15 Songs, 1 Hour 7 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the time M.C. Shan cut 1986’s “The Bridge," Queensbridge had been home to a small but flourishing hip-hop scene for years. But it was Shan’s early singles—bolstered by thunderous, speaker-shaking production from Marley Marl—that brought the Queensbridge scene to national attention and signaled the rise of the lean, confrontational style that would dominate New York hip-hop during its late-‘80s golden age. Shan got his start rhyming alongside Roxanne Shanté, whose single “Roxanne’s Revenge” was one of Marley Marl’s most successful early productions. Before long, Shan was collaborating with Marley on cuts like “Down by Law,” “The Bridge,” and “Beatbiter” (a ferocious takedown of L.L. Cool J, whose “Rock the Bells” borrowed the drum pattern of Shan & Marley’s “Marley Scratch”). This deluxe reissue of Shan’s debut, Down by Law, supplements the album’s original nine tracks with a host of remixes, instrumentals, and dubs. Included are two versions of “Cocaine,” an eerie account of the inescapable allure of crack cocaine that sports some of Shan’s most compelling lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the time M.C. Shan cut 1986’s “The Bridge," Queensbridge had been home to a small but flourishing hip-hop scene for years. But it was Shan’s early singles—bolstered by thunderous, speaker-shaking production from Marley Marl—that brought the Queensbridge scene to national attention and signaled the rise of the lean, confrontational style that would dominate New York hip-hop during its late-‘80s golden age. Shan got his start rhyming alongside Roxanne Shanté, whose single “Roxanne’s Revenge” was one of Marley Marl’s most successful early productions. Before long, Shan was collaborating with Marley on cuts like “Down by Law,” “The Bridge,” and “Beatbiter” (a ferocious takedown of L.L. Cool J, whose “Rock the Bells” borrowed the drum pattern of Shan & Marley’s “Marley Scratch”). This deluxe reissue of Shan’s debut, Down by Law, supplements the album’s original nine tracks with a host of remixes, instrumentals, and dubs. Included are two versions of “Cocaine,” an eerie account of the inescapable allure of crack cocaine that sports some of Shan’s most compelling lyrics.

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