A Tape Called Expensive?

Lots of A Tribe Called Quest in the news lately, and since the screening of ATCQ documentary here in NYC, there has been a lot of stuff on the internet related to the group. In light of that, I recently, I saw that ATCQ demo cassette tape was going for over $250 USD on ebay. Being a Tribe fan, I took a look at the listing, read all about it, and thought, someone will probably pay the cash for it, just for nostalgia’s sake. The tape’s seller stated:

“THIS DEMO TAPE WAS GIVEN TO A FEW DJS IN THE LATE 80’S WHILE ATCQ WERE SHOPPING THEIR WORK!! I ACQUIRED IT WHEN A PROMINENT DJ LOST HIS STORAGE UNIT AT AUCTION!! HAND DRAWN ART WORK QUITE POSSIBLY BY Q-TIP OR RED ALERT! THIS DEMO WAS RECORDED AND SHOPPED BEFORE PHIFE WAS EVEN IN THE GROUP AND RED ALERT WAS HANDLING ALL THE PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT! THERE IS A RUMORED DEMO THAT WAS SHOPPED TO GEFFEN RECORDS AROUND THIS TIME WITH “CAN I KICK IT?” ON THE TAPE BUT THIS DEMO DOESN’T HAVE THAT SONG ON IT!! WHICH LEADS ME TO BELIEVE IT WAS RECORDED PRIOR TO THAT!

THE DEMO HAS 5 SONGS. 3 OF THE 5 ARE PRE MIXES OF WHAT EVENTUALLY SURFACE ON “PEOPLES INSTINCTIVE PATHS” WHILE THE OTHER 2 WERE NEVER RELEASED! I HAVE PLAYED THESE FOR FRIENDS AND THE LIKE AND NO ONE I KNOW HAS EVER HEARD THESE SONGS BEFORE!!

Definitely interesting. I checked out the snippets, which were five songs: Description of a Fool, Pubic Enemy, Native Tongue (Unreleased), I Left My Wallet in El Segundo, and Dust MY Pal (Unreleased). Not great audio quality, but what do you expect from a cassette ( and a demo at that) recorded to be streamed over the internet? A few days later I saw that Q Tip had tweeted this in regards to the auction:

Whatever the case, he did go on to tweet that even though it wasn’t the first demo, it was still a “worthwhile purchase.” I agree. After all, you are owning a piece of Hip Hop history here. Imagine my surprise when I checked back today to see what the auction had stopped at. $879! Eight Hundred and Seventy Nine dollars, US. Wow! Dude must have really wanted this. I mean it started at $99 on the first day and jumped more than $450 in the last hour. I had no idea that Hip Hop cassettes were going that high. I also saw a grip tapes, albeit not ATCQ handmade demos, but straight up record company promos going slightly higher than the $9.99 or so I’ve seen for De La Soul is Dead on tape. Slightly higher, meaning anywhere from $25 to over a hundred bucks. Why is there a huge rise in the demand of cassettes? Patti Siciliano, owner of Funk and Standard in Red Bank, NJ, has told me that her customers are requesting cassettes “because they are buying cars that strictly have cassette players in them.” That percentage has to be kind of slim I’d think, so what really gives? Personally, I was always a fan of the mix tape. I still have a bunch stashed somewhere, but I hated carrying cassettes around in the car. They melted in the hot sun, for one, and when left out in a city atmosphere, invited your car and pullout (ha ha) stereo to get ripped off. Not to mention anything else you had in there. Secondly, after you play them, they eventually wear out, break, and the sound quality sucks. Hold on let me push the Dolby Noise Reduction button to reduce the hiss from the Paul’s Boutique demo so I can hear the Beatles drum breaks. While I applaud anyone who wants to own a piece of Hip Hop history by buying original materials from any group (it’s your choice), for me I will stick to vinyl, and have no use for cassettes at this moment. I know dudes like Phil Most Chill, Shadow, Cut Chemist and a lot of you have massive mix tape collections from the 80’s and up. I, unfortunately do not have the room for storing more stuff, so most of my mixes are now on MP3. I’m going to put a poll up after this post to see what you guys think. For now, I think I’ll just stick to this tee, which is about 24 bucks and includes photos of Whodini, Audio Two, Master Ace, Slick Rick, EPMD, Mantronix, Big Daddy Kane, Gangstarr, and more:

to get my old school cassette fix. This will free up more cash for records. Just one man’s opinion. Keep Diggin’!

Would You Pay Big Money for a Classic Hip Hop Demo Cassette?
(polls)

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3 responses to “A Tape Called Expensive?

  1. while I wouldn’t pay big bucks for tapes for their collectible value, I do still value my cassette collection and still play mixtapes me or my friends made on my car’s stock cassette/cd deck… even the punk tapes are fun to listen to. Remember those Echo tapes you could get if you bought an Echo shirt… and speaking of ebay I hear those old yellow Sony walkman’s go for quite a bit.
    my fave cassette: babu – comprehension

  2. I won’t pay anything over about $15 bucks for most tapes, but I gotta have that shirt, where can you buy it?

  3. love the mix tape…. have hundreds of them both made by me and made for me. demo’s tapes are in no doubt. kind of a head scratcher…. but they never left for me!

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