Tag Archives: Beat Tapes

The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: September 2019


September’s Best Beat Tapes column features tapes from purveyors of minimalist boom-bap and maximum bass alike. There are jagged, off-kilter beats from a veritable legend who’s worked with Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak, textured and ethereal instrumentals from a Street Corner Music alumnus, and much more. 

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Five Essential ’90s Beat Tapes on Bandcamp

In the 1990s, rap music as a commercial force was on the ascent. And while a new generation of artists were dominating both the airwaves and the sales charts, behind the scenes, an elaborate network of managers, A&Rs, and label execs was beginning to take shape. Its purpose? Connecting those chart-topping artists with producers and their beats. It functioned as follows: Producers would create beat tapes—demo cassette tapes filled with short snippets of instrumental tracks that were available for artist use. Those beat tapes would then be circulated almost exclusively within the industry. (It was rare that the average rap fan would ever get to hear them.) The beats on those tapes would then often form the foundation of a fully realized hit song.

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Album of the Day: Georgia Anne Muldrow, “VWETO II”

Los Angeles-bred producer Georgia Anne Muldrow is known for her West Coast funk, jazz-influenced, and psychedelic beats. Her latest project, the instrumental VWETO II, continues this trajectory. Out of the gate, listeners are treated to a futuristic melody on album opener “Almost Trendy”; elsewhere, “Bronx Skates” recalls back to the funk of the 1970s. Other standouts include the Afrofuturistic, electronic “Mary Lou’s Motherboard” and the smooth, upbeat, and funkadelic “Nate Dogg’s Eulogy,” which is a fitting tribute to the late, legendary West Coast rapper. VWETO II ends as it started with a futuristic deep funk and electronic beat on the track “Yoyo Ma fOnk.”

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Album of the Day: Space Ghost, “Endless Light”

The idea of “album cover as metaphor” is a trite one, but occasionally, image and music are so well-aligned that it’s hard not to make the comparison. That’s certainly the case on Space Ghost’s funky, house-y album Endless Light. On the cover, the Oakland-based producer looks to the sky, sunlight washing over his face; he’s surrounded by both deep green foliage and cars, concrete, and telephone wires. That image sums up Endless Light: glimpses of natural life amidst an increasingly urbanized world.

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Kenny Segal is a Revered Producer in the L.A. Rap Scene

Kenny Segal

There’s no guarantee that your art will afford you an audience or a living. An obvious but no less disappointing reality, confronting it requires the maturity to accept compromise, the wisdom to step back and appreciate the long view.

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A Walk Through the Tropical Paradise of the Monster Rally Catalogue

Monster Rally

It’s impossible to listen to Monster Rally without imagining a series of island ephemera: souvenir shop knick-knacks, discarded leaves from palm trees, drinks with umbrellas. Since his debut as Monster Rally in 2010, musician and visual artist Ted Feighan has built a discography that relies heavily on the warm, breezy sound of Tropicália and the glamour of Old Hollywood—with traces of calypso, island jazz, and bachelor pad music thrown in for good measure.

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Malik Abdul-Rahmaan’s Beat Tapes Are For Crate-Diggers

Malik Abdul Rahmaan

Malik Abdul-Rahmaan
is a truly global citizen. Born in Texas, Abdul-Rahmaan spent his early adult years in the Air Force, stationed in Japan. Frequenting the legendary club Harlem in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, Abdul-Rahmaan found himself immersed in Japan’s rich and energetic hip-hop scene. After cutting his teeth producing soulful, dusty sample-based tracks for various Japanese rap acts, Abdul-Rahmaan returned to the U.S. and continued building up an impressive résumé that includes work with heavyweights like Ghostface Killah and progressive hip-hop label Paxico Records. Inspired by his time abroad, Abdul-Rahmaan conceived the Field Research project, a series of instrumental albums in which he captures the sound and essence of a specific country that he has visited, absorbing the local culture, digging up obscure vinyl and creating a beat tape inspired by each trip. Field Research: Malaysia, the first in the series, is an impressive start to this ambitious project, pulling from steamy Southeast Asian funk, Bollywood-style soundtracks, garage rock obscurities, and more. Abdul-Rahmaan has created a rich and kaleidoscopic listening experience that translates Malaysia’s deep musical traditions into cutting-edge future beats while still honoring the original source material.

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