Hip Hop Before The Internet

From three-line reviews in "The Source" to downloading three albums a day, HipHopDX's J-23 steps in to compare the dedication and listening habits of yesteryear to today's daily operation.

Right now you can probably listen to 99% of all the Hip Hop ever made whenever you havean Internet connection. If you can’t download it with a quick Googling, someone has probably posted it on YouTube. At worst, you can do this from a cell phone. To some readers, this is the only way you’ve ever known the experience. To others, these advances are an incredible convenience compared to how they used to get their music. It was not that long ago that today’s landscape was an inconceivable notion.  We’re at a time now where Hip Hop fans weren’t just too young to remember the days of rewinding and changing sides, many were not even born yet. Hip Hop is getting old; some 40 years have passed since Kool Herc was deejaying block parties in the Bronx and 25 since the first Rap album went #1. The music, the artists, and the fans have come and gone like the seasons. The saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” While that’s true for a lot of aspects of Hip Hop, it certainly doesn’t apply to the listening experience.

Let me paint you a picture.

Imagine it is 1992 and you’re awaiting The Chronic instead of Detox. You read in The Source that Dre’s new single was dropping this month and you’re dying to hear it. While walking to school one day a car stops at a light and you hear a funky bassline, whining synths and Dr. Dre telling you it’s like this and like that. The light turns and the car starts driving so you break into a sprint to keep up and hear a little more of the song. Once you get to school and finish drying off in the bathroom, you ask everyone you know who listens to Hip Hop if they’ve taped the song off the radio or taped the video. Unsuccessful, you head home that night and sit by the radio with a blank cassette tape in the deck. Every time a new song comes on your finger hovers over the record button. No luck. The next day you hit the store the see if the new Source is out because they might write three sentences about the song, which will be very satisfying to read. A week later you find out your boy has the song on his new pause tape. Unfortunately, it is the dub of a dub of a dub of a dub of a dub. The static from the radio is minimal, but it’s got more hiss than a 30 foot python. Nevertheless, you listen to nothing but the song for two weeks straight. Your mom is pissed because you went through 18 batteries for your Walkman because rewinding every four minutes for hours at a time takes a toll. Cut off from getting new batteries you toss your dead ones in the freezer to get some more juice out of them. This is a daily operation.

Now fast forward for a moment to 2011. You’ve read 36 news updates on Detox in the last month, and the latest from Mr. Porter’s brother’s deaf roommate is that he says Dre told him the album’s release date using sign language. While walking to school you check HipHopDX to see if the new single has leaked yet. Sure enough, it has. You dig in your bag and grab your earphones and start streaming the song. As a whining voice requests a doctor, you read the comments on the song and see that 42% of people think this is the greatest song they’ve ever heard because Dre is the greatest producer ever and this is the newest song they’ve heard from him. 41% think it is the worst song they’ve ever heard because " Dre’s ghost producers suck worse than him" and "Eminem is a fag who raps about butt-fucking Dre." Eight percent of listeners are indifferent about the song because it’s a bit emo sounding, but they admit it’s a good concept. Four percent want you to know Lil Wayne is the G.O.A.T. and 5% want you to follow the hottest new artist you’ve never heard of on Twitter. You dig the song though so when you get home you download it from Nahright along with a dozen other new joints, hit some other blogs and download four new albums and three mixtapes. You listen to three of the new songs on your iPhone while you walk to your boys to play xBox. The next day you listen to Dre’s new song one more time before moving on to all the other new music you’ve got.

Obsessive collectors aren’t just at record conventions anymore.

This near unlimited access has had countless effects on Hip Hop music and the Hip Hop experience. Those are discussions that have been had or can be had another time. Certainly, a major outcome has been that fans typically have wider tastes because there's no risk to trying out a new artist or a new sub-genre. Except maybe your time and bandwidth.

While there were a handful of ways to learn about a new artist, radio, video or your friends, were only about the only free ways to actually hear someone new. The Source was reliable back then, but you still ran the risk of  buying an album and learning that you wasted your hard earned money.  There were the few enterprising record stores in each city that had listening stations and let you sample albums before your bought them. It was a wonderful system but things got tricky for those of us who abused the system. I would listen to no less than five albums per visit and quickly wore out my welcome. At best, you had to deal with clerks' dirty looks and annoyed sighs. At worst, you were denied. Plus, spending four or five hours in the store listening to albums  wasn’t the best use of time. But that's what it was.

The more discerning purchasers such as myself also ran into another problem. Sometimes you would go to buy an album and it had already been opened because someone had listened to it at the listening station. I didn't want to buy that tainted copy, the fresh plastic wrap had already been ripped. That may seem incredibly trivial to those of you never took the packaging off a cassette or CD, but back when people bought those things there was nothing like getting home and cracking open that packaging and listening to an album for the first time while you read the liner notes for the first time. That was experiencing music. So a torn open and repackaged copy? No thanks. The real trouble came with independent releases where stores only had one copy. Dilemmas.

That was finding and purchasing the album, listening was an entirely different animal. Unless you had deep pockets you probably picked one or two new albums a month, for some, it was even less. It was not a rare thing to listen to an album for months on end. Young cats often wonder why the older generation cling on so tightly to the golden years of Hip Hop. It isn’t just the quality of the music from those years, it’s that we listened to these albums three or four times a day, every day, for months. Does that ever happen anymore? I sure don’t do it. The never ending stream of new music won’t allow it, and frankly, I don’t think my attention span does either.

None of this is to say the new generation missed out on better times, the system in 2011 is undoubtedly better. Unlimited, risk free access to any artist and the ability to carry 3,000 albums in your pocket with no AA back ups is nothing short of incredible. But what we’ve gained in convenience, we have lost in experience. We cannot possibly be as good of listeners as we used to be; it is too easy to skip that song we don’t like in the first 15 seconds, or skip that album after skimming the first few tracks. There are albums I absolutely love which I didn’t care for after five listens. Today, there is no way I would give that album five listens when I put five new albums on my iPod five days in a row. I’m sure I’m not alone there. You can’t help but wonder what things will be like 15 or 20 years from now. The times, they are a changin’.

J-23 is HipHopDX's Editor-At-Large. He was a full-time member of the staff since 2001, and has was DX's longtime Music Editor and Marketing Director. J lives in London, Ontario.


  • Nadia Piet

    On point! Enjoyed the read :)

  • Frank Francis

    I know where Hip Hop went. The story telling isn't there anymore. Artists/Emcee's aren't talking about what's going out in society anymore. They are scared to actually. How many FBI letters were sent to NWA? How many politicians wanted Tupac to STFU? That is why MC's today are soft and just talk about Bitches, Blunts and Dope Money. http://www.youngyouth.com/about_us - Hip Hop will come back stronger than ever but get rid of this Chris Brown, Lil Weezy or Whatever his name is shit.

  • Anonymous

    always liked cd's better than mp3's nothing better than actually having the music in your hand, looking through the booklet, reading the lyrics if they're in there... I always try my best to avoid downloading music, I only use my itunes wishlist to note music I want to buy in CD... I'm afraid it will all become digital soon, then where will the artistry go? In the AAC format? ... Sad times.

    • Anonymous

      that is so silly, what do you think cd's carry? music in a digital format, you are just getting it in a less efficient way

  • adam_dz

    Fantastic article. I started becoming a hip-hop head in the late 90s. I def remember going to Circuit City-- and not Camelot or Musicland cause they were a rip-off-- every Tuesday to buy new albums. A few albums I remember rushing to the store for during my late middle school and high school yrs include Nas I Am, the 1st Ja Rule (bahahha) Beanie Sigel the Truth, REflection Eternal, The Lox We Are The Streets, Mobb Deep Murda Muzik, Jay-Z THe Dynasty and many many more. I would also read The Source and try to find all the rare/random mixtape songs from the "FAT TAPE" section to download on Napster lol.

