In the mid-1990’s, I moved from making mixtapes, on cassettes, for myself and my friends to making mixtapes with the intention to also sell them to the public. At first I would just dub them myself with 3 tape decks, hand writing the labels with a fat Jiffy Marker onto cassettes that I shop lifted from Save-On-Foods (I got caught once, my photo might still be up in their office.) I later moved on to a more legal and professional method.
The content of these mixtapes featured the newest, rawest, underground Hip Hop. I used a program called "DECK" (which is pre-Pro-tools) to do custom blends and add vocal snippets from movies and such. I would spend about 2 weeks straight, hours upon hours a night, (at DJ Flite's (Sudhir Datta) house) on the production of the sometimes 90 minutes plus mixes. I’d also rap an intro and feature local rappers doing freestyles. Music wise, I bought most of the records from “F.W.U.H.” (you better ask somebody if you don't know) and another shop “Bassix” (again, ask somebody), I’d get some service from record labels, meaning they’d send records to my house, in the mail or Jay Swing would lend me some exclusive stuff too (if he wasn't putting it on HIS tapes).
I'd put these tapes in the local record stores and they would sell for $15. I would make $10 and the shop would keep $5. I could sell about 50+ in a month, I think my record was 70 or so, locally.
I would get the covers printed at a colour printing place on Pender & Richard’s Street and would get the tapes professionally duplicated at Western Imperial Magnetics in Richmond (by Ikea). I’d then assemble the tapes by myself, manually and then take them to the local shops and drop a grip off at Xylene Distribution who would ship them with their orders into stores across Canada. I had a few spots in the U.S. that would either take 10 tapes, or a “Master Tape” which they’d pay a flat one time fee and then duplicate as many copies as they wanted.
This tape I'm posting today, “NUCLEAR WINTER” was made in winter of 1998 (despite it saying 1999, I only did that so that it didn't seem dated in the new year.) I used vocal snippets from the Manga movie “Patlabor” and the anime film “Ninja Scroll.” It features freestyles from Checkmate, Venom (Niltron), Logic, as well as myself and featured brand new tracks from Blackstarr, Outkast, Method Man, Slim Shady (Eminem pre-Dre), Neptunes remixes, Jay Z, unreleased Mobb Deep and many more…
The artwork was done by the mighty Dedos (Fingas Por Vida) and was based on Empire Strikes Back (obviously) and the illest thing about it is that it wasn’t done on computer. Dedos painted the original with oil pastels. I have the original framed in my house.
This is only one of my tapes from that era (I put out about ten between 1995-2000.)