Listen Back! Groove Therapy’s Hip Hop 50th Anniversary Mastermix

Anyone who has listened to 2SER over the last two decades will know Shan Frenzie’s deep connection with Hip Hop music and community radio. On Friday, 11th August, Shan aired what he described as his most ambitious mixtape ever, with a special megamix – 250 tracks in 2 hours – to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop music. Read on for Shan’s words on the mix, and hit play on the player to hear his incredible no holds-barred tribute to the classic mixtape style of 1980s New York.

To me, Hip Hop is indelibly tied to my experience with radio. I first discovered community radio in Melbourne when I picked up an amazing hand-drawn flyer from a record store advertising a late-night Hip Hop radio show on Melbourne’s community radio station 3CR. The year was 1988, and I was hooked. From that moment on I religiously followed the program, lying in bed with my earphones wrapped around my head, finger on the record button of my boom box soaking in every mix and blend that local superstar DJ Cool Rap C laced on the AM airwaves each week. The story of the evolution of Australian Hip Hop can be told through the lens of community radio – and it’s quite a story, but a story that I’ll leave for another day.

Around that same time, or possibly not long afterwards, I started becoming aware of America’s own Hip Hop radio shows – and once again I became obsessed with tracking down cassette dubs of any show that I could find. It was quite a feat too! Long before the age of the internet where these coverted stateside radio shows from the eighties are now digitally archived for the ages – No, back IN the eighties and early nineties the only tapes to reach these Australian shores were those that had been hand dubbed and passed through the hands of a lucky few. I happened to be one of those hands, and my collection of New York radio shows from the likes of DJ Red Alert, Chuck Chillout, and The Latin Rascals were tapes that I have cherished right up to this day (some of which I’m yet to discover on the internet. Note to self: I must digitise those tapes before they degrade with the passage of time).

So, fast forward to 2023 and here we are celebrating fifty years of Hip Hop culture. I knew I wanted to do something special on my Groove Therapy program. I decided I wanted to create a mastermix paying tribute to those radio shows from New York that I collected. And so I scoured my collection for inspiration: The Zulu Beat, The Awesome Two, The World Famous Supreme Team, Marley Marl, Mr Magic, and the aforementioned Kool DJ Red Alert, Chuck Chillout, and The Latin Rascals.

My aim was to create a radio show in the same style as those radio shows that I adored – and as I started on the production of this episode over a month again it quickly became apparent that this would be my most ambitious radio show mastermix that I have ever attempted.So contained within these two hours are well over 250 songs, cut up, mixed, blended, reduced, boiled, baked, and reconstituted. Some may be unrecognisable and some may still contain hints of their former self.

The earliest part of the mastermix is very much a tribute to the first years of Hip Hop – the years where Hip Hop DJs relied on the “breakbeat” of old Funk and Soul songs because there just weren’t a lot of actual Hip Hop records available at that time. As the years progress, so does the complexity of my mastermix, culminating in a crescendo of tunes layered upon layers in a true multi-track style. This is not your standard DJ mix. I admit, there is no way I could recreate this mix live in front of an audience. This mastermix is more akin to a painting where each colour bleeds into its surroundings.I’m not sure there is much more I can personally say apart from thanking you for your attention, for this mix does demand it. It may require multiple listens as it is as audibly dense as it could possibly be. I’m immensely proud of the finished result. Please enjoy.

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