It’s the first time in thirty years that the debut album of gangsta rap pioneer Schoolly D gets reissued again… Released by a Russian producer known for obscure Beat Konducta-like beat tapes and, more recently, sampling Italian film scores. Sounds unlikely, but it happened: a special reissue of Schoolly D’s Schoolly-D is now available for purchase on Bandcamp via the new Gangster Boogie imprint.
The record is reissued with the original yellow artwork and comes in a run of 150 copies, plus a very limited run of 50 yellow records. The release is handled by Russian producer Koffin Fly. He was kind enough to answer a few questions over email about this collectible reissue of a gangsta rap classic.
Matter of fact, consider this feature a The Find premiere, as this is the first time the Bandcamp page and label name are publicly shared. You know what to do…
I know your work from sampling Italian film scores and previously themed beat tapes in the same vein as Madlib’s Beat Konducta series, under another alias. So I was surprised to find out that you’re now reissuing a gangsta rap album by Schoolly D! How did that come about?
Everything happened pretty spontaneously. I personally dig musical non-fiction a lot, and strive to buy most of the books on music coming out in Russia. Here in Russia, we have a lot of books about rock and punk music. I buy those books with very much pleasure. But we have very little books about rap… By the way – none about jazz and funk. Russian publishers almost never publish such books… Needless to say, as soon as the book The History of Gangster Rap: From Schoolly D to Kendrick Lamar was announced in Russian, I was waiting for it and have bought it right from the start of sales. One of the first chapters of the book was dedicated to Schoolly D. I’ve found out much fascinating stuff about Schoolly.
On Discogs, I found out that the latest reissue was almost 30 years ago! And that there is no classic ‘yellow edition’ for sale in a Near Mint condition. So at that point, I decided I wanted to reissue the album, also since I’ve released numerous records before, so I was already experienced in that.
That evening, I found Schoolly’s email and wrote a letter. To be honest, without big hope. But to my surprise, I got an answer from his manager and later we spoke about every condition for this reissue. I always wanted to make my own hip-hop label to publish forgotten old classics on vinyl, so this was a dream come true.
How does the original album influence your own work as a producer?
Well, after multiple listens to the debut of Schoolly, I wanted to make an album-stylization that sounds like mid-80s hip-hop. Everything that is left, is to buy an E-mu SP-12 [laughs]
Perhaps you will be surprised, but there are quite a few gangsta rap albums in my top hip-hop albums: The Chronic by Dr. Dre, Music to Driveby by Compton’s Most Wanted, and Mind Playing Tricks On Me by Geto Boys is actually one of my favorite hip-hop tracks of all time. And I was inspired by Compton’s Most Wanted while I was making Koffin Fly – Volume One.
Why do you think the album hasn’t been reissued in about thirty years since the 1990 Jive reissue, despite its status?
It seems to me it happens frequently with pioneers of any movement. Many think that the pioneer of G-Funk is Dr.Dre. But Above The Law was actually the first. Many think that the first movers of gangsta rap were Ice-T or even N.W.A. But as a matter of fact, it was Schoolly D. Actually, Ice-T himself shared before that Schoolly has influenced him. It’s sad to say, but to me, it feels like this album has dropped off from the history of hip-hop and it still stays underrated.
Is this release already in production, or only if/when you sell through Bandcamp?
The album is already good-to-go for pre-order on the Bandcamp of Gangster Boogie Records. Everything was made for a reason to hip-hop heads to realize what piece of history of rap music they’ve been bypassing all these years… And thanks to The Find Mag they now find out about this!