The last two decades of hip-hop music have been well documented thanks to social media and streaming platforms. Today, anyone with access to the internet knows the basics, from leaked Young Thug demos circulated on the infamous KayneToThe forums to grainy videos of Odd Future’s first performance as a newly formed rag-tag collective. You can now access a database of your favorite rappers’ discographies. That is, contemporary artists’ catalogs, even in the most obscure corners, are subject to a universal immortality that can only exist in an infinite place like the Internet.
But go back another 10-20 years and the history of hip-hop starts to get a little fuzzy. As we continue to upload and archive contemporary music in real time, memories of the genre’s early days are slowly fading. Before Spotify and CDs, mixtapes were the holy grail of hip-hop’s heyday. It was a cheap and convenient way for artists to distribute their music in hopes of getting it into the hands of radio DJs and industry executives.
As hip-hop celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the purpose of the new book is to pay tribute to the role mixtapes played in the emergence of the genre and the lasting impression hip-hop left on hip-hop. Remember!: The Golden Age of NYC Hip-Hop Mixtapes Compiled with a comprehensive survey of rare tapes from the genre’s birthplace, along with never-before-seen images, tracklists and artist interviews. Due out in October, the book was edited by two experts with decades of experience in the New York hip-hop scene. Daniel Eisenberg is a hip hop writer who got his start reviewing live shows. XXL and write function no, that’s right He currently holds creative director roles in the fields of music, entertainment and sports. His co-author, Evan Auerbach, is a former record company employee turned music marketing executive. He also runs his UpNorthTrips, an archival project that catalogs old concert flyers, posters, and other hip-hop ephemerals.
Isenberg and Auerbach have collaborated on a number of smaller projects over the past decade, but in recent years it’s time to tackle larger projects that combine their mutual interests in hip-hop culture, archiving and historical preservation. decided to come. Ultimately, early conversations centered around “a shared love and appreciation for classic mixtapes, mixtape DJs and mixtape culture, especially in New York,” Auerbach said in a recent interview. he told Hypebeast.
“When we started this project, we said to each other, ‘How would it be nice to have a coffee table book full of mixtape covers, stories and lists?'” he continued. rice field. “When we started this work, we realized that this was much more valuable, and turned into a super-detailed oral and visual history of one of the most influential eras in hip-hop music. It really started to have a life of its own.”
The final product is a 240-page collection of hip-hop’s greatest taste makers’ mixtape stories, industry-era anecdotes, collaborations with other artists, and signing industry veterans. Each spread combines a specific story with scans of concert flyers, artist film photography and handwritten track listings. Readers digging into mixtape culture for the first time, remember! From “radio tapes” of DJs’ on-air mixes to recordings of live performances called “street tapes” that would be sold in an artist’s neighborhood. It doubles as a yearbook on the subject by introducing tapes in different categories.
After putting together the pitches for their mixtape-themed book, the duo got down to the actual nitty-gritty of curating the mixtapes to record and delving into the artists and backgrounds behind each project. Auerbach focused primarily on outreach and sourcing images and interviews, Eisenberg focused his efforts on background research and writing, and the two worked together to determine the creative direction of the book.the first page of Remember! Featuring articles written by artist and producer Fab 5 Freddy, one of the pioneers of the street art movement.
The authors were connected to Freddie through a mutual friend, who told them the artist was “a big tapehead.” “When we finally interviewed him, the content was so full of context about the period that preceded our book and the period of the book itself that it felt right to turn it into a preface. ‘, says Auerbach.
Freddie begins by reflecting on the first time he heard Grandmaster Flash in 1979, when a friend lent him a rare recording of a DJ set. Despite the growing popularity of turntables, he always preferred to carry a boombox and record live music around him.
“Cassette tapes were very important in the pervasiveness of hip-hop in early New York City,” he writes in the book’s foreword. “It wasn’t on the radio all day, every day, in record stores or anywhere like it is now. Those tapes were treasured. They were prizes for me and a few people back then.” [sic] I knew. ”
A clear rationale was established in Freddy’s introduction, and that rationale is evident in each story that is televised. Remember!: Mixtapes as a way for artists to organically connect with their audience. It starts with neighbors living on the same block and gradually spreads to other districts.
Kid Capri, Brucie B, Mr. Cie, Ron G, S&S, Doo Wop, and Green Lantern are just a few of the prolific artists Eisenberg and Auerbach exclusively interviewed. One of the standout conversations that Eisenberg recalls was when Mr. Shi recounted the process of making his work. best of biggie mixtape. A highlight for Auerbach was Kidd to sit in for one of the last-ever interviews with the late DJ Kay Srey, just before his death in April 2022, to view his personal tape collection.・It was to match face timing with Capri.
In creating the chronology that the book creates for its readers, Eisenberg notes, “It was in the late ’80s when mixtapes and mixtape culture had the greatest impact on New York City, when live performances began to rise in popularity. I wanted to push,” he said. With the recording of his tapes, and his transition to CD in the early 2000s and the emergence of crews like his G-Unit and The Diplomats, he partyed with the likes of DJ Hollywood and Brucie B. it’s over. ”
Auerbach calls that 20-year period “the physicality of music, a specific period that represents the pre-digital age.” He cites some key traces from the time, including tape covers, tattered business cards, and old flyers with phone numbers.
“Everything in this book has been carefully selected to bring the experience back to the real thing. [hip-hop culture] It was like that time,” says Auerbach.
The duo describe the process of making the book as a “labor of love”, enlisting contributions from the online mixtape collector community and having to spend hours scouring eBay for memorabilia. says. Though sometimes exhaustive, avid collectors, Eisenberg and Auerbach are committed to preserving the rich history of hip-hop’s mixtape culture, especially in today’s music-streaming age. He was steadfast in his mission.
“The mixtape itself really represents a time long ago in today’s culture,” says Auerbach. “A mixtape invites a moment. Everyone can remember where they were when they heard that dope Ron G blend, an exclusive track from a Craig G tape, or a new doo-wop freestyle. ”
Eisenberg and Auerbach are optimistic that anthology of their mixtape as a book will allow fans new and old to look back in time and share their appreciation for the contributions of hip-hop’s early pioneers. .
“Memories of buying Shirt Kings airbrushed tees and tapes at the Coliseum Mall, or standing on 125th Street flipping through mixtape binders and talking to Phil from Harlem Music Hat – we I wanted to really capture it, whether I lived it or not,” says Auerbach.
Do Remember!: The Golden Era of NYC Hip-Hop Mixtapes is available for pre-order via Rizzoli ahead of its October 17th release. The MSRP is set at his $45 USD.