Mixtapelogie: History and Business of Mixtapes 


Mixtapelogie by Epée Hervé Dingong retraces the history and business of mixtapes. Party sets recorded in the clubs became mixtapes, a real marketing tool and an important business. A lot of DJs and artists such as 50 Cent, Lil’ Wayne, Fabolous, T.I. or Young Jeezy made their reputations  with this network. As a long part of the hip hop culture, the mixtapes are the information of the street. An art that gave opportunities for DJs  to show their skills. From Kid Capri to Brucie B and even Ron G, Doo Wop or Tony Touch, famous mixtapes DJs are the new ambassadors for breaking new musics, exclusive tracks and new talents.

As Hip Hop music grew up over the years and became the number one music for young people, major record companies compete and use strategies to reach the streets. They used this outlet and finally the industry discovers and understands that mixtapes done by the DJs or even by artists themselves would be a marketing tool. Every labels have their marketing department which works with mixtape DJs. The connection between labels and DJs is really important. A lot of hip hop DJs from the mixtapes built exclusive relationship with the record labels and artists. Most part of these DJs  have a deal  with major labels like Warner, Universal or independent label  Koch records (E1music). These examples of DJ Clue, DJ Drama, DJ Khaled, Funkmaster Flex are a reality. The revolution came with the stardom of 50 Cent. Known for his presence in different mixtapes and own mixtapes, the rapper originally from Queens has a lot of credibility in the streets. His debut album “Get Rich Or Die Tryin” sold 872 000 copies the first week. The buzz from the mixtapes helped him to sign with Dr Dre and Eminem  at Shady/Aftermath. This example shows the rise of the mixtapes and how this business is good and important. Hip Hop artists will express their ways about the mixtape game. Record industry executives will give their opinion on it. Mixtape is history of Hip Hop. But selling mixtapes is illegal and the confusion between mixtapes, DJs and bootlegging can be a disaster. The last example was in Atlanta. January 16th 2007, famous hip hop personalities, DJ Drama (known as The Gangsta Grillz) was arrested with his partner Don Cannon at their offices. Police and RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) confiscated 81, 000 cds and charged the two DJs with a felony violation with Racketeering Influence Corrupt Organization (RICO). Mixtapes never stop and  continue to introduce new artists with unreleased and  exclusives  songs physical or online. Mixtapelogie is a tribute to the art of the mixtapes. 

Epée Hervé Dingong is a journalist and author from Paris, France. After a B.A. in journalism, he wrote and freelanced for different publications in France, Germany and US. His articles appeared in different magazines such as Radikal, Tracklist, The Source , The Source France, The Ave Magazine to name a few. Currently, he’s working on a book essay about Pete Rock and writing script series for TV. 

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