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Forget Crate Digging. Producers Are Now Hunting Through YouTube for Breaks and Beats.

For decades, hip hop and dance producers trolled through dusty bins of vinyl, looking for breaks and beats to inspire their next creation.  But with so many record stores closing down, it’s getting more difficult go crate digging.

No matter, though.  YouTube seems to be filling the gap.  From Noisey:

Hip hop production was built on having to get up and go somewhere—record stores, yard sales, church basements, record conventions. Taking a shot on a scratched piece of vinyl because the cover was cinematic might yield the next loop for “T.R.O.Y (They Reminisce Over You)”. It was a crusade for horn stabs, basslines, and James Brown drum breaks. Groups of beatmakers in the early ‘90s like Q-Tip, Large Professor, Pete Rock, and the Beatnuts formed twenty-year friendships not from pick-up basketball or quizzo or college, but by meeting up to go diggin’. The pursuit for the crate digger was just as important as the reward.But how can you dig when your favorite record store closes? The Death of the Retail Record Store during the mid-2000’s put a hurting on the consoles of beatmakers. The old school rites of passage were permanently disfigured; how can you mine gold when iTunes forced the vinyl stewards into early retirement? Where’s the joy in being an MP3 collector? There’s no adrenaline rush attached to ninety-nine cent remastered, high bitrate piece of binary code.

The need for discovery outweighed the limitations of the marketplace. Hip hop producers began evolving in response to the shuttered windows of record stores, because as one door closed, two more opened. I

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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