The Beat Strangler
*** illest o.g. ***
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I'm going to be a bit nostalgic here; Hip Hop in the 90's saw a plethora of great music and that is why today people worldwide still talk about it. For those old enough to remember Rap music in the 80's, it also saw a great surge in popularity, resulting in arguably the best era ever.
Some may say that talking about 90's Hip Hop is boring and people like me need to move on. Maybe so, but if you know the 90's music and lived it at the time, you would be talking about it too.
And why not? It was a great era that is super important to Hip Hop's history.
The reason for my nostalgia is because on a recent digging expedition (for vinyl records, that is), something finally struck me about vinyl, Rap, and Hip Hop as a wholeâ¦
Vinyl: The Resurging Relic
I have posted many times about the resurgence of vinyl records and how it has been on a steady increase in the last few years, far outselling compact discs which are in a decline, but of course still not as profitable as online streaming. However, one thing that everyone must keep in mind is that even though vinyl sales are rising, the question that should be asked is what kind of vinyl?
On my recent dig, I was flipping through the Rap section and came across a lot of 12" records as well as popular reissued LPs. But it's the 12" ones that got me thinking.
Throughout the 90s when I was making my weekly trips to the record store in search for the hottest new singles, I would always find a gem. It could have been an underground track from the Juggaknots, or a popular one from the Fugees. It didn't matter because I would always come away with some new vinyl.
For the people today both young and old (especially young) that are buying all these records - they fail to realize that it's not the same as years past. Sure, for them it's the popular thing to do, but just because they have a special pressing of some record and a $600 turntable, doesn't mean shit.
When I was collecting records years ago it was because that's what I had to do since I was a DJ (plus I just preferred vinyl). Buying it today and making the vinyl sales increase each year doesn't mean that vinyl is necessarily here to stay. It might be, but in a different form.
Looking through all the 12" records the other day, it reminded me of when the vinyl single was the way to go. When DJ's would buy them up (especially 2 copies) so they could make mixtapes or mix them at a party.
Now those records are sitting in the dollar bin.
It's sad, but that's just the way it goes.
Vinyl Record Issues
It's great to see all the popularity of vinyl records but at the same time it's frustrating as well. There are a few reasons for this:
- The records being pressed are mostly mainstream artists.
- The Rap music section is still very tiny.
- The prices are very high.
- There are not enough record pressing plants.
It's also because they know that a lot of people will buy them at those prices.
So where does that leave me? I want to buy Gangstarr's "Daily Operation" but it's about $40. But wait - it has a 3D holographic cover! No thanks.
For me this is the biggest turn-off. Most of the time when I'm digging it's because I'm looking for cheap records that I can sample for my beats. But there are also times when I want to buy a reissue of a popular Rap album but it's damn near impossible because either they just don't have it (the Rap section is very tiny in record stores) or the price is too high.
I fully understand that there are not nearly enough record pressing plants in the world today, even though the demand is very high. This is because for the plants that are still around, it's still a big job to go from taking pellets and converting them to a shiny vinyl record with a glossy cover. Expensive parts, expensive materials, and expensive shipping all lead to an expensive record.
I get it.
But it would still be nice to at least see the popular Rap stuff being sold at a much cheaper rate. $53 for Outkast's "Aquemini"? Give me a break.
I guess I'll continue to dig through the cheap bin.