  • Grim

    I'm 26 while I listend to the Chronic plenty of times that wasn't it. But when TuPac "All eyes on me", The LOX "Money, Power and Respect" and BTNH "E1999 Eternal" dropped I was a recording Mufuka. Had to press the record and pause button at the same time lol. I wouldn't even turn on my radio without a blank tape in the deck. I feel like I'm in the age group that really can appreciate the Classics and not be to stuck up to enjoy the change in hip hop over the years. So yeah I got the purple tape. My girlfriend bought me Hard Knock Life in 9th Grade. I can enjoy some old Biggie and turn around and play Rick Ross or some classic Nas and switch to slaughterhouse or drake. I like variety I always have.

  • Anonymous

    I grew up in Haiti. Moved to US in 2000. Dubbing tapes was my life. At school it was a crime to have a tape n not share w/every1. The last tape I dubbed was the 'Slim Shady Lp' . Yo I used to have that tape in my pocket all day. My walkman broke my junior year n I used 2 buy lunch 4 one my boys everyday so he cld let me use his during school days. Great article

  • CaqNudg

    Lol....I'm only 18, but I remember the first hip hop album to be owned by someone in my house. My brother brought speakerboxxx/the love below, but since I was 11 he wouldn't let me listen to the love below. Needless to say, I know most of the songs on speakerboxxx by heart and listened to it everyday for two months. #youngbutintheknow

  • Alkaline

    I'm 41 yrs old and have always gone to the record store on Tuesdays to get a new record to tape to cd and will be there on Dec 6th to pick up the Roots' undun. Ill read the liner notes while listenin(I miss the older Roots liner notes when Questlove would describe somethin interestin about the album).I even.imported all of my cds into my ipod but would often forget about music I had on there because I have 11,000 songs on there. So since I've filled up that 55gig ipod, I'm back to poppin the cd in and ridin out to it. Sometimes you can have too much music at ur fingertips.

  • Rusty

    We used to have roller skating on Saturday afternoons and I was in charge of the music. I would spend most of the week in my bedroom next to the radio recording songs for it. If I didnt have a song I needed, I would call the station 3 or 4 times a night and request it then run back to my room and sit and wait for it to play.

  • Chitown

    Those days were when I grew to love rap. In Chicago rap wasn't being played as much as it was on the west and east coast. We had 2 college radio stations that were really the only stations catering to hip hop heads. That was KKC on the southside and WNUR on the northside. WNUR only played hip hop late at night from 10pm to 2am. Since I had school the next day I would put a tape in my radio and record as much of the show as I could. I had one of those records that automatically filled the tape over and kept recording when one side was done. That's how I heard all of the new rap uncensored. Too Short, NWA, Geto Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, Sir Mix A Lot(The song Posse On Broadway was a classic before he made it big with that terrible song Baby Got Back). I heard all of that for the first time that way. Those were good times and rap was still raw. The issue now is that all music is too perfect. The years have taught producers how to make a completely polished sound. The problem is that this polished sound has taken away all the rawness that rap originally had. It's now just pop music. I still love rap, but I find myself listening to less of the new stuff. Lil Wayne, Kanye,Jay-Z, and Eminem are the last of a dying breed of rappers who still give a fuck about creativity. Kendrick Lamarr might do something if people are actually willing to listen to someone who is talking about something beside women, parties, and money. I don't miss the technological side of the old school, cassettes were actually terrible. I do miss the rawness and unpredictability of it though.

  • Ryan Hurley

    I'm glad I was at a good time between Tapes to CD's to the Internet. I didn't miss out on any of it! I do miss it though! That shit was raw! Back to basics right there! Gotta actually go out and look for music! Physically.

  • DickNYaBooty

    "Back Down Memory Lane"....great article ! Sad truth is that music consumption will never return to the "great experience" it once was. i was a CD collector who valued and took care of all my discs, now they are an afterthought because they are all mp3's added to my downloaded mp3's....dick is never going back.

  • Anonymous

    EXACTLY.. This is a nostalgia piece. It just about the good memories but don't sleep, the analog days are the ONLY times that could give birth to something as powerful as hiphop. The down and dirty gritty reasons dudes started messing with turntables was because they were available and tangible. Hiphop thrives in the modern era but it NEEDED origins at a time when muscle was how to start a hustle. Oh CAIN DANCE?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs7fJ6jAOVU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • Anonymous

    Nice memories!! Can you imagine explaining this stuff to a 10 year old hiphop fan!! My boyz son asked him "what's this daddy" holding up a CD!! I was like Dayum!!! People forget who Herm can was a few decades ago too! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs7fJ6jAOVU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • Anonymous

    It's amazing that memory and history of these moments only goes back in this story to 1992!! Classic!! Try imagining 1982!! BEFORE video popularity broke through by the late 80s. HipHop iz a BEAST!! Truth is free in hiphop and truth is a megaBeast!! Get it Herm Cain!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs7fJ6jAOVU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • John-Boy

    Good read that anyone over 25 can relate to. I used to spend HOURS sitting in front of the tape deck waiting on a dope song to play so i can record it. I remember the first hiphop album I actually without dubbing from a friend was Scarface's The Diary and I played the hell out of it. Those were the good ole days of music and life in general.

    • Anonymous

      Sad?? Here hit this get yourself some happy CAIN DANCE style!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs7fJ6jAOVU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  • Alley Angel Artist Aphropik

    You are so right...I can't help but think about Oooh... On The TLC Tip! That was the last cassette tape I can vividly remember buying back in like '90 or '91 maybe. RIP Left Eye. I remember walking to the Mom & Pops b/c all their joints were 9.99 and by the time I caught the L to the record store I would've spent that much. This was before mofos started charging 15.99 and 17.99 for their weed-table albums w/ 8 joints on there and only 3 of them jam! I remember getting the scissors to poke the plastic b/c this was actually a black GIRL group! I didn't want to risk breaking the cassette cover by just popping it open. I read that cassette insert like a sacred scroll! All white back group with T-Boz, Left-eye and Chilli colorful and brilliant on the front jumping in the air...nowadays kids that same age talk about drugs and killing...This article was the bomb (yeah I said "bomb" b/c I'm 30! lol). The only thing I want to add is that I appreciated how we accessed hip-hop back then more than now because we had fun with it! All that negativity is a distraction from the fact your wak! When you're having fun with it, you breed creativity and music is good again! Let's get back to that...#occupyyourspirit

  • MC Rein

    thats a good article like all the ones i have read so far. I started listening to music in 2008 and this is the way i have ever known the internet age. So it is what it is, both good and bad

  • Lsn22s

    Excellent read, props to the writer... Some friends and i were actually talking about this recently, not just with music but with everything... Remember dial-up internet? and how long it took to download music that way? (do people still use dial-up?) Or making mixtapes that were actually TAPES??? Putting like 20 different cds in a stereo to record one song at a time onto cassette? Or how about the jump from cassette walkman to cd walkman...shit felt like it was from the future! I remember bringing extra batteries and a book of cds to school with me...and then lets not forget the era of burning mix cd's, I was HOOKED when I first started, making mix cds was sooooo much easier than tapes...now burning a cd is like a hassle lol

  • yesyes

    I had to read the article after all the good comments I seen and I agree, this is a good article. Music now and days does get old fast. I'm always putting new music in and out the ipod. In 15 - 20 years I also wonder what it will be like. Me personally I dont't think there will be anymore CD's. Just like cassettes are pretty much non existant, I think CD's by then will be like tapes are now. Everything will be digital. You never know.

