Can’t Sell Tapes Forever

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I spent last Sunday strolling down Canal Street to scope out the current mixtape scene. Relived both good and bad memories of when I used to drop CDs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not retired, but I’m also not the most active participant these days either. It was all pounds, smiles and hugs because they look at me as one as the few who “made it out”. But when I looked around I noticed a very disturbing trend for me. Though there was an abundance of best selling “artist mixtapes”, from 50 to the Dips to the King Of New York, there was no hot “DJ” tapes per se. That’s when I realized the relevance of the “mixtape DJ” is numbered.

The mixtape game has been going through its own version of the great depression. Think of Canal Street as Hooverville and downloading as prohibition. You’re quicker to find a dope exclusive in the hip hop forums or XXLMAG.com’s bangers section than the new Big Mike tape. The days of just putting together a CD with new music, or Clueing, is dead. Plus the same fans that Phonte hates, aka the fans who buy mixtapes, couldn’t care less about blends anymore. That leaves legends like Dirty Harry and DJ Juice fading to black.

The saving grace for the game is the now mandatory (thanks 50) artist pre-album mixtape. It’s so standard these days that it’s in the label marketing plans.

  • Sign artist. Check
  • Do album. Check
  • Drop Gangsta Grillz. Check
  • Release single. Check

But if the DJ doesn’t have access to that artist feeding him the music, then the DJ is out of luck. Hence the rise of the ingenious (yet slightly boring IMO) producer remix tapes made popular by 9th Wonder and the soon to be platinum Danger Mouse. But those tapes are too few and far between to keep the mixtape game afloat. Add that to the fact NO ONE in the hood buys them; it’s strictly a hipster and internet phenomenon.

What the mixtape DJs should do is go back to the essence of what made them popular in the post-Doo Wop era: breaking artists. A general misconception is Clue became Clue by playing all the hot music first, but that’s only partly true. He became the most popular mixtape DJ ever by cultivating relationships with, and in turn breaking artists like DMX, a pre-Def Jam Jay-Z, Murda Ma$e, The LOX and every nigga who came out of queens from 1995 to 2002. Most of the DJs were too bust trying to get exclusives from Biggie and Wu-Tang rather then give the new guys a shot. Therefore when the new guys became big, they stuck with their ace in the hole.

Green Lantern and Kay Slay are keeping that tradition alive by putting out Uncle Murder and Papoose respectively. For every Lil’ Wayne Gangsta Grillz Dramatic does, there’s a Yo Gotti or Bohagen one to balance it out. Heck, I started an artist development company just to help up and coming artists get the support they need. Though these moves haven’t got the mixtape game out of the red yet, it’s definitely keeping it alive and progressive. If more DJs would follow that path, the scene would rise to prominence once again.

  • god

    you fuckin’ idiot, people still love real mixing and blending. da’ fuck do you know about what people want. stupid puto.

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  • Philadelphia

    Sickamore. How appropriate. You look like an AIDS patient on your blog banner.

  • http://www.myspace.com/bkslime BK Slime

    Good Shit, homey i sent you a message before theres a new market in DC. under all the hype of the GO-GO scene and Mad power unit (corny) nobody out here is doing it for real.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    I dug this, Sick. Good job.

    4/31

  • BARKLEY

    Good blog….I miss the days when dj’s use to break new artist. It’s a shame that most dj’s don’t have their ear to the streets anymore.

  • RANDOMNAME

    god Says:

    August 4th, 2006 at 12:31 pm
    you fuckin’ idiot, people still love real mixing and blending. da’ fuck do you know about what people want. stupid puto

    Sickamore said:
    Plus the same fans that Phonte hates, aka the fans who buy mixtapes, couldn’t care less about blends anymore.

    I never got the comming on the net and talking all out the side of your neck to people thing. “God” you could have gotten you point across and not looked like an idiot very easily. Why’d you make the creative decision to go the emotional female route ?

  • pop a poppa

    i don’t know about anyone else but the
    most mixtapes i buy are of blends.
    all of the so-called “new” songs are
    available pretty much anywhere so why
    drop dough on shit i can hear any day?
    unless there is a mixtape i just gotta
    have like the game’s new shit i’ll
    stick to the blends.
    all these mixtape DJ’s need to come up
    with a new concept for the mixtapes.
    someone should take it back to the old
    days of kid capri and tony and do a
    50 emcee’s kinda shit.
    come up with something that stands out
    from the rest.
    like you said sickamore the best thing
    a mixtape dj can do is put a shitload
    of unknown rappers on that bitch.
    that’s the only way that the mixtape
    DJs can balance out the fact that all
    of the major stars’ songs will be
    downloaded and not picked up on a mixtape.

  • New York Nigga

    nigga u look gay wit that pose lmao

  • New York Nigga

    Philadelphia Says:

    August 4th, 2006 at 12:32 pm
    Sickamore. How appropriate. You look like an AIDS patient on your blog banner.

    LOL THAT SHIT IZ FUNNY LOL

  • Darryl Williams

    Mmhmm, Agreed.
    I’d also like to add, thanks to the internets, every 15 year old wigger thinks he’s a bootlegger, thanks to albumbase and Limewire.

    On another note, Lenox Blvd > Canal Street when it comes to mixtapes.

  • the dough

    Good blog, but the prohibition/downloading parallel doesn’t really work. The 18th Amendment (first prohibition legislation) was ratified in 1919 whereas the Great Depression didn’t begin until ten years later, and the prohibition did little, if anything to contribute to the Great Depression.

  • Danja29

    that’s some real shit… it’s almost sad when you really think about it. soon, the term “mixtape” will prob’ly be put to bed and the term “street album” will start bein’ the new talk. i even notice it more and more when i hit the mixtape spot- these things are just about bein’ taken over by the artists. the one or two blend joints you might see are either riddled with wackass blends or just not bein’ picked up anyway.

    is it too late to go back? eh, not for me. *pops in copy of kid capri 10/9/89 with the stephanie mills/impeach the pres. jumpoff*

  • Niaisha

    Okay i feel ya on this!!!!!
    I guess thats what it’s come down too. And the crazy thing is i just recieved in the mail some cd’s from a mixtape dj from Kentucky. I’ve always and always will support mixtape dj’s!!!!

  • http://rockthedub.blogspot.com khal

    yeah niggas still feel blend tapes. my boy plexxx in trenton nj still busts out blendtime discs every now and again.

    i didnt realize this sickamore was that sickamore. my last night working for auto zone was spent rocking to a sickamore instrumentals mixtape.

  • Boner Jams 03

    Maybe you should have retired…your blogs suck ass

  • math carma

    Man mix tapes will live but the Djs that cant blend scratch transform will have to be elimiated or they will kill the talent and artistry of the real Djs who stay true to hip hop.

  • Boner Jams 03

    Man that’s not sickamore..that’s chris brown!

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    u a faggit ass nigga sickamore

    dat biggie/sinatra blends mix has sold more den all of yo mediocre to average mix cds combined

  • JASON

    You are a smart dude…U Say Things that people wish They could Say..but why dont you do something about changing it instead of being about bashing everything…

  • http://www.myspace.com/plussign2 esbee

    This is the problem..and you hit the nail right on the head.

    DJ’s just aren’t willing to take chances on no-named artists anymore..forgetting that one of these artists on the come up could be the next BIG THING…

    I’m not saying folks shouldn’t make their money but if you peep a dude you think is dope, why not give him a chance and slide his or her new joint in your mixtape and get ppl checking for him/her? They’d certainly be greatful later on..

  • http://www.myspace.com/daphoenix Spade

    This does make a lot of sense. But few artists noawaday can network themselves to the point of finding a DJ that will fully commit to them as an artist. Plus, labels don’t really do development deals anymore. And it’s not like you get signed of off 16 bars anymore either. So how does a low-income, aspiring artist make it? Well, either they find somekind of funding (side hustles) or try to expose themselves as much as possible to the public independently; am I right? (hence the mixtape + open mics) Its just a question of keeping up the grind until validation. Those that don’t: stay underground forever. Gotta do something…right?

  • I LOVE ME

    INTERESTING POINT I THINK THAT GOES FOR INDUSTRY MUSIC AS WELL!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/plussign2 esbee

    Oh yeah and ‘fore I forget, shameless plug: http://www.theehlp.com, new mixtape from yours truly..

  • HARLEMVIXEN

    Real talk… I agree with you 100%. The DJs kept this rap sh!t alive but its quickly fading. I rem the Lox joints, the MURDA MA$E punch lines (never knew u wanted me to do you …when I go to Honolulu u coming 2 boo) A LOT more than I remember the lyrics to some of these so-called HIT SINGLES…. Good blog…and you know ya girl diggin a hole for all the haters…

    Dat Harlem Chick!!!!!

  • http://www.saywordatl.com Jo Van Gogh

    This is a really accuracte account of what’s gone wrong with the mixtape game.

    Good shit

  • http://www.myspace.com/paidmasons PEOPLE$

    Sick –

    You’re a smart cat, without question, no wonder Atlantic is throwing that executive money at you. Those that hate just can’t contemplate the cake, do you, playboy. Carpe Diem.

    Oh, and tell Tru Life to get out of Shareefa videos and make a song that matters, best he ever did was when Saigiddy helped him on Yep, Yep.

    Uno,
    P to the $

  • Enlightened

    Yeah, I feel exactly what you saying. I have no other comment. Well said.

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    lol @ these yes-men faggits on sum “yo i feel u sickamore, dog, u a smart cat, dog”

    sickamore prolly tol’ his mom and sister to come on here to hold him down or is postin dem himseff

  • bob

    Who the fuck is this nigga? Who are you? You a dj?

  • Smurf aka SiDeFfEct

    I see what you sayin my nigga….But me and you grew up togetha (lincoln rd) we go back and look @ where u came from shit destroyed on the block now bcuz idol’s fail to care about certain shit…and u already kno to be the best you gotta go thru the worst shit….not sayin you should put me on cuz we grew up 2getha and you do dj and i rap…but if u got the power and u workin wit good ppl and it aint bullshit i say why not…but holla @cha boi i dont wanna put names out thea bcuz you doin ya thing now..but ya boi spittin some shit that need ears so holla atcha boi from the block…..and keep doin ya thing my nigga good to see you in the position of power…..
    -sideffect-

  • fuckuman

    This nigga said “Carpe Diem”

  • Mingemasher

    Yawn at this entire post

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    godamn..this sideffect nigga a beggin ass faggit

    “yo dawg i met u at a party once 5 years ago..yo dawg..put me on, dawg..please, dawg..put me on, dawg..we grew up together, dawg”

    u a faggit ass nigga sideffect..go bakk 2 to myspace or soundclick page u wack ass rapper

  • Boner Jams 03

    smurf is gay

  • Smurf aka SiDeFfEct

    lol u funny nigga….if me n sickamore saw each otha we’d address each otha by real name dick….know whatchu know b4 u say what u say homie….i can get it on my own i jus told my nigga to holla @ me…fukk a party nigga we scrapped b4 been in each otha crib no one time seein a nigga n bein on his dick…u want a dick rider look in the mirror

  • spencer

    i knew that eventually this shit would turn around and bite muthfuckas in the ass…a lot of dj’s only do mixtapes to collect a check from the majors..they don’t even break records.you would go to the mixtape to hear what wasn’t on the radio yet..to hear the new artist coming up.. a lot up these muthafuckas turn their nose up to some really good shit..And besides that a 90% of the dj’s lack creativity…it’s more than having an exclusive that makes you hot. And maybe the dj should break something else outside of r&B and hiphop…I mean dj’s back in the day would cut up Kraftwek,the clash,talking heads and make it hip hop…A lot of dj’s really need to do their homework..a lot of these dj’s a lazy as fuck nowadays…at the end of the day the mixtape dj needs to step up their game

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    u wus stalkin sickamore wit yo demo cd u creepy ass wack rapper nigga

    i bet dis sickamore nigga dunt even remember yo faggit ass

    u mad gay, dawg

  • Smurf aka SiDeFfEct

    lol….niggaz on the net want attention…..im gay but i wasnt talkin to you but you responded to me….if you say somethin real homie maybe u might get my attention….until then get real or die tryin faggot…..1

  • Dante Severe

    Bol says : “Sickamore:…. I’ve been reading your blog for six months now and I’ve yet to determine what “a&r-ing” someone’s album means.”

    Hilarious.

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    u about as real as dat ja n jlo “im real” song, nigga

    u aint real, sideffect..u a faggit ass male groupie nigga beggin’ sum wack ass a&r dude u stalked 2 sign yo wack ass

    get da fukk back to washin’ cars and puttin’ mp3s of yo shitty songs up on myspace u fukkin chump ass nigga

  • http://uheardthatnew.blogspot.com LowKey

    http://www.youheardthatnew.com…..jus a piece of my mind sickamore…

  • http://www.facebook.com DEDICATION

    I WASTE MY TIME READING THIS SHIT WHO GIVES A FUCK!!!!!!!!!!SEL

  • Smurf aka SiDeFfEct

    anotha nigga flexin his net-muscles and waving his net-guns talkin some lame net-shit….it would be better if you was tellin the truth…but u jus tryna say some funny dumb shit to play me….but on the concrete outside it would be a diff story….kno who u talkin to….we dont wash cars and do the funny mp3 shit where im from homie….

  • http://www.myspace.com/dgaf_inc Sage Silvermne

    Dude I agree with you on this one. Mixtapes were and are supposed to be an outlet for new artists and upcomming to promote and market themselves to the public. Now it seems like every mixtape is a leek of an established or soon to be established artists album. Fuc what you heard though, mixtapes are still a main artery that run through the hood. How else is that dude in that clean truck on 20 somethings and a booming system gonna bump that new hot shit with out mixtapes? The hood aint got sirius or XM raido….

  • Smurf aka SiDeFfEct

    real shit sage…..thas real talk

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    “we dont wash cars and do the funny mp3 shit where im from homie….”

    yeh – you just beg niggas on da internet u went 2 high school with for a job instead

    lmao..fukk outta hea u fukkin’ wack ass nigga

  • Smurf aka SiDeFfEct

    lol…why u so mad homie…nobody came here to talk to you….u probly a lame ass nigga who cant talk shit outside…so he come on the net where nobody can catch him or see and jus talk niggaz brains out…im done witchu homie…this not what the thread about …. differance is “duke” u gotta earn ya braggin rights on the street hea u jus talkin shit..holla @ me chump

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    nigga, u talkin’ to da don right chea… u lucky dis aint da street cuz u would be lyin in a pool of blood minus yo chain and sneakers right now

  • Smurf aka SiDeFfEct

    lol….i knew u would say some “king, god,don,lord,” funny shit like u run shit…..”lying in a pool of blood minus my chain and sneakers”…lol how u feel i have a chain?….see niggaz paint funny pictures on the net n talk g’d up ….u neva saw a pool of blood in ya life… n if u did it was urs the way u talkin….ill give it to you tho u entertainin me right now…

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    yea u probably dunt have a chain cuz u a broke soft ass myspace rapper never will be who so desperate he beggin dudes on da xxl blog for a shot lmao

    sickamore cant even put saigon out so he sure aint signin yo wack ass..

    u best bounce, faggit

  • Smurf aka SiDeFfEct

    iight imma bounce iight homie?…lol….since u wanna go back n forth to feel like a man….and i dont wanna be lyin in no blood wit my sneakers n chain gone….u got it…it aint even funny no more real dont respect fake…practice make perfect tho homie…ull learn one day….and laff @ what u wrote today….holla….

  • http://www.hiphop-blogs.com Hashim

    I haven’t bought a mixtape in over a year. That’s a bad sign, since I used to run a mixtape review site (RIP Mixtapes Etc.).

  • Sonny Cheeba

    >>>A general misconception is Clue became Clue by playing all the hot music first, but that’s only partly true. He became the most popular mixtape DJ ever by cultivating relationships with, and in turn breaking artists like DMX, a pre-Def Jam Jay-Z, Murda Ma$e, The LOX and every nigga who came out of queens from 1995 to 2002.

    These wack DJ’s be trying to “break” artists, but all the niggas they put out are local garbage cats… and Uncle Murder is CRAZY wack!

  • INTERSCOPE JACKSON

    Sikamore, are you really Chris brown’s older brother????? LOL

  • http://www.dmcworld.com/technics2004/video/2004dj1-100k.wvx KEN….

    Best Fuck’in Blog You’ve Done Yet Asshole…Keep Earn’n Your Keep And You Might Be Worth Following!

  • http://www.myspace.com/asapone Asap..

    first off….Im ashamed at these “no name” cats going back and forth kissing eachother….u both need to cut that shyt out(word up)..this is this niccas job…but anyways…someone had a valid point in one of these responses(cant remember which one cause these niccas made a internet porno…) but DJ’s dont support local artist where im from and if they do, they do 1 cd and thats it and there is no pushing the product..i dont support the mixtape scene no more due to everyone already being established and then they get on a CD and do a bunch of nonchalant freestyles and call them exclusive…the starving artist is still out there starvin while everybody else in america’s is waiting to here from that next best thing…its a sad case in music…

  • http://www.trendsettazinc.com DJ Main Event

    mixtape DJ’s actually need to start… hmmm… MIXING again. big shout to those that are doing it like that but those kinds of tapes are some ‘fans only’ shit unfortunately.

    As for putting dudes on, yes they need to get back to that (beyond the ones in their own sqaud).

    matter of fact i sent you a list of worthy dudes Sick… minus the Spot.

