Tag Archives: Steel Tipped Dove

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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“With Bud Ross” Is a Philly Soul-Inspired Beat Tape Connecting the Past and Present


In the 1960s and ‘70s, Bud Ross carved out a role for himself at Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound Studios, the legendary recording facility associated with the city’s soul movement. As a prolific songwriter and producer Ross, now 78, estimates he was involved in the recording of more than 200 songs at Sigma Sound, many of which were characterized by honeyed melodies, lush organ lines, and gritty drums. Ross holed himself up on the fifth floor of the building, while the influential production duo Gamble and Huff worked out of the floor below. Despite never scoring a hit under his own name—he eventually left music to focus on a business selling cars—the 7-inch vinyl releases Ross worked on now fetch big bucks on the U.K. northern soul circuit, making him something of an unseen cult figure.

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The Best New Hip-Hop on Bandcamp: April 2018

Hip Hop

The Bandcamp rap vault runs deep—and this month’s roundup of the most essential new hip-hop projects includes West Coast future funk adventures, nourishing North Carolina albums cut in the lineage of Little Brother, and underground Brooklyn connections that journey to experimental climes.

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: March 2018

beat tapes

If you missed the first edition of this column, part of my aim here is to expand the definition of “beat tape,” which has been loose since its inception. (Whether or not there is a true beginning for beat tapes is another discussion entirely.) With that in mind, this edition features tapes that challenge staid, preconceived notions of beat-centric music. Below you’ll find everything from funky, synth-backed grooves to grim and cinematic dirges. Open your head and nod it accordingly.

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The Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2017


As the year comes to a close, it’s time to engage in the time-honored tradition of rounding up its essential releases. Over the course of the last 12 months, Bandcamp was home to some of the most thrilling, creative, and innovative albums in hip-hop, with MCs embarking on lyrical flights of fancy over beats that skew experimental, but still keep it funky. Presented in alphabetical order, here’s your 10 hip-hop sure shots for the rap year 2017.

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp


Scroll to the bottom of Bandcamp.com; click on the ‘hip-hop/rap’ tag, then on the ‘beat-tape’ tag. Wade through and see what’s there. Pretty daunting, right? The list you’re about to read is the result of painstaking research from Bandcamp Daily contributors, who took extra steps to find new producers doing amazing things with their music. This isn’t a list of the usual suspects; rather, we wanted to dig deeper to find composers who need a closer look. Without further adieu, here are some of the very best beat tapes on Bandcamp.

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Steel Tipped Dove’s Brooding Productions Are Reinventing New York Hip-Hop

Steel Tipped Dove

To his co-workers at his day job, Steel Tipped Dove is just Joe from staffing and compliance, another employee in the corporate healthcare sector. On Twitter and in the rap world though, he’s the producer behind Lakutis’s “Jesus Piece,” Kool A.D.’s “EROIKA,” and YC the Cynic (who is now known as Kemba)’s Unconscious. In the early 2010s, when blogs and indie magazines were announcing the dawn of a new New York sound with the arrival of Heems’s Greedhead roster—which featured Joey Bada$$, Pro Era, and the Beast Coast sect of Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers—Steel Tipped Dove was often credited with providing the sound that would shape that moment in time.

“It definitely felt special,” he says. “Das Racist shifted the dynamics of things in a way that I don’t think everyone even fully understands. They opened people up to letting different vibes into ‘rap music’ for sure.”

Five years later, he’s still developing those vibes through collaboration sessions, conceptual beat tapes, and sprawling compilations with New York’s underground elite. Steel Tipped Dove’s Bandcamp page is intimidating: With 34 releases dating back to 2013, many of which have over 20 songs, the oeuvre is immense. And while the artists who request beats from him are usually looking for production similar to the brooding, terror-trap of Lakutis’s Jesus Piece,” he says much of his time in the studio is spent avoiding any one niche.

“I overthink things a lot,” he says, possibly to the point of self sabotage. “But also, people fuck with Steel Tipped Dove beats, so why am I even doing that?”

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