I stopped keeping up with the latest hip hop much longer ago than I'd care to admit. When I WAS into it, however, one of acts that you could not ignore at the time was Boogie Down Productions, whose Criminal Minded (1987) was certainly a stunning debut, and has definitely gone down as one of the great hip hop albums in the genre's history. That should go without saying.
Last week DJ Kenny Parker, via the Frozen Files show on East Village Radio, shared the tracks you can listen to below - BDP practice tapes from the mid-80's as they shaped what became Criminal Minded. Fascinating stuff especially in light of the fact that hip hop bootlegs (and I don't mean mix tapes) still seems to be a somewhat under-exploited thing. But hey...I could be wrong about that. Enjoy these old school beats.