Good things comes in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition vinyl pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, VMP operates under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives! With a carefully curated catalog of new and hard to find releases, the subscription service is more than just a record club, it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month… in their living room.
Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (a 3-month membership will set you back about $119) and they send you one carefully selected album they feel is Essential to any record collection. Yes, it truly is as easy as it sounds. You even get FREE SHIPPING. Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) also comes with killer extras like original artwork and informative listening companion booklet.
You’ll have membership privileges in the VMP store too, which means you can grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including their celebratory re-press of Courtney Barnett’s A Sea of Split Peas: The Double EP – or choose from a slate of super-limited releases pressed exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please. The store is open, and Team VMP are dropping fresh new selections to their stock every single week. Do not miss out.
Word to the wise, while the store is open to the public, most of the more covet-worthy stock is only available to subscribers. Members are privy to reduced “Members Pricing” as well, so joining the club definitely has its rewards. If you’re peckish about relinquishing control of your record collection to complete strangers, know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP pick you’re not interested in for a past featured album from any track (including Essentials, Country, Classics, and Rap/Hip Hop). My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do your turntable a favor and sign up today.
As for June, Vinyl Me, Please finally picked an album that could tempt me to test out their long-running VMP Hip-Hop track. Here’s a look.
For The Love Of Vinyl, Please DO NOT BEND
There are few names in the hip-hop realm that inspire quite as much unbridled adoration as Madlib. There are virtually none in the jazz realm as celebrated as Blue Note Records. And as rumor has it, Madlib has always had a particular affinity for the legendary jazz label. Such it was that when Blue Note bosses invited the beloved musician and producer to raid their iconic vaults for a hip-hop tinged remix album, both the rap and jazz worlds were captivated at the shear possibilities of what Madlib might do with the BN archive at his fingertips.
Shades of Blue did not disappoint when it hit the streets fronting the Blue Note label back in 2003. In fact, the album proved such a singularly crafty blend of Blue Note’s and Madlib’s best, Shades of Blue was largely hailed as a masterpiece upon release, helping turn a generation of hip-hop kids onto the jazz scene overnight. Likewise, it showed legions of snobby jazz-heads that hip-hop can be every bit as artful, eclectic, and inventive as jazz when the right person is pulling the strings behind the scenes.
It was, of course, no coincidence that Madlib was on the radar of Blue Note bosses before he signed on for Shades of Blue. His rep as a jazz-loving (and sampling) crate digger has indeed been well-publicized over the years. So too had the various jazz-influenced projects Madlib had undertaken prior to onboarding for Shades of Blue. Still, given Blue Note’s historical reputation, simply turning the keys to the kingdom over to a hip-hop producer came with a certain level of risk. But if you’ve listened to Shades of Blue before, you know Madlib came through and then some, producing an album almost effortlessly fronts the best of what he and Blue Note have to offer.
I’m not even gonna try to put into words exactly what it’s like to listen to Shades of Blue if you never have because, well, there’s jus too much going on in the 16, mostly instrumental tracks here to properly cover. It’s an album you really just have to listen to in order to grasp the complexities of the samples, remixes, and original material on hand. And even then, it’s all but impossible to grasp Madlib’s genius on Shades of Blue in just one listen. Thankfully, the album is every bit as fresh and engaging on 20th listen as it is on first. Yes, I speak from first hand experience there. And there’s no question in my mind that anyone who’s heard this album on vinyl before would agree.
Given the title, it should be self-explanatory why this cool-blue cover art is so damned cool. Same for the vintaged-out, classic Blue Note back cover.
Don’t overlook the official VMP Hip-Hop foil stamp, kids.
And in case you doubt this pressing’s worthiness of that vaunted label, the hype sticker more than confirms it’s the pressing of Shades of Blue you need in your collection.
There’s a few more stats on the OBI-strip cradling the sleeve too. And yes, it’s hard to believe Vinyl Me, Please Hip-Hop carved out a full 69 releases before I finally got on board.
Flip that OBI over for a brief rundown on why Madlib’s Shades of Blue found its way to the vaunted VMP archives.
You apparently don’t get quite as many goodies on the Hip-Hop track as you used to. But you still get a listening companion booklet. And Dylan Green delivers a cracking account of Shades of Blue‘s legacy in this one.
Of course, the records themselves are still the reason to get down with any Vinyl Me, Please selection. These cover-inspired Blue and Green discs are clearly noting to scoff at either. And you just gotta love those classic Blue Note labels.
As lovely as both discs are, I must say the green really does pop on the old turntable.
Give Vinyl Me Please a Spin
How’s it sound? Like a case of classic Blue Note discs were melted down and dropped into a beat-driven blender, then sent to the pressing plant to find their way to wax. I cannot thank the Vinyl Me, Please team enough for giving this absolute masterpiece of instrumental hip-hop the due it so richly deserves with this re-issue. And I’m now officially tempted to go back into the VMP Hip-Hop vaults to see if there’s any other reissues I need to get my needle on. Cheers!
A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door each and every month! Be sure to check back next month to see what vinyl treasure Team VMP sends our way!