Is It Corny To Be Digging In The Crates In ’08?

Caught this video on Cratekings.com about a secret (or really not so secret anymore) thrift shop in Brooklyn with a shiteload of vinyl hidden in its basement.

Which got me to thinking about when the last time was that I bought vinyl. You know what, it’s been a minute. Last time I can really remember scoring was in late August of 2006, I happened to be down in Tampa, Florida for a few days and ended up in some hick flea market where it seemed like every booth was selling guns… and there weren’t even any rappers in sight. But there was a small record store in there, and because well, let’s be honest here, the demographic that shopped in this store was clearly not into any form of black music, there were countless great records available for dirt cheap prices. I ended up buying about a hundred records. I rarely buy that many records at one time.

I might have bought a few pieces of vinyl at a street fair or something since that time, but really, I find myself searching for stuff online a lot more now. It’s just more cost effective, because these record stores in New York charge up the ass for even the shittiest of shit records. It’s the newjack diggers, the ones who just started shopping for vinyl and wanna buy every record that Pete Rock or Premier ever sampled that fucks shit up for the rest of us. So now you’ve got places like Sound Library charging 30 dollars for some crap you can find in a dollar bin elsewhere, because some of their clientele is just that stupid. And that’s not to dis Sound Library, because I’ve bought records there before (maybe I’m the stupid one, seriously). Just sometimes I see these prices on vinyl that I already own, shit that I’ve copped for 50 cents somewhere else, and I’m like damn some fool is gonna part with his bread because he’s just too dumb and too lazy to look for it cheaper elsewhere.

Still, now what I find myself doing is going to a record store, going through vinyl, listening to records on the store’s turntables, and then noting down whether or not I like something before keeping it moving. Then I head home and try to find that same shit online. I know what you’re thinking, that whole process is pretty bitch made. You know what, it is. But so is the mark-up on the record itself. Sometimes I’d spend 25-30 dollars on a single record. Fuck that. If I can get it for free now, I will. Sure I lose out on the sound quality of the vinyl, and finding MP3s with good quality is tough, but at the same time a lot of my vinyl purchases are made just to be listened to, not even for sampling purposes, so to listen to an MP3 these days is not the worst thing in the world.

I wonder what the value of someone like a Pete Rock, Premier, Digging In The Crates Crew, or the Beatnuts might have been back in the day had the internet and digital music been around. I’m a huge fan of all these folks, and I’ve always been a bigger fan of sample-heavy hip-hop, but to me it seems like back then a producer’s value had a lot to do with just how crazy of a record collection they had. Meaning, did they have the hot records to sample. To a sample-based producer, great source material is their most valuable asset. But now a lot of this source material is available to everyone, so doesn’t that sort of change the dynamic of things? Additionally, is that a reason why a record produced one of the aforementioned producers (or one of their contemporaries) means less to people now than it did back then?

Has e-digging leveraged the act of digging in the crates just like the rise of digital music retailers like itunes and amazon leveraged traditional brick and mortar music stores? Like, if you’re a kid coming up and just getting into making tracks, will you ever actually make it to a record store at some point in your life and buy a piece of vinyl, or will your whole realm of thought be stuck in the digital world where you are so used to finding samples online that the idea of copping vinyl would be pointless?

  • KLETEWOOD

    I gotta Attic full of vinyl. Collecting Dust. Ain’t worth shit.

    Its too heavy to transport everywhere! Plus, people want to hear new shit.

    • Phil

      You sound terribly lazy dude.

      “People want to hear new shit”…what on earth are you talking about.

      • KLETEWOOD

        Nor Cal chronic makes you lazy…but, not terribly lazy.

        What I’m saying is…people want to hear new mix tapes, remixes, and collabo’s.

        Obviously…I don’t have Crooked I tucked away in my attic….Get It?

  • Phil

    Well, times are changing drastically. Vinyl seems to be on its last legs, and as a veteran digger myself, it does ache the heart a little. I haven’t shopped actively in years. It’s more on a passive level where if I see it I’ll get it. I’ve done a little “net digging” and have been very disappointed in the sound quality of these finds.

  • http://www.dirtydesign.net old school

    Vinyl still SOUNDS better then digi/mp3 (although that could change) and it looks cooler. Sorry kids- but dj’n with laptops and this other cornball stuff is super corn dog.

