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Pete Rock,Hank Shocklee, Lord Finesse & Ski Beatz-The dirty heartbeat of the golden age By Ben Detrick

In the summer of 1987, E-mu Systems released the SP-1200, a drum machine and sampler designed for dance-music producers. An update of a previous model known as the SP-12, the souped-up edition allowed for the recording and manipulation of a 10.07-second sample with gritty 12-bit sound quality—now you could craft a complete instrumental on one portable machine. Just as the Stradivarius or the Fender Stratocaster were standard-bearers by which other instruments were judged, the SP-1200 quickly became the tool of choice for East Coast beat-makers during rap's so-called "Golden Age," a period during the late '80s and early '90s, when sampling laws were still being meted out in courtrooms. Such artists as Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, Gang Starr, Main...

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