Hip Hop heads, dig deeper: All hail unsung rap master Jimmy Spicer

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You can know Kanye, Jay Z, Lil Wayne, but if you don’t know Jimmy Spicer, you don’t know Hip Hop. He was making hit records during the golden era of rap. His “Adventures of Super Rhyme” was early to the game with a 1980 release. In many ways, he was the predecessor to Hip Hop’s greatest storyteller, Slick Rick. Spicer was one of the first artists managed by Russell Simmons’ Rush Management. He was one of the first to be released on the iconic Def Jam Recordings label. He was produced by the great Rick Rubin. Tracks like “The Bubble Bunch” and “Money (Dollar Bill Ya’ll)” were mainstays on urban radio during the early ’80s. If you were a kid hitting the roller rink or summer carnival rides during the genre’s golden era, these were the jams you’d look forward to hearing; and to this day, can be heard on midday radio old school mixes. Later in the decade, LL Cool J used Spicer’s raw b-boy anthem, “This Is It” as an opening theme track to set the mood before hitting the stage. You’d be hard-pressed to find a self-proclaimed “Hip Hop head” today who has a clue as to who Jimmy Spicer is. Ironically, he’s never had a full-length album. However, in many ways, Spicer helped shape Hip Hop’s early days and he is no doubt a rapper’s rapper, even if rappers don’t know the lineage of their own influences. Deep props go out to Jimmy Spicer for his contributions to this multi-billion dollar genre’s industry that had such humble beginnings. -Israel Vasquetelle