Ruthless Rap Assassins, Blade & MC Duke get re-issued

Established in 2010, Original Dope is committed to preserving the legacy of the best hip-hop music on the planet. With a strong emphasis on classic British Rap, if it bangs, we bring it! Curated by Andy Cowan, long-time editor of the world’s original rap magazine Hip-Hop Connection, special care is taken to ensure all Original Dope releases have the extra boom your buck deserves. Every CD is a digitally re-mastered, expanded edition, with lavish packaging, exclusive liner notes, original photography and super rare bonus beats.

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Ruthless Rap Assassins broke the mould. They shifted the nucleus of UK rap away from the capital to their native Manchester, offering a thinking man’s alternative to the indie-dance of Happy Mondays and Stone Roses. Their debut LP, KILLER ALBUM, reflected the black British experience in a unique, often poignant way. All the way live from the notorious North Hulme estate, the trio of Anderson, Carson and a pre- Black Grape Kermit eschewed the phony Brooklyn accents of many London contemporaries for a hard-bitten, sometimes bitter but always razor sharp trawl through the harsh realities of low-budget living packed with depth, humour and social comment. The 20th anniversary edition of KILLER ALBUM adds three rare remixes, extensive liner notes and previously unseen pics.

Blade carved himself a career out of sheer will power. Eschewing the major label route he steadily built a committed fan base in tune with his no-nonsense approach, his precise lyrical monologues and self-produced beats mercifully free of the slick studio tactics that had become order of the day across the Atlantic. It culminated in 1993’s 26-track magnum opus THE LION GOES FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH (NO COMPROMISE) – hip-hop’s first double album and an extraordinary stand-alone release. Re-mastered by original engineer No Sleep Nigel and with self-penned liner notes by Blade, this double CD edition finally replicates the original vinyl, criminally out of print and hard to find since the mid-90s.

MC Duke has always been a top-ranker. The self-styled ‘English rasta’ was first spotted by UK original Derek B, destroying all challengers at a London open-mic contest. And even though the verbal whirlwind didn’t have the obligatory demo tape to his name, he was fast-tracked into the studio by Music Of Life producer Simon Harris – a prescient bit of business that quickly yielded British rap’s first essential long player. A funky time capsule of hip-hop circa 1989, this re-mastered and expanded edition of ORGANISED RHYME comes with no less than 7 bonus tracks, including a rare live freestyle and four brand spanking new tracks – ample proof that the fire still burns strongly in this irrepressible blue-blooded legend of British hip-hop.


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