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Monday, June 20, 2011


        A mixtape or mixed tape is a compilation of songs recorded in a specific order, traditionally onto an audio Compact Cassette.

        A mixtape, which usually reflects the musical tastes of its compiler, can range from a casually selected list of favorite songs, to a conceptual mix of songs linked by a theme or mood, to a highly personal statement tailored to the tape's intended recipient. Essayist Geoffrey O'Brien has called the personal mixtape "the most widely practiced American art form", and many mixtape enthusiasts believe that by carefully selecting and ordering the tracks in a mix, an artistic statement can be created that is greater than the sum of its individual songs.
      With the advent of affordable, consumer-level digital audio, creating and distributing mixes in the form of compact disc or MP3 playlists has become the contemporary method of choice, but the term mixtape is still commonly used, even for mixes in different media (for example, CD, MP3, MiniDisc, audio cassette 8 track). Video mixtapes have emerged as well.
       In hip hop's earliest days, the music only existed in live form, and the music was spread via tapes of parties and shows. Hip hop mixtapes first appeared in the mid-1970s in New York City, featuring artists such as Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaata As more tapes became available, they began to be collected and traded by fans. In the mid-1980s, DJs, such as Brucie B, began recording their live music and selling their own mixtapes, which was soon followed by other DJs such as Kid Capri and Doo Wop. Ron G moved the mixtape forward in the early 1990s by blending R&B a cappellas with hip hop beats (known as "blends"). Blend tapes became increasingly popular by the mid-1990s, and fans increasingly looked for exclusive tracks and freestyles on the tapes.

      Mixtapes are now commonly used by labels and new artists as a promotional tool, as a way of generating hype. An unsigned artist might release several mixtapes to generate buzz, leading to interest from record labels, while a signed artist may release a mixtape to promote a future studio album, in a sales model relying on word of mouth to increase the artist's credibility (known as "street cred"). Often each track on a promotional hip hop mixtape will feature the same artist, thus making it more difficult to differentiate from a standard album. However, these mixtapes will usually have much lower production values than a studio album (such as containing demos or rough cuts of the tracks), and contain numerous collaborations, remixes, freestyles and voice-overs, often arranged in a specific flowing fashion. It's common for such mixtapes to re-use previously heard instrumental tracks from other artists.

      Most hip hop mixtapes are professionally packaged, with a CD and artwork, and are often housed in a slim-format jewel case, rather than the more expensive full jewel cases most retail albums come in. Hip hop mixtapes are usually sold on the street, given out at the artists' live shows, or through independent record dealers or mail order. Many mixtapes are also sold or given away for free in MP3 format over the internet.

      The Naija music scene has caught up with the mixtape bug over the last few years, another indice that shows that we are moving up in the world of music making. Gone were the days when renowned artists released albums containing five songs and five instrumentals (Google it up, at least a million free instrumentals can be gotten over the internet at the click of a button!)

      Now Naija rap artists release mixtapes containing numerous tracks that are not even going to be on their albums just to give the listening public a glimpse of what they are capable of so that when their albums do come out, they already have a fan base in queue to buy ‘em. Mixtapes making waves in my own music library for instance include “The Clone Wars” by SDC; “Money Long: The Mixtape” by Sauce Kid; The Big Chill Mixtape by J.Berg; “Da Freshness” Mixtape by Teeto. I’m also digging “Off tha Books-Mixtape” by Proverb (And by the way, that is one ill South African Mc to look out for! The guy has flows so sick, its like he’s puking brainwaves and ur ears are his barf bag); “Thiz mixtape” by Lecrae; and “SMD…The Mixtape (Chapter 1)” by MIMS among a host of others. What I was shocked to realize recently was that many people didn’t even get to listen to the “Illegal Music” mixtape by M.I which came out between his two albums (It is available freely online and can be described by a word my friend Barney taught me: AWESOME!!!!!) I always joke to friends these days that if you’re thinking of getting into music in Nigeria, please do not rap, and if you will…well, lemme just say you’ll have some tough competition breathing down your back.

     Do you secretly nurse a dream of making a grand entrance into the Naija music scene? Well, I’ve got a time tested success nugget for you, make a mixtape!

Please feel free to drop comments below so I know I just wasn’t talking to myself. I also hope you’re inspired to click on the ads- that way my landlord doesn’t kick me out…lol

Reference: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


christian said...

Pentium IX was d 1st mixtape by a nigerian artist i listened to. I don't know if there was any b4 that. Then i listened 2 M.I.'s illegal music which stunned me. Just last wk, i listened 2 J Berg's mixtape & now i'm impatiently waiting 4 his album 2 drop. Can't wait 2 put my ears on d other mixtapes listed.

christian said...

Pentium IX was d 1st mixtape by a nigerian artist i listened to. I don't know if there was any b4 that. Then i listened 2 M.I.'s illegal music which stunned me. Just last wk, i listened 2 J Berg's mixtape & now i'm impatiently waiting 4 his album 2 drop. Can't wait 2 put my ears on d other mixtapes listed. How do I get them?

Anonymous said...

@ christian: it's official- u're a true naija hip hop head!


Anonymous said...

@ Christain, Yeah that(pentium ix) was one dope mixtape."Illegal music" had me gasping for air. SDC's "clone Wars" was not bad too,a lot of underground emcees have got some out too like Kahli Abdul's "Ministry Of Corruption" that contained politically conscious track with heavy fela samples and cover and Str8 Buttah's "IllaStr8 2" . And my boys from Abuja's "Rundown City: The Mixtape" was also tight, so really that's an avenue increasingly being exploited by rappers here. And don't let the word out, Shockwaves's "Bringing Sanity Back" is also in the cooler.

Anonymous said...

A good seperation technique like chromatoaudiography would break mixtapes into albums

#ghosthuSTla said...

Nice one up there! And i think there's something you forgot to add up in list,albeit you have sauce kid's money long,but i think you should check out his most recent mixtape(darippoff)it's loaded,and i think some underground rap artist are stepping up their game stemming the likes of ruggedman and some other so-called 9ja raplords back to their root. Labzy lawal,AQ,phenom and yung 6ix are all budding rappers that are very ethusiastic 'bout the game.go get labzy lawal's THE SOLITARY E.P and listen to what the dude has to offer!

#ghosthuSTla said...


Anonymous said...

Nice one. The mixtape thingy is actualy a very gud marketin tool dese days, but only realheads do it. If u ask som1 lyk elajoe to do one, wil he be able? Hell nah! Nigga's short of words, so he'l use d little wack rhymes he's got to produce an album instead! U shud av seen him on soundcity lately, was tryna freestyle for soul snatcha on one progra m lyk dat: nigga was soooo wack! Lol