New York, NY – It’s hard to believe that there was ever an era where the internet couldn’t forever encapsulate a song but Hip Hop didn’t always enjoy that luxury.

Luckily enough, Rostrum Records has compiled a unique “treasure trove” of lost and unreleased recordings of Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, MC Lyte, Special Ed and more and branded it: Top Shelf 1988.

The title not only signifies one of the culture’s most marquee years, it tells the story of how the masters of these recordings came to be misplaced 30 years ago.

Over the 1988 weekend of August 6 and 7, Manhattan’s Lower East Side Top Shelf 1988 Studio (known for providing sanctuary to individuals who created the spirit of Hip Hop; a “safe haven” if you will) fell victim to the effects of a riot between protestors and police that took place on the outskirts of Tompkins Square Park. The following Monday, the producers discovered that much of the equipment (including the masters) had been stolen.

But, treasure is meant to be discovered.

Top Shelf 1988 is many years in the making. I’m so honored that we’re a part of this momentous album” Rostrum Records President Benjy Grinberg exclaimed in a press release. “Our hope with the release is that it will inspire people to rediscover all the amazing music from this era. It’s really a celebration of the artists and the artistry of the time.”

Stream the Top Shelf 1988 and relive the Golden Era.

01. Biz Markie
02. Big Daddy Kane
03. Craig G
04. MC Lyte
05. Special Ed
06. Doug E. Fresh
07. Jungle Brothers
08. Grand Puba
09. Masta Ace
10. Dres (of Black Sheep)
11. Smooth B (of Nice & Smooth)
12. Grandmaster Caz & Melle Mel
13. Chubb Rock