Welcome to 909rewind, a series from 909originals that explores the early musical careers of some of clubland’s biggest names, uncovering hidden gems and familiar classics from the archives [click here for past editions].
This day (16 September) in 1996 saw the release of one of the most genre-bending albums of the past quarter century, DJ Shadow‘s Entroducing…, which would go on to be regarded one of the greatest albums of the 90s, and helped forge a new instrumental hip hop style.
Recorded by Shadow (aka Josh Davis) over a two-year period, Entroducing… was also a groundbreaking release for James Lavelle‘s nascent Mo’Wax label, alongside DJ Krush’s Meiso and Rob Dougan’s Clubbed to Death.
California native Davis started DJing in the late 80s, blending funk, rock, hip hop, ambient, jazz, soul and whatever old sample records he found lying around in second-hand shops, with early releases on Hollywood BASIC and Solesides, a label he co-founded alongside Blackalicious and Lyrics Born.
Following the success of Entroducing…, Shadow released Preemptive Strike a couple of years later (a collection of early material), following this up with a series of hit records, The Private Press (2002), The Outsider (2006) and many more (right up to last year’s Our Pathetic Age), as well as demonstrating his turntablism skills to rapt audiences around the world.
Speaking to Vice in 2012, Shadow spoke of his inspiration when piecing together his unique brand of hip hop back in the 90s.
“A lot of times, the really interesting and unusual breakthroughs in hip-hop at that time on a sample basis were outside the realm of James Brown. As much as I love any classic hip-hop track that uses Funky Drummer, and there are hundreds of them, but at the same time it’s also really cool to hear a demo of a cassette from ’91 that never came out that uses Velvet Underground, and you kind of go ‘wow’. There was another one from ’89 that uses Siouxsie and the Banshees. And it wasn’t “back-pack rap,” this was New York hip-hop. It’s just the dudes were on another level.
“You look at all that and you go, that’s brave, challenging, audacious. That’s what I want. I don’t want to be conservative or worried about what people will think if I use a brand new Björk song. To me, that’s what it’s always been.”
For the 26th edition of 909rewind, we explore some of his Shadow’s killer early cuts, rare remixes and collaborations, intermixed with a smattering of bona-fide classics. Enjoy!