  • JONATHAN

    BUYING RECORDS THE WAY YOU BUY THEM IS POINTLESS FROM A PRODUCING STAND POINT! BACK WHEN I WORKED WITH MOBBDEEP HAVOC USE TO JUST BUY A WHOLE STORE OF 10 CENT RECORDS FOR 500 DOLLARS IF HE HAD TO. I WOULD DO THE SAME EVEN BEFORE RECORDING PROFESSIONALLY! TO JUST NIT PICK RECORDS IT JUST DOESNT MAKE SENSE WHEN YOU GOT PEOPLE LIKE PREMIER AND OTHERS WHO CAN JUST SNATCH SHIT OFF A RECORD THAT YOU WOULD NEVER EVEN THINK TO PICK UP! TRUST ME A COUNTRY RECORD OR A COMEDY ALBUM OR A HARMONICA RECORD MIGHT HAVE THE SMALLEST HALF BAR LOOP THAT WILL MAKE THE CRAZIEST BEAT EVER! REALLY! FOR REAL FOR REAL! DONT TURN DOWN ANY VYNYLL! AND IF YOU REALLY LOVE MUSIC YOU REALLY LOVE MUSIC! ALL KINDS! I LIKE EVERY GENRE ON MUSIC! I DONT TURN DOWN ANY RECORDS WHEN I USE TO SHOP FOR RECORDS! ILL TAKE IT ALL! YOU SEE A HOMELESS GUY SELLING RECORDS ON THE STREET! ASK HIM ILL GIVE YOU 50 DOLLARS FOR ALL OF THEM! YOU PROBABLY MAKE 50 GRAND OFF THAT STACK OF 100 RECORDS! TRUST ME!

  • http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ noz

    Well places like Sound Library are charging for a service. They dig for you. They are picky about condition and quality. As someone who is still doing this on a semi-regular basis I can tell you that the days of stumbling over mass amounts of good and clean records for cheap are more or less behind us. At least in most major metropolitan cities. There are records around, but you have to be on your grind. Many of us don’t have the resources or inclination to compete with full time dealers in buying collections and such.

    These stores don’t cater to beat makers anymore because chopping killed the beat making record collector. BITD producers needed cleanish copies of records that were actually good for at least a few bars to loop. (And if you were making a couple gs off the beat it was nothing to drop a few hundred on the record). In a post Dilla world dudes are just amassing sounds with no quality control. They’ve got 5,000 beat to shit Mantovani records talking about “I got breaks, son! Some scratches give it character!” These are the same kids who are like “pfft I got that at the goodwill for a quarter” when they see a wall piece at a boutique store, neglecting to mention that their copy is pockmarked and skated in a sleeve that smells like cat piss or that they waded through that Goodwills endless Firestone Xmas stock every day for three years before finally pulling something worth bragging about.

  • iLL

    Naw fuck that. I love technology but i will be a Luddite when it comes to changing from vinyl to cd’s. I mean yea its lighter, space effective, Serato(and the list go’s on) but for some reason I still find the poppin and cracklin of vinyl to be a beautiful sound. Yea i know there are plug-ins that can achieve this, but i’ll pass on that. I was salivating watching that video. Anytime there is a yard sale in my area (i dont care what part of town) i pull over to see if anyone getting rid of any old records. I will be a dinosaur in this regard.

