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The city’s band scene continued to dip during 1983, with Michael Zilkha and ZE Records dragged into the slump. As the cutting edge of sound shifted from irreverent bands to conceptual producer-musician-DJ outfits, Arthur Baker, John Robie, and Afrika Bambaataa consolidated their pivotal position when they teamed up with the Soulsonic Force to record “Looking for the Perfect Beat” and “Renegades of Funk.” The breakthrough of Run-DMC’s debut “It’s Like That” and “Sucker m.c.’s.” suggested that rap was about to shift into a harder, more aggressive aesthetic. Relations between Flash and Robinson broke down entirely during the release of Melle...

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