    • Lsn22s

      I think you might be right...Cd's are already on the decline. Once the profits are no longer worth the investment folks just might be FORCED to go digital just to put music out.. I already feel like anyone who purchases a cd these days has to be part of one of three groups: 1. Collectors (I would put myself in this category)...some folks like having a physical collection to sit on their shelf just like a book collection or movie collection... 2. Those without convenient internet access, or those who are not tech-savy (I would put my sister in this category, also my pops)...some people just don't know computers and the internet like that, so they stick to what they know... 3. Hardcore fans. Whether it's because they have collected an artist's previous work and want to complete a set/series. Or maybe they are one of those folks (like me) who enjoys knowing they helped their favorite artist do their numbers or they just live/breathe that artist's work and NEED it... outside of these 3 grops, cd sales are pretty damn scarce

  • Anonymous

    fuck i-tunes get of your ass and go get the cd.alot of people jobs are in danger because of i-tunes and im not talking about the artist.

  • chris p

    EXACTLY HOW I FEEL! just spoke some of those same words with my homeys the other day. i remember when dmx's debut dropped and i went to 3 different stores to buy it because it was sold out. youngsters dont remember buying a tape and if it was wack stuffing the empty slot with paper or covering it with tape and record over it with jams from the radio or creating a mix with your favorite songs from your favorite albums and even making copies sellin em for 5 bucks. thanks for this article

  • EEZY

    Remember how great it was to get a 2CD album?!?! I still remember skipping middle school to go buy All Eyez On Me the day it came out. Crazy to think that album sold 5 million in the first 2 months after being released.

  • MalcolmLittle

    Man J-23 this article right here is what's been NEEDED in Hip-Hop journalism, nothin but props to you for keepin it all the way funky and schoolin the youngins on the days when Hip-Hop and its fans were AUTHENTIC instead of all this synthetic bullshit. I still remember takin a gang of my Nintendo games to CD Land to trade for store credit the night Doggystyle dropped, yeah I missed playin the games but it was WELL worth it. Who else remembers when they 1st saw Snoop turn into the Doberman in the What's My Name video?? Or what about when you caught that one bogus tape player that put the Chipmunk effect on all your shit, where y'all think Kanye got the idea from?? LOL And I KNOW I ain't the only one that pulled the BMG/Columbia House lick several times under several different names, gettin like 12 CDs for a penny and shit...checkin the mail every day after school for 2-3 weeks straight to see if the tapes showed up yet. Goin to Camelot and Sam Goody and personally siftin thru EVERY DAMN CD in the rap section til you found that ONE unknown artist or compilation that made you wanna take a chance with your lil fast food gig money, and very rarely bein disappointed. Man I could go on all damn night but y'all get the point. There's nothin like bein 31 years old and throwin on one of them classic joints, firin up some of that goody and just goin back to the basics and vibin out, rememberin everything you was doin when you 1st heard them shits and relivin every feeling you had way back then...thinkin about your guys that didn't make it to see 31, or maybe reminiscin on the broad a certain song always made you think of. How many of y'all made a tape for a girl you was diggin and slipped it in her locker or her bookbag cuz you was too scared to step to her and shoot your jab?? C'mon now don't front, we grown now! LMAO Can't even do that no more since ain't no one even fuckin with burnt CDs no more, the best you can do is write down a playlist on a piece of paper and slip that shit in her locker with a note sayin to check them songs out when she gets a chance...sorry but that ain't the same at ALL lil homie!! LOL I ain't here to shit on the youngins though, cuz just by goin off some of the comments on here I overstand there's some youngsters out there that DO get it, and I salute y'all. Y'all remind me of the cats like myself that used to be all up in our parents' record collection comin up, groovin to the shit THEY used to groove to in their day. That just shows y'all were actually raised right and got parents that actually give enough of a damn to guide y'all in that right directions, and I salute them as well. It's still some newer albums every now and then though that get me in stuck mode like back in the day...summer of '08, the ONLY 2 things I had in rotation were Mood Muzik 3 and I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind 2. Bar Exam 2 was the soundtrack to the summer of '09. Buck the World, Devin the Dude's Waitin to Inhale, and Z-Ro's Let the Truth Be Told dominated the whole winter of '06-07. Last year it was PackFM's I Fuckin Hate Rappers (props to HHDX for puttin me up on it). Ain't really had much of a chance to keep up on a lotta the more recent shit comin out or even listen to a lotta the more recent shit I do got, but I do know it's some gems still bein dropped if you know where to look. Def. lookin forward to the Slaughterhouse Shady debut, anything by Tech N9ne or K-Rino, plus Z-Ro and Trae stay droppin that Frank's Red Hot shit...and I'm quite sure everything I just named off will be in heavy rotation too. Good lookin out again to J-23 for this article, we NEED more pieces like this out there in this day and age...put me on the payroll and I'll gladly put together some weekly/biweekly/monthly pieces my DAMN self! LOL

  • Jonathan Das

    Good article. Really good.

  • Anonymous

    I think if it wassent for da Internet, Rap Artist wouldnt be dat Scarce and put bullshit.most artist would be long lasting and songs wouldnt get played out dat quick.i think mmixtapes also plays a part in fucking up da Rap industry but its juss my opinion

  • Whyklev

    Great article! Born in 79, I'm still feeling some of the new artists coming out. Not as much as back in that day, but that's part of growing up. I'm 32 now. I can't relate to a kid who is 18, and I don't want to! But I ain't hatin' on those kids though! I love the fact that hiphop is still alive. Growing. Changing etc. And to say that hiphop has "history"...man...that's a beautiful thing. I will say though, that part I loved about hiphop was seeing the liner notes and credits, samples etc. that allowed me to learn about R&B, Funk and all kinds of other music from wayyyyy back in the day, that helped make the music I grew up on! Hears to hoping for another 100 years of hiphop!

  • Assassin221

    Great read, even though I didn't really get into hip-hop till after the internet it still brings back high-school memories. Buying CDs at the store or ordering them, checking the mail every day, bumping the same albums over and over again in headphones in my room. It's crazy I used to spend probably hours a day doing nothing but bumping music in headphones. I wish I still had time for that shit.

  • Anonymous

    Rappers that would have never got any spotlight, now are thanks to the internet.

    • Anonymous

      totally opposite of that... internet helped underground rappers from 90s and role group members to get their shit heard... trick daddy, nelly and c-murder were popular without internet son

  • John Edwards

    Great article. Lately, I've been thinking to myself what's the last album I really listened to. Born in 86, I grew up listening to albums for months at a time. Now I just skim through them for a couple days and on to the next. I just deleted everything from my ipod and went back to buying cds, supporting the artist and enjoying the listening experience. About to go to best buy and cop that Wale today

    • John Edwards

      Oh and I don't like buying off of iTunes. Nothing like opening a cd and reading all the credits. And yeah I import it into my ipod for portability. But still prefer to have a hard copy

    • John Edwards

      Nah I had a bunch of mixtapes and a lot of stuff I didn't listen to. Now I buy maybe two cds a month. I got like six albums on there now but its all i need. I'm from Houston, so I banged that Trae, Street King for a minute. I love that cd, but I just got that Wale today.

    • Jason Johnson

      Why get rid of the music on your iPod though? Buying the record off iTunes still is supporting the artist. Are you putting that cd in a CD player/walkman? Thats a real question, I'm not trying to be funny...

  • Santiago Wu Irigoyen

    Great article.. born in '95, i but cds from the store, and heavily listen to musical techniques and lyrics. I try to ignore mediocre, left out singles rappers these days produce in 15 minutes.

