Tag Archives: Best Beat Tapes

The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: May 2019

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May’s best beat tapes include a collection of dust-kissed samples from Turkish records, a retrospective compilation of lush and soulful beats from one of Spain’s most gifted producers, loops and chops from a revered Beat Junkie, minimal and downtempo beats featuring heavy blues/funk guitar, and more.

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: April 2019

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This month’s installment of Best Beat Tapes showcases several records that challenge the traditional definition of a beat tape, skewing closer to jazz and soul than traditional hip-hop instrumentals. We’ve also got an incredible batch of skull-cracking instrumentals from one of the greatest hip-hop producers of the 2000s, electronically-inclined beats that incorporate everything from samba to cumbia, and a tape full of brilliant chops and dynamic percussion from a rising Bay Area producer.  Continue reading

The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: March 2019

beattape_march_1244For this month’s column, you’ll find six wildly different projects. There is Memphis funk a la Three 6 Mafia that’s been updated and recalibrated for beachside drives, ominous and guitar-centric electronic beats, lo-fi instrumentals that sample traditional Japanese music, and much more. Continue reading

The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: February 2019

beattape_feb-1244Boom-bap. It’s an onomatopoeic descriptor so accurate that you can hear the thudding kicks and crisp snares in the syllables. When you read or hear the word, you might even imagine drums rattling apartment windows as they echo from Jeep stereos and back-breaking boomboxes. Below you’ll find work from disciples of Premier and Pete Rock, people for whom finding the right loop or break is tantamount to breathing. Some push beyond the work of predecessors, creating new permutations with only fragments of the foundation. Others have studied the sacred scroll (also read: the MPC manual) and crafted timeless canticles. All of them are undeniably awesome. Continue reading

The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: December 2018/January 2019

best beattape JanuaryIf the wealth of beat tapes released in January is any indication, inclement weather is a powerful motivator for those who work indoors. Whether you’re in the mood for dusty and knocking soul, neon-kissed chillhop, or blunted beats ripe for soundtracking your favorite anime, you’ll find them here. If you’re so inclined, buy one or all of these records. I’ve never said this before, will not say it again, and am not saying it now to be a company shill: I believe in these producers. Each month, I hope they have the means to continue making their art. It’s palm-to-forehead obvious, but there would be no column without them. Continue reading

The Best Beat Tapes of 2018

2018-best-of-Beat Tape-1244Since I started this column, I’ve aimed to broaden and elevate the definition of a beat tape. I wanted to ensure that any record labeled as such isn’t written off as somehow inherently lesser than an “instrumental album.” Ideally, each column has illustrated just how thin that pretentious distinction has always been. The albums I’ve selected as the best of the year accomplish this feat, and more. Some prove that the power drums and the right sample will remain undiminished forever. Others present wholly original compositions, the instrumentation looped or played in concert with the rest of the arrangement. And others, of course, operate in the middle, preserving the formal elements of the beatmaking past as they incorporate them into forward-thinking productions. In short, all of these records affirm the richness of instrumental beat music—its history, its immersiveness, and its ability to encapsulate our world while creating new ones.

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: October 2018

Beat Tapes

While I would’ve liked a host of horror-themed beat tapes this October, there were few to be found. Instead of albums that bring terror to our world, I discovered albums that offer passage to new ones. Some afford a respite from the places we know, and some refract them in ways that are both cathartic and haunting. The woods of your childhood fantasies, a frigid and dystopian New York, a neon-tinged anime—choose your adventure and don’t forget your headphones.

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: September 2018

best beat tapes

One of my many aims with this column is to avoid selecting two records in one month that sound similar to one another. For September, I’ve chosen projects that feature thoughtfully crafted, jazz-imbued suites, sample-heavy chops, electronic hip-hop hybrids with lots of low-end, and more. Ideally, I’ve succeeded. If I’ve failed you—that’s why the comment section (and Twitter) exist.

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