15 Songs, 1 Hour, 7 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the time M.C. Shan cut 1986’s “The Bridge," Queensbridge had been home to a small but flourishing hip-hop scene for years. But it was Shan’s early singles—bolstered by thunderous, speaker-shaking production from Marley Marl—that brought the Queensbridge scene to national attention and signaled the rise of the lean, confrontational style that would dominate New York hip-hop during its late-‘80s golden age. Shan got his start rhyming alongside Roxanne Shanté, whose single “Roxanne’s Revenge” was one of Marley Marl’s most successful early productions. Before long, Shan was collaborating with Marley on cuts like “Down by Law,” “The Bridge,” and “Beatbiter” (a ferocious takedown of L.L. Cool J, whose “Rock the Bells” borrowed the drum pattern of Shan & Marley’s “Marley Scratch”). This deluxe reissue of Shan’s debut, Down by Law, supplements the album’s original nine tracks with a host of remixes, instrumentals, and dubs. Included are two versions of “Cocaine,” an eerie account of the inescapable allure of crack cocaine that sports some of Shan’s most compelling lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the time M.C. Shan cut 1986’s “The Bridge," Queensbridge had been home to a small but flourishing hip-hop scene for years. But it was Shan’s early singles—bolstered by thunderous, speaker-shaking production from Marley Marl—that brought the Queensbridge scene to national attention and signaled the rise of the lean, confrontational style that would dominate New York hip-hop during its late-‘80s golden age. Shan got his start rhyming alongside Roxanne Shanté, whose single “Roxanne’s Revenge” was one of Marley Marl’s most successful early productions. Before long, Shan was collaborating with Marley on cuts like “Down by Law,” “The Bridge,” and “Beatbiter” (a ferocious takedown of L.L. Cool J, whose “Rock the Bells” borrowed the drum pattern of Shan & Marley’s “Marley Scratch”). This deluxe reissue of Shan’s debut, Down by Law, supplements the album’s original nine tracks with a host of remixes, instrumentals, and dubs. Included are two versions of “Cocaine,” an eerie account of the inescapable allure of crack cocaine that sports some of Shan’s most compelling lyrics.

TITLE TIME
4:04
5:10
4:24
5:13
4:53
5:22
5:56
4:26
5:14
3:03
3:46
4:31
3:12
3:49
4:22

About MC Shan

According to legend, MC Shan (b. Shawn Moltke) got his big break in 1983 when the future boss of Cold Chillin' Records caught Shan trying to steal his car. Although the fact that old-school super-producer Marley Marl was Shan's cousin probably didn't hurt either, Shan took advantage of the opportunity to become a member of Marl's Juice Crew All-Stars. After several singles (including the old-school classic "The Bridge"), his 1987 album debut Down By Law established a b-boy persona over tracks produced by his cousin. The same held for the 1988 follow-up, Born to Be Wild; on 1990's Play It Again, Shan, he opted for a more mature outlook and a new producer, but it proved to be his final effort. Though he moved into production work, he made a return on "Da Bridge 2001," from Queensbridge's Finest, a 2000 LP released by Nas. ~ Steve Huey

  • ORIGIN
    Queens, New York, NY
  • BORN
    September 8, 1965

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