  • Omar

    Phonte and 9th > Sickamore

  • Jay

    So im other words you want the DJs to find the talent and give them exposure so some Label Exec such as yourself can come from nowhere and dangle a check in there face? Then this same artist blows up and suddenly forgets who put him on?

    DJs got too smart for that. If they find someone with some talent they are gonna sign them to a production deals so they can get that label deal and that industry gwop- similar to Kayslay and Pap

  • fuckuman

    Sickamore looks like the biggest fag in that flick…and drama looks like he rides the short bus…
    Anyway, how about you take the rest of the month off Sickamore this shit just gets progressively worse!
    I think the biggest problem now is that most artists FUCKING SUCK (see “Willie Da Kid”)..and there isn’t much the DJ can do about that shit….

  • DOLLAZ

    1ST AND FORMOST THERE’S NOT 1 FUCKING DJ THAT IS EVEN THINKING ABOUT KEEPING THERE EAR TO HEAR JUST STRAIGHT GOOD MUSIC OR EVEN MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN TO MAKE THE ART FORM GO FURTHER… “AND INSPIRE THEMSELVES” JUST A WAY INTO SIGN A ARTIST TO A BULLSHIT PRODUCTION DEAL AND OR GET A WAY TO BECOME A WANNABE PRODUCER/RADIO DISC JOCKEY… THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT THE ARTIST OR THEY OWNSELF FOR THAT MATTER. “JUST SELL THEIR SOULS FOR CHECKS AND MAKE THEIRSELF A ROCKSTAR!! (SOMEHOW).

  • micguevara

    Was on Canal ST. Monday.seriously would rather Download then have some cat shove Cd’s down my throat.and it was true all you saw was mixtapes for a entire camp.

  • nastyman

    you couldn’t be more wrong fuckboy. Stick to being a suit. Mixtapes dont miss your 98 lb ass

  • NorthPhilly

    Yo Sickamore you’re absolutely right man…I’ve been studying the mixtape game & although I like to hear a good dj mix, scratch & do various blends & stuff, but the reality is that many people around me only want to hear hot new music or artists. This new era of cats don’t care about alot turntable tricks & stuff even though I do. Most people don’t understand that it’s expensive for mixtape djs to continually drop mixtapes. Djs don’t break records anymore & I do feel that djs should start breaking new artists via mixtapes because they sure as hell aren’t doing it via commercial radio.

  • xxx

    Its a shame that so few black people can type anything intellectual

  • 5 STAR X-E-Q-SHUN

    real yawner, sick.

  • Rouge

    (Example of Sickamore editorial)

    blah blah blah. . . remember that I’m important. . . blah blah blah. . . I’m an “A&R”. . . blah blah blah. . . I’m in the game (remember from before?). . . blah blah blah. . . where the dick at?

  • Curt Dog

    It aint the DJs its the artist, the guys who carry the mixtape. I heard the one you did with Spot itz nuts, but where are the Lupe, and Tru Life tapes and why are none of them collabing?. Focus on the fresh blood and not the never will get anywheres(Papoose, Uncle Murder, Saigon)

    oh yeah, fuck Atlantic for dropping Bump J

  • SOUTHSIDE 13

    i live on the westcoast its hard 4 me 2 get mixtapes fucc la puro ie

  • NEW YORK NEW YORK

    They dont work all artists that are popping on mixtapes are unsigned. Pap dropped 15 mixtapes and where is he. Than Young B drop one song and she gets a deal. You are smart for this blog

  • Che

    >Sickamore. How appropriate. You look like an AIDS patient on your blog banner.

    lmao

  • Andrew

    dj whoo kid iz da best dj in da world

    g g g g g g g unit

  • Legal Dollaz

    the marketing dollars allocated from the major labels is a wrap so all you fake under cover publicist/promoters/marketing experts hiding under the umbrella of “mixtape dj” can hang it up now cause the well is dry. The VP’s (check cutters) are only trickling money to their favorite fuck buddies believe that and in 07 it will be all about Pop Hop so lets see how many Pussycat Dolls and Lady Soveriegn mixtapes we’ll see pop up in the hood…the last days are here

  • Belize

    good point

  • Sickamore Rocks

    DJ Sickamore has the absolute best instrumental mixtapes come back sickamore we miss the twilight zone!

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  • http://www.myspace.com/sadsmilez1 INDOE

    Their is no such thing as a “mixtape” anymore . it’s a cd full of shit . The only artist i see as really spittin is Willie The Kid . That boy is fire . Check out some bangin undiscovered hip-hop at myspace.com/sadsmilez1

    INDOE
    1 1/2 OF THE RUGGED ONES

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