If you’re an aspiring crate digger or an experienced collector, here are ten of the best Instagram pages to follow.
From the very inception of hip-hop, back in the ’70s, records have been a key part of the culture’s lifeblood. A crate digger would scour record stores and dusty dollar bins or raid their parent’s basements as part of the tireless search for the perfect beat.
As rap music and sampling took over as a dominant force in the pop-cultural landscape in the ’80s and ’90s, record conventions, reissues, and compilations of hard-to-find records all began to emerge as part of an ancillary industry devoted to connecting collectors with the music that they wanted to buy.
Today, there is an Instagram for crate diggers. Sites like International Breaks and Re Up Recordz (Formerly Records From Japan) allow diggers to purchase rare records from around the world, while Cornell University’s Hip Hop Collection gives an insight into its archive of hip-hop artifacts, including some of the same records played at the early Bronx jams.
For both the aspiring record enthusiast and experienced collectors alike, here are ten of the best Instagram pages for Crate Diggers.
Breakbeat Lou (Creator Of Ultimate Breaks And Beats)
Working alongside his partner, Lenny Roberts (aka Breakbeat Lenny), Lou Flores (Breakbeat Lou), created the highly influential Ultimate Breaks & Beats series in 1986. By compiling classic breaks that were played at the early Bronx jams, UBB introduced a generation of DJs and producers to foundational breaks like “Synthetic Substitution,” Bo Diddly’s “Hit Or Miss,” The Galactic Force Space Band’s “Space Dust,” and many more. Although Lenny passed years ago, Lou has carried on the UBB legacy faithfully. His IG page is full of gems and he routinely goes live, playing sets culled from his deep collection.
Known worldwide as “The King Of Diggin,” Japanese hip-hop pioneer DJ Muro’s King Of Diggin’, Diggin’ Ice, and Super Disco Breaks mixtape series’ have been rocking tape decks and educating listeners since the mid-’90s. His personal IG page is littered with gems from his own collection, showcasing why he has been one of the leading crate diggers on the scene for decades.
Established in 2007, DJ Prestige’s Fleamarket Funk brand is one of the most trusted names in the record digging community. In addition to a podcast, a documentary, and more, Fleamarket Funk’s IG page is a healthy resource for Prestige’s work and his amazing collection.
Along with funk, jazz, and soul music, psychedelic rock is a fertile genre for diggers searching for exciting sounds from the past. Daily Psych Vinyl explores the genre with great pictures of dope gems like J.K. & Co’s Suddenly One Summer, Brainticket, and The Electric Prunes.
Since 1990, DJ’s Shadow has been putting in work and advancing the culture of production, DJing, and crate digging. The DJ Shadow Collection IG page pays tribute to this legacy by showcasing everything from rare promo cassettes, magazines, and, of course, records that tell the story of one of the culture’s most celebrated diggers.
Named in tribute to jazz organist Jimmy Smith’s famous 1972 album, Osaka, Japan’s Root Down Records provides an eclectic selection for discerning collectors. With their slogan promising “Soul, Funk, Disco, Reggae, Hip Hop…and all good music,” Root Down’s IG features lovely pictures of the shop and it’s cache of new and used vinyl.
In the ’60s and ’70s, film, TV, and radio producers would utilize library music to use in their projects. Companies like KPM, Bruton, and Music DeWolfe would hire session musicians, composers, and arrangers to create unique themes. Recordings of these themes would then be paired with visual media. These library records have since become hot commodities in the digging community. The Library Gold IG page pays tribute to these records by highlighting their creative cover art and sound clips of the music.
Philadelphia-based DJ and collector Skeme Richards is an internationally-renowned vinyl connoisseur. Known for rocking parties all across the United States, Europe, and Asia, Skeme is a walking library of funk, soul, disco, and beyond. His Instagram page, as well as his Nostalgia King site, is a great resource for a true crate digger.
Formed by writer Greg Shaw in 1974, BOMP! Records has been at the forefront of several movements in underground rock music, including punk, garage, and psych-rock revival. Operating a thriving mail-order record business for decades, BOMP! Is one of the top names in the game for underrated gems and lovingly packaged reissues.
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Phil Ranelin’s jacket slicks for his landmark album ‘Vibes From The Tribe.’ 15 sets of the front and back prints. They measure 14.5” squared. They vary in condition: some have creases, nothing serious, and some have mild yellowing or slightly faded colors. Suitable for framing and certainly for admiring. . After all of the messages I saw yesterday and a call from Phil, I’ve decided to not wait to offer these via #Rappcats. I’ll offer them here, and all proceeds from the sale of these slicks will go directly to Phil. . I know many folks reading this have been giving to a variety of organizations that oppose systemic oppression and brutality here in America, and abroad. Well, Phil has spent his entire life fighting racism and preaching unity through spirit and music, especially in the crucial late 1960s through mid 1970s, when he and his compatriots in Detroit served with Tribe, a Black American-founded and funded label, magazine, educational resource and hub whose spokes spread out through America’s underground. . Phil has never given up the fight. This is a chance to give back to an elder who helped set the stage for the sweeping change we hope to see come, finally, in this country. As he wrote on the back cover of his album, ‘ Vibes From The Tribe’ is a searching and pleading call for unity, dedicated to Black children of the universe.’ . Here’s how this works: . Base offer is $250 for the pair, plus shipping. You can offer more. Just send me a DM. Highest offers get the cleanest of the slicks (though they all look pretty damn great). I’ll take offers in the order they come in. They will be mailed to you, rolled, in a sturdy poster mailer.
Musical omnivore, collector, and business partners with Madlib, Eothen Alapatt (aka Egon) has been educating collectors on rare and under-appreciated music for years. His IG offers a wealth of context, with anecdotes and biographical info on the musicians that made the music that we love. Traversing funk, soul, jazz, rock, hip-hop, and beyond, Egon is a digger’s digger, displaying the knowledge and passion that keeps the culture vital. A true crate digger will be pleased.
John Morrison is a writer, DJ, and sample-flipper based in Philadelphia.