Grade A Certified

“Dropped the mixtape that sh*t sounded like a album…”

Posted by Oak Jones on April 1, 2010

Idle time normally leads to profound thinking. The most thought-provoking times of the day for me seems to be right before I take my lunch break at work; along with the late hours of the night when insomnia kicks in. I’ve never fully understood why these things happen at these specific times, but I believe that its not our job to understand, but to capitalize on these moments. In going through my iPod, the many of the “Top Played” tracks and albums were actually not albums at all. I know that doesn’t really make sense, but just bear with me for now.

When one travels, the act of reading or listening to music calms the soul and stimulates the mind; and I for one like to do little bit of both. Hip-hop has come a very long way, and has taken steps both backwards, as well as forwards throughout it’s 40 plus years of “official” existence. Due to the politics, greed, and pop influenced direction of the music business these days, it has become much more difficult for an artist to truly express their unique point of view to the public, as well as being real with themselves as well as with their listeners. The radio stations and television shows have flooded programming with watered-down lyrics, and club friendly beats, which in turn have delivered a harsh blow to the genre of hip-hop itself. The albums that many of these rappers are putting out are no longer reflections of how they feel, but the visions of their record labels and A & R’s. However, an outlet has emerged within the past decade; a sense of solace what have you, for the musicians trying to get a foot in the door, to the artists at the top of their respective genre. Yes, it’s exactly what you all are thinking… the mixtape.

The mixtape lets the artist become who they are, with no limits, restrictions or deadlines. It’s a way for them to be free, point. blank. Period. These street albums originally surfaced in the East Coast, with people disc jockeys like DJ Clue and Kay Slay (just to name a few…) emerging to the forefront in the mid-nineties. However, for the past few years, the more popular tapes have been released by southern artists and DJ’s, making this a nationwide market, as opposed to just residing in New York. Rappers such as 50 Cent, Lil’ Wayne and Young Jeezy (just to name a few…) have pushed their careers to new and exciting levels because of the popularity and content of their classic discs. While on the other end, DJ Drama and DJ Khaled are not only teh most respected southern Dj’s, but the most respected Dj’s on a nationwide level.

In actuality, a lot of artists would not be in the position that they are now if it wasn’t for this “outlet”. The only downfall to the mixtape is that due to it not being an official label release, many artist don’t receive a REAL financial gain. But, the exposure I believe… is priceless. Well, I’m done typing you guys, I just wanted to throw in my two cents on this beautiful Thursday afternoon.

Be safe,

-Oak

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