Hip-Hop, Archiving, Preservation, and Mixtapes Panel at 2019 Audio Engineering Society’s NYC Convention!

On October 18, 10:15 – 11:15 am, we’re discussing hip-hop, archiving, preservation and mixtapes at the Audio Engineering Society’s NYC Convention! The convention will feature four days of dedicated programming to archiving and restoration curated by GRAMMY-nominated mastering and restoration engineer and audio preservationist Jessica Thompson.

Cache Rules Everything Around Me: Archiving and Preserving Hip-Hop in a Digital Age, chaired by Mixtape Museum founder Regan Sommer McCoy will be moderated by Manny Faces, founder of The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy.

Panelists include:

The opening ceremonies of the conference on October 16, 12 pm kick off with a keynote by hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash. This panel and all other sessions are open to registered AES New York attendees.


Cache Rules Everything Around Me: Archiving and Preserving Hip-Hop in a Digital Age

The early recordings of hip-hop’s beginnings are in danger of deterioration. The genesis of hip hop began roughly 46 years ago and was largely captured on the celebrated medium of the time, the compact cassette. Cassettes captured hip-hop’s early sounds at live performances and park jams. Decades later, many of these one-of-a-kind recordings live in unstable environments exposed to elements that can erase their existence.

In an effort to rescue, preserve, and restore these original recordings, initiatives like The Mixtape Museum are organizing for solutions. In addition, we are witnessing an unprecedented effort to archive hip-hop in museums, cultural heritage institutions, and libraries, and an expanded presence in the burgeoning field of hip-hop scholarship.

This panel examines:

  • the cultural, artistic, and historical significance of hip-hop’s early cassette-based recordings (mixtapes, bootleg recordings, “demo” versions, etc.) and the importance of preserving them. 
  • the technical and engineering challenges unique to hip-hop. Where and how do current technologies play a role?
  • who can implement the technologies needed to preserve, archive, and distribute hip-hop? How can DJs, artists, collectors, archivists, librarians, producers, engineers, and technologists collaborate on these efforts
  • the current unprecedented effort to archive hip-hop in private collections, museums, cultural heritage institutions, and libraries. What are the pros and cons of academic institutions vs. community-driving preservation?


Rocky Bucano is founder and Executive Director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which is set to break ground in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx June 2020 As the museum’s ED he is responsible for overseeing all of the museum’s operating activities, including strategic planning, collections management, government relations, exhibit design, event planning, cultural program development, fundraising and corporate partnerships. 

Rocky is a licensed financial advisor who specializes in Medicare insurance health plans, retirement planning and life insurance. He is a proven executive and a goal-driven business leader. Rocky has an impressive executive career in television, music label management, digital entertainment distribution and non-profit management. Rocky approaches all business challenges with an intrinsic flair for innovation, critical analysis, creative problem solving, and measured risk- taking to help each organization that he has led achieve success with positive bottom line results. 

Rocky is a lifelong resident of the Northeast Bronx except for a short stint when he moved to Texas in 1979 as a first year college student accepting a position as an FCC licensed television engineer first for ABC affiliate KBMT in Beaumont Texas and then a year later as technical director for KRIV TV in Houston Texas. 

Rocky’s passion and desire to work in the music industry brought him back to New York in 1981 where he worked for WWOR TV as Technical Director for many of the network’s top rated programs including New York Mets Baseball, The Morton Downey Jr. Show, and Primetime 9 News. Rocky’s work behind the scenes was influential to the network’s success in growing from a local channel into a national Super Station. 

In 1987, Rocky Bucano left his television career behind, to launch StrongCity Records with Hip Hop icon DJ Jazzy Jay. In 1991, Rocky founded 3rd Rail Entertainment an independent marketing and artist development firm to provide sales and marketing support to major recording companies such as MCA, Virgin, Atlantic, Warner Bros and Sony. The success of 3rd Rail caught the attention of Grammy award winning producers LA Reid and Kenny “Baby Face” Edmund who hired him to manage Rowdy Records. Rocky became the company’s Executive Vice President and helped the company establish national roots with hits from artists Monica and Illegal. Monica would become the label’s first platinum selling artist and Illegal would achieve Billboard Music Award recognition for Best New Rap Artist in 1992. 

In 1993, Rocky joined producer Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Production Company as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Rocky oversaw the company’s production work with artists such as Michael Jackson, Patti Labelle, BlackStreet, Bobby Brown, Today, Men of Vision and many others. In 1994 Rocky negotiated a multi-million-dollar deal with Interscope Records that would later garner another platinum album for the company with the group BlackStreet. 

Rocky earned his undergraduate degree from the College of New Rochelle’s School of New Resources in 1997 and earned his MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix in 2001. 

In 2006, Rocky became Executive Director of Teamwork Foundation a non profit charity for the New York Gauchos after school basketball program in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. In Rocky’s first year, he played an instrumental role in securing a grant in the amount of $156,000.00 from the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation to renovate the iconic Gauchos Gymnasium. In his 13-year tenure, Rocky has helped the Gauchos program raise more than $1.2 million in donations, grants and corporate sponsorship. The Gauchos program has placed more than 900 girls and boys into college on full athletic scholarship and has 30+ alumni who have achieved NBA and WNBA distinction. 

Manny Faces is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, podcaster, consultant, and founding director of nonprofit The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy. He works tirelessly to preserve, protect, and promote the ability of hip-hop music and culture to improve humanity. Manny is also the producer and host of News Beat, an acclaimed podcast that blends hard-hitting social justice journalism and hip-hop music. News Beat was awarded Best Podcast at the 2018 New York Press Club Journalism Awards.

