Werner Von Wallenrod sheds light on that mysterious Top Shelf 8/8/88 album we wrote about a few weeks back. My initial thoughts have been confirmed as it appears all the music is previously unreleased. Something about stolen masters and an intense investigation conducted by Fab 5 Freddy and Benjy Grinberg. Link

“Introduction: 17 years ago a small recording studio, TOP SHELF, located in the basement of a brownstone in the East Village section of New York, was looted during the Thompkins Square riots of 1988, displacing the recordings of many soon-to-be Hip Hop stars. The studio had been the meeting place for many rappers, neighborhood kids, and producers that would later be responsible for the greatest period of the Hip Hop age, “The Golden Era.” A search commenced soon after the recordings were lost, but nothing was ever found. So sought after were the tapes, they soon acheived Holy Grail status amongst Hip Hop circles. Despite years of searching, and dozens of hopeless crusades, the tapes remained lost. No one was quite sure who took them or where they were… until now.

After an extensive investigation and search that lasted two years, the recordings have finally been recovered by Fab 5 Freddy and myself (Benjy Grinberg). They were found dozenss of miles from the site of TOP SHELF in an abandoned strage faciilty in North Jersey [woot! Jersey represent!]. …We sought after the lost recordings of TOP SHELF because they were rumored to be among the hottest songs from that era, and we thought it was a tragedy that the world never got to hear them. It turns out that these two-inch tapes are truly a treasure chest–a time capsule of the energy and excitement of 1988 Hip Hop.”

Update: After listening to a good quality copy of this I’m leaning towards the idea that this was not recorded in ’88. A few other heads seem to agree. Can’t find anything official though. More info as I get it. In any case, I agree with Jay Swift, it’s dope.

Top Shelf 8/8/88