The Rise of Memphis Rap Tapes

I hope this article finds you well. You may have noticed I haven’t published anything under the Micro-Chop umbrella for the past six weeks. I should have addressed this earlier but I’ve been burried with a summertime move and one of the longest, most involved pieces I’ve ever written. Both of these things have consumed much of my summer and left me with little time for anything else.

For those of you who are paying subscribers, I took the liberty of pausing payments around the beginning of my hiatus. In other words, no Micro-Chop subscribers will be charged for their subscriptions for the time being. I will follow up soon with some additional news about Micro-Chop and some thoughts on where I will direct my energy for the rest of 2021 and beyond.

For now, I’d like to direct your attention to my 7000+ word piece for Reverb titled “The Rise of Memphis Rap Tapes.” It’s an extremely deep dive on the history of independent and self-released Memphis rap tapes from the ‘90s.

The article starts with early work by DJ Sound, DJ Soni D and Kool K, Gangsta Pat, 8Ball & MJG, DJ Spanish Fly, and other Memphis originators and works its way up throughout the decade while covering many other artists. It also includes original interviews with Memphis MC/producer pioneers Grimm (then known as Lil Grim) and Shawty Pimp.

At over 7000 words the article is obviously very long. Expecting you to read the entire thing is a big ask. I also worked on this piece off and on for the better part of a year, so I hope you’ll at least give it a quick look.

If you prefer to stick to the music and skip the reading part, I understand. Luckily for you I compiled a 114-track YouTube playlist of Memphis rap cuts from the ‘90s including everything from well-known classics to long forgotten hidden gems. It’s definitely worth checking out if you have even the slightest interest in this genre.

It starts off with 187 Family’s essential Solo Tape (1996) cut “Drinking” and follows along with the narrative of my piece before switching to artists and recordings I wasn’t able to include because of word and time limits around the 52-track mark.

In addition to the Reverb article, I also recently made a long thread about the pioneering women of Memphis rap. If you’re on Twitter I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out.

And here’s the subsequent 30-track YouTube playlist. It starts off with Tommy Wright III’s Meters-sampling, Princess Loko-assisted banger “Comin For ‘94” and moves into a bunch of heaters by artists like The Legend Lady J, La Chat, Gangsta Boo, Boss Bytch, Ann P, and others.

That’s all for now, I’ll check back in soon with some more writing and updates on the newsletter.

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