I listen to one of my old mixtapes from 1996
The assignment for the League this week wants us to talk about mixtapes. Specifically our own mixtapes.
What songs were forever being looped on your car’s stereo [tape deck] back in high school?
I loved mixtapes. I made dozens of them over the years. Mostly for myself, but some for friends and some for “the ladies”. I would make the mixtape and listen to it on my portable headphones whenever I would go somewhere. I could be seen bobbing my head while walking along listening, most likely, to my current crop of hardcore rap songs.
My mixtapes usually weren’t random. I tended to theme them by genre. I had rap/hip-hop tapes, Disney soundtrack tapes, oldies/Motown tapes and novelty song tapes (ie Weird Al and Dr Demento). However, most of my tapes back in the day were hardcore rap because that’s what I listened to. And when I labeled the tape, I usually used a lyric from one of the songs on the tape.
Well, as for today’s assignment, I don’t need to recreate a mixtape because I still have a box of my old mixtapes in my basement. So, I just pulled out one of those mixtapes, popped it in my tape player and gave it a listen.
Below is Side 1 of today’s mixtape. I labeled it “I Think You Better Recognize”, but that’s hard to see because the ink has faded over time. That is actually the title of a song by Sam Sneed, but that song for some reason doesn’t appear on this mixtape. You may be wondering how I know this is from 1996, which the easy answer is that the newest song on the tape is from 1996. Which may not be entirely correct. But that was around my last year in college, so that sounds about right for these songs.
So let’s take a look at the song list for Side 1.
1. N-Trance – Stayin’ Alive
2. Run DMC – Rock Box
3. Quad City DJs – C’mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)
4. MC Lyte (feat Xscape) – (Keep On) Keepin’ On
5. DJ Quik (feat AMG, 2nd II None, Hi-C) – Skanless
6. Ice Cube – When Will They Shoot?
7. 2Pac (feat Stretch) – Pain
8. MC Ren – Bitch Made N***a Killa
9. D-Nice – Time to Flow
10. Eazy-E (feat Knocc Out and Dresta) - Real Muthaf’n G’s
11. Coolio (feat WC) – U Know Hoo?
12. Too $hort – Hoes
This first side had a bunch of good songs. I had a lot of fun listening to them again. Surprisingly, I remember nothing about that Coolio song, U Know Hoo? I don’t remember it and I don’t know why it’s on the tape. That’s just odd. You’ll notice lots of NWA/Ruthless Records influence with Eazy-E, MC Ren, DJ Quik and 2nd II None. I also always enjoy Bee-Gees influenced rap songs like the #1 track in this list as well as Wyclef Jean’s We Tryin’ to Stay Alive (which I know was on other mixtapes I’ve done).
Now Side 2. It seems I was less creative with the title of Side 2. It’s just called “More Stuff”. It’s possible I re-purposed this tape from another genre and only relabeled the front. *shrugs* Who knows, the days of the mixtape were wild and without rules. Like the Wild West.
Here’s the song list for Side 2.
1. Too $hort – Don’t Fight the Feelin’
2. NWA – Straight Outta Compton (extended mix)
3. 2Pac (feat Dr Dre) – California Love
4. Run DMC – Tougher than Leather
- EA Ski – Blast If I Have To
5. Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise
6. Young Black Teenagers – Time to Make the Dough Nutz
7. The D.O.C. – From Ruthless to Death Row (Do We All Part)
8. Cedric Ceballos (feat Warren G) – Flow On
9. Above the Law (feat MC Ren) – Process of Elimination
10. JT Money and Poison Clan – Pu**y Ass Kid and Hoe Ass Play
11. Above the Law (feat Eazy-E) – Game Wreck-Oniz-Iz Game
12. Da Lench Mob – Guerillas in tha Mist
As you can see, this tape is replete with hardcore rap groups and artists. And Cedric Ceballos. *shakes head* Cedric was a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. That song, Flow On, is actually from a 1994 anthology rap album called Bball’s Best Kept Secret. It features songs by NBA stars of the time paired up with established rappers. Not bad but not great. I was into it for about 10 minutes. You’ll also notice an extra non-numbered entry after #4. Only the very end of the EA Ski song was on the tape. I obviously had taped over that song with Run DMC. That’s another thing about these mixtapes, they were always a “work in progress”.
I have several more tapes I can go through, so rest assured that I’ll probably do this again. It was fun taking the trip down my musical memory lane.
Other mixtapes from around the League:
1. Brian at Cool and Collected talks about his high school mixtape
2. Tim over at Flashlights are Something to Eat also unearths one of his original high school mixtapes and the song list is eerily similar to mine
3. The Dork Horde brings one of the headbangin-est mixtapes around.
4. Monster Cafe went movie soundtracks for his mixtape, but there are some really eclectic choices.