Hip Hop Be Bop

DJ Afrika Bambaataa – Death Mix – Live!!

Paul Winley Records (US) [12X33-10] 1983

Kevin Donovan aka Afrika Bambaataa was a former member of the Bronx street gang, The Black Spades. He earned a trip to Africa as a result of winning an essay competition and was extremely impressed with the sense of community in the towns he visited. He was also a huge fan of the film Zulu and the solidarity shown when they stood up to the British at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in 1879. These combined to inspire him to change his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim and form The Bronx River Organisation as an alternative to The Black Spades.

He had a very eclectic taste in music and, inspired by the likes of DJ Kool Herc, Disco King Mario, etc, he began organizing block parties in the bronx where he showcased his knowledge of music. It was this knowledge and taste that would earn him the nickname ‘The Master Of Records’. As his name and reputation grew a large group of followers consisting of dancers, graffiti artists, etc formed around him, eventually evolving into what we know as the Zulu Nation.

Bambaataa released two different versions of “Zulu Nation Throwdown” in 1980, one with Soul Sonic Force and one with Cosmic Force, on Paul Winley records but he was very unhappy with the final results due to Winley adding extra instrumentation so he left the label.

After seeing the massive success Bambaataa had in 1982 with “Planet Rock” on Tommy Boy Records, Paul Winley tried cashing in by releasing this unauthorised live recording of Afrika Bambaataa at James Monroe High School in the Bronx.

There are a number of different versions for this release which are detailed below although I’m not sure of the order that they followed and all are easily identifiable by their sleeves although there are some label variations too.

The original release had a thick card sleeve with a pasted back and the top left corner had the text Super Single and the price of $4.98.

A variation of this is a similar sleeve but printed in black and white with no text or price in the top left corner. This also had a variation with the same black and white front but instead of a printed sleeve it was a pasted sheet on top of a generic sleeve.

Another variation has the same sleeve as the original and includes the text in the top left corner but has no price. This was also replicated like the one above with a printed sheet pasted on the front and back of a generic sleeve.

A more modern reissue was released with the text in the top left corner replaced with ‘Old Skool Classics Presents’.

Finally the one I believe to be one of the latest issues has the same sleeve as the original, even down to the price, but the card isn’t as thick as the original and is easily recognisable as a modern sleeve. The label is also different to all the other Winley releases as it has a border around the top and the vinyl itself is a far more flimsy. There are also additional etchings in the runout groove on both sides saying ‘Inkaone’.

Side A

Death Mix [8:29]

Side B

Death Mix [10:30]


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