Vinyl has and will always be my favorite medium of music, hands down. From listening to my parents' records when I was a kid, to buying my first 12" at a basement vinyl spot in downtown Montreal back in the day - vinyl is special. HIP-HOP Hip Hop and vinyl go hand in hand, ever since the truly beginnings of rap music when DJ's would rock the 1's and 2's back and forth with all kinds of breaks to either keep the dance floor moving or keep the B-Boys satisfied. The greats such as GrandMaster Flash, Kool DJ Herc, and Afrika Bambatta would take vinyl to a whole new level by mashing together two records and creating something brand new during those infamous block parties in the projects of NY. Can you picture rap music without DJ's or vinyl itself? I can't see that, in fact it's almost comical! BACK IN THE DAY Growing up, the way the everyone listened to music was with vinyl, plain and simple. Sure, there were 8-track tapes and then cassettes, but vinyl was still the champion. I remember going to the record store and looking at the wall behind the counter where they had the top 20 or 30 records on 45's, plus the binder on the counter with the list of all their records! Picking up a new vinyl record, bringing it home and putting it on the turntable was an awesome feeling, from taking the wrapping off of the sleeve and smelling that new smell, and knowing that you're the first one to put the needle on this record. When I first bought my Technics 1200's back in the 90's, I was completely blown away by the sound quality of vinyl. It's one thing to listen to records when you're a kid but to have my own Hip Hop vinyl spinning on my own turntables was amazing. I started playing with the records, trying different things like just trying to get hand control on the vinyl, all the way to scratching and beat juggling. NEW SCHOOL Over the years there's been tons of new innovations when it comes to DJ setups, but nothing beats vinyl, I don't care what anyone says. Sure, you can replicate a true DJ setup by using CDJ's or something similar, but being able to control vinyl is still the best way to get that real Hip Hop DJ feeling. Even though using Serato or Traktor is a great thing for DJ's in 2011 because of the vinyl control, it still doesn't give off the vinyl SOUND. Vinyl has that special sound, kind of like in a recording studio where you can't beat the old school 2-inch reel to reel tape. You can make beats in your bedroom on your computer and emulate an old tape sound, but it's still not an actual old tape sound, is it? So with vinyl, the sound is the most important part of it because if you listen to a track on CD or MP3 format for example, then listen to that same track but on vinyl, there's a distinct difference! Vinyl has a warm, thick, almost "bassy" sound to it, and that's perfect for rap music because that's how it all started. THE EXPERIENCE If you're still asking yourself "what's so special about vinyl?" then I'll put it like this: it's the experience. From digging through the crates and shelves at the record store, getting your fingers dusty, then going home and putting the record on the platter, kicking back and looking at the cover. You don't get that same experience when you download some album in MP3 format, it's just not going to happen. You can look at the JPG of the front and back covers but that's nowhere near the same experience of opening a double album and seeing your favorite artist along with the lyrics and thank you's. REVIVAL Since the age of digital media has been upon us for quite a while now, vinyl has almost died off. There's somewhat of a revival with record labels putting out new albums on vinyl and even re-releasing older, popular vinyl. Is that a good thing? Yes and no. It's good because it shows that there's still a demand, but it's bad because it seems like somewhat of a fad and I'm under the impression that it's just something that the labels are trying and if it fails, they'll simply pull the plug. CONCLUSION So if you DJ, or even if you don't - buy vinyl. Whether it be new stuff or some used records from the dollar bin at your local thrift store, go for it because you won't be disappointed. Vinyl is a treasure that should be cherished.