Renowned mixtape pusher DJ Drama has credited past efforts from rappers Drake and Wiz Khalifa for bringing back the underground movement’s current dominance.
Comparing today’s mixtapes to the past, Drama said the hustle has gone digital.
“Today, a lot of the mixtapes that I drop, I don’t even print up physical copies. A lot of it lives online, so that changed. But I also remember back in ’07 … not really a lot of artists broke that year. And then Drake came with his projects, and Wiz Khalifa and so forth. As the mixtapes came back, the artists and their movements came back as well and people realized that it’s important to the culture. Most of the artists these days, from Wiz, from Drake, from J. Cole, from Kendrick Lamar . . . all the people that people talk about, it’s come back to that mixtape era.” (Billboard)
Along with the digital pushers, Drama also reflected on the popularity of mixtapes hitting retail stores.
“People [also] started to take mixtapes, after they were available for free, and package them and put them in stores and sell them. Which in a situation like me and Fabolous did, with There Is No Competition 2, that was available for months for free, and then because of the popularity, it got rereleased into stores [through Def Jam] with a couple of extra songs, videos were shot . . . people started to really treat them as albums, whereas they were used at a point to promote a [retail] album that was coming out.” (Billboard)
Last year, Brooklyn rapper Fabolous credited Drizzy for helping refuel mixtapes.
“The Drake mixtape of course was a huge success,” Fab explained in an interview. “Lil Wayne’s tape generated a lot of interest. I saw Wayne and just listening to his tape gave me kinda the feeling that people still accepted the mixtapes and wanted to hear it. I guess it’s particular artists that they attach to but I had felt even with the most high-class artists, people were getting so used to getting free music that the mixtape game wasn’t that influential anymore. So when I seen what [Wayne’s] No Ceilings did, it let me see that there’s still definitely potential there, there’s still that market there. I think for me it’s definitely there because my albums tend to be a little more mainstream than my mixtapes.” (Real Talk NY)
In January 2007, Drama made headlines after getting busted on a mixtape raid.
January 16 might go down as a day of infamy on the mixtape circuit. In a major development in the Recording Industry Association of America’s quest to stop what they believe to be the bootlegging of music, the Atlanta office of mixtape king DJ Drama’s Aphilliate Music Group was raided Tuesday by police. Drama (real name Tyree Simmons) and Aphilliate partner Donald “Don” Cannon were taken into custody along with 17 other individuals Tuesday. Police seized over 50,000 mixtapes in the raid, according to reports from Atlanta’s Fox affiliate, WAGA. (MTV)
Check out a recent DJ Drama interview below: