By the end of February, music outlets across the web were talking again DrakeOf Gone so far, A Mixtape the Paper 200 was released for free in 2009, when he was emerging as one of the most exciting new hip-hop voices. This year the tape was made available for streaming for the first time, and it debuted at number 5 on the Billboard album chart, making it Drake’s 10th consecutive top 10 spot – notably, considering that he didn’t actually put any new music.
The same week, the R&B star Kehlani Is released We wait, Her third commercial mixtape and fourth project (she has only released one studio album, 2017’s SweetSexySavage). In order to emphasize its formal nature, its mixtape, Billboard 200 No. Debuted at number one and was completed with a marketing rollout: Kehlani March opened a pop-up store and then released a batch of widely produced music videos. While commercial mixtapes aren’t new to today’s music industry – they’re quite common in hip-hop and R&B – looking at ten-year-old Drake mixtapes, today’s version of the format raises some interesting questions about the importance of mixtapes in the streaming era.
How it all started
The history of mixtapes is complex, and its definition has changed over time. Her early appearance in music evokes memories of the DJ Clue And Du Op, who used Mixtape in the 90s to push the growing MC to fame through special recordings – they compiled tracks from several artists on single albums and free-style and distributed them themselves. Of New York 50 cents And DJ Who Kid The theme helped create the Mixtape model as is commonly understood: an artist raps and freestyle on pre-existing popular bits, and then self-releases the project.
Over the years, mixtapes have become the ideal vehicle for up-and-coming rappers. Lil Wayne, Young Gigi, And others to name them. But in 2007, the legendary DJ Drama And Don Cannon Arrested and charged with fraud and corruption in order to sell and distribute mixtape, which involves invalid sampling and production (in violation of copyright law). Backed by the RIAA, federal authorities raided the pair’s Atlanta studio and seized recording equipment and thousands of CDs. But just as industry and law collapsed in the physical mixtape economy, the Internet entered with an alternative system. Sites like DatPiff and LiveMixtapes began giving fans access to free mixtapes, in exchange for specialties (creating site traffic against which ads could be sold), and fans gaining unparalleled access to new music.
In 2009, dropping a free mixtape was a powerful way to connect with a rapper’s passage ceremony and fans. By then, the definition of mixtape had evolved to include projects with original production and bits, but still refers to an honest, raw effort by an artist who focused intensively on their craft rather than branding or revenue. A 2009 Pitchfork Drake’s review Gone so far Reading, “… it feels organic and effortless, like he’s doing something that makes the most sense at any given moment.” Today, with the steady growth of streaming services, mixtape has been shown to play the same role and much more.
Although mixtape sites like Datpiff continue to pull traffic for their access Lil WayneOf Sacrifice Series, Rick Ross‘ Rich forever, An $ AP RockyOf LiveLoveA $ AP, And other celebrated tapes, it has become clear to some labels that it may be worth the trouble for major artists to take steps to clean up samples on mixtapes. Thanks in part to the popularity of streaming, the definition and role of mixtape has expanded, giving artists the opportunity to build their qualifications, establish a fanbase and be officially recognized on the charts for it. Today’s studio-quality non-albums, e.g. We wait, Suggests that, although it has become difficult to draw a line between commercial mixtape and official records, there is a rhyme and reason why mixtape music remains a significant work of art. As a tool to get into the business by respecting your craft and sharing a part of it with your devoted fans, the essence of what makes mixtapes great is still very much intact.
– Khalila Baro