  • Potato_with_Jive

    Nice read. My question comes from the idea that we have such access to so much music for free, whats pushing anyone to want to purchase music from a new Artist? Some say you give it away for free. I understand that the strategy behind it is that you build a fanbase and HOPE that when you DO release material for purchase those same people will buy it. My issue is that fine if you want to perform and make videos and perhaps grow to be in films and movies. But what if you just want to make some money off of original music material? I think the real issue is that we as the audience dont value the music anymore. why pay for somethign i can get for free? the real issue is it should have never been that easy to get in the first place. An artist works long and hard and spends much of their own money putting this together and we just get it for free. At best the artist gets pad from third party advertisements from a blog? Deosn't seem to make sense. We go to a doctor and pay him for his services dont we?. Music audiences have decided music is just not valuable enough to pay for. If for nothing else, the current audience is robbed of the excitement and anticipation of getting your hands on some new music. sad really.

    • blogking2

      Everything you said I agree with. I think some people have and excuse because of the economy. Others don't have that excuse especially if their working and bringing in a descent amount of money. most songs are .99 cents not that much . I brought Amanda Divas album when I was struggling and brought a few songs from A Neosoul artists www.myspace.com/anonamas even though I could have got them for free. I like footsteps so much I had no choice but to download a .99cent song and if I could have afforded the whole thing I would have downloaded and then turned around and bought the CD . I don't currently buy albums cause I'm out of work and when I was working I was a cheap skate. I have sense then learned a lesson if you have it buy it. If you don't have its understandable.

  • Leon

    Really dug this piece... born in '82 this was the way it was. I remember stayin' up for the local underground stations in Canada, 2am, they'd drop some bananaz shit and we'd have that play/record waitin'... man -- the good ol' days. Who else remembers that 60 Minutes of Funk Vol. 1 -- "...flip this over for side B"?? Haha... I love hiphop man. #bboysruntheworld

  • Anonymous

    yeah fuck internet and the current rappers.

  • JayC

    I remember those days i would spend hours waiting for "forgot about dre" to play on the radio back in 99'

  • Brandon Pitts

    Great article as always Bringing back many sad memories

  • RIP_Proof&Dilla

    Probably the best article I have read on this website very good job. Being born in 86 i was more a part of the CD generation than the cassete era but your articl still brings back great memories. I remeber borrowing my buddies copy of Chronic 2001 for my copy of Marshall Mathers LP. It is defnitley a shame of the album isnt appericated the way it once was.

  • Anonymous

    From mid 90's to early 2000's I have over 300 albums. Now I probably buy like 2 a year. Last ones I bought were probably Apollo Kids and Shaolin vs Wu-Tang. I used to look forward to seeing what the cover art was going to look like, what the album was going to sound like, who was featured, the artwork on the actual cd, etc. Now its a jpeg image and a collection of tracks that come and go and are forgotten in a week. When the album does come out I've usually heard about 75% of it thru leaks. Cover art revealed. Tracklist revealed early. Just not the same.

    • Santiago Wu Irigoyen

      i totally agree... it really isnt the same. Not just hip hop, but music of any kind was a lot more valued back then.

  • oskamadison

    BTW, J-23, you did your thing. You represented us "old heads" to the fullest without all the bitter finger-pointing. As they said on Dragnet back in the day, "Just the facts"...

  • oskamadison

    The first Hip-Hop album I ever bought was Run-DMC's first album in '84. The way I listened to music then is the way I listen to music now, for the most part. Back then, if there was an album I wanted, I bought it. Obviously, having a family and a gang of bills has shoved having the newest album way down the priority list but the joints that I have to have, I make a way to cop, even if I have to bide my time with throwing it on a youtube playlist. The greater accessibilty and resulting minimized attention spans has definitely changed the listening experience and the way we process music. Imagine an album like De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Risng dropping in this day and time. It would probably be ignored. This piece is rather poignant in a way, yet another reminder that Hip-Hop will never again be what it was. Yes, change is inevitable, but that doesn't mean it's always good.


    What a great article !!! Started buying hip hop in 1986 melbourne australia and still buying to this day.... Top Ten Hip Hop Artists of All Time : 1 Rakim 2 Big Daddy Kane 3 Kool Keith 4 MF DOOM 5 Chuck D 6 Schoolly D 7 Q-Tip 8 Biggie Smalls 9 Rammellzee 10 Roxanne Shante PEACE .... Nappie Rash OZ

  • Kashif Ilyas

    Since I was born in '92 myself, it was really fascinating reading the bit about how people listened to music then. Great editorial.

  • jesterxxl

    Don't mean to stand out but I don't fit into this article I still live off albums listening to them about 4 or 5 times straight as I did with Tech's All 6's & 7s plus Slaughterhouse debut!

  • Tzabi

    I agree, nowadays we live in the "instance moment" we can't wait for nothing. back then you would listen to the cd for weeks. I remember it was 91 when i bought my first casset of "LORDS OF THE UNDEGROUND". Today it's much easier to get the music but our attention span has shorten.

  • kaos

    Too true, I was born too late to experience the days of cassettes and have developed my musical ear with the internet. I consider myself an informed listener, but there's been some albums that I always found myself skipping over, but then I stumbled across it by accident and really enjoyed it. The most recent album that comes to mind is 'Sleeping in Class' by Casey Veggies. Never really gave a spin until this weekend, and I loved it.

  • Anonymous

    that was the best shit i have read on here in a long time. very true people are really really picky about music because of the thousands of artists albums available at the click of a button. I also have skimmed through too many albums that was when i was younger now that i am older i have actually taken time to listen to those albums, which are probably my faviroute albums now.

  • Up North

    The first cassette tape I ever bought was Ice-T "Original Gangster". The first CD I ever bought was Gangstarr "Step In The Arena". I remember the anticipation waiting on the release date. Nobody was walking around hating on Ice T or Gangstarr, acting like they new them or commenting on what they should be doing with their life. I bet if you asked any new jacks what the first song they ever downloaded was they would have no idea. I'm all for downloading but it's definitely not the same satisfaction as skipping out on class to get the new joint that just dropped at the store.

  • Anonymous

    Music Videos are another thing too...Remember nearly killing yourself jumping across the kitchen to hit record on the VCR when your favorite video came on?

    • murdock

      No doubt I still ahve the vhs with all the dope videos on it..Got youtube now though so I dont watch it anymore..shit I dont even have a player for it haha

  • Anonymous

    "42% of people think this is the greatest song theyve ever heard because Dre is the greatest producer ever and this is the newest song theyve heard from him. 41% think it is the worst song theyve ever heard because " Dres ghost producers suck worse than him" and "Eminem is a fag who raps about butt-fucking Dre." 8% percent of listeners are indifferent about the song because its a bit emo sounding, but they admit its a good concept. Four percent want you to know Lil Wayne is the G.O.A.T. 5% want you to follow the hottest new artist youve never heard of on Twitter." Yep, that pretty much sums up all DX commenters.

