Saturday, October 18, 2008

Remember This

Tony Touch, DJ Camilo, PF Cuttin, Lazy K, Ron G, Dirty Harry, DJ Clue, Mister Cee, JUICE, Doo Wop, and Evil D.

Mike came across these while cleaning out some old boxes. I don't know if you remember but "The Hip Hop Connection" was the largest mixtape distributor in the South during the 90's.

I think I was like 13 when I got my first Tony Touch Mixtape from a little record shop called Iguana Records in Hollywood back in 1994 or 95. What I didn't know then was that the owner of Iguana Records was bootlegging mixtapes at the time. My interest in mixtapes lead me to meet Mark Ferman, no not the Mark Ferman from the OJ trial. Mark was the founder of "The Hip Hop Connection" and at the time he had just started to sell mixtapes, but the difference between "The Hip Hop Connection" and Iguana Records was that Mark actually bought master tapes from the DJs and was trying to do the whole mixtape thing the proper way.

I remember Mark used to use the standard TDK blank cassette tapes when he first started and eventually would use his own blanks which are pictured above. My first purple tape wasn't Raekwon's "Only Built for Cuban Links" album, but a DJ Clue tape that Mark had given me in early 95.

Fast forward a couple years, its late 96 early 97, and DJ Clue had just leaked 2 tracks off of "The Life After Death Album". Around that time the industry really pushed for the commercialization of Hip Hop or Rap music, I think it was at this point that the industry started to crack down on mixtapes and unfortunately they chose Mark to make an example out of. With pressure from the Recording Industry Feds raided his office, shut his whole operation down, confiscated all his dubbing equipment, and fined him heavily (hundreds of thousands of dollars).

What the record industry didn't realize at the time was that the mixtapes were actually helping album sales by introducing new artist to there target audience, "building hype", while costing the record labels not a single cent. Although the Industry would later realize and utilize the marketing power of mixtapes, at the time they were aggressively trying to stop the distribution of them. (Typical corporate Bullshit.)

I ran into Mark a few years back and he told me he had just sold the master tapes for a decent sum of money, which I was glad to hear "somewhat" of a happier ending to his story.

Anyways, the sight of these tapes took me back to a really good time in Hip Hop History and I know some of you can relate. And now to find a tape player!

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