Monday, January 19, 2009

Remixes, Mixtapes and Mashups #1

Remixes, Mixtapes, and Mashups is a monthly column. The title is self-explanatory.

Two years ago today, a mixtape DJ at the forefront of the underground industry - DJ Drama - was arrested by police working closely with the RIAA, sending shockwaves through the mixtape industry. Two years later, the promotional medium of mixtapes has not been slowed, but in fact expanded its reach due to an even greater internet presence. 2008 saw the release of countless notable remixes, and I predict 2009 will see their reach further expanded, as well as the originality and creativity.
For a recap of some of the best mixtapes from last year, check out this segment from CurrentTV's Daily Fix. The fabulous Get Right Music also posted their Top Ten Mixtapes of 2008 featuring Wale's The Mixtape About Nothing and Clipse's Road to Till The Casket Drops, among others. As far as mixtapes go, Get Right Music has recently been my primary source for downloading them.
I first found about Mick Boogie's mixtape work back in 2006. Boogie finally came to the forefront of the mixtape in 2008 with a pair of interesting remix projects. He collaborated with Terry Urban, organizing the Viva La Hova mixtape, which blended Jay-Z verses with Coldplay beats. In late December, Boogie dropped Adele: 1988, which lifted elements from Adele's 19 and mixed them with hip hop beats from 1988.
The purpose of this blog column - which I will probably update monthly - is to highlight the exciting creative work that takes place outside of the commercial sphere; work that challenges existing copyright law, work that seeks to innovate by bringing together works from different arenas, and work that changes the way we listen to and find out about music. "Unauthorized" remixes, mashups and mixtapes can be incredibly creative, making occasional social commentary, but most often serve as great marketing for all the artists involved.
The most talked about mashups of 2009 seem to be those coming from the Minty Fresh Beats project, Jaydiohead, which mashes Jay-Z with Radiohead. The mixtape has elicited a number of reactions, including a rant from Pitchfork, as well as more positive responses from Buzz Bands and We Like It Indie. I support any creative endeavor of this sort, though it would be cool if we started hearing another rapper on mashups who wasn't Jay-Z.
I just finished reading Lawrence Lessig's new book, Remix, and I will be posted a review shortly. Lessig recently debated copyright law with Stepehn Colbert...... and then that interview got its own remix.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

jaydiohead is DOPE. dont miss it!