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  /  ...THE THINGS WE LOVE   /  Animal magnetism: A brief history of the mixtape.

As the launch of our ‘Great Tape’table collection commences, we look at the birth of musical object/phenomenon that still thrives today, and has inspired millions.  Let’s just rewind time, shall we?


Back in time when we could create our very own mixtapes. Putting our chosen tracks in any order we wanted to, they used to be perfect to express our affection towards our crush, or to live out our artistic self while drawing our very own, unique cassette covers. We often listened to the radio, eagerly waiting for our actual favourite track to come then rushed to press the ’red’ button. Even pencils had more purpose than just to draw or write with them.
But there is actually more than just great memories for what we should be thankful for mixtapes.
Many of today’s popular music genres could not have gained such publicity without them, such as hardcore, metal, or Punk.

 

 

Cheeky Mixtapes

An early stab at Record labels. Mixtapes are not be be blamed.

 

Or Hip-hop.

As Red Bull Music Academy author ’Noz’ writes in his related arcticle, „About a decade after a posse of Dutch scientists figured out how to condense once-enormous magnetic recording spools into the compact space of a cassette, a Jamaican immigrant named Kool Herc birthed – in the community center of a Bronx apartment complex”
Clive Campbell, alias Kool Herc is known as the Father of hip-hop and popular for his iconic smile with his gold tooth from Niv’s Bling. The jamaican-born hip-hop legend’s family emigrated to the Bronx. Their adress became well-known in the ’hood, as in 1520 Sedgwick Avenue’s recreation room, Kool Herc started his DJ career. He’s been experimenting with the break parts of songs (the part where the vocals are going silent and the beat flows for a short time), then later mastered this art, becoming the lead musician in the area.

 

Kool Herc in action

This is just Kool Herc, redefining music.

 

There were contenders though such as Afrika Bambaata, but none could really rival Herc for almost a decade.
Zulu Nation member Jazzy Jay even recalled a story about Herc in his heyday.
Herc was late setting up and Bam continued to play longer than he should have.  Once Herc was set up he got on the microphone and said “Bambaataa, could you please turn your system down?”  Bam’s crew was pumped and told Bam not to do it.  So Herc said louder, “Yo, Bambaataa, turn your system down-down-down.”  Bam’s crew started cursing Herc until Herc put the full weight of his system up and said, “Bambaataa-baataa -baataa, TURN YOUR SYSTEM DOWN!” And you couldn’t even hear Bam’s set at all.  The Zulu crew tried to turn up the juice but it was no use.  Everybody just looked at them like, “You should’ve listened to Kool Herc.”

 

Kool Herc

The cult hero himself with his portrait painted on the streets of Bronx.

 

As Herc, and then later his successors popularised hip-hop, the genre was bound to overgrow Bronx’s boundaries. There was a demand for their music, and mixtapes/bootlegs recorded on their gigs helped it go viral. Tapes were much more compact, easier to create/carry, and were more durable than vinyls, thus making people able to literally carry the genre in their pockets, all over the globe, creating a world-wide musical subculture. And that is just one of the stories.

These stories were one of the prime inspirations when we designed our cassette tables. They are fully customisable and come in three different versions, dining table, desk and coffee table. For more information please see the Great Tape collection.

 

The Message.

As difficult to read as a Death Metal band’s logo. Thanks Sugar Hill Gang!

 

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