The Third Unheard


Various Artists
The Third Unheard
Stones Throw

Long before Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons were folding each other's underwear and fighting over the top bunk at NYU, Tony “Mr. Magic” Pearson—a record-store owner from Connecticut—had already been rapping and recording hip-hop songs, starting about as early as he could have back in 1979. Third Unheard is as old-school as New Haven and Bridgeport could get—not old-school like green Cross Color jeans, but old-school like eight-track tapes and stars who were DJs, not MCs. This isn't the kind of record people who listen to Power 106 would like—no catchy three-line hooks or artists rapping about money, bitches and Cristal. Instead, it's the kind of record people who work at Power 106—guys with gray hair and a 401k—would like: 13 chilly songs, half of them disco-inspired and the rest rapped over early breaks and beats. “Get Up (and Go to School)” features Mr. Magic's 12-year-old nephew, Pookie Blow, who raps about getting ready for class in between 30-second kazoo solos; the Rappermatical 5 ride the funk train over a bare-bones bass and piano “Party People”; everything crashes into everything else on “Showdown Rehearsal Live” when Starchild and 2nd Showdown Crew pass the mic around the room and give everybody a turn. It may have taken 25 years for Mr. Magic to finally get his hand in your pocket, but it's cool—let him cop a feel. (Charlie Rose)

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