Delicious Vinyl

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Delicious Vinyl
Founded 1987 (1987)
Founder Matt Dike
Michael Ross
Distributor(s) The Bicycle Music Company[1]
Genre Hip hop, dance music, jazz
Country of origin U.S.
Location Los Angeles
Official website

Delicious Vinyl is an American independent record label founded by Matt Dike and Michael Ross in 1987 and based in Los Angeles. In the past, the label has been self-distributed, and by Island Records/PolyGram, Warner Music Group, EMI, Red Ant, Rhino and Universal Music Group. The label is now distributed by the Bicycle Music Group.[2][contradictory]


Early years[edit]

UCLA student Michael Ross met New York City transplant Matt Dike while Dike was DJing at a Hollywood club called Rhythm Lounge in the mid 1980s. The pair discovered they were both members of Impact Record Pool, a service that provided new 12" records to club DJs, and that they shared a taste in soul, funk, and hip-hop. Soon Dike became the top DJ at the legendary downtown Los Angeles club Power Tools and Ross followed suit. In 1987 they founded their own independent record label Delicious Vinyl. Almost immediately the label was a success. Delicious Vinyl's first release was the "Crackerjack" by Master Rhyme and "On Fire"/"Cheeba Cheeba" 12" by Tone Loc (real name: Anthony Smith), a Los Angeles gang member with an endearingly deep voice. "Cheeba Cheeba" and "Crackerjack" got played on L.A.'s legendary rap radio station KDAY, setting the stage for Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" single which sold three million copies, and "Crackerjack" single by Master Rhyme caused controversy for the simple fact of being a single diss to the group of Gangsta rap, N.W.A, helped immeasurably by the low-budget but memorable video (a parody of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love") directed by Tamra Davis. Tone Loc's follow-up smash "Funky Cold Medina," an ode to an aphrodisiac beverage, sampled Foreigner and Kiss, and cemented the Dike/Ross approach of recasting rock riffs into hit rap songs. Meanwhile the pair had discovered clean-cut, brainy USC student Marvin Young, who, dubbed Young MC recorded his own million selling hit single "Bust a Move." These were arguably the first truly credible rap songs to hit the upper reaches of the pop charts, and gave the label a lasting place in hip-hop history. Def Jef (real name: Jeffrey Fortson) was the most lyrical rapper in the label's early years, and although his two albums Just a Poet with Soul (1989) and Soul Food (1991) never achieved the crossover success of Tone Loc and Young MC, they are rated highly by hip-hop connoisseurs based on Def Jef's sociopolitical rhymes and an allegiance to classic funk sounds a la James Brown. The label's third release was a single by Mellow Man Ace that is one of the earliest instances of recorded rap in Spanish. But the label was not strictly a rap label, as they signed London-based rare-groove group The Brand New Heavies, who with lead vocalist N'Dea Davenport recorded the 1991 hit single "Never Stop." And it's worth noting that in 1991 Delicious Vinyl reissued the self-titled stoner-rock pioneers Masters of Reality (originally released on Def American in 1988), an album now acknowledged as a direct influence on Queens of the Stone Age.

Second Phase[edit]

As the 1990s dawned, Delicious Vinyl signed The Pharcyde, the group who changed the way west coast hip-hop was perceived[citation needed]. The quartet of Bootie Brown, Imani Wilcox, Slimkid Tre and Fatlip neatly subverted the gangsta rap archetype that then dominated the west coast. Their first single, 1991's "Ya Mama," highlighted the group's sense of humor via mama-centric snaps ("Ya mama's got a glass eye with a fish in it," etc.) and their debut album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (1992) featured the hit single about getting dissed by girls, "Passing Me By." Produced by J-Swift, the album's music featured jazzy loops and head-bobbing beats, and sold half a million copies. Friction between the group and J-Swift led to the producer's departure before the Pharcyde's 1995 album Labcabincalifornia, a sprawling testament to disillusionment that represented an about-face akin to De La Soul Is Dead. However, Labcabincalifornia did spawn the hit single "Runnin'," about facing up to personal problems produced by Jay Dee (before he became known as J Dilla). All-time great New York rapper (and Juice Crew veteran) Masta Ace joined the label delivering two strong albums, 1993's Slaughterhouse and 1995's Sittin' on Chrome (under the group moniker Masta Ace Incorporated) which, in addition to the title track, included the notable singles "The I.N.C. Ride" and "Born to Roll" (the latter of which was the remix version of the 1993 single "Jeep Ass Niguh" from the Slaughterhouse LP, specifically tailored for the West Coast audience, which Ace was attempting to tap into during the height of early-90s "gangsta rap" popularity). Other significant acts on the label in the mid '90s included pop-friendly dancehall reggae act Born Jamericans (a duo consisting of the smooth-voiced Mr. Notch and rough ragga rapper Edley Shine), whose two albums Kids from Foreign (1994) and Yardcore (1995) spawned the hit singles "Boom Shak-A-Tak" and "Send My Love," respectively. The WhoRidas were the most hardcore rap group the label had signed to date, and their 1997 album Whoridin' spawned three minor but memorable hit singles, "Talkin' Bout Bank", "Shot Callin', Big Ballin'" and "Taxin'."