Syreeta Gates is an art collector, culture creator, and archivist committed to preserving hip-hop culture. As a collector, Syreeta curates collections that capture the music and movement of hip hop. Her curation extends into building the hip hop movements through creating experiences. Syreeta drives innovation in culture through building strategic connections around hip hop foundations.  This lead to the creation of productions like “Yo Stay Hungry” — a live culinary competition that bridges hip hop with food and beverage and “Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers,” a documentary film featuring the never before told story about the writers and journalists that created and shaped the language for hip-hop culture. Gates’ archival work includes research for Nelson George’s feature documentary, “A Ballerina’s Tale” and support for films, including “Finding the Funk” and “The Triptych.”

The founder of The Gates Preserve, Syreeta hopes to solidify the culture of hip hop as history, leveraging multi-media experiences. Gates was awarded Glamour Magazine’s “Top 20 Under 25.” She was featured in Forbes magazine. Her work was lauded in Tony Wagner’s, “Creating Innovators”  and John Schlimm’s book, “Stand Up!: 75 Young Activists Who Rock the World, And How You Can, Too!.” Gates was also highlighted in Adam Smiley Poswolsky’s “The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work.”

Syreeta holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Youth Culture from Hunter College and is completing a Master’s degree in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from New York University. A native New Yorker, Syreeta is based in Queens, New York.

DJ Dirty Harry is a DJ and record producer who co-produced Grammy Winning and ASCAP Award-winning song No One by Alicia Keys on album As I Am. He was part of the in-house production for Keys’ production company, Krucial Keys. From 2004-2005, he was head of the company’s A&R division and signed a deal with Universal Music Publishing.  “No One” became a Hot 100  number-one single. The album went on to sell 5 million copies worldwide. He also contributed to Jazmine Sullivan’s Grammy nominated album Fearless.  As a DJ, he gained notoriety from features in Rolling Stone and XXL.

He is a recipient of the Justo Mixtape Award’s Brucie Bee/Starchild Award,
 which honors lifetime achievement in the mixtape field and another for his collaboration with DJ Green Lantern and DJ Vlad, 2Pac: Rap Phenomenon.

Harry’s mix-tapes became so popular on the streets of New York that artists and celebrities began collaborating with him, including 50 Cent, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Nas, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Lauryn Hill, and Busta Rhymes

Regan Sommer McCoy is a community organizer and music industry veteran who is passionate about the intersection of hip-hop, education, and technology. Inspired by her history in the music industry, database management, and nonprofit administration, Sommer founded the Mixtape Museum and Hip-Hop Hacks.

The Mixtape Museum, currently being supported by the Columbia University Community Scholar program, is an archive project dedicated to advancing public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, and technique of the mixtape. It explores how mixtapes changed the landscape of music, encourages protection of DJ-produced mixtapes in danger of deterioration, and seeks to achieve systematic preservation in the DJ community.

Hip-Hop Hacks is an initiative that explores and promotes ways in which hip-hop interacts with and inspires technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Events have been held at Spotify, Microsoft Store, Wix, Queens Public Library, LIU Brooklyn, Carnegie Mellon University, and Google.

In 2018, she joined the Brooklyn Academy of Music as Operations Manager in Education and Community Engagement. She is a co-producer of the Hip-Hop Can Save America podcast, a member and grantee of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), and a charter member of the William & Mary Hip-Hop Collection. She is a member of the XFR Collective and sits on the board of Minds Behind the Music and The Hip-Hop Association. She spent 15 years in the music industry, most notably as a liaison to Virginia hip-hop duo Clipse.

DJ Rich Nice was the first Rapper/DJ signed to Motown. He toured for a few years before helping to create Track Masters Entertainment where he wore multiple hats as Marketing Director/A&R. He was responsible for music production, sample clearances, and music cataloging, along with writing detailed rollout plans, creating lifestyle events, listening sessions, and strategic marketing for the label.

As A&R Executive at Columbia Records, he worked closely with the Presidents of Urban Music and Tommy Mottola. During his tenure, he worked with Maxwell, Fugees, Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Jermaine Dupri, Mary Mary, Best Man Soundtrack, Nas, Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Will Smith, and Michael Jackson.

He then expanded his reach to theatre and supervised music for Def Poetry on Broadway, working closely with Director, Stan Lathan, Producer Russell Simmons, and the entire original cast. The show won a Tony Award expanding his brand and reach.

As an A&R Consultant/Executive Producer he’s worked with Ludacris and his label Disturbing Tha Peace. The Fast & Furious Soundtrack, Pitbull, 2Chainz, Chingy, Snoop, Devin the Dude, Too Short, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Bobby V, Deborah Cox, Just Blaze, Marsha Ambrosius, Bilal, Rene Neufville, The Marleys, Krs One, Rakim, Kool Herc, Kanye West, DJ Premier, Rick Rubin, DJ A-Track, Ford Motors, Mountain Dew, McDonalds, Microsoft Xbox, NIKE, MTV, WE, VH-1, BET.

His program The A&R Room which he uses to discover new talent can be heard on Sway in the Morning on Sirius XM. When he is now teaching Music Entrepreneurship and Broadcast Theory at LIU Brooklyn, he is DJ’ing special events and consulting.

Zack Taylor is a Brooklyn-based director and cinematographer. His first film, Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape, was released through Gravitas Ventures in 2018. Zack has collected records and tapes from a young age, and is currently developing an episodic documentary series about renowned cassette recordings throughout the 20th Century.

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