Much about ‘Beat Bop’ is shrouded in mystery. Who really produced it? Why was Jean-Michel Basquiat relegated from rapper on the track to drawing the cover and labels? What are they actually rapping about for most of the ten-minute length?
These questions, however, are all part of the enigma and rich legend surrounding a song that is an undisputed piece of true hip-hop genius. The combination of graffiti artist Rammellzee and rapper K-Rob is a potent one, with each MC adopting a persona - hustler and B-Boy respectively - that they maintain against an unusual swirling backdrop that must be one of the best instrumentals ever committed to wax.
The original Tartown Record pressing was limited to 500 copies, a mere test pressing in the eyes of the assembled artists, with scarcity further driven by Basquiat’s rising rep in the art world. Those few hundred copies – and a subsequent re-release on Profile Records (the same label where K-Rob played out the rest of his brief career) – punched well above their weight in terms of lasting influence.
- Beat Bop (Vocal)
- Beat Bop (Instrumental)