You Should Buy A Bandcamp Beat Tape Today

Music can help calm your nerves and bring you joy during difficult times. Support the people making it.

Bandcamp is a digital platform that seamlessly merges paid music downloads, artist-controlled streaming, and physical merchandise.

When the site first launched in 2008 it seemed like an attempt to do right by musicians during the downfall of an industry. To cynics, it likely looked like a nobile but futile attempt to make a artist-friendly business model profitable.

Despite any initial doubt from skeptics and the rising popularity of streaming, Bandcamp has seen considerable success and remains as vibrant as ever. Fans have paid artists a whopping $468,000,000 through the platform over the years and $9,300,000 in just the last 30 days.

The splits for album sales are also some of the most competitive around. Musicians keep 85% of digital sales and 90% of merch. If you break $5,000 in sales during a 12 month span, you keep 90% of your digital sales.

In short, buying someone’s music on Bandcamp is a pretty solid way of showing the you love their work. Just as DJBooth staff writer Yoh Phillips.

The independent beatmaker/producers of the world could really use a showing of love right now. Like all of us, the Coronavirus pandemic is shrouding their family/life/work situations with uncertainty. A significant number of these artists depend on live performances to sell merchandise, get their name out there, and supplement the money they make off of music sales. Many of them, along with people all over the world, are likely unsure of the future of their full-time or part-time work outside of music.

So, if you want to support the plethora of talented DJs, musicians, and producers who use Bandcamp to sell and share their work, now would be a great time to do so.

Provided below you’ll find 7 Bandcamp beat tapes for $5 or less, with the brief reviews taken from an earlier Micro-Chop article. Below this list of cost-friendly recommendations you’ll see links to more resources and Bandcamp recommendations.

I’ve also tweeted out a place for artists to share their Bandcamp work and encourage any artist reading this to do so. Hopefully you will see some results from sharing your work and discover some great artists to listen to.

7 Bandcamp Beat Tapes for $5 or Less

1) Rites of Passage EP by Raj Mahal- When Micro-Chop favorite Illingsworth writes that Raj Mahal “might be my favorite producer,” that’s reason enough to stop and take notice of this Chicago beatmaker. On this pithy yet powerful four-track release, we see Raj flex a broad range of sounds with irresistible head-nodder “STEEL JUNK” and the perfectly off-kilter “THESE THREE WORDS.” Described by Raj as “a short EP about struggles of the heart,” Rites of Passage is the perfect introduction to his catalog.

2) Vault Series #4: MixVape Mixtape by DJ Harrison- DJ Harrison’s Vault Series gives listeners a look at his extensive back catalog of unreleased material while showcasing his incredibly diverse sounds and styles. Entry #4 provides access to a series of songs Harrison recorded at his mom’s house over a decade ago. Memorable moments are in a abundance, but the mellow soul of “Got Me Crazy” and the undeniable beauty of “Harrowgate Road” make this a must-own for any beat tape fanatic.

3) Adobe Dillastrator: CS1 by Nameless- Flint, Michigan native NAMELESS has earned his fair share of respect by flipping insane sample sources with the greatest of ease on tracks like “Rainbow Read.” With Adobe Dillastrator: CS1, he takes samples popularized by the late/great J Dilla and puts his own unique spin on them. “CLAIR[ance] = 788” uses the vocal hit from Slum Village’s “Players” and turns the Dilla classic into something inspiring and new. “Donut In The Sky” closes out the album with a perfect re-imagining of The Shining track “Baby.”

4) I Know God And He Chops Like This by Jett I Masstyr- I’ve been a fan of Jett I Masstyr for a minute and had an opportunity to conduct a Micro-Chop interview with him in late 2017. On this unique two-sided digital single, the b-side “Chops Drop” is definitely the standout moment and perhaps one of my favorite beats from 2019. With an undeniable intensity and swagger, the song may very well be the finest production of Jett’s career.

5) Instrumentals One by Deacon The Villain- Many people don’t realize that CunninLynguists member Deacon The Villain is a gifted producer as well as a skilled MC. On Instrumentals One, listeners have an opportunity to fully appreciate Deacon’s considerable skills behind the boards. With beats ranging from guest productions for other artists to personal side projects and never heard before instrumentals, moments like the organ and guitar-infused “Satellites” will instantly captivate any listener.

6) WeedMoney by PoptartPete- I’m often drawn to somewhat random collections of beats that producers put out. According to PoptartPete, this is one such release. “These are some of the beats I've made over the past month or 2,” he wrote in the liner notes. “I never thought I’d actually put one of these out.”

WeedMoney starts off with a bang via the vocal sample chops on the brief but powerful “Cuando.” As the album progresses, highlight-reel moments like the trance-inducing filters on “Ithaca” and the evocative “TROOPS” make WeedMoney an absurd steal for just $1.

7) Stro's Old Beat Farm by Stro Elliot- If you’ve seen Roots member Stro Elliot’s live sets before, you know he brings a high level of skill and creativity to his production. The songs on Stro's Old Beat Farm do a good job showcasing his musical mastery. Stro demonstrates perfectly placed drum hits, basslines, and bell samples at the beginning of the album with the track “Cook Me.” Then he takes the project in a more somber and reflective direction on “This Town.” The record comes to a powerful conclusion with his classic “Soul II Stro” beat and excellent “Dilla Tribute,” which finds Stro finessing several classic J Dilla samples into an impressive nod to the Detroit legend.

More Micro-Chop Bandcamp Recommendations

1) 7 More Bandcamp Beat Tapes for $5 or Less

Another look at some essential instrumental albums that won't break your bank account.

2) 6 Essential Instrumental Albums

A must-have collection of beats, from the well-known to ones you might have missed.

3) 8 Essential Instrumental Albums by Ohbliv

An immersive journey through the Mutant Academy member's extensive discography.

4) Beat Tape Backstories

Eight beatmakers and the challenges, loss, and upheaval they endured while creating some of their best work.

5) Quick Hitter Instrumental Album Reviews

Eight essential beat tapes broken down in three sentences or less.

6) The Making of 14KT’s Ambitious Jazz Album ‘For My Sanity’

The Ypsilanti native discusses making a song for his mother, using his voice as an instrument, and how the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling influenced his music.

7) 3 Bandcamp Beat Tapes to Pick Up Before Year's End

A look at projects old and new from Raggedy Jeans, 10.4 ROG, and SWARVY.

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Thanks for reading, see you on Wednesday!