Tag Archives: drake

FAQ: Mixtapes in Hip-Hop

10 Jan

A mixtape is a promotional collection of songs produced as a showcase of either an artist or DJ’s abilities. Named so after the cassette tape format they originally were created on, modern mixtapes are now more likely to be found as CDs or downloadable MP3 files.

For the most part mixtapes are free of charge, whereas album releases are the opposite. In terms of cost, albums are expensive to make and usually require record deals (or in the case of independent label releases, a distribution deal) to be released nationally, whereas mixtapes travel just as far via the web, and are thus the best way for unsigned artists to gain more attention and get their work spread to their target audiences. Due to the cost of album production, record labels often allow their signed hip-hop artists to release promotional mixtapes in between album releases, so as to generate online buzz and feedback regarding the content, which in turn acts as a cost-efficient way for the labels to tweak the upcoming album to fit the feedback and thus avoid an expensive flop. Continue reading


My Top 5 Rap Albums of 2010 (and a Poll for yours!)

6 Jan

2010 was a considerably successful year for hip-hop and rap music both commercially and musically, from platinum-selling debut albums to worldwide chart-topping singles from the veterans of the genre. Here is a personal list of my highlights last year (iTunes links are provided via clicking the album name):

Although one of the most respected rappers in the world, one of Nas’ persistent weaknesses (to the frustration of his fans) is his self-confessed inadequate selection of beats and producers. It was to his fans’ relief, then, when he collaborated with reggae artist and producer Damian Marley on a project that left him solely in charge of the rapping, to superb effect. Nas’ raps discussed a range of his matters from his divorce to the future of mankind, and was accompanied by some fantastic cameo performances from Lil Wayne and K’naan (whose appearance on ‘Tribes At War’ is a particular highlight) . Whilst the relaxing summer track ‘Count Your Blessings’ was to be expected from reggae producer Marley, the boom-bap album opener ‘As We Enter’ and the eerie tribal chant-sampling ‘Patience’ showed a versatility that kept the album interesting and thoroughly listenable from start to finish. Continue reading