The Worst of Hip Hop Hell CD


Entire CD Released in 2003 featuring over 30 local mc’s below

Words by Nathan Cary:

It was 2003 and Ian Ranne and his friends had created a monster with “Hip Hop Hell.” The club would be packed every night with fans, drunks, and mc’s waiting for the open mic to start. At 1 o’clock AM the mic would open up and mc’s would pour out onto the stage while to DJ’s would play an assortment of instrumentals. Sometime’s people got recognition from stepping up to the mic, others got “dissed,” heckled and so on. Sometime’s  it seemed less like a Hip hop show and more like a World Wrestling Cage match. Some remained until the end of the night, others were booed off stage.


I’m not sure when it started; but after awhile Ian got the idea to start recording the open mic nights. Back then you really didn’t have many options to record in high fidelity. Ian got the idea to purchase a CD recorder and bring it into the sound booth the record every show. I think the disks held about 70 minutes of sound so I guess every night he was throwing one into the recorder just as the open mic was to get started.


Old school Phillips and TDK cd recorders. Just look at the glorious dust!

So from then on, Ian recorded every Hip Hop Hell show for about a half a year. I can remember occasionally stopping by his place, taking gravity bong hits, and laughing my ass off at all the stuff he got recorded. At the time I thought “What a cool way to review last weeks show.” Shit, some of us didn’t remember what happened without hearing it back. Then came the idea for a compilation CD….


Ian hit me up about mixing a cd in late 2003. We had prior experience in music; he helped me release a cd (JVC 2000) and I had done some work making beats for his group LSF. Needless to say, I guess I was the “go to” guy for the mix. Ian brought over around 20 cds from shows over the year. The most impressive thing to me is how he meticulously had notebooks full of place markers for who did what and when. It lists would read like “Nomadic, CD number 15, 15:36-16:55, dope verse.” He had all the mc’s listed like this. I really can’t imagine how long it took for him to go through and write down every single mc, and every little highlight they had. I just simply had to match each MC’s highlights  together, blend their cuts to give a smooth transition, store the file. I’m making this sound easy but even I spent a combined 40 hours on this thing.

SONY Sound Forge Pro 10 Build 5074

Old version of Sound Forge Via 2003. I was editing this on a big bubble of a monitor that took up the whole desk.

After handing the final mix down to Ian, he went through the trouble of making duplicates and getting covers printed. I’m pretty sure he gave them out for free, but maybe it was 2 dollars or something. I remember the reviews were mixed. Some people where stoked to get some shine, some thought it was hilarious, others thought it was “bad for our community”  and others were pissed because they didn’t realize they were being recorded. All I know is that SOMEBODY knew that I had mixed it, because my first visit back to Hip Hop Hell after it’s release, I got beaned with one in the back of my head, haha! Still don’t know who hated it enough to throw it at me.

All and all… The Worst of Hip hop Hell cd is the biggest part of the Hip Hop Hell week. Everything else was made as a side thought. I actually lost my last copy of this cd and couldn’t find it for a decade. When I accidentally came across it 6 months ago I immediately uploaded it and asked Ian about doing the “Hell Week.” If you haven’t checked it out, do it.