  • blogking2

    Blogking2: "THIS IS THE CORRECT POST AND LINKS I SCREWED UP ON MY FIRST POST my bad" The Boom Bap and Tape Deck era of rap is still live and Well. Youtube.com is the new Rapcity and Yo-Mtv Raps of today because thats where you find Todays new school and new generation of Artists thats havin fogotten their hiphop roots good examples www.myspace.com/tiyephoenix best songs 1.titanium 2. STOP RIGHT THEIR 3.MASTER PLAN http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEo9sQlcmZ0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDqT29GfCbM www.myspace.com/tiyephoenix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEo9sQlcmZ0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDqT29G ---------------------------- TRINITY IS NICE TRINITY IS NICE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7Bne1nFojo&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlm68LD2lL8&feature=related ------------------------------ WWind Blows- Zoser featuring Kamilah Sumner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09_qyOfZdPU South Side-Official video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phL842Smxgg&feature=related Undefeated http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLyuRn9wtaE ------------------------------ H.I.S.D. "Rockin' aka Space UP" [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO] - PeaceUvMine.com H.I.S.D. "Lando" Video (PeaceUvMine.com) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRthw__HlEI H.I.S.D. "Rockin' aka Space UP" [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO] - PeaceUvMine.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3uVyerxqbg&feature=related --------------------- The Niyat - "We Got It" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrHDWFvVpiw Snap and B Boy - "Colonized".mp4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRBaX02tSsc&feature=related various other artists like --------------------------------- Rita J http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Rita+J http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksbUUS-iTls http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1y4NOQ521U&feature=related ----------------------------------------- Amanda Diva "Man Child" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgITO_VbpUU Amanda Diva " Brand New " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6yv2-sBAr8 Amanda Diva- "Trendsetter" prod. BlackSoap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwruwwBnfrQ&feature=related ----------------- STALLEY "SLAP" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5Je_KUzZYo --------- SUNZ OF SOUL "LifeLove" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPd6J0IBVY4 Sunz of Soul - Be like dat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crLt_If_NS8&feature=related ---------------- Anonamas - This Moment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXWRWqhejyc&feature=related http://www.myspace.com/anonamas ---------------------------------- And If your real head and want to see the artists do some real numbers download them joints and buy the CD Thats the only way to keep the artists and Hiphop

  • NONO


  • JX Intrusion

    You know what's funny about you old dudes tho? You're all on the internet, on HipHopDX, and I bet you're downloading music, taking advantage of the internet. I bet you even have an iPod and your iTunes is junked up with mixtapes and albums. Am I right? I think we're in the greatest period of Hip-Hop because of the consumption of hip-hop is at its all time high and that's the way music SHOULD be. Yeah, I understand, everyone likes to cherish their generation, but it's pretty messed up, if you asked me, to have ot take extreme measures to listen to music. I mean have you ever taken a history class and realized how messed up shit was back then, how hard you had to work to do simple stuff? If you don't like the internet and think the music that's coming out now is bogus, don't use the internet! Go back to those cassette tapes and buy an old fashioned radio to listen to music. And if ur black, how about u tell ur parents to go back to an old log cabin in the south and don't go in good, clean stores that you weren't able to go in because of racism!

    • MalcolmLittle

      @ JX, I'ma keep my comment short, sweet and to the point...those "extreme measures" you speak of? That's what made us actually APPRECIATE the music instead of just lookin for the next hot thing or the next bandwagon to jump on. If you can't dig that then I really dunno what to tell you lil homie. No hate, just real dialogue my nigga.

    • Manila

      Again a good example of attention deficit. again skip skim browse and dont have the patient to read and digest the concept.. BTW Great read J23

    • Whyklev

      @jx - I'm not gonna hate on your comments. I was born in 79. I'm actually intrigued with your comments! Would love to grab a case of beers and just have a discussion about your knowledge/love for hiphop. I was wondering if the younger crowd still does their homework for hiphop, the same way alot of us who are in our 30's did back in the late 80's and through the 90's? I guess what I'm getting at, is that when we went though junior high and high school and on to college, times were different. Maybe we are the crazy ones now? The one positive outta all this...is that when I grew up...I wanted hiphop to live forever and not be a fad. I wanted it to be a genre like rock, country, classical etc. that goes on forever (or for a long time...not like disco). I wanted (and have) put up hiphop posters in my office and am the General Manager where I work. Sounds crazy? I guess. But hiphop was alot of our lives. Do you and your generation still see it that way?

    • Arabia1977

      You obviously read a different article then the one posted. Attention Deficit indeed.

    • Up North

      Trying to compare the way us "old heads" got our music 20 years ago versus racism in any capacity is probably the worst comparison I've ever heard. Nice try tho. Fact is, everybody downloads. Alot of music these days only gets released digitally or sold hard-copy in certain areas. Do I miss rewinding my cassette or fixing it after the player ate my tape? Fuck no. To me, the CD was one of the greatest inventions ever. But dealing with the downfalls of a cassette tape or waiting for an album to be released in stores is NOT an extreme measure. Shit has been made so easy and accessible for you young people these days that the sheer appreciation of the little things are gone. The internet, in my opinion, has degraded Hip Hop in every way except financially. Anybody can upload a tape and get on. Your Wacka Flocka's, Soulja Boy's, and Gucci Mane's are classic examples of this. Hip Hop has lost it's exclusivity because of the mass access allowed to it and artists are more concerned with trending than being credible music artists. There's a reason why there have been more classics dropped in Hip Hop's first 20 years than in it's last 20 years. And this generation has 10x more people claiming to be rappers. Think about it. And by the way, old heads created the internet.

    • Kevin

      You clearly missed the point. It wasnt that "the internet is bad and the old times were great" It was, because everyone got to appreciate each album in its entirety so artists strived to make timeless albums as opposed to making momentarily awesome LPs for attention deficit listeners. Its not good or bad, its just what it is. There were flaws in that system and there are flaws in our current one. You got to appreciate albums back then, but you didnt get much exposure. You get mad exposure now, but most times youre flipping from one album to the next with only a few songs staying in circulation for a long time. Comparing wanting to have music that you keep listening to to slavery? C'mon man. Thats just a weak analogy

  • bring back sweet memories

    Dam that feeling wish I could have it back! Wish I could still find some of those old tapes to.. would wait every thurs night for my hip hop radio sho and tape every dope track and then put em together on a mixtape and spread it to my friends... most of em didn't even get hip hop they way I did.. I needed it it was my air. bring back sweet memories! Just pulled my Biggie Ready to die cassette out..the only one I can find! Can see the tape where I tried to put that shit back together after my walkman ate it.. haha Nice article!

  • Blogking2

    The Boom Bap and Tape Deck era of rap is still live and Well. Youtube.com is the new Rapcity and Yo-Mtv Raps of today because thats where you find Todays new school and new generation of Artists thats havin fogotten their hiphop roots good examples www.myspace.com/tiyephoenix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEo9sQlcmZ0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDqT29G ---------------------------- TRINITY IS NICE http://www.youtube.com/watchv=Y7Bne1nFojo&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watchv=jlm68LD2lL8&feature=related ------------------------------ Wind Blows- Zoser featuring Kamilah Sumner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09_qyOfZdPU South Side-Official video http://www.youtube.com/watchv=phL842Smxgg&feature=related ------------------------------ H.I.S.D. "Rockin' aka Space UP" [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO] - PeaceUvMine.com http://www.youtube.com/watchv=H3uVyerxqbg&feature=related --------------------- The Niyat - "We Got It" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrHDWFvVpi Snap and B Boy - "Colonized".mp4 http://www.youtube.com/watchv=YRBaX02tSsc&feature=related various other artists like Rita J http://www.youtube.com/resultssearch_query=Rita+J&aq=f Amanda Diva "Man Child" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgITO_VbpUU Amanda Diva " Brand New " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6yv2-sBAr8 STALLEY "SLAP" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5Je_KUzZYo --------- SUNZ OF SOUL "LifeLove" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPd6J0IBVY4 Sunz of Soul - Be like dat http://www.youtube.com/watchv=crLt_If_NS8&feature=related Anonamas - This Moment http://www.youtube.com/watchv=gXWRWqhejyc&feature=related http://www.myspace.com/anonamas BUY AND DOWN LOAD THESE ALBUMS FROM VARIOUS INTERNET OUTLETS AND CHANNELS LIKE 1.Itunes 2.Amazon 3.CD BABY And If your real head and want to see the artists do some real numbers download them joints and buy the CD Thats the only way to keep the artists and Hiphop alive. Many alternative artists can still do platinium and gold numbers especially in these hard economic times. Anyone with a 9 to 5 durning these hard economic times they have no excuse but to cop the album not be cheap skate. Its no excuse why artists Like the Roots,Common, and Badu should not be doing platinum numbers nor any other alternative unknown alternative could a least sell 50,000 TO 100,000 units in downloads and CD'S

  • 123kid

    great article..this just shows u how hip-hop and music in general, just grows with time and evolution. Hip-hop jus isnt sacred anymore and is so in demand that ppl will do anything to hear a new record....In this day and age, it's very hard to drop a classic project becuz so few ppl will spend the weeks/months vibing and feeling the music becuz they're already looking for something new.

