ALBUM OPERATOR’S CRATE CLASSICS: Edan’s ‘Beaty and the Beat’

On “Crate Classics,” Album Operator dusts off the records of his college radio sets in Boston (’96-’00) and his days DJing NYC in the early ’00s.

Released in the spring of 2005, Beauty and the Beat is a record that always deserves to be talked about.

In crafting this 34-minute psychedelic rap masterpiece, MC-Producer-DJ Edan looked to the early pioneers and to his own diverse record collection. Afrika Bambaataa himself is the spiritual guide here, where obscure funk loops, trippy guitar riffs and tape echos all work together, and no musical genre is off limits for sampling.

Edan is an honorable disciple in this temple of hip-hop, and it’s clear he’s studied carefully. Class is in session on the rap history lesson, “Fumbling Over Words That Rhyme,” and he keeps up with Bronx legend Percee P on the blistering “Torture Chamber.”  On “Making Planets,” an unexpected beat change propels Mr. Lif to one of the greatest entrances to a verse I’ve ever heard on wax. And then there’s “I See Colours,” which is worth having on record all by itself.

Edan may “dine on the periodic tablecloth of elements”—hip-hop elements that is—but he isn’t retreading any ground here. Originality explodes, and off kilter humor and surrealist imagery abound. Who else “works with the aesthetic of a brain medic” or “frolics in the sand with a colony of ants?”

Edan’s beats and rhymes give us a world where sounds are vivid colors and all expectations are subverted. Raise a fist for The Humble Magnificent!