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Mixtapes vs. Street Albums vs. EP’s – Re:Definition

Remember when mixtapes used to be a DJ’s mixture of creativity and music? Wait, remember when mixtapes used to be the source to hear music first and introduce you to new artists? Hold up, remember when DJ’s used to actually mix or, God forbid, blend an instrumental with an a capella?

Now, before we get into the subject of mixtapes, let me give you my background specifically in the mixtape world for those wondering or just don’t know:

*Last year nominated for 8 Justo’s (Mixtape Awards).
*Won Mixtape DJ of the Year at Hip-Hop Regional Awards.
*Released over 40 mixtapes with everyone from Travis Barker to Akon to Chris Cornell to Snoop Dogg and more.
*Responsible for producing some classic “mixtape” songs (i.e. Game’s “300 Bars” & Crooked I’s “Hip-Hop Weekly”).
*Participated in the label’s “mixtape” hearings; after DJ Drama got arrested, the heads of labels secretly met to discuss how to handle mixtapes in the future. True story!
*Did the first mixtape DVD ever (it never saw the light of day, but was a dope video mix for Loud Records long before DVJ’s were made).
*Have been shut down by the RIAA in the past for mixtapes (when I was 16 they tried to sue me but I wasn’t old enough, ha).
*Nominated at the age of 16 at the (top mixtape website at time) Draft Pick contest (anyone remember that? Mega points to anyone who still has that tape!).
*Started off under DJ Stretch Armstrong, who showed me the ropes of the game (anyone remember the mixtapes he was dropping in the late ’90s?)

Now, my goal in approaching this article is figuring out a way to properly classify projects in the future. Everyone knows what an album is, yet the “mixtape” name has been abused, mangled, neglected, sodomized, bastardized, and is on life support.

I already know what some of the responses are going to be: “You’re guilty for some of the stuff you say; where is the art; why don’t you change stuff; blah, blah, blah.” True, in some instances, I have released projects where I have (or the artists have) just wanted to feature the music—no mixing, tricks, blending—plus, some music just doesn’t need it overdone.

Check the resume, and you’ll see some other creative mixtures (i.e., the concepts and flow of the Jay-Z American Godfather mixtape, some of my early blend tapes, or the mash-up Chris Cornell/Timbaland project, as well as the jacking-for-beats type productions I’ve done).

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