  • Willy

    I remember stealing all my shit. Then making copies for my friends, just so they would know what the fuck I was talking about. I still buy albums from the underground dudes, there is nothing like buying an album and having that artist actually hand it to you. You won't ever see mainstream dudes do that.

  • Anonymous

    Best article on this site all year at least. Back in the day buying a new album was one of the most exciting experiences. And man did I sit by the radio for hours and hours recording tracks when they came on.

  • william brown

    ...i remember listening to my tapes so much they'd snap and i'd have to do some surgery with a knife and some tape...and then thread it back together again...i remember ghetto blasters eating your tape...mangling it...and you'd have to pull the whole shit out and straighten it...2live crew, epmd, ice t, nwa, big daddy kane...not better or worse, just different...thanks for the article...

  • steee

    best article ive read in a while... i was born in 89, so i grew up in a kind of in between time for the listening experience. i just caught the end of all those feelings described in the article. and i agree, even though today makes it so much easier, there definitely is something lost in the experience. i do still listen to a lot of the same albums on repeat (illmatic 10 times a month minimum), but for newer shit, even shit i really like, i definitely move on from it more quickly. i think of so many albums/mixtapes that i really think are amazing that have come out in the past few years, but i really only gave a few listens

  • land lord

    GREAT editorial. I love all the new technology but man do I miss da gool ol days!!!

  • stephan

    i was born the day enter the wu tang and midnight marauders came out, and those 2 are def one of my most favourite albums ever. The thing is, I can't really listen to one album over again consecutively. I have heard illmatic probably 30+ times, but over 4 years, cuz i always got to change it up. My older cousin was telling me how he would listen to one album for weeks straight.... I dont see anyone my age doing that, ever. In fact, out of all my friends who listen to hip hop, I am probably one of the only ones that actually listens to entire albums. things done changed

  • Anonymous

    ill download illegally forever. fuck buying shit

  • Anonymous

    Being late to school every tues to get the latest album and if the tape was dope enough missing out on school completely to listen to the record all day. Cats trying to figure out if they need 4 or 8 gig cards......Try figuring out if you need the 60 minute or 90 minute cassette. If the album is 67 minutes do you cut out the skits or the wackest song to get in on that 60 minute tape or do you use that 90 minute and just add b-side from ur 99 cent singles you got. Having to go out of order sometimes to get that perfect fit on each side.......man dubbing tapes usd to be an art some cats had real skills at it some didnt. What you old heads remeber about putting papper on the top squares on ya mommas Billy Ocean tape so ur could dub paid in full or ice t power on it.

    • MalcolmLittle

      Haha paper in the cassette squares!! That ranks right up there with J-23 speakin on the batteries in the freezer!! Pardon me while I have a flashback real quick...

    • Knowie

      LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!..man I stayed doing that to my grandmothers motown and gospel cassettes...(crazy right)..those were the days

  • Mike

    Good article. I used to work at Wendy's in the 90s at the drive-thru. Whenever possible, I'd short customers 10 cents and put the dimes to the side. All the money went to my album purchases. Good times. I'm 30 in a few weeks, and I always thought I'd outgrow hip hop by now. But now I realize it's my classic rock. I definitely feel like I appreciated albums as a whole way more back then. I like a lot of new stuff, but most albums only get a listen or two from me and then I only hear their songs through playlists. One summer, the only tape that got played in my car was Liquid Swords - and it never got old. It also feels like there are a lot more albums coming out today.

  • melvin II cwalmob


  • Anonymous

    I used to hold the tape recorder up to the tv and tape shit off of yo mtv raps so I could play it in the walkman. Haha, those were the days.

  • Anonymous

    rap is crap today the same 7 rappers get on each other albums all the time yawwwwwwwwnnn they should just make a big label and call it YOUNG MAYBAHC G.O.O.D MUSIC MONEY hahah...we da best

  • Anonymous

    the internet fucked shit up i remember a featured artist would be a surpise you didnt know about until you got the album most of the time.now thats the first thing you hear about i got my man blah blah on a cut my man blablha on a hook.albums use to have that mystery feeling to them you had to read the album credits for the producers now they just post a link with the tracks listed features and producers on the album.

  • Neazy

    I'm only 20 but when I was 9-15 years old I used to buy actual CDs. My parents even made fun of me for not downloading music, but I loved supporting the artists and hearing the album the way it was meant to be heard. Nothing was better than ripping off that tightly wrapped plastic from a brand new CD. The album I remember buying the most was Phrenology by the Roots. I was like 11 or 12 and spent all day at the mall with my parents just so I could get a ride out there to buy the CD. Still my favorite Roots album.

  • Rob One

    J-23: That's my life. Right there, you just summed it up. I grew up in South Africa - even now our Internet is slow as hell. We had nothing but the situation you described, with the added disadvantage that import CDs cost huge amounts. Superb piece. Keep rockin'.

  • room2roam

    and of course someone had to bring up lil wayne. funny thing is weezy was around before the internet blew up... i know that really hurts some feelings but i guess the truth hurts lol

    • MalcolmLittle

      @ Willy Actually his 1st album went platinum...and I'm FAR from the type to defend Wayne but I ain't foolish enough to dispute the facts...

    • Willy

      But was he selling millions of albums like he is now? Think about that. Then get back to us.

  • room2roam

    man ima old head. i was around for those days but seriously.. old heads leave that shyt be. no one cares. that was then this is now. music has evolved with the times.just like most things its changed. for the better?? maybe not but it is what it is and aint no young head trying to hear y'all relive "the glory days". leave that sh!t be. times have changed, the youngins like something different and truthfully thats no different than when we were younger. our parents hated that sh!t too. just thought it was a bunch of noise not real music. same thing now. whether you agree or not things are going to be as they are and will continue to evolve into something that you more than likely will not be a fan of. this was fun for reminiscing but if any of you are holding out hope that some young head is going to read this and start thinking differently about music you're dreamin. just gotta accept the chg no matter how much you hate it

    • blogking2

      You guys must not know where to look. The boom bap era of rap still exists with newer artists still reppin hiphop similiar to the 90's and earlier 2000's, but the problem is instead of it being played on mainstream radio and the and Yo-mtv raps and Bets Rap city's of today its being played and found on the internet through various youtube outlets. If you like alternative and the old flavor with todays new twists with new artists still represent their hiphop roots then check out these alternative on Youtube like 1.)Rita J "No Regrets" 2.)Amanda Diva "Brand new" 3.)Zoser "South side" 4.)HISD (Hueston Independent Spit District) "Space Up" 5.)Niyat "We got it" 6.)Stalley "Slap" 7.)Trinity "Bring It Strong" And if you like Please buy the album or download it especially if your working in these econmic hardtimes. Many of these artists could go gold without radio and traditonal television promotion if people would use their thinkin cap . Don't just go to youtube and listen that joint if its dope BUY that joint or cop it.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah Yeah Yeah...So are you telling me that you'd rather listen to this crap thats out now or the artist of the golden era? I guess you got sucked in the lil wayne matrix as well. GTFOH!!!

