Cassette-Oriented Nostalgia

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I was going to share my thoughts on Panacea, but this discovery just interrupted everything.

The one cassette tape that stands out in my memory more than any other is Nas’ Illmatic. I played the shit out of that damn tape. Even years after the album dropped, I lugged that tape to and from school in my walkman. It went with me to the basketball courts in my boombox. It went to friends’ houses–you get the point.

Though the cassette itself was unremarkable–sporting the ususal clear plastic with white lettering–I can still visualize it: the fading track listing, the plethora of blacktop-induced scratches, and so on. The tape was also noteworthy for me to the extent that, even as our generation witnessed the last days of the vinyl era, with the cassette, we were fortunate enough to be exposed to the now-extinct tradition of the two-sided music recording. Indeed, you’ll recall that Nas titled the track at the end of side A “Halftime.” But I digress…

Well, only the internet and its ubiquitous ability to synergize the internet research of stans across the globe could bring us something like the video below, a promotional video for Illmatic. It is essentially a mini-documentary about the making of the album, and it should be in a museum somewhere (you know I’m going to pushing the MoAAM people on this). There are interviews from Primo, Large Pro, Pete Rock, Q-Tip; if you look carefully, you’ll also see who I think is A+ (of Latch Key Child fame) on there.

For those who really want to take it back, go read the Source’s original 5-mic review for Illmatic, another relic preserved by the wondrous power of the interwebs.

[Props to the SOHH crowd for the video]

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