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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can You Dig It? Vol. 32: Brian Coleman

Name: Brian Coleman

Claim to Fame: I'm the author of Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies

and Rakim Told Me.

I'm also President of Charles Bronson fan club, the Massachusetts chapter.

Representing: I've been in or around Boston and Cambridge, MA since “Girls I Got Em Locked” hit.

I grew up all over the Northeast, in almost too many spots to name. I will say that I am the rare dude who has legitimate and deep-seated New Jersey Pride.

Years in the Game: I've been collecting wax since about 1974, starting with my Spinners “Rubber Band Man” 45, with unnecessary accumulations starting around 1992.

Best Digging City or Town: Geez, that’s a tough one. Fall River, MA and Providence, RI back in the ‘90s were dope as hell. There weren’t many collectors working the scene back then and they weren’t a long drive for me and my man Tim Haslett (R.I.P.).

Outside of Hartford, CT had some wild spots too. And don’t get me wrong, Boston has always been good to me, but as any digger knows, you need to troll the out-of-the-way spots to really hit the jackpot.

Most Prized Piece of Wax: Probably my copy of Afrika Bambaataa “Death Mix.”

If I had an original copy of Rammelzee vs. K-Rob “Beat Bop”, that’d be my most prized. Dare to dream.

Favorite Album Cover/s: Moondog Moondog

Frank Zappa Hot Rats

Alice Coltrane Journey to Satchidananda

Joy Division Unknown Pleasures

Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Mantronix The Album

Curtis Mayfield Curtis

Black Flag My War, or any Raymond Pettibon Black Flag cover, for that matter.

Schoolly D Schoolly D (especially back cover)

Dollar Bin Miracle: Disco Dave & The Force of the Five MCs “High Powered Rap”

and Mr. Sweety G “We Want to Get Down”, which are both on Mix Master Mike and Disco Dave Records. They were $.49 each at a spot in Connecticut.

Total Records Owned: Somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000, and maybe 1,200 45s. I haven’t counted in a while and I gave a bunch to the Library of Vinyl Experience (LOVE) a couple years back. I have plenty, I’ll say that.

Best Digging Story: Back at the Roosevelt Hotel in NYC in the ‘90s I had a copy of the Jungle Brothers “Beyond this World” on top of my pile of wax and this dude walked up to me, looked me in the eye, and just tried to grab it.

The weird thing was that he kept looking me in the eye the whole time, with a look like “What? Everything’s cool, just chill, I deserve this record.” After about 30 seconds of our tug-of-war, I just punched the dude in the chest and he let go instantly and walked away very calmly. The weirdest thing to me was that it wasn’t that rare of a record. Maybe that’s why he gave up so easily.

The Roosevelt was pretty intense back in the day, dudes weren’t fucking around and it was a real cut-throat type of scene. I stopped going after a while, because it wasn’t that fun. I was always more of a fan of finding shit in out-of-the-way spots for low-cash. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $30 for a record and I’m proud of that. For me, just owning a dope piece of wax isn’t the most important thing, it’s how it got to you.

To find out more about Brian Coleman, visit his MySpace page. For more about his essential books on classic rap records, click here and here.

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