Aptly titled, “1996 Beat Tape Vol. 1”, DJ Spinna’s latest instrumental album features 18 original beats all produced on the EMU-SP1200 & Akai S950 circa 1996. With over 25 years in business, the Brooklyn native is tied to nothing short of greatness and a legacy of diverse extensions since his beginnings as a house DJ in the late 80s. Many know Spinna for being in the elite group of seasoned party rockers where his resume includes collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Spike Lee, Michael Jackson & Prince (Soul Slam) tribute parties and several US/international bookings a month. Others regard him as one of house music’s best for his well orchestrated dance tracks that blend jazz, soul & funk, caribbean and latin themes into his trademark, “Intergalactic Soul”.
Producing in the mid 90s with his underground duo, the Jigmastas, Spinna acquired national recognition for remixing Das Efx’s, Microphone Master single. He would gain larger recognition for his classic remix of De La Soul’s, Stakes Iz High single originally produced by the legendary Jay Dee aka J Dilla who became a friend in addition to being a contemporary. After a deal with Rawkus Records and producing some of Eminem’s early official appearances, Spinna achieved placements as a go to beat maker for legends, veterans and new MC’s. Though DJ Spinna has found continued success away from his roots, he has always satisfied his core audience whether producing for Homeboy Sandman, Phonte, The Jigmastas or his own solo projects.”1996 Beat Tape Vol. 1” is a rare peek into his deep archive. Much of the material was sourced directly from aged dat tapes and floppy disks from the year 1996.
Don’t let the 20 year lapse mislead that these compositions are primitive to today’s standards. The 18 track fully instrumental LP proves the advanced production techniques and sampling ideas Spinna employed are still ahead of it’s time long before much of the resurgence of 90s revivalist themes from today’s artists. The “1996 beat Tape” is the “Real McCoy”. All music was produced before computers, before accessible home studios and before instrumental hip-hop was a category. Many of the beats were made with vocalists in mind. Constructed on turntables, the EMU-SP1200 and the Akai S950, historians will appreciate the album cover designed by Joe Buck which depicts intimate photos of Spinna in his studio with the actual gear used to create the album’s contents. This is only the first volume and the debut venture between Redefinition Records and Spinna’s own Correct Technique Records. With 2 plus decades of unreleased material, who knows what the future holds, but history shows that when DJ Spinna releases an instrumental album, they sell fast.