BBE are a collective we have had on our radar for many years; a label known for quality [and quantity] dancefloor focused compilations and quality original material from legends like J Dilla and Pete Rock.
A visit to the Atjazz label showcase [last month’s featured label] allowed us to check the newly opened BBE shop and meet the crew. After a few drinks and conversation they kindly agreed to collaborate with us on this month’s feature.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we bring you BBE records.
collectors and DJs around (Dimitri From Paris, Joey Negro and Sean P), their funk albums have been compiled by Keb Darge, Pete Rock and Kenny Dope, their jazz collated by Bob Jones, hip hop tended to by DJ Premier and their house aided by Terry Farley and Masters at Work. If they needed something doing, they consulted the best.
They have always been swift off the mark, releasing music by Madlib, Will I Am or Jay Dee that frankly would have been beyond many bigger labels had they not approached them at the right time and with the correct amount of chutzpah. Plus, some beautiful artwork and a nice spot of packaging never harms things. “There is a reason why BBE has been tagged with the label ‘legendary’,” claims Amir (of Kon & Amir infamy). “Their consistency, integrity, and tastemaker status have all contributed to their success.”
As the label fast moves towards an incredible 20th anniversary, it’s managed to morph and change to accommodate the way the music industry has changed, yet always with the same ethos they carried with them into those early BBE parties: polymaths with attitude. Long may they break even.
Bill Brewster Feb 2013
Barely Breaking Even just about sums it all up. Of course, for those in the know, it also happens to be the name of one of the finest disco records of all time (by the Universal Robot Band). Funnily enough, it’s where our story starts.Barely Breaking Even just about sums it all up. Of course, for those in the know, it also happens to be the name of one of the finest disco records of all time (by the Universal Robot Band). Funnily enough, it’s where our story starts.
Sometime after the Universal Robot Band and sometime before where we are now, a pair of DJ/promoter/whatevers, Pete Adarkwah and Ben Jolly, ran a successful club night named after our eponymous song, playing a joyful mix of all they considered good. ‘Wouldn’t it be fun,’ they mused, ‘To release some of these tunes?’ And so BBE was born.
Over the past ten years, they have released multi-genre compilations, mixed with some killer artist contributions while still finding time to introduce the occasional new series (The Kings Of….) and always, always working with venerable veterans of the finest stripe, among them Roy Ayers and John Morales.
The main key to the success of BBE is quality. Their disco albums have been curated by some of the most respected