Funky Flyer Junkie
It could easily be argued that one of the most indispensable, though under appreciated, elements of early hip-hop were the industriously-made handbills (aka flyers) that were produced to promote hip-hop parties throughout the New York metro. Phase 2, the most prolific flyer rocker of the time, writes that between 1978 and 1979, flyer production reached its creative zenith with the pieces made not only by himself, but skilled designers like Buddy Esquire, Sisco Kid, Eddie Ed, Maur, and others.
In October of 2004, soulstrut.com would feature on its website a staggering collection of roughly 150 of those classic flyers from the personal archives of a collector called Dustykid. And as others have most certainly done, I downloaded the collection to my own archives. But I think that I may have taken things just one step further. 'Cuz I'm geeky like dat, I wanted to be able to examine the flyers in a more accurate historical context, so I actually organized 'em in chronological order.
I should mention now that it wasn't exactly easy. In fact, many of the flyers only included the day and date of the event, but no year. So the task frequently required my referencing a digital calendar, to determine in which years various days and dates coincided.
The earliest flyer in the collection dates to June of 1979, and the last dates to October of 1986. (Okay, I might have left out the three flyers from '87 that didn't live up to my standards!) Because Dustykid was good enough to share the collection with the world wide web, at some future point I plan to share my chronologically sequenced set with those who might also be interested in such geekery.
In the meantime, feel free to click the link below to download one of my favorite recordings from the period when the funkiest flyers were being made. That's right, true believers, the L Brothers vs. the Herculoids, live at the Bronx River Center! I found this and a few other vintage recordings like it on the interwebs some years back. People often like to tout the phrase "real hip-hop," but this recording audibly illustrates what real hip-hop actually sounds like.
The L Bros vs. The Herculoids at the Bronx River Center (1978)