When I was 17 it was Beat Junkies mixtapes that educated my Ohio-raised ass on the West Coast underground beyond Jurassic 5's “Jayou” from Lyricist Lounge Vol.1 and Dilated Peoples' “Work The Angles” single on ABB. In fact, I picked up the The World Famous Beat Junkies Vol.2 for “Work The Angles”, but it was cuts like “Three Card Molly” (with Xzibit, Ras Kass, and Saafir), The Visionaries' “Blessings” and Tha Alkaholiks' “Rockin With The Best” that opened my teenage ears to the West. The Beat Junkies got me on to Detroit rap, a city 50 minutes north of my city, thanks to Rhettmatic dropping Slum Village's “I Don't Know”, a cut that remains an all-time favorite.
The World Famous Beat Junkies Vol.2 was a double dose of scratch theory and undeclared underground classics. It's the mixtape equivalent to cave paintings of an ancient civilization. The story of the Likwit crew is there. Before there was 2Mex and LMNO solo careers, there was The Visionaries crew. Strong Arm Steady has its roots there. Stones Throw and Madlib have roots there. Battle Axe has roots there. Golden State Warriors, a group consisting of Xzibit, Ras Kass and Saafir, begin and end there. It also was one of the last true mixtapes, back when it was about mixing and bleeding the tracks into a seemless listening experience, rather than dropping bombs and sirens.
I discovered the Beat Junkies 14 years ago. This Sunday the crew is celebrating its 20-year anniversary at The Brooklyn Bowl. To commemorate the anniversary, DJ Melo D crafted a restrospective mix for our Friday Night series that spans the 20 years and beyond.
Tickets are still on sale for the Anniversary show at Brooklyn Bowl here for $15.