DJ Red Alert

Beats, Rhymes & Battles, Vol. 1

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On Beats, Rhymes & Battles, Vol. 1, longtime New York icon DJ Red Alert compiles the most famous MC battles of the '80s and importantly narrates the album, revealing the stories behind the rhymes. He begins in 1984 with the Roxanne episode that began with U.T.F.O.'s "Roxanne, Roxanne" and was eventually followed by innumerable answer records, most notably Roxanne Shanté's "Roxanne's Revenge" and the Real Roxanne's "The Real Roxanne," which are both compiled here. He then moves on to the back-and-forth Queensbridge-South Bronx rivalry between Marley Marl's Juice Crew ("The Bridge," "Kill That Noise") and KRS-One's Boogie Down Productions ("South Bronx," "The Bridge Is Over"). Next comes LL Cool J's pair of late-'80s answer records ("Jack the Ripper," "To da Break of Dawn") in particular response to Kool Moe Dee, whom he surprised on-stage mid-performance in Dallas in 1988, according to Red Alert. The two concluding battles (Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick versus Salt-n-Pepa; Antoinette versus MC Lyte) aren't quite as spirited, though the stories are curious to hear. You've likely heard many of the tracks on Beats, Rhymes & Battles, Vol. 1 before if you're a hip-hop enthusiast; however, Red Alert's stories are worthwhile by themselves, as he speaks communally with much flair and shares many little-known anecdotes.

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