Third Phase[edit]

Although co-founder Matt Dike left the label in 1992, Michael Ross has retained ownership of Delicious Vinyl, making it one of the longest-running independent labels in hip-hop history. In 2005, Fatlip from The Pharcyde released his solo album The Loneliest Punk (which he had been working on for close to a decade), including the memorable lead single "What's Up Fatlip" (a documentary on Fatlip by Spike Jonze came packaged as a DVD along with the album CD), the follow-up single "Today's Your Day" (featuring Charlie 2na from Jurassic 5), as well as the song "Writer's Block," which artfully explained the delay in finishing the album. In 2007 the label kicked off its 20th anniversary celebration with the release of a high-profile reunion album Get Used to It from Brand New Heavies, featuring original lead vocalist N'Dea Davenport (the group toured, opening for Macy Gray). Summer 2007 saw the long-awaited release of the previously shelved 1993 album by The Wascals, a four member J-Swift-produced rap group that was to be the label's successors to The Pharcyde. (Instead, the group folded before the album's original release date). Meanwhile, dancehall artist Mr. Vegas watched his new album Hot It Up spawn two hit singles, the lascivious "Hot Wuk" and "Tek Weh Yuh Self." In addition, an ambitious remix project, Delicious Rmxxology, was curated by DV's Rick Ross with some of today's electronic and hip-hop artists (including Peaches, Breakbot, Mr. Flash, Cory Nitta, Aaron LaCrate & Samir, Hot Chip, Don Rimini, Diplo & Philippians), reworking classics from the Delicious Vinyl catalog; the first single from the remix project was Peaches' version of Tone Loc's "Wild Thing," celebrated by a performance by both artists at the Avalon in Hollywood on November 4, 2007. In 2008, Michael Ross executive-produced the debut album by Illa J, with beats produced by Jay Dee, a.k.a. J.Dilla. The album "Yancey Boys" featured previously unheard instrumentals created by J.Dilla while working on earlier projects for The Pharcyde and The Brand New Heavies in the 90's for Delicious Vinyl.


2012 sees the 25th anniversary of Delicious Vinyl and, a quarter of a century later, the record label continues to support the next generation of musical talent as well as maintain working relationships with early artists of the label. After signing The ZZYZZX (Devin Rochford), a unique father and son hip-hop duo composed of DV old-timer Mellow Man Ace and his son, the teenage protege Cazal Organizm, DV released their debut single, "The ZZYZZX (What Is It?)", in June 2011. In September 2011 DV also released a deluxe edition of "Sleeping in Class", the first LP of the young, Inglewood-born rapper Casey Veggies, which included his blow-up track "Ridin Roun Town." 2012 also sees the 20th anniversary of one of the labels most seminal records: The Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde. To mark The Pharcyde's incredible debut, DV released The Singles Collection box set on Record Store Day in April 2012. The set included seven 7" records, a double CD package with remixes, instrumentals, and exclusives, a poster and jigsaw puzzle, as well as liner notes written by Bizarre Ride producer J'Sw!ft. On May 23, 2012, Delicious Vinyl hosted a landmark celebration of the album, Bizarre Ride Live, at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, where original members of The Pharcyde Fatlip and SlimKid3 performed the album in its entirety with producers J-Sw!ft and L.A. Jay. A second Bizarre Ride Live show was held at The Malibu Inn in Los Angeles on the 7th July 2012, and a third in San Francisco with Low End Theory on the 3rd August 2012. The group are set to tour throughout the anniversary year.



Notable Singles[edit]

Includes Billboard Hot 100 peaks.



External links[edit]