Wax Poetics Anthology Volume 1

(Wax Poetics Books)



Straight outta Brooklyn:
When Wax Poetics debuted in December
2001, the crate-digging subculture already had the occasional deejay or hip-hop
mag tossing ‘em a bone, but WP was the first publication to wholly embrace said
subculture. As the preface to this anthology collecting the cream of the first
five issues states, “We wanted to learn more about the past and help to recontextualize
the present. So we began collecting stories from fellow record addicts and
writers—from interviews with jazz legends and obscure funk musicians to contemporary
disc jockeys and golden-era hip-hop producers.”


From that mission statement, WP has never wavered, and in those early issues—now housed in a
240-page hardbound book featuring eye-popping images on every other page—one
senses a near-religious zeal. Highlights? “Make Checks Payable to Charles
Mingus” is a scholarly appreciation of the jazz giant (complete with a Mingus comic
strip). Two of James Brown’s drummers take you behind the scenes in “Clyde Stubblefield the Funky Drummer” and “Jab’O Starks Don’t Take No Mess.” “Hip Hop’s Building Blocks”
fuses technical exposition to romancing-the-vinyl enthusiasm in a discussion of
the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series for sample-seekers (yes, geeks, a discography is included). And “The
Memoirs of Prince Paul” is an extended first person travelogue through time, space
and culture from one of hip-hops true innovators.


As of this writing, Wax
is up to issue 25, recent cover subjects including Latin/Afro-rockers
Mandrill, funk diva Betty Davis, dub provocateur Lee “Scratch” Perry and “boogaloo bad boy” Joe Bataan. In the rush
to cover breaking trends, journalists can forget how the “newest and coolest”
frequently prove ephemeral, so it’s a godsend to have a voice that offers crucial
documentation of, and commentary upon, areas less charted. FRED MILLS




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