Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Mixtape: A Perspective by Shakim Allah

Tapemasta: Now here's where i show you why & what we do..It might go over some people heads but best believe you'll respect it more !! It's not about who's doing what on social media - it's about what you know & feel about this thing call MIXTAPES !! Just because you can't find something on GOOGLE search, doesn't mean it didn't happen !!

On this morning of April 3 2012, my brother and I was having a phone conversation recently..He informed me of him & one of his associates were contemplating of establishing a MIXTAPE MUSEUM, so he asked me to build about my version of the mixtape for today’s generation. I told him after thinking about it, that I’ll write about it from my view in which I was a devoted HIP HOP fan of the late 70’s & all of the 80’s..So here’s my perspective on the “MIXTAPE”.. On March 1977, I came into the knowledge of self ( meaning that I became a member of THE NATION OF GODS & EARTHS ) at that time the hip hop culture began to bloom ( although it began in the early 70’s ). The hip hop culture is composed of 4 art forms: 1. Deejaying, 2. Emceeing, 3. Break Dancing, 4. Graffiti – I’ll elaborate on the former ( Deejaying ). Originally inspired by early Jamaican DJ’s & producers such as U Roy & Lee Perry who experimented with talking over reggae tracks. Then came the South Bronx DJ’s like Kool Herc ( short for Hercules & Luv Bug Starski took it to another level..Kool Herc ( Also known as the GODFATHER OF HIP HOP ) started with 2 turntables & a microphone which he tried with Hip Hop music by separating the instrumental breaks in records, then emceeing over the records. Having a official “MC” didn’t happen until the mid to late 70’s – that was around the time the MIXTAPE was born. A mixtape is when you had a 60, 90 or 120 minute cassette with a DJ mixing on it – he or she would say a few rhymes here & there, but that was it ( listen to the early Starchild or Brucie B tapes & see what I’m talking about )..In other words, the DJ was the MC !!

My first MIXTAPE was off the radio, which in those days a lot of us made our own MIXTAPES. I remember there was a radio station named WHBI – which was a local community radio station at that time who had on the air The World Famous Supreme Team Show with SeDivine, The Mastermind & Just Allah, The Superstar and the other show was The Awesome Two with Special K & DJ Teddy Ted – The show started at 3am & they played the latest hip hop with shout outs through out the NY/NJ area. I use to stay up & record those shows on my radio ( back then we could take our radios to school ). You was the man, if you had the latest MIXTAPE off the radio back then !! Remember this here is my history of the “MIXTAPE” & how I came into knowledge of it..Around this time you had neighborhood dj’s making mixtapes. I grew up in CYPRESS HILLS Projects ( Brooklyn, NY ) in East New York & Cypress had 2 dj’s that played out there. Pete Caboose ( DJ Pete set up was like a train caboose – that when activated, the train moved back & forth like a choo-choo train ) & Keith Watkins ( he played in the Community Center, The Big Park ( also DJ Pete ) & Louis H Pink House Community Center as well..Everybody from all over Brooklyn was rocking out for a “ KEITH WATKINS PARTY ”..He use to make mixtapes; some he sold, some he gave out..I still remember the one I had from him – I played that until the wheels fell off ( smile )..many dj’s made mixtapes this way..I would name names, but space won’t permit me at this time – but on the next one, you got it !! In those days all you had to was give the dj a tape ( If you was cool with him ) and he’ll make it for you..these was times before the TELEX MACHINE – just straight tape decks !! That’s how they got the publicity back then in the HOOD ( EX: Kid Capri, Brucie B, Grandmaster Vic, Cutmaster JT, Luvbug Starski ). Man, those was the days. I use to go to all block parties/street jams everywhere ( Brownsville, Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Bushwick, Queens, Uptown & of course the home of HIP HOP, The BRONX ). Back then in Brooklyn, you’ll be in the East & somebody would come thru and say “ Yo, they got a jam in the Ville “ – guess where we was at !! Wherever the jam was at, everybody was there !! Word Is Bond !! That’s how it was like back then and during those times that’s how MIXTAPES was born & made. Now you got the brothers who you probably know about today, which started making those things called mixtapes like Kid Capri, Ron G, Brucie B, Chill Will FTE, Doo Wop, Grandmaster Vic, S & S & others..Now you see how the MIXTAPES was becoming official in the streets of NYC ( The 5 boros ). To me their tapes was “fire”. Kid Capri in that day & time was the man !! His 52 beats is still a mixtape classic & old school brothers like myself still rock that tape today & remember I said TAPE. That’s mostly the most popular tape in the PENITENTIARY.

Mostly the 70’s, 80’s & mid 90’s is what’s being rock in here right now !! Today’s hip hop to me is TRASH – I STOPPED LISTENING TO IT IN 96 !! That was a year before I became incarcerated. I just can’t identify with it. Rap music was created & made to have fun – today’s music is not about that !! My tape collection is nothing but 70’s & 80’s music – it’s not because I’m stuck in a time zone or that I’ve been incarcerated for 15 years’s that the music yesteryear is just as relevant then as well as pertinent today. ( My brother told me that Doo Wop was putting together a updated version of his 95 Live classic called Underground: The New 90’s, now tell me if that isn’t a sign for you to think - Salute to you Doo Wop ) For example: Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me ( The Eulogy ) & Make Me Wanna Holla ( Inner City Blues ) talks about what’s happening then as nowadays. Another example: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message is PURE KNOWLEDGE !!! Most songs of today use samples of songs of yesterday. ( Puffy made this concept famous, which he got from DJ Ron G & I don’t think he gave him credit for that ) The songs back then was creativity at it’s best ( now maybe you understand why people respect what Soul Train did & American Bandstand tried to copy ) – REAL MUSICIANS, REAL DJ’S, NOT THIS FAKE SHIT !! So in concluding this build, this here is my perspective of “ THE MIXTAPE “. It’s not my intention to disrespect the modern day fan of hip hop – this read is to share my knowledge about the origin of THE MIXTAPE..

Any comments about this build, please forward to Tapemasta !!
Peace Shakim Allah

Peace goes to: My brother Tapemasta, My Sister Natasha, Sister-In-Law Annette, My Daughter Shaniqua, My Grandson Max, My Nephews Christian & Zaire, My Niece Natiesha..To the brothers on lock in NYS and FCI, “ OUR TIME IS COMING “.. A Supreme Peace to the NATION OF GODS & EARTHS


  1. Great story really enjoyed it & i have the same feeling. I totally agree with the conclusion on hip hop today. For me real hip hop also ends some where around 96

  2. Peace Nah Sun...Yes, SOUL people don't understand because alot of them wasn't around all things are somewhat "blocked", if that's a good way to tell it. My reason for this is to show people there's another world where people relate like we do on the outside..We might have a part 2 coming..

  3. Great story, man! Although I don't know most of the names you have mentioned (I mean the local Djs), I totaly agree with you about the meaning of the word "mixtape" and about how someone would get one for his own. Just put the tape in the deck and push the Record button, while the Dj plays on the wheels.

  4. appreciate the history. ty for sharing. peace