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The Problem With Mixtapes These Days

Oliver Wang breaks down the history and current role of the mixtape in hip-hop. His critique at the end is on point:

A bigger concern is that, while mixtapes are aspiring to be more like albums, they've become less like . . . mixtapes.

Prior to Clue and company changing the proverbial game in the mid '90s, it was DJs like Kid Capri and Ron G who defined the genre. Their tapes made the performative a transformative experience, which could be Capri's party style mixing of new rap tunes with classic B-boy breaks or Ron G's blends of r&b a cappellas over hip-hop beats. The DJs aspired to create unique musical moments that suggested the music used wasn't any more important then how it was used. The irony of Clue's mixtape model, since copied by scores of DJs, is that there's no actual mixing. Whereas DJs once spoke with their hands, now they just use their mouths as they play songs, sans segues, all the while yelling during intervals to promote tracks or themselves. Though the practical upside is that all that bellowing discourages others from bootlegging the exclusives for their own tapes, this style effectively removes the DJ as an audio alchemist and makes him a circus barker instead.
Check out Wang's weblog. I knew their was something official about this guy. He didn't seem like just another fake hip-hop journalist hired by a web company that has no clue about our culture.

July 22, 2003 in Commentary | Link Me | Related Searches | Related Music

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Tracked on Feb 3, 2004 3:22:38 PM


O-Dub is the man.
His book "Classic Material" is a great read. I recommend that everyone buy the book and add it to their library. (or spend some time at the bookstore and read a couple of pages.)

Nice posts all around Madison . . . keep it up. I see you!

Posted by: Trent at Jul 23, 2003 12:25:48 PM

this is so true...

then again - there are mixtapes like those above, and there are mixtapes....

Posted by: pb at Oct 3, 2003 5:27:42 AM


Posted by: ma538zda at Dec 13, 2007 6:12:30 AM