(pictured: Frank Ocean)
We’re all familiar with mixtapes; a compilation of songs that burst into the pop culture scene in 80’s, duh - but what you might not be as familiar with resurgence of their popularity and power as a result of developments in MP3’s and social media. Trust us guys, mixtapes are back on the scene in a big big way and could be of real use to you on your travels.
Today, mixtapes are essentially self generated albums or content that artists push online via Youtube/Myspace and their own websites for promotion. Usually attributed to artists that are not affiliated with a record label, mixtapes are also being embraced by existing, established artists such as Chris Brown and Trey Songz. Mixtapes give artists around the world an opportunity to get their music heard by millions and best for us, they give listeners the opportunity to hear some new tunes for free! Mixtapes are completely free to download so give you the chance to listen to great new music without forking out your pennies – perfect for the broke traveler who needs some new tunes whilst on the road.
There are heaps of great sites where you can find mixtapes but two of our faves are www.datpiff.com and www.mixtapes.tv. The most common genres you’ll find here are hip hop and RnB, but the range is pretty extensive so we’re almost certain that you’ll find something you like.
Below is a list of the artists we’re loving at the moment so take a look and see if you’re diggin them too. Some of these you may have already heard of – yep, Drake rose to popularity from his mixtapes would you believe it?! – and some are up-and-coming artists that we’d definitely suggest you keep your eye on.
Drake - Now a global success he started making these tapes in 2006 and is now probably the most successful start-out artist to rise to fame with this medium! http://www.drizzydrake.org/drake-mixtapes/.
The Weeknd - This Canadian recording artist has released three mix taps and all have been very well received. His critically acclaimed mixtape ‘House of Balloons’ is probably his best known piece and is a nine track free album. The Weeknd now works closely with Drake and actually featured on his latest album – Take Care. http://the-weeknd.com/
Odd Future - A controversial hip hop group who have gained massive global success from their mixtapes and continue to only release albums for free and instead generate revenue via merchandise. If you’re a fan of the Wu Tang Clan and Eminem then they’re worth a listen. http://oddfuture.com/
Frank Ocean(pictured in header image - A member of odd future too but primarily a solo artist who released a hugely successful mixtape called ‘Nostalgia Ultra’, as a result he came second in the BBC Sound of 2012 competition. http://frankocean.com/
So, if you’re after some alternative music for your travels then mixtapes are definitely the way to go. They’re free, easy to access and will open your eyes, or in this case ears, to some new music that you might not normally have listened to. What will you be listening to on your adventure?