PHOTO CREDITS: COURTESY OF ELUSIVE
During the mid to late 90's, you could catch a lot of independent artists with backpacks full of cassettes outside of shows. It was social media before social media. Dudes would be slanging their newest joints fresh off the 4-track. In the Bay Area, dozens of acts got their start in the music business this way. Acts like Too Short, E-40 and the Living Legends built a loyal following by slanging tapes on the avenue. The cassette played a vital role in establishing the independent Hip Hop artist. Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley (being one of the most notable tape slanging spots) is where Elusive began dropping his magnetic masterpieces.
ELUSIVE - DECEIVING THE RIGHT EYE OF CONFUSION
I still remember when I first heard Elusive's "Deceiving The Right Eye of Confusion" on cassette. At the time, it was a sound that I was unfamiliar with but instantly grew an interest in. I was hip to artists like The Grouch, Mystik Journeymen, Murs, Eligh, Abstract Rude but hearing them over Elusive beats made me hunger for more of that underground sound. This was when I first caught the bug for Underground Hip Hop tapes. It was always dope to have the shit that nobody else had at the time. Sometimes you had to cop em straight from the artist or you would have to know where they were carried. Back then, my spots were Workmen's Outlet and Beat Non-Stop on Melrose.
Recently I learned that Elusive was dropping some new joints on cassette in 2012! I thought that it was mandatory to get in touch with him and chop it up a little bit about tapes...
ELUSIVE (SELF-TITLED) BEAT TAPE
(SC) What role did the cassette tape play in your music career?
The cassette was huge because it was cheaper than vinyl to make and was the standard way for people to listen to music. My first release was on vinyl, but it was a given that tapes were the way to sell bigger quantities hand to hand and in stores.
ELUSIVE - ELEMENTS OF A PROTOTYPE
(SC) Where did you sell your tapes?
I would sale tapes to Amoeba records in Berkeley, Ca. Back when there were only like 4-5 underground groups with tapes in the store. Heiro, Living Legends, Hobo Junction, and groups like Blackilicious and Latyryx. Also we used to sell them hand to hand on Telegraph ave and at shows. Especially raves in Oakland. You could sometimes get off 250+ tapes in a night. Your pockets would be filled with dough at the end of the night. lol
(SC) Do you think that Hip Hop (or music in general) changed much after the cassette era? For better or for worse?
It definitely changed. I wouldn't say for the worse or better. The way music was passed around then, was on recorded cassettes of radio mixes or mixes friends made. It was easy to record and re record on the same tape. Also, tapes made people make classic albums. People made records meant to be listened to in its entirety, where as today music is more disposable.
(SC) Do you still have your tape collection from back in the day?
I have alot of them, but some of them have been lost while moving from place to place, or eaten up but I still have alot of classic albums from the early 90's. Iv'e had moments where I listen to them then put them away then bring them back out.
(SC) Several indie labels are pressing up tapes. Some people include download cards in them. Stones Throw, Redef Records, and Nature Soundz all pressed up tapes. Is it just a trend or a gimmick?
I think its nostalgic for me and I think other people too. It's a trend, but a good one I think. I'm glad people are getting into it.
(SC) Any last comments or shouts? New projects?
I'm releasing several projects this year on cassette tape as well. On June 12th, I dropped a beat tape on cassette called "Sweet Toof." It's 20 beats on 30 minute cassettes. They'll be available from me at shows and at Amoeba Hollywood and accesshiphop.com.
Make sure yall check out SWEET TOOF!
mikeandike by artsandcraftsla