When Southern California’s beat scene eventually rooted itself in their Pacific Northwestern stomping grounds, the members of Portland’s Dropping Gems collective quickly established themselves as some of the West Coast’s foremost purveyors of spacey instrumental hip-hop beats. Now, with the upcoming release of Rap ClassGreatest Hits, the label will be taking listeners on a trip into its early history, a period stretching from 2006 through 2009, when Rap Class (born John Kammerle) and label head Aaron Meola were college students living in Olympia, WA. Even back then, the Dropping Gems collective showed promise; just listen to record closer “Brothers Superhero,” one of the oldest tracks on the release. The drums and the vocal sample (which were entirely created and arranged on a Korg Electribe) are relatively understated, allowing the wistful tones of the persistent flute lead to resonate throughout the mix, making for a fitting farewell at the end of a trip down memory lane. You can nab Greatest Hits, which drops on August 22, through a “name your price” download over on Dropping Gems’ Bandcamp.

Brothers Superhero