Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The Concept of A.L.P.S. - The Classic Collection 3xLP


90s Tapes (2023, Reissue) 

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.

I have something of a backlog of 90s Tapes releases, so you might see quite a few of them in the upcoming weeks.  This particular album and group I had never heard of prior to this reissue being made available for purchase a few months ago.  The Concept of A.L.P.S. (or as they are sometimes called, The Alps Cru) hailed from St Louis and in 1994 started releasing a string of independent 12" singles.  They had three singles in the mid 90s, but never put out a full length.

Then starting in 2008, they began releasing more singles and stayed relatively active putting something out every few years.  Again, they never put out a full length during this run either.  Enter 90s Tapes.  They have compiled everything from those 12"s from the 90s and most of the tracks from the later singles as well and put them all on one convenient triple LP (though one of the 3 LPs is the instrumental versions).  The label is based in Germany, so their on sale times are in the middle of the night for me.  I don't typically have a problem getting my hands on the albums of theirs that I want, but Alps sold out before I even woke up that morning.  I spent a little bit of time hunting, and I did have to pay collector prices, but I was finally able to track down a copy for myself.

And it was important that I did hunt this down.  It's a great album full of slower tempo, jazzy beats that still have a rugged feel to them.  I'm at a loss for an easy comparison point to another group, but certainly if you are into Tribe Called Quest or Gang Starr, you will be able to appreciate what the Alps Cru are offering, even though they don't really sound a ton like either of those groups.  Regardless, this is an album that my hip hop ear can enjoy, they are of their era enough that I'm interested, but left of center enough that they still sound like the sort of thing indie hip hop folks of today would enjoy.  Worth checking out, but be prepared to pay for the vinyl if you find it.

The Concept of A.L.P.S. - The Classic Collections:

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