Edan the DJ: Fast Rap

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Edan went above and beyond the call with this extremely limited-edition record, the release of which closely coincided with the appearance of his astonishing Primitive Plus, a debut album that was marinated in an overriding romance with old-school rap. An impeccably chosen mix set, DJ Fast-Rap peels away several more layers from that romance, in the process revealing Edan to be as rapacious as he is eccentric when it comes to collecting rare vinyl. Mostly cherry-picked from one of hip-hop's premium eras (1988-1992), the song list includes a handful of classic material, opening with the landmark "Raw" from Big Daddy Kane (who appears twice), then bleeding into Melle Mel's awesome "Freestyle." Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD, LL Cool J, the DJ's beloved Ultramagnetic MC's, and Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth also make appearances, and each of their tracks sound as good as the day they were hatched. Bolstering those classics are cuts by lesser-known but still esteemed underground crews like Organized Konfusion, Main Source, K Solo, and Lord Finesse, all of which longtime fans of the genre will recognize, if not already know. But interspersed among such venerated company are idiosyncratic songs by a number of off-the-wall rappers (Sir Ibu of Divine Force?) that not even the most rabid of hip-hop heads may have previously heard. Of these, several deserve special mention. Unique's "Axe-Maniac" is as manic and edgy as anything by Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, while MC Jewel does a sensational Kool Keith impression on "Reflection of Perfection." Freshco & Miz and Percee P. & Ekim both rattle off some vicious battle rhymes, and the Dismasters get not one but two cuts, for good reason. But in Black, Rock & Ron's "Stop the World," the album unearths an honest-to-goodness lost rap classic. Edan does very little in the way of manipulation (the occasional shout-out aside), mostly concerning himself with segueing from song to song. But that is enough when the set burns this white hot.