  • JONATHAN

    IVE SEEN WHOLE ALBUMS MADE OFF A GRAND OF RECORDS! SOLD HALF A MILLION COPIES! SERIOUSLY! SAMPLES TAKEN OFF OF VHS COPIES! BOOTLEG MOVIES! WHEREVER! A GOOD ENGINEER CAN MAKE ANYSHIT SOUND GOOD! TRUST ME! AND HIPHOP AINT THE PHIL HARMONIC ORCHESTRA! THAT DIRT IS WHAT MAKES HIPHOP! THATS WHERE YOU ALL FUCKED UP AT! SERIOUSLY! ITS TOO CLEAN NOW! ITS CORNY! STRAIGHT UP! EVEN THE TOP SOUTH MUSIC IS SAMPLING NOW! THE GHETTO BOYS HAD THE BEST SAMPLES BEST SOUTHER MUSIC I EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE! FOR REAL! EVEN LUKE! I NEVER SEEN MORE CHICKS SHAKE OFF OFF BOOTY MUSIC THAN LUKE AND HIS SHIT HAD SAMPLES! ITS ALL ON HOW YOU DO IT! THE SAMPLE AND LOOP IS HIPHOP! THE MUSIC IS GOOD! BUT EVEN DRE MAKES HIS MUSIC SOUND LIKE LOOPS AND THEN HAS THE MUSICAL SIDE TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL! HE REALLY DOES THAT CAUSE HE WANTS HIS MUSIC IN TUNE! BECAUSE HE KNOWS THAT THE MASS AUDIENCE RESPONDS BETTER TO INTUNE MUSIC WHEN MOST PRODUCERS WORK WITH VYNLL THEY WIND UP SAMPLING OUT OF TUNE, THAT ONE THING I LEARNED FROM WORKING WITH A KEYBOARD PLAYER! WHEN YOU SAMPLE YOU STILL GOTTA KEEP IT IN TUNE! SO THAT OTHER SOUNDS CAN BE INCORPORATED! AND THE NATURAL HUMAN EAR RESPONDS WAY BETTER TO INTUNE MUSIC! LESSONS FOR YOU! BUT U PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW ALL THIS!

  • http://www.myspace.com/big_dee_el Dee El

    Wow! Corny? I don’t know about that one. As a beatmaker (producer?), I still dig, but I’m a little older than the average hip hop head of 2008. I still get a rush when I dig through records and get them home and hear something dope. I never go to big name places, thrift stores, flea markets, and Yard Sells have netted me some seriously dope stuff. I never listen in the store either. I buy based on album artwork or if I like the title, or by label as some of the sixties psych-rock was mad dope. I don’t know, for me it’s still the thrill of the hunt even if I don’t sample, which reminds me I have to go listen to the Joe Sample I copped the other day.

    Dee El sends
    P.E.A.C.E.

  • Nic Diamonds

    Nah It’s about to take me back to my passion for beat making I think finding some shit that nobody ever heard is still a high. I got away from it for awhile because the closest record store is like an hour and 20mins away. Fuck it I love to listen to records all day it give me peace. I miss the shit really since gas is a bitch the trip has to bring me some heat.

  • Proverbial

    Get off the duff and kill the laziness….you might learn a thing or two just reading the back of some of these LP’s….the business and history are all in the stacks….besides if you are listening/sampling music that is recorded pre-1985 and rare…and you grab it from a CD,
    and it is digitally remastered….
    it will come from a VINYL master!!!!!only large record companies have the scratch to vault all those reels…and even if they survived…they sometimes gotta bake the tapes….and that can be a risky endeavor.

    So what you are doing is taking the art out of samplng….but who cares anyway….CD’s are Old school anyway, right?
    I just downloaded “Between the Sheets” by some guys named Isley Bros. …..its got this hot loop on the intro

    Fuckin Momo’s

    RIP: The Love

  • CMoney

    Vinyl sales have actually gone up, as CD sales have gone down.

  • Eman

    The promblem is alot of people dont appreciate music enough to feel the soul. They would rather add a simple fruity loops pattern with hard ass bass and 50 drum rolls. But why sampling will never die is because some producers cant play the piano or guitar for example and dont have money to pay somebody and dont want a shitty synth guitar so they find a guitar sample.

    I just downloaded “Between the Sheets” by some guys named Isley Bros

    ANd these young kids didnt have parents like mine cause some guys named isley brothers seriously? I hope youre being sarcastic.

  • oskamadison

    For REAL music lovers, digging will never die. There’s one thing you can get on the orignal vinyl that you cani’t get on mp3′s (besides WAY superior sound quality): knowledge. The information on all those liner notes, like band line ups, producers, studios used, the artists’ takes on the work at hand will actually enhance your digging if you’re sincere about what you’re doing. I remember The Beatminerz were in RapPages (RIP) back in the day and gave the most profoundly simple piece of advice when digging: read the labels. There’s been over 100 years of recorded music and you think we ran through it all in 22 years? Not. Keep digging.

  • oskamadison

    By the way, Johnathan, you know your shit.