Review: Big Crown Records – YIA Talent Hunt Winners

Words by Keegan Fepulea’i


Known as a hotbed for crime and hip hop – its most notable hip hop exports being Jay Z, Master Ace & Biggie – Bedford-Stuyvesant has in the past decade experienced somewhat of a turnaround. Mainly due to rampant gentrification, the average rent across ‘Bed Stuy’ has risen 36.1% over the decade.


Many initiatives have tried to tackle many of the social issues within Bed Stuy but it appears that gentrification will solve them, or rather, sweep them under the rug. One such initiative in the 60’s was “Youth In Action, Inc.”. ​It was organized for the purpose of developing an Anti-Poverty Program to combat the root causes of poverty, as well as find cures for the conditions that had turned the area into an undesirable place to live. Many of the programmes were designed to engage the youth in various areas of sport & culture. One of the lesser known programs produced by YIA was their talent show. The show resulted in the pressing of a record. Considered a holy grail soul record, you no longer have to fork out stupid amounts of cash for a copy or spend a decade searching for one. Released this month on Big Crown Records, I highly recommend adding it to your next round of music purchased.


Steeped in the vocal harmony tradition, each group recorded a cover of what are, in some cases, now popular songs from the period. The raw nature of the record is untouchable. Vocal innocence is present in every single tune.


Check it out on Big Crown Records’ bandcamp, or better yet, purchase a copy locally from Dusty Crates ​(https://www.dustycrates.co.nz/)​. This is quickly becoming a favourite for 2019.