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Top 5 mixtapes of ‘96

Joseph Tiller
Posted by Joseph Tiller on Jul 28

Radio was not the only way to introduce new talent to the community or the world. While the Telecom Act of ‘96 was severely limiting the airwaves for local radio stations. DJs had to find a new way to break new artists. Mixtapes were the next wave of introducing local talent far and wide. One of the greatest things about mixtapes is they were for the streets. As radio stations and other outlets became more corporate and commercialized the mixtape came into power and was a very useful tool for DJs and artists. 1996 was the year mixtapes circulated all over the streets breathing life into rap careers that would have stayed stagnant without the mixtape circuit. Even the Chicago Bulls released a mixtape to celebrate their ‘95-’96 season that ended with a record of 72-10. The mixtapes from ‘96 gave artists like Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, DMX, Fat Joe, and many other rappers a chance to be heard via these classic mixtapes.   



DJ Premier - Crooklyn Cuts Series vol.III

DJ Premier is known as one of the best producers in the game. He is most known for being the production side of the group GangStarr. He solidified his name as a DJ and producer with his Crooklyn Cuts mixtapes. In the summer of 1996, Premier dropped the third volume of the series and provided the streets of New York with a soundtrack for everyday life.  this mixtape had New York City on smash and ended up becoming the soundtrack of my summer of 1996. Artists like M.O.P, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon the Chef, Mobb Deep, and other local New York rappers of that time.

Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito The Bad Boy Mixtape Vol.3

Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito had one of the best radio shows to hit the airwaves. It was a show for artists who were at the time, unsigned. Many rappers visited the show and gave interviews, played their demo tapes, and spit in-studio freestyles for the New York area to hear. This mixtape gave fans a first listen to classic songs like Busta Rhymes’ “Whoo Ha” and LL Cool J’s “Doin’ It.” The third volume of their mixtape series was dedicated to Bad Boy Records, which was making a name for itself at the time. Puff Daddy co-hosted the mixtape, which featured other artists such as, Notorious B.I.G, The LOX, Wu-Tang, and Red Man

Tony Touch Power Cypha Mixtapes Tape 50 (50 mc’s)1996

Tony Touch went from being a b-boy to one of the most known and respected DJs in the culture. He dropped his first album, The Piece Maker, in 2000, but not before releasing three mixtapes. The first volume of his Power Cypha: 50 MCs came out in 1996. For rap fans that are into lyricism, hard hitting punch lines, and dope freestyles, Tony Touch’s Power Cypha: 50 MCs is for you. Wordsmiths like Canibus and Boot Camp Clique have shown their skills on Tony Touch’s mixtapes.  

DJ Clue - Spring Time Stick Up

DJ Clue was a young DJ fresh on the scene back in 1996. His claim to fame was making mixtapes with some of the hottest new rappers out. Most people know about his The Professional mixtapes, but not everyone knows about the Spring Time Stick Up mixtape he released in 1996. It was a two part mixtape that featured a young Jay-Z, Heltah Skeltah, Onyx, KRS-One, Junior Mafia and Foxy Brown. A year later, DJ Clue started Desert Storm Records and signed Fabolous, who was featured on later mixtapes and albums.

DJ Screw Leanin on a Switch mixtape

In 1996, the Texas rap scene was taking form and DJ Screw was one of the leading pioneers for creating Texas their own style, putting the lone star state on the map. DJ Screw was the originator and master of the chopped and screwed technique and sound. In 1996, DJ Screw released Leanin on a Switch. It was a mixtape that displayed the chopped and screwed sound from beginning end. Texas artists Big Pokey, Keke, Mike D, and Fat Pat all were featured on the tape. Leanin on a Switch is considered to be one of DJ Screw’s top 10 mixtapes.
Joseph Tiller

Written by Joseph Tiller

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