    • chilleymost

      so fuck,, the hip hop culture,and the reason for its existence,,,and the seasoning that made it dope in the first place,,,thats like handing over a classic car or family heirloom and saying fuck it times have changed,let the youngins fuck it up,,,,just go with it,,ha?,,,,,i guess that why we are where we are now,,i hear that OG,,,hahaha!!!!,,,,you a wild boy,!

  • Onsighttinginc


  • Anonymous

    i used to tape shit off the radio as well. How times changed!

  • khordkutta

    Be turnin 40 this month, the experience of buying new music and getting turned on to new music was waay diff back in the day, we used to have parties for midnight releases of music @ the store then back @ the dorms/home. I remember when I first got ob4cl, I listened to that ish, discman, EVERY waking hour for the 1st two weeks I had it.

  • Da Protektah X

    damn things done changed

  • murdock

    congrats to the writer on this I think it might be the best explained way to make new listeners get it.Im 31 so this is what we did growing up.Not to mention they played raw hip hop on the radio back then too.Shit cmon now I remember when Gravediggaz were in rotation playing diary of a madman 100 times a day like a lil wayne single.We had our blank tapes and thats how you got the song until you bought or in my case stole the album from sears and ran out with the alarm going off because we were broke and needed that shit haha.I love the whole ipod and mad albums but now everyone makes music protools is in everyones house for 200 bucks and times ahve changed..Yea and I still bang that Gravediggaz album to this day and what!!

  • Jason aka YADIG aka Wayne is Lord

    Fuck you Old heads and you old school bullshit, you old fucks need to bang some young money shit. Maybe you old fuckers will pick up some of this swag y'all are lacking. Lil Wayne > insert olds ass rapper here from 90's. Young money!! P.s. haha you old fucks bought cd's WTF is that? Got all my lil Wayne classic material on my iPod touch. iPod touch> garbage ass walkmen

    • Anonymous

      Stop feeding the troll

    • chilleymost

      just like a youngin you doin and sayin shit for attention,,to be seen and heard,,,but there are two things,,,you will never get,,pussy and respect,,,cause you will probably crush your balls in your skinney jeans and kill the sensation,,,,and when real niggas come around,,you will miss all the real shit conversations,,,cause you will be going back and forth to the store for dutches and,,drinks,,,chilll shorty,,you know where you got those,,piercings from,,,,you test tube baby,,ahahaha!!!1

    • Liquid Swordsman

      Hahahaha Im not an old head either but you have no idea how much of a little kid(literally) you made yourself sound like, Jason. Are you gonna keep listening to your Lil Wayne Martian swag music when you are an old man at 60? Of course not, and if you do, that will be just sad. Im not even gonna try and tell you to listen to REAL music, golden age shit like Nas, BDP, Rakim, and Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets because that shit is beyond you and you won't enjoy it because your music tastes lack so fucking much

    • Anonymous

      Who's trolling? it's the truth, these youngins need to take a hiphop history course or sonething. It's gotten rather ridiculous

    • DidIJustSayThat?

      Trolling much this Halloween?

    • The B

      Muthafucka where the fuck do you think they got their so called "swag" from. That's why 99% of the new young ass rappers can't rap worth a fuck cause yall want instant gratification. All yall muthafuckas rap the same, same fuckin beats, and yall aint got no fuckin leadership qualities or versitility. Like the guy wrote, Listening to rap music used to be an experience, but all this sucka shit I'm hearing now just sounds sissyfied. And I aint mad, yall young niggaz just don't understand the golden era of Hiphop.

    • murdock

      Heres what I have to say to a lamebrain like you..Your dumb for making that comment and soon you will be a oldhead too because time goes by fast..your gonna be like..oh man I remember when lil wayne was hot and I had a ipod they were the days.See we know all about lil wayne too son but you have no idea about what we listened or still listen to.oh yea and hes wack the whole lieup they got sucks compared to real mcs

    • I'm At Work And Bored

      ahahahaha, i would make fun of you but there's no point. You're already a Lil Wayne fan. That's punishment enough. Did you pick up those zebra print leggings yet?

  • cold

    great text, it opened my eyes. sometimes I'm very unhappy that I don't remember that gold times (I as born in 1994) and I have big respect for old days.

  • R.Pgh

    The shit I used to do to buy albums. I dragged a bunch of old sports equipment 2 miles down the road to one of those Play It Again sports, just so I could have $20 to get the Boot Camp Clik album the day it dropped. I would save my lunch money and not eat all week to buy albums. I don't think those experiences alone are what makes me long for the golden years, but the advancement in techonology made it soooo f'n easy for some bum ass rapper to put an album out. Back then, I think the quality was better because if you didn't have skills, you were wasting your money buy making an album. Shit, all you need now is a laptop and your instantly a rapper / producer / street team.

    • Anonymous

      word. so much shit music to sort through to get anything worthwhile. i mostly stick with artists i can trust these days.

  • g

    Damn I misplaced my purple tape, never was able to find it, FARK!

  • casper21

    this article is so true in so many ways, it doesn't even matter if your a really old head, a youngin, or somewhere in between as long as you actually support at least your favourite artists you can relate to all this. I especially like how you hit the nail on the head about comments sections, so so true.

  • The Ice Cold Phenom

    Aw man the Purple Tape. Classic!

  • SutterKane

    Only thing I notice thats really bad about the internets effect on hip hop is it gave the fans the attention span of gold fish I was on Youtube the other day reading the comments on a song from the Alchemist/Oh No "Gangrene" album and a few cats were sayin shit like "I didnt know this was so old but this is dope" So old????.......... That record came out last fuckin year!! With these kids nowadays its on some "Here today.......Gone Today" shit

  • Anonymous

    please proof read before you post an article. its getting annoying now. its not " if you havea.." its "if you have an internet connection" geeeees its not that hard.

  • Tyson Bret France

    this article is hilarious

  • melvin II CWALMOB

    GREAT ARTICLE!!!!!!! bringing back tha days when there was DIVERSITY IN MUSIC,waiting 2 hear tha new shit on power 92, WHPK,or WGCI, then waiting for tha cassette/or cd 2 drop on a tuesday or friday going to George's Music Room,Dr.Wax, Sam Goody, Record Town,Camelot,The Tip to buy MUSIC!!!!!! To bad this AttentionDefectiveDumbAss Generation with their MICROWAVE MUSIC will not last long!!!! I'm 1 of these old fashioned dudes WHO STILL BUYS CDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mu

    I wonder if the youngins realize that mixtapes were actually TAPES at one point! Lol This is real shit tho... The decision to start buying digital downloads instead of CDs was EXTREMELY difficult for me in part because of the experience this article described. I enjoyed flipping thru the album credits looking at who did the production and sampling credits. I guess I finally ended my CD buying when I thought: 1. If I wanna see production credits, I can just go to the album's Wikipedia site. 2. Itunes and Amazon MP3 prices are usually cheaper than F.Y.E.s 3. I thought about all the boxes of CDs I had to move the last time I moved, Lol. While I am so glad that I have physical copies of sooo many hip-hop classics ("Straight Outta Compton", "The Chronic", "Doggystyle", "Ready to Die", "Illmatic", "Reasonable Doubt", "Aquemini", etc, etc.) I can say that the way we listen to and buy music has forever changed for the better. Those were the days tho.

