I've had The Art Behind The Tape for quite some time - since February actually. My girlfriend bought it for me as a birthday gift. Schedules being what they are, I hadn't had a chance to sit with it until recently. I saw it sitting on my book shelf one morning, grabbed it, and headed to Starbucks where I loaded up on espresso and began thumbing through the pages. As a fan of music, a DJ, and a student of the culture, The Art Behind The Tape is right up my alley.
So what exactly is this book about? The history of mixtapes. Hip Hop DJs would record their sets from park jams and club parties to cassette tapes back in the 80's. Once those tapes were duplicated and circulated, an art form was created. Mixtapes became important. Hustlers would pay popular DJs hundreds of dollars to shout them out on the recordings. It became a sub-industry that grew into what we see today.
The layout of The Art Behind The Tape is beautiful. There are pages of mixtape covers (which allows you to see how the cover art has evolved), interviews with some of the pioneers such as Kool DJ Red Alert, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Kid Capri all the way up to some of my current favorites like DJ Green Lantern. Even MC's that used mixtapes to boost their careers like Jadakiss and Killer Mike are featured here. So much information.
The book was put together by DJ Mars along with Djibril Ndiaye, Maurice Garland, and Tai Saint-Louis. If you're a music lover, I absolutely recommend picking this up. It's honestly going to take me a few sessions to fully absorb everything that's in here and that makes this a gift that keeps on giving.