Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Dereliks - Broken Cyphers: The Anthology 4xLP


Self Released (2022)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

The Dereliks are a group that I definitely never heard about back in the 90s.  That said, a quick perusal of their Discogs page pretty much tells me why.  They put out three self released EPs on cassette, one each in 1992, 1993 and 1994.  Then they capped it off by putting out an independently released 12" EP in 1995.  Needless to say, these guys weren't front and center on Yo! MTV Raps or The Source when I was using both as my prime methods of music discovery in rural New Jersey.

Had I heard them back during the golden era, I would have been pretty obsessed.  Luckily they carried enough support in the Bay Area and through collectors trying to get their hands on the lone 12" that the group curated a four LP anthology.  And it is pretty damn incredible.  The first LP is a recreation of their long out of print A Turn On The Wheel Is Worth More Than A Record Deal 12" from 1995.  The remaining three LPs are full of tracks from the early demo tapes along with others unearth for this release.

Being from the Bay Area, it is pretty easy to draw a line to Heiroglyphics. It's absolutely not a bad line to draw as a comparison, particularly when looking at the way the vocals interplay with the production.  But in general, I find Hieroglyphics a little more 'out there' production wise, where I think Dereliks have more in common with the jazzy beats of A Tribe Called Quest. Yes, I am very much saying Dereliks are kind of like Hieroglyphics meets A Tribe Called Quest.  I realize all of the baggage that creates for them as far as living up to expectations, but for me The Dereliks deliver on every one of these tracks.

Four LPs is going to be a lot to digest in one sitting for just about anyone.  It's a lot of songs.  But the thing is, it's a lot of really, really great songs.  I adore this release and if anything sometimes I'm frustrated that there isn't even more included.  Reading the tracklists from their cassette EPs shows me that there are even more songs that didn't make it on to this set.  Chopped Herring put out a 12" containing demos from 1994 and I've picked that up as well.  But I really want at least one more release that collects the last batch of songs that aren't on vinyl.

I can't recommend this set highly enough if you are into jazzy, early 90s hip hop.  It's simply wonderful and while the entry cost looks a little steep when you first see the price, it is a FOUR LP set after all and I think I got every penny's worth.

The Dereliks - Broken Cyphers: The Anthology:

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