File this under “Things Brad Has Learned”
I have a comic book called MIXTAPE. It’s hitting iTunes next week, and comic book stores a few weeks after that (we hope — keep watching this space). I also have a Twitter account (@NotBradAbraham) where I Tweet about, among many other things, MIXTAPE.
So imagine my surprise when my latest MIXTAPE update was retweeted by a newsletter called The Mix Tape Daily.
As it happens, the term “Mix Tape” has become part of hip hop culture. They’re popular with DJs and rappers — a great, budget friendly way to get one’s music out to the masses. From Wikipedia:
“In hip hop’s earliest days, the music only existed in live form, and the music was spread via tapes of parties and shows. Hip hop mixtapes first appeared in the mid-1970s. In the mid-1980s, DJs began recording their live music and selling their own mixtapes. Blend tapes became increasingly popular by the mid-1990s, and fans increasingly looked for exclusive tracks and freestyles on the tapes. In the hip hop scene, mix tape is often displayed as a single term mixtape.”
What do I think about all this?
It’s pretty cool actually — the culture, and the mixtape’s role in it. It probably explains why the post referenced received a ton of hits. Unsurprisingly a lot of those hits were from people who though MIXTAPE, the comic, was not for them.
One complaint I’m sure MIXTAPE (the book) will get is the music referenced is generic white indie rock. The Beastie Boys get a shout-out in MIXTAPE #3, but there’s not a lot of hip hop or rap culture referenced. And they’ll be right … to a point.
Part of the reason MIXTAPE is “Alternative Rock” is because that’s where the exciting stuff was to be found in 1990. But as the series progresses we’re going to delve more into early 90s rap and hip hop music and culture. With the main characters college bound, they’re going to experience a wider array of music and culture — Acid House, Trip-Hop and the like — MIXTAPE #5 finds Terry visiting friends in a College town, and dragged to a dance club (a form of slow torture for a die-hard Alt-Rock disciple). I can also see Terry saddled with a college roommate heavily into hip hop culture — something that will surely generate sparks when it does happen.
But as the series and charcters grow, you’re going to see and hear a lot more from artists like Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A., Ice-T (and Body Count) and, my personal favorites, Public Enemy. The early 90s was such a rare, crazy time for innovative music, it wouldn’t be right for MIXTAPE to ignore that aspect of rap and hip hop culture. I look forward to exploring that era some more.