Updated: Dec 7, 2018
Techno Hop Records is one of the original Electro Funk and Hip Hop labels from the West Coast. Launched in 1984, it is the creation of one of the most legendary Hip Hop and Electro pioneers, Unknown DJ. With a catalog of more than 20 releases, it has been responsible for establishing artists like Cli-N-Tel, Jazzy D, King Tee, and Compton's Most Wanted. Although the beginnings of the label were more focused on the sounds of West Coast Electro Funk, it quickly evolved into a label that also focused just as much on West Coast Rap; where legends like Ice-T would build much of their careers.
The first release was by none other than the label founder himself, Unknown DJ; with one of his all time classics "Beatronic"; which was produced alongside Daniel "Perfect Tommy" Sofer. Over the next year and a half, Unknown DJ and Sofer would follow up with 2 more legendary releases, "808 Beats", and "Let's Jam"; which also featured Darryl "Lyrrad" Davis on the basslines. In 1985, 3 releases deep and after much success, Unknown DJ would move on to one of his side projects, "Facade", releasing the hit "The Groove", which featured Davis once again; but this time on the guitar. It is important to also point out that Davis was also the mastermind behind the Techno Hop logo and many of the cover arts for Unknown DJ's releases on the label.
The next couple of releases on Techno Hop would begin to reflect some of the more organic sounds coming out of Big Beat Productions; the production arm of Techno Hop Records, releasing 2 old time Hip Hop classics "The Big Beat" by The Organization, as well as "A Wack Girl" by Jazzy D. Also in 1986, the first full release by one of the originators of the West Coast scene, Cli-N-Tel, would be released: "2030", also produced by Unknown DJ, and published on Techno Hop to much success. Still considered one of the early Electro Funk gems, this record is still very sought after and still gets lots of play on internet radio stations, as well as DJ mixes by those that were lucky enough to have been able to obtain this 12" cut.
Over the next 3 years, before the 19 year hiatus of Techno Hop, the label would continue to release a wide variety of Electro Funk and Hip Hop releases, publishing hits like DJ Battery Brain's "8 Volt Mix", "Sweat" by The Mechanic, and even Ice-T's "Ya Don't Quit"; culminating with the first release by Compton's Most Wanted, "This Is Compton". Although this was to be end in the 80's saga of Techno Hop Records, the label continued until 1990 with it's sub-label Techno-Kut (founded alongside Alonzo Williams), releasing classics by artists like Professor X and The X-Men, even publishing another of Unknown DJ's legendary releases "Basstronic".
In 2008, Techno Hop Records returned with an astonishing and quite beautifully composed single by Unknown DJ called "This Is Electro/Mini Mois", which was warmly received by many of his loyal fans and even people who perhaps were not aware of his discography and earlier influence over the sounds of Electro Funk and what would later evolve into Electro Bass.
It had once even been revealed to us here at Electric Kingdom by Unknown DJ himself, that perhaps future releases may have included a team up between Detroit legends Aux 88 and Unknown DJ, on a record that was to be called "Detroit Meets Boss Angeles". A record that interestingly enough, would have highlighted an important part of Techno Hop and Unknown DJ's history, and why as a West coast pioneer, he was so adamant about using the word "Techno"; a term that at the time was really only a Detroit thing. Not many know that Unknown DJ was actually from Detroit himself.
Not much is known whether Techno Hop will ever make a comeback, however if you are unfamiliar with their discography, check them out on Discogs. Techno Hop is one of the originators, and as far as Electro, a unique sound you should acquaint yourself with if you haven't.