital is a successful, if-often-misunderstood, experimental and eccentric record; instead of sitting back and relying on the same sound of the hits he made with Wu-Tang, RZA chose to make something new and uniquely his own. VMP Classics & Country Director Andrew Winistorfer said of the record: “In collective memory, the solo debuts of Method Man, Ghostface, Raekwon, GZA and ODB are the first wave of Wu-Tang solo projects everyone remembers, but I think our reissue of the first RZA solo album should serve as a reminder: The sonic mastermind of the Wu’s debut should be in that same conversation. The album proved in real time that the Wu-Tang weren’t just dusty samples, weren’t just grimy street realism. They could also push themselves out of their box artistically, something that’s become more clear over time, and was first pushed on this record. This record only came out on vinyl in its release year, so we’re glad more people will get to hear its charms on wax, thanks to our reissue.”
You can get our edition of RZA as Bobby Digital In Stereo starting November 23.