This time we catch up with The Earl.  This Producer/DJ/Beat digger is most known for his production featured on DJ Mark Farina's Mushroom Jazz series as well as remixes for Kev Brown, Pete Rock, and The Procussions to name a few.  His "The Earl - Remix series" that were released on vinyl are also on the top of his resume.  We had the opportunity to drop by, rewind and chop it up about all things ultra magnetic.

(SC)  Do you remember which of these you got first?

 I believe my first tape was The D.O.C. because that was right about 7th grade or so. At that time, I was already buying records. My first record was RUN DMC -Raising hell. I remember I got that for Christmas when I was about 10 years old. Once I got to Jr. High, I made a deal with my Mom that if I got any A's on my report card then I would get a tape. So during Jr. High, I was a straight A student. I was playing the game so first legit tape was The D.O.C. - No One Can Do It Better.

(SC)  Do you still have your old tape collection?

 I still have my whole tape collection. I have more in boxes but this is the bulk of it right here. You could say most of it is underground. There are a couple flops in there but I think I hid those. (laughs)

(SC)  What was the best music store back in the day to cop tapes?

When I was getting them, I was getting them from Tower Records. I grew up in Buena Park and we used have one right over there. I used to ride my bike over and cop em. I mainly bought albums. I never really bought cassette singles because I would just get the 12"s. I got some singles here and there but mainly full-lengths.

(SC)  What are all those demo tapes all about?

Those are all beat tapes. I started doing beats in 1994 when I was a senior in high school. That's when I first got my SP-12. Not even the 1200. You had to hook it up to an old Commodore using a 5 and a quarter inch floppy disk. That was the first thing I got and then eventually got my hands on the SP-1200. I was already into hip hop but as far as doing beats and finding breaks, that all started with this guy who used to be a janitor at my high school. The dude was a beat head. He was making beats and digging for samples too. I found out later on that he went to school with my older brothers. He was probably about 8-10 years older than me but he helped me out a lot as far as knowledge. I'd go to the swapmeet with him and he'd be like "you need that, that, that and that." You know, all the basics. James Brown, Parliament, Ohio Players. So when I first started making beats, I recorded them straight to tape. The first beat tape I made, for every beat I used the drums from One Love (Nas) Every beat had the same drums! (laughs) because at that time I only had the SP-12. On the old SP, you only 5 seconds of sample time so you had to chop it up. I made it up to Tape #25 and then after that, I was going straight to CD.  This other stuff is just random mix tapes. Some of them are compilations or best of mixtapes. Just random stuff that I would put together. When I started doing remixes, I would just run accapellas live over a beat I had playing and go straight to tape. Sometimes I would just make my own little breakbeat tapes. Somewhere in there I got an old KDAY mixtape.

(SC)  First album that blew your mind on tape?

 I would have to say "Illmatic" and a tape that somehow I don't have anymore (it's probably lost) which would be Jeru the Damaja's "The Sun Rises in the East." I remember during my senior year in 1994, I used to have a real lax schedule. One time, I bounced at 3rd period to head over to Tower Records. Right when they opened at 10 AM, boom...I was there. I knew that Illmatic was coming out because it was a Tuesday and you know that's when albums came out. I picked it up and came back to school, stayed in the parking lot and just listened to the whole joint on my little boombox. That was probably one of my best memories of tapes. That was like what...10 songs of dopeness right there you know!

(SC)  What do you think about tape collecting these days?

 It's just another form of preserving Hip Hop. You know, you got people who got loads of records and even cd's. But you know with the tapes...especially if you were on a walkman, you didn't really have the opportunity to just say nah I'm not feelin' this so let me go to the next song. It forced you to listen to the whole album and I think that gives you a better appreciation. Whether the album was good or not, it made you listen. Now its like...if it ain't good within 10 seconds, fuck it...skip to the next song. But you know, there might be something that you miss. Like, listen to Gangstarr's "I'm the man" which has like 3 Premier beats on there. You might not have liked the first one but when Jeru comes on, it might be something dope. You probably would have missed it if you didn't catch the whole song. I think it definitely made you pay attention more and another thing was the liner notes. I was always a big liner notes guy. You know, just seeing what they sampled, who they would shout out, who produced what. It was the whole experience.

(SC)  A lot of indie labels are pressing up tapes. Is it just a gimmick or a passing fad?

 Tapes are probably gonna be more of a small market. I think it's dope that people are still doing that and it will probably be more of a collector's item in the future. The unfortunate thing is how many people still have tape decks? It's probably less than folks who have turntables. It's like running into people who say "Whoa, you still got vinyl?" It's the same with the tape decks. But even if you have a tape deck, one of my big fears is getting a tape eaten up so I get a little sketchy about playing them. But tapes are's another form of art. If I ever get to the point where I don't play them anymore, I always wanted to do a collage or mural of all of the inserts. When you stack them up there, they look dope.


  1. ODAWG814.1.12

    So dope man! It's true tapes made you listen to the whole album. Big ups fam! Love the articles on this site... And I hid a couple of my Flopped out Tapes hahah!!

  2. @OZZIE - Yup! U know the time was limited on the tape so whatever you made, had to be fresh!

  3. Great read I have a lotta the early Earl vinyl definitly happy I checked y'all site !!!


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