  • Anonymous


  • JoeM

    The only music I download is the one I have on CD's but can't listen to anymore due to wear and tear.. I don't download anything new unless it's from Cudi, Jay, Kanye, Em etc.. to this day haven't heard 1 waka, gucci, soulja, kelly, or any other lame ass form of "rap" or "hip hop." At least not willingly.. can't help the retard in the caprice or monte carlo with the trunk rattling poisoning my ears with this garbage. p.s. Good Article.

  • IDK

    at age 20, yup, i totally missed out. oh well. thanks to technology today, i get to put my hands on a lot of those classic hip-hop songs and albums. it's actually getting to the point that i'm beginning to buy physical copies of some of those classic hip-hop CDs that i personally felt were the best CDs i ever heard of(including Erick Sermon's first two albums, Jamal's "Last Chance No Breaks," and Show & AG's "Goodfellas," all four being out of print). so i didn't regret very much for not living through the 90s in my late teen and young adult years ;)

    • IDK

      amen to that. if only HipHopDX have a "like" system lol

    • Redxibi

      I'm about the same age as you (2 years younger) and about a year ago I too started buying original albums. Although I don't play them too often because listening to mp3s on the PC is more convenient, nothing beats having the physical copy of a classic album and spending an hour and a half listening to it. Most people miss out on such experience,with better and clearer audio quality and the album's artwork and lines on the booklet inside. One of the best way to relax for me has become listening to a music album.

  • Tony Viera

    REal Talk!!! really good article and so true now i feel shame :(

  • Anonymous

    I waited like 4 hours past bedtime for the j cole album to leak, then layed in bed acting like i was sleeping while listening to it for the first time, if that counts for anything.

    • DidIJustSayThat?

      Yes my friend; I tend to have a bedtime considering I'm up at 6am for work the following morning.

    • hudes

      i couldn't help but laugh at your post homie. hahah bedtime? you like 12 or something? and why you gotta pretend to be sleeping to listen to music? are you ashamed of the music you like? it's all good g, but you made me laugh

  • Neili Neil

    It was like this was taken straight from a convo a friend and I had last night.... props to j-23!

  • Fanste Fonky Tacchini

    reallest shit i ever read

  • Cole

    AMAZING article!! this is so true. youngins (20 and less) yall missed out

  • saint

    damn son, I still do it like that. I buy a couple of new albums a year (plus oldies that I look for in the second hand store next door to me like weekly) and I just listen to them for months. I download some shit but I never really listen to it. I'm about to go n buy M.E.D.'s album on Friday. I'll prolly bang that til christmas and then get some new shit. And of course I got my traditonal winter joints: Wu-Tang, Redman, other boom-bap records.

  • I'm At Work And Bored

    I want that purple tape! If anyone wants to sell it, let me know. Yes, Im one of them nerds who still collect cassette tapes

  • Onaje Jordan

    Ahh i can relate even the new artist like lamar and Krit i cant lsiten to them joints anymore, but illmatic and other 90's people i like i still rock em heavy.

    • Mu

      Please, for the love of hip-hop, DON'T become one of those "I only listen to 90s hip-hop" dudes. I'm 29, so I share your love for that era, but you'll miss out on a lot of great music if you don't give new artists a fair listen. ONE

  • ignitemindz

    awesome article


    i remember going to hmv on 86st where best buy is now at to get liquid swords.it went on sale at midnight. the kids today will never know how it feels to get a new album and the one song you heard was the lead single.

  • Name

    Some great articles lately. Brilliant stuff!

  • stevep

    Spot on man. we talk about this all the time. It was the Investment! Goin to the store on payday was the best! let alone did you spend too much of your damn 4$ an hour minimum wage ass check most heads i knew stole a couple tapes a month too risking their freedom! on top of that remember being in the "rap" tape aisle and meeting a honey! man I'm from ohio there wasn't an abundance of these chicks! you'd fall dead in love man. what about investing hours at a buddies dubbing songs off each others tapes. these instant gratification era ass kids can't tell me shit...

  • Mr Flamboyant

    (wipes a tear from my eye) Damn. Yeah man. Yeah. The euphoria and allure of all that ish you described. That, sir, is why you always were the best writer and deliberator of this here site, my man. I'm thankful for this flashback memory you gave us. Nothing like sitting in front of the radio with the Memorex joint ready to record off of WGCI 107.5 on a Friday and Saturday night when they played the new bangers. That's how I had the original copy of Labels by the GZA before Liquid Swords dropped. The album version is scaled down and doesn't have the sample due to, you guessed it, sample clearance isssues. I was pissed when I bought the album because my tape popped and that was no more. Also had the original mix of the Freek'n U remix featuring Ghost and Rae on another joint. Sample clearances deaded what would have been a truly even more monumental track. My most anticipated running to Camelot (the infamous record store in every damn mall in America at the time) was Nasir Jones' Illmatic. Heck I remember in school once Chronic dropped that we spent our time in band class (the official gambling spot and boxing spot) passing around the walkman letting every one get a chance to hear one song. It was like take two and pass. Hell I remember being the first one who saw the G Thang video just cause I was home early due to being sick. I called everyone once school was out and people didn't know what the hell I was talking about like I was high off of meds. LOL! Yeah. Those were the days, man. Straight calling Turn It Up records on the humble trying to get an album early. All that was said was "Come on" when he had that. LOL! Yeah it's not the same at all, man. Niggas don't know now a days, G. Not at all.

  • qboro


  • OG J Fearing

    word to the mother.

  • Mr.West

    Damn SON! u just described my early music experience. I Agree with most of what u state except for the listing part. Instead of putting my Droid on random I select and album, BUMP, digest, analyze, enjoy. But, yeah, with 16 Gigs of music on my SD card alone,that's a lot 2 listen to and not just "hip hop" SON!.......R.E.D.

  • L-Boogie

    If the record labels actually went out and signed talented rappers then fans would buy the music. Oh well I'm still buy cd's to this day, no point in spending ten bucks on digital music when I can own the physical copy for my collection.

  • J-Splif

    Man, I remember opening up 36 Chanmbers the first time and the first thing you hear is "Bring The Mother Fucking Ruckus!". I thought my mom was gonna ask me what I was listening to, she didn't like that type of shit, I remember I had it picked out to play Da Mystery of Chessboxing if she asked cause they didn't really curse for like 45 seconds. Great article, got access to so much now, but it really does cheapen the experience.

  • jimmybond

    Shout out to J-23 for an on-point article about "the times" (you know you're seasoned when you can seriously relate to everything mentioned) and that Bob Dylan reference at the end. Much respect. - Jimmybond

  • ill Will

    Incredible article! This is all so true, and I have often thought about writing something similar. I love that you did so. I still miss those portable cassette players where you could press fast forward once and it would find the next song on the tape - now that was revolutionary before the iPod! GREAT READ!!!

  • Merchandise Jefferson

    I don't buy music because it isn't worth buying. Artists ran out of lyrics and beats are overproduced and everybody is scared of sounding different. It's about radio spins, just like in the past. But technology has wiped out the need for physical copies of anything. Unfortunately torrent software and other means can literally get us mp3s in seconds. An artist spends a lot of time painting that canvas and we take it in seconds. Its a sad, failing industry. The only cds ive bought in a long time were The Broad Street Bully, OB4CL2, Prodigy's HNIC 2, and a few other joints. When it comes to these newer artists, I might go buy J.Cole's effort. Rolling Papers was terrible. I did buy Goblin, it was pretty great.

  • vern

    Great read. The Source fell the fuck off, and then the Internet happened. I still buy albums monthly.


    VERY good editorial. These HHDX ones are generally smart and interesting. Keep it up!