About five years ago I went on a major old-school hip-hop kick. I am not sure what spurred it but I think it might have had something to do with “Looking for the Perfect Beat”, which totally knocked me on my ass the first time I heard it. Surely there must be something else out there that sounded like this. Trouble is that hip-hop before 1984 is sort of a nebulous thing. Lots of singles and a ton of difficult to find 12 inches, many of which are still difficult to find even in digital form. But I’m an albums guy, and sadly the era didn’t really produce a whole lot of classics there. Mostly because there aren’t too many, and those that exist tend to be either repackagings of singles (see Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s first LP) or cut with bad soul covers (those early Sugarhill Gang releases).