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Monday, June 29, 2015

Moment of Truth: Park Blvd Records Is a Hip-Hop Treasure Trove

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 9:37 AM

click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

On a sleepy drag of Oakland's Park Boulevard, across the street from lively pick-up basketball games at F.M. Smith Park and a stone's throw away from Lake Merritt, hip-hop lifers Andrew "Noz" Nosnitsky and Jason Darrah have opened Park Blvd Records & Tapes. 


There's no window decals on the storefront yet, so it's super unassuming, but once you walk inside, it's a more-than-thorough collection of hip-hop records, tapes, CD's, novelties, and then some. And while there's good digging to be had in sections for different eras of rock, r&b/soul, jazz and international, the focus here is hip-hop. As such, there's a solid mix of different rap style sections, highlighted by a couple racks of 'Bay Area Rap' focused beats.

click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli


The other denominations are "kid in a candy store" type shit for hip-hop heads: West Coast, early East Coast, electro rap, early New York rap, Philly rap, late-'80s East Coast rap, '90s East Coast rap (someone seriously needs to go there and swoop up the pristine copy of Pharoahe Monche's Internal Affairs LP) and dedicated slates to E40/Sick Wid It, Hieroglyphics, Project Blowed, and Sugar Hill. 

Where Andrew Nosnitsky is a hip-hop critic/blogger who runs the now sleepier, but still popular Cocaine Blunts blog, his business partner Jason Darrah runs the 12ManRambo blog, which documents classic Bay Area hip-hop tapes. It follows that the store's hip-hop tape collection is as strong as it gets. 

click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

"I've been selling music online for years and have always wanted to have a store," Darrah told me. "Andrew and I decided to put all our stock and our knowledge together to open up a store. I'm stoked on it."

He should be. It's a smooth shop that's really starting to come together. While some of the walls are still bare, Darrah showed me some collectible 8x10 photos that they'll be putting up. There's a lot of room for growth in the shop and they're hoping to even host some events like in-store DJ appearances. There's a cozy couch by the window with the Oakland sun shining through just strong enough to feel it on the back of your neck, but just weak enough to make you want to stay put and enjoy the records the store is spinning.
click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

The "NEW NEW NEW" rack had less than 10 records in it with LPs from the likes of Holly Herndon, FKA Twigs, and Björk. But this ain't really the place to come to for new shit. You come here for the rap gems. You come here for that De La Soul is Dead tape or to come back and buy the MF Doom lunch box you can't stop thinking about. You come here to find that old Steely Dan or Jobim record that really should've already been in your collection. It's pure nostalgia and while Park Blvd Records isn't out here to save the hip-hop world or anything, it's certainly a treasure trove for hip-hop heads. 

click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli

click to enlarge My haul for the day! (Imma be back for that MF Doom lunchbox!) - ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli
  • My haul for the day! (Imma be back for that MF Doom lunchbox!)

click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli
click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli
click to enlarge ADRIAN SPINELLI
  • Adrian Spinelli
Park Blvd Records
2014 Park Blvd
Oakland, CA 94606

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About The Author

Adrian Spinelli

Adrian Spinelli

Bio:
Hip hop and sandwiches.

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