About the Hip-Hop Archive
The Lecco’s Lemma Collection is part of the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive at UMass Boston and contains artist demo tapes and broadcasts from the Lecco’s Lemma radio show, a rap music show that was founded by Magnus Johnstone and ran from 1985 to 1988 on local college radio stations WMBR (88.1 FM) and WZBC (90.3 FM). The Lecco’s Lemma Collection contains both artist demos that were given to Magnus, as well as recordings of the show made by Willie “Loco” Alexander, who regularly taped the show throughout its run.
This collection is historically significant for several reasons. In 1985 in Boston, commercial radio stations were only playing a small number of the most popular rap songs, none of which were being made by local artists. Because Magnus played national releases that were not appearing elsewhere on the airwaves, his show rapidly became popular among teenage audiences who were hungry to hear this new genre.
Perhaps more importantly, because Magnus solicited and played demo tapes made by emerging local groups, his show was the first place that artists like Keithy E and Gang Starr, Edo G, The Almighty RSO, Top Choice Clique, TDS Mob, and many others, appeared on the air. In addition to playing their demo tapes, Magnus often invited these young artists into the studio for interviews and to perform live.
Because we have both the artist demo tapes, as well as many hours of the show they appeared on, we have a unique record of the sound of rap music at a moment when it was becoming more widely popular among suburban teenage audiences, but just before it had become a full-fledged industry. The Lecco’s Lemma collection offers unique glimpse into the local beginnings of a musical genre and cultural movement that has gone on to become one of the most influential, and commercially successful, in history.
Warning: Recordings may contain explicit content.
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The Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive has been supported with a grant from the UMass President’s Creative Economy Initiative Fund.