Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Old School Hip Hop Mixtape - Anti Drug, Pro Education, Crack Rap - Parental Advice

Related to Elements: Crate Digging, DJ, Old School, Parental Advisory, Dope, Conscious Hip Hop

Since I started digging in the crates for Hip Hop many moons ago, I have always had a special place for Old School Hip Hop.  It was one of the only eras that focused on the innocence of just having fun and one of the only times when it was "cool" to rap about making positive changes in the community.  Sure, there was a cheesiness factor to Old School Hip Hop, but they somehow managed to make it appropriately fresh for the time.  

Back then everyone said Hip Hop was a fad and it wasn't meant to last, and on top of everything, they said it was foul and a bad influence on urban youth.  Back then, just about everyone tried their hand at rapping, even non Hip Hop musicians, or little kids, or even preachers got their rap on.  Before rapping was exclusively a career for rappers, the market was literally flooded with rap records, a lot of it was frankly wack and forgettable and it gave ammo to the naysayers.  But also during that time a lot of rare underground Old School Hip Hop boasting of positive messages, anti-drug lyrics, anti-gang\anti-crime, and pro-eduction rap songs were released that actually sounded just as good as the typical rap being dropped in the 80s.  This mini-movement was pre conscious style Hip Hop that helped pave the way for the upcoming and more memorable conscious movement.

This compartmentalized music (sometimes called crack rap)  was something kids could even play for their parents to prove them wrong if they said it was all negatively influential music on the youth culture.  Some of this music was produced with top notch techniques, scratching, and qualified street spitters, and the good stuff is no less important than the "bang, bang", "shoot em up" music that followed in the late 80s.

Finally, after years of crate digging for rare early crack rap and anti-drug rap, I have accumulated enough 12" singles in this category to put it all on a mixtape for fans of early Hip Hop culture.  

Please spread the news of this mix to all who will appreciate the fun-loving, wholesome, feel-good throwback feeling contained in this mixtape.

DOWNLOAD... or Play the mixtape, and get more information about it HERE.  (including a collectively compiled track listing of this mix)

ALSO... DISCUSS this early Moral Based Positive Rap at our new crate digging forum, the Cratedigging Co-Op.  Please join and build with us!

Enjoy, and comments and feedback is always welcome!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crate Digging at Electric Fetus, Minneapolis MN

Electric Fetus' Main Entrance

Related to Elements: Crate Digging, DJ

When You Google "Minneapolis Record Stores," Electric Fetus is the first store listed on Google Places.  That fact alone coupled with favorable Google reviews was enough to make it a crate digging destination for my wife and I on Saturday, July 21st.  We basically had to kill a few hours before our Jazz show\dinner reservations started and, as you know, there is no better way to kill time than digging for records.

Expectations were high since we were in one of the largest cities in the Midwest, and it was ranked so highly at Google.  But almost immediately after walking through the front doors my anticipation for the dig fizzled as the expected smell of new and used vinyl was lacking, replaced by the overpowering scent of patchouli.  Upon first glance it appeared as if we stepped into the wrong store.  No music was in clear sight at all, only rows of incenses, smoking paraphernalia, dorky hippy dresses that looked like they were made out of recycled burlap sacks, novelty items, flower power related gifts, and other massively outdated merchandise in terms of style and function.  If I were a DMB fan or a Grateful Dead head I would have felt right at home amongst all the pot leaf logo stamped trash blocking my path to the music section.

I walked right passed all the hippy gimmicks to the now apparently miniscule record section.  Glancing down the 3 tiny aisles, (tiny in comparison to ANY record store I have ever been in, and tiny in comparison to the rest of the store) I noticed that a majority of all the records were brand new still sealed, and many of them were either official represses or newly released records.  The buzz kill became even more prominent when I started looking through the records at the prices which were, quite simply, expensive as hell.  

Basic Electric Fetus Floor Plan (Click to Zoom In)
Not one to give up without a thorough dig, I made my way around the display shelves, patiently avoiding the way too numerous newbie cratediggers who cluelessly pawed through the overpriced new stuff, looking for that one record to add to their inevitably bland collection at home.  

"Oh sweet!  New Adelle on vinyl!" exclaims one oblivious kid

Patiently I dug through the new Hip Hop and rock.  Everything new that was decent was at least 8 bucks more than what everyone else had it priced for online.  Literally everything that was in the new Hip Hop section was predictable, common, over-priced and available everywhere else.  I dug through the joke of a new Electronic section and found one record that I had to have and never got around to buying online. 

Literally digging through shit to find Shit Robot

I already had a few Shit Robot 12" singles, and they are all really good so I figured the album would be too.   Even though it was over priced, I bought it since I didn't feel like leaving empty handed.  Shit robot turned out to be a shit album, by the way, not nearly as good as the instrumental 12"s that grace DFA's catalog of records.

Tired of looking at absorbadent prices and common new wax, I started digging through the used wax section next.  It was even more of a let down.  I'd estimate there were less than 200 used records on the shelves, all of them thoroughly picked through.  The used hip hop section consisted of less than 30 records, and there, thankfully, I found one super dope definitely noteworthy record that was at least average priced for the title...

Compton's Most Wanted - I'm Wit Dat 12" on deck

Regretfully I made my final selections, and reluctantly paid too much for them to an overly perky staff member.  I left with a mere 3 records, 2 of them overpriced and ultimately mediocre, one average priced and dope.  This was not at all the crate digging experience I was expecting before I stepped into the store.  This so called "Mineapolis Record Store" is NOT a record store, it's a neo-hippy catering CD store that happens to have a joke of a record collection.   I'd give them a rating of 3/10 as a record store, if their staff wasn't so friendly they would have gotten a 2.  

Crate diggers, if you ever end up in the Twin Cities, steer clear of Electric Fetus, it's not worth your time.  In hindsight,  I should have gone to the more familiar (to me) Cheapo Records instead, where at least there I'd find hoards of reasonably priced new and used records and would have walked away with a smile and a stack of special records.