Streetsounds was part of the UK Streetwave stable of labels created by Morgan Khan. A Hong Kong-born Indian who grew up in London, Khan had worked in the UK record industry since the mid 1970′s, working for such names as PRT Distribution (a division of Pye Records) and R&B Records, for whom at the time Imagination were the up and coming stars of the day.
Khan founded the independent Streetwave record label during 1981 to specialise in releasing Electro and Hi-NRG releases. Within a year of creation, Streetwave began the Streetsounds series of albums; compilations created from some of the hottest 12″ imports of the day. These releases made available a selection of the most contemporary dance floor hits within the financial reach of those wanting to hear the freshest sounds. In the early 80′s a 12″ single was priced around £2 and you would pay over £4 for an import 12″. The Streetsounds series offered usually 8 to 12 full-length 12″ mixes for under a fiver. Understandably, the Streetsounds series was met with considerable enthusiasm and, some might say, mighty relief.
This series would run for over 6 years and contain over 50 albums. By far the most coveted of the Streetsounds releases were the Electro series. These albums introduced the UK to the developing hip-hop scene from America – a stroke of genius that brought electro and early hip hop from the underground to the UK high street and, one could argue, helped in the creation of the UK’s hip hop scene.
The Electro series ran for a total of 27 albums (and one box set) from 1982 to 1988. The albums were initially labeled “Streetsounds Electro” with the title morphing into “Streetsounds Hip Hop” after release 12 in 1986.
All of the albums were competently mixed by a series of the best remixers of the day – predominately from the UK. A large proportion of the mixes on the early releases were completed by a London-based hip-hop sound system from the early 80s. Headed by “Herbie The Mastermind” (aka Herbie Laidley) the team also featured Kiss FM radio DJ’s Dave VJ and Max LX who were also members of UK electro outfit Hard Rock Soul Movement, responsible for the massive “Double Def Fresh” release.