The ’85 Bears, Michael Jordan and Madlib

Air Time - 2Music from the NBA VHS era has featured often in The Locker Room (here, here and here).

Today we present a timeline of how we believe one particular composition ended up resurfacing nearly 30 years after it first emerged.

1986: Legendary library music label De Wolfe publishes the album “Videotronics” by Andy Quin. The opening track is “Up Market.”

1989: “Up Market” appears for the first time (probably) on an NBA release (Awesome Endings).

1990: “Up Market” appears on Super Bears: Highlights of Super Bowl XX by NFL Films. This video contains one of our favourite moments in all of sports.

Bears 85Da Bears.

1993: While it featured on a number of NBA Entertainment releases through the early ’90s, “Up Market” is best remembered for its use as the backing to the opening of Michael Jordan: Air Time.

– – – – Through the mid-to-late ’90s and the 2000s, “Up Market” fails to make a notable appearance – – – –

2014: Renowned producer and sampler of De Wolfe records Madlib teams with MC and big Michael Jordan fan Freddie Gibbs for the release of the critically acclaimed album “Piñata.”

Track 7 off “Piñata,” entitled “Shitsville,” samples Quin’s “Up Market” throughout. You can hear the instrumental here.

We don’t think it is a coincidence that an MC who grew up on NBA in the early ’90s ended up rapping over a beat that samples a track used in an MJ video from that same period.

Whether Gibbs approached Madlib with the Air Time intro and said “Find this and make a beat from it” or Madlib unearthed “Up Market” independently is something we’ll probably never know.

It would be nice to hear the whole story from Freddie Gibbs’ mouth though.

Because we like both, we took the liberty of combining Air Time footage with the “Shitsville” beat.

If you have any further interest in library music, there is a documentary in the works.

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