Last year A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and D.I.T.C. were all celebrated for their comeback albums in 2016, but only a dedicated few remembered the 25th anniversary of Main Source’s Breaking Atoms. The album, released on July, 23, 1991, is regarded as the foundation of the classic boom-bap sound in New York, courtesy of boardwork by Toronto DJs Sir Scratch (Shawn McKenzie), K-Cut (Kevin McKenzie) and Queens-bred MC/producer Large Professor (Paul Mitchell). Praised for their fresh take on sample-heavy hip-hop, Breaking Atoms has earned respect in the underground community, but rarely recognized for its ingenuity on a mainstream level. Songs like “Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball,” a running metaphor of baseball terminology with police brutality, and A-side/B-side singles “Watch Roger Do His Thing,” and “Looking At The Front Door” fit within hip-hop’s uncompromising direction of today.
The online record club Vinyl Me, Please chose Breaking Atoms as their Record of the Month for February. A collaboration that began in mid-2016 between the Colorado-based service and Main Source (with some help from Baby Paul), they re-issued the album on January 20 in hopes to introduce new fans to an underrated gem of American musical history. In celebration of the release, SOBs hosted Main Source’s 25th anniversary reunion show last Wednesday night in New York, featuring a vibrant opening set by host Just Blaze. Maneuvering through the packed venue, you could spot architects of New York rap (Pete Rock, Marco Polo, JuJu from the Beatnuts), and a slew of Main Source affiliates (Lord Finesse, Neek the Exotic, Royal Flush, Joe Fatal, Buckwild, and Mr. Cheeks) on stage to perform, soak in the moment, or say a few word saluting Large Pro.