2018 Update: This album is now on Spotify!
Sometimes it so happens that I run accross a track that completely blows me away, and this happens less and less lately. I’d say this is less because music is “getting worse” but more because I’ve probably heard quite a bit of it already. The rap scene lately hasn’t been getting a lot of my attention. That’s why it’s mind-blowing when I find an entire album that’s just this crazy journey of smooth beats, flawless delivery and witty rhymes. That album is Dred Scott’s “Breakin’ Combs”.
I’ll begin the story by saying that I found the first track I heard from this album by typing something completely random into YouTube and just happened to click on the video for “Back In the Day”. Immediately I went from the surroundings of my office to a day in the park in the Bronx after I first moved to New York in the early 90’s. Memories of after school basketball, pump-up high-tops, Looney Toons, fruit punch, JanSport backpacks, Super Nintendo, breakdancers in Central Park, all this came rushing in. The thing is, Dred Scott was an L.A.-based rapper, but the vibe is so strongly, distinctively 90’s that I couldn’t help but get lost in my own world of the time period with a sound so distinctively 90’s rap.
An entire day worth of play-on-repeat later I realized I need to know if there is more of this out there. As it turns out, Dred Scott only released one rap album, in ’94. (He also released a jazz album a year later). So, I quickly tracked down a few more tracks on YouTube, and all of them are bangin’ beat gold! Practically every beat I found is a grandiose percussive tribute to the boombox, screaming to be played in my car with the windows down. For a 90’s rap album the fidelity of sound is quite good, even in digital recordings on YouTube and a couple I found on this post by Jeff Leon on KevinNottingham.com
Well, now I definitely want a copy of the album. Over to Amazon, but alas there is no MP3 version. Luckily, a few used copies were still available for a reasonable price. Needless to say I grabbed a copy and now eagerly await to get these jams in my possession to listen to at my whim. It kind of feels like I’d been waiting to find this album and, as if by fate, I have. One of my favorite feelings is when I find new music which I want to enjoy over and over and over, music which makes me feel something, takes me to a different place.
Is it a shame that Dred Scott only put out one album? Should he have gotten more exposure? Would he still be around rhyming right now? I’m not sure, but maybe this is meant to be a treasure to be discovered by a few, the lucky ones.