Specializing In Lushly Packaged Quality Hip-Hop & Reggae Reissues, The Get On Down Label Readies for Record Store Day 2017

Posted by Billyjam, March 23, 2017 06:02pm | Post a Comment

Now in its tenth year, Record Store Day has grown exponentially into a widely celebrated day of anticipation for record collectors fiending for the exclusive releases associated with the annual retail shopping day that this year falls on April 22nd. [See the full list of 2017 Record Store Day releases]. Some labels are better than others when it comes to their choice of vinyl and CD releases and/or the packaging of said releases. And one of the consistently better labels is Get On Down, an imprint of Traffic  Entertainment, who never fail to impress with their choice of quality music and lush packaging / presentation of their RSD releases. In fact four years ago they won an Adapter Award when the Record Store Day organization chose the label for the Record Store Day Release of the Year 2013 award. That was for that year's GZA Liquid Swords reissue: the 4-LP “Chess Box” (also avail on 4 CD) that was a popular item at Amoeba's three stores that year.

For this year's Record Store Day the Boston based label continues their commitment to quality reissues with more great reissue releases in both hip-hop and reggae. These include Southern rap pioneers U.G.K.'s Too Hard To Swallow in a brand new double LP clear vinyl edition (first time ever on vinyl!), U-Roy's Dread In Babylon vinyl LP with collectable poster, plus a sure to sell out fast, cool unique Slick Rick reissue package taking it all the way back to 1988 when Def Jam released the pioneering rapper's landmark debut Great Adventures album featuring the hit single "Children's Story" that inspires this Record Store Day 2017 exclusive from Get On Down. Entitled Children's  Book the centerpiece of this package is an 18-page puffy-cover children’s book with illustrations detailing Rick’s classic cops-and-robbers story single. Also in this special package (limited to one per Amoeba customer) is a 45 seven inch single reissue of “Children's’ Story” with a picture sleeve (same art that originally graced the 1988 Def Jam 12") with the 7" single B-side featuring “The Moment I Feared.” This package also includes a CD version of Slick Rick's full length debut album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.

Launched in 2010 as an offshoot of Traffic Entertainment, known for their always dope hip-hop reissues of long out of print release, the Get On Down record label already boasts 175 + titles, many of which are Record Store Day exclusives. A standout and personal favorite from the label is their 2014 lovingly packaged and presented reissue of Souls of Mischief's 93 Til Infinity Deluxe CD version. Today I caught up with one of the record label's partners and diehard music fanatic, Papa D, to ask him about his cool record label and its role in Record Store Day. 

Amoeblog: How do you guys determine what you will release for Record Store Day each year?

Papa D of Get On Down: We spend a lot of time thinking about it, and start tossing around ideas, both for what records we want to try to release, and what kind of packaging it will be in, as much as a full year in advance.  Keeping it to items that are doable in the time frame we have, as far as licensing details and design development / manufacturing is a big factor. Plus we always consider what the consumers hopefully will be excited about.  It is all a tough balance, but something we get excited about still.  We all buy tons of records still, and scour the Record Store Day release list once it's announced just like every other person that's into records. So we always want to make sure we have something cool that people will dig in the same way that we dig other label's projects.

Amoeblog: Is there a  limit to how many titles you release each Record Store Day that is set by you guys at the label or by the Record Store Day / RSD folks?

Papa D of Get On Down: The good folks at RSD have to approve each release, so there is a pseudo-limit as far as 'how many.'  But I do not think there is any official limit placed on labels by RSD.  I am not sure to be honest though.  We haven't had many ideas (if any) rejected, so it is more limited by what we are capable of getting cleared, designed, and manufactured in time.  I am sure RSD wouldn't accept everything we could dream up, so we try to be reasonable and not pitch too many titles to them as well.

Amoeblog: How do you determine how many RSD release copies to press up on a particular title?

Papa D of Get On Down: We guess!  Honestly, I would say we usually under press our titles for the most part, but at the same time we want these things to be collectable and not sitting in the cut-out bins in June.  So we just try to see what we have sold on past RSDs on similar artists and titles and also we look at the manufacturing limits, as far as how many we can get made on time.  And we talk to the key stores like Amoeba and see what they think they might want on given titles in advance so we can gauge the demand.  There are a few we probably have gone too long on.  But mostly I think we haven't made enough which is a double edge sword: I'm glad it sold out, but feel bad for the consumers who missed out.

Amoeblog: As a small label what are some of the challenges that you face with RSD from dealing with
publishers and record pressing plant schedules etc.?

Papa D of Get On Down: We have good relationships with a lot of rights holders, but there is still
red tape involved and things don't move as fast as we always hope when it comes to getting projects cleared, but definitely manufacturing deadlines is the biggest challenge.  It takes a long time to get records made during the time of year leading up to April RSD and the end of year push, especially if
we have some sort of deluxe configuration for the packaging.  We usually have to hand assemble records-into-sleeves etc if we have a deluxe package.  So that can always be problematic too with a small staff.  We have had many pizza-and-beer working weekends stuffing wax into sleeves to get it all out
the door to stores on time.

Amoeblog: Is it true, as some say, that certain collectors will buy anything just cos it is rare and by a particular artist?

Papa D of Get On Down: Honestly, yeah that is probably true, but I can't say personally I feel that
way.  Obviously there are certain artists that I want to have everything by, but being rare doesn't mean it's good or cool.  Just ask the late 90s-early 2000s indie hip hop movement:  there are a lot of 'rare' records from that time that suck and no one is looking for them now! haha

Amoeblog: In ten years from now for Record Store Day 2027 what do you envision the retail "record
store" landscape will look like (EG: more specialty stores and pop-ups)?

Papa D of Get On Down: I would think there would be more smaller stores opening, serving specific
genres like there used to be in the 90s, as my impression is that people tend to stay in whatever lanes they think they are in ("I only listen to and buy 70's psych rock from Germany!") and shop within those confines. But I wish there would be more stores like Amoeba that have it all but are still cool and have that indie "I am discovering something new that only I know about" vibe, if you know what I mean.  I've come across so many things I love just browsing stores like Amoeba for stuff that looks cool for whatever
reason.  Pop-ups are cool, but part of my love for records came from the routine of hitting the local shops on Tuesday release days, or making the rounds to the used records shops every week or two, and Pop-ups don't support that kind of buying. I think the current vinyl craze is going to lead to more people making this part of their routines as opposed to a once a year thing.  That's what I hope.  And from what I see at retail now, younger people are more excited about records now than they have been in the
last five to ten years.  So hopefully that is more of a lifestyle these darn kids will embrace as opposed to a short lived trend.

Amoeblog: What was the inspiration to form the Get On Down label in first place

Papa D of Get On Down: Honestly just having love for the hip-hop we grew up on, and not seeing it
be honored in the same way that classic rock and other genres are honored as far as deluxe reissues, box-sets etc. go. We thought we could do something cool and come up with cool ways to show some love for these records and get fans excited about them again.  We just wanted to do that for hip hop, for
reggae etc.,  for records we love and think people should still listen to even though they are not what's hot right now.  That's sounds corny but really it is what keeps us interested in doing this.

Amoeblog: Last question: what is the long term goal of Get On Down?

Papa D of Get On Down: Aw man, we are too busy reliving the good ol' days to think about the

Relevant Tags

Papa D (1), Rsd 2017 (2), Record Store Day 2017 (11), Rsd (19), Record Store Day (170), Traffic Entertainment (2), Get On Down (3), Brian Coleman (6)