• Crate Diggers

    Dan the Automator Explains the 2 Most Important Breakbeats in Rap History

    The man behind Deltron 3030, Handsome Boy Modeling School and the first Gorillaz album, talks about a few of the most influential records ever

    Even as vinyl has exploded as a collector's item, very few people own original copies of what legendary rap producer Dan the Automator dubs the "two most important breaks in hip hop history." In this week's episode of Crate Diggers, he explains the significance of both: "Impeach the President" by the Honey Drippers and "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss.

    "These two records are the most important breaks in hip hop history. Probably more records have been made off these two records [than any other]," he says, holding a side-by-side framed copy of each record. "The thing about it is, everyone probably gets it off the Ultimate Beats and Breaks or something like that, but very few people have both of these records. I've seen a few [versions of "Impeach"] around, and I don't know if I've ever seen "Synthetic Substitution" around, but I know of a couple people who have it. But it's just a combo—it doesn't say 'hip hop history', it says 'beat guy history.'"

    Later in the episode, Dan the Automator—who cooked up for people like Prince Paul, Kool Keith (under his Dr. Octagon pseudonym), Gorillaz and also provided an incubator for people like DJ Shadow—runs through a number of other records that have both personal and historical significance, like Chuck Mangione's "Feels So Good" and Malcolm McLaren's "D'ya Like Scratchin'."

    Class is in session.

    Check out more episodes of Crate Diggers here.