Speaking before his DJ set at Electric Pickle last August, Stones Throw Records founder Chris Manak — better known to hip-hop heads, vinyl junkies, and funk enthusiasts as Peanut Butter Wolf — told Miami New Times he planned to return to Miami sooner rather than later. "Next year is our 20-year anniversary... so I hope to do a big blowout in Miami and bring back the funk and soul and hip-hop for those who care."
Eight months, one great show, and 20 years of forward-thinking hip-hop later, Peanut Butter Wolf has shown himself to be a man of his word and will perform at Bardot this Saturday. Accompanied by Stones Throw artists J Rocc and Mndsgn, Peanut Butter Wolf and the gang are celebrating the indie hip-hop label's 20th year in the only manner appropriate for such an occasion — by throwing one hell of a party.
Even those unfamiliar with Peanut Butter Wolf or Stones Throw have no doubt encountered the style and aesthetic the label has helped to popularize over the past two decades: If you've enjoyed the jazzy, psychedelic styling of Kendrick Lamar's latest releases (aided in part by production from former Stones Throw intern Flying Lotus) or ever nodded your head to one of Adult Swim's iconic interstitial tunes, you have Stones Throw to thank. Although it is now home to records and musicians of myriad sonic dispositions, the Stones Throw "sound" that defined the label's mid-'00s output — the nostalgia-soaked collage of samples plundered with care from obscure funk, soul, and jazz albums — was built on the back of landmark releases by Peanut Butter Wolf, along with artists such as Madlib, his brother Oh No, and the dearly missed J Dilla. From the shroomed-out pop-cultural playfulness of Madvillainy to the existential soul that has lent Donuts its staying power, Stones Throw has contributed more than its fair share to the hip-hop canon.
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In the years since those seminal releases, Stones Throw has been immortalized not only in the form of a well-received 2014 documentary chronicling the label's humble origins and eventual ascension but also, more important, by having had a tangible influence on hip-hop and its acolytes. After 20 years, having burrowed its way up from the underground and freed itself from the zipped-up confines of backpackers the world over, now seems as good a time as ever to celebrate and reminisce on the bizarre, avant-garde label with the man who started it all.
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Stones Throw 20th-Anniversary Tour with Peanut Butter Wolf, Mndsgn, and J Rocc. 10 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-5570; bardotmiami.com. Tickets cost $20 plus fees via showclix.com.