REWINDING WITH JAZZSOON


Photo: provided by Jazzsoon
Words: Chris Cammack

New York City. The name itself conjures up a multitude of images, sounds and cultures. Fleeting thoughts of iconic television shows, music and fashion run through my mind at its mere mention. It leaves an imprint on the brain regardless if you've never set foot on America soil. Every borough brings another vibe to the table. People from all walks of life connect. Its subway system snakes from place to place. The yellow taxi cab horns provided a rhythmic soundtrack with commuter and tourist traffic. Never has a city been so alive. I say this from a casual prospective. My experience has only been twice in the flesh. The rest from the rap records and films I grew up with. From the aforementioned formats I've been influenced over the decades. My soul enriched.

How would my life have been different if I'd been born and raised in those streets? Would the differences in me be profound? The only way to know is to talk with a true blue New Yorker. A person so steeped in its essence they would bleed it. That individual is Jazzsoon. Until last year he was unknown to me. The name meant nothing until my friend Mark B. introduced me to his work. On my first listen of 'Taxi' I heard something extremely special. I was hearing the sounds of a true New Yorker...like the ones I described above. I was intrigued by this Jazzsoon character. I wanted to learn more, discover his roots to build a picture of the man.





PHOTO: MARK B.

Who's the man behind Jazzsoon?

There is no Man behind Jazzsoon. I put all of me in the front at all times. Jazzsoon isn't a fictional character that comes around when the cameras get cut on. He's a real person.

Where and when were you born?

I was born April 16th 1980 at Victoria Memorial Hospital Brooklyn south.

Break down your family dynamic for me. Mother and Dad, siblings and so forth.

My family dynamic was me, my beautiful moms, my beautiful and extremely talented sister and sometimes my cool dude/wild and crazy pops. I love and respect my pops 100% regardless of what time he spent with me as a child. Shouts to pop dukes!

Was your childhood a happy one? Any particular experiences that have stuck with you?

My childhood and teenage life was literally a roller coaster. Tt made me who I am today. There were happy times and sad times. There were extremely confusing and scary times. Shit was weird growing up in New York during my era. It looked real dirty and there was always crazy shit happening in the neighborhood or on the news. Consuming all that shit as a child puts certain things in your mind and a weight on your shoulders. I've seen a lot of negative shit being around during those times but that's not my bag. I’d rather talk about the things that inspired me. My most memorable and fascinating times I would have to say hands down was when the city was covered with graffiti.

Did you try your hand at graffiti during that time?
I did...I think every kid who grows up in NYC dibbles and dabbles with graffiti at one point. I was all about that life for a good minute though to the point that I remember being around 14 or 15 and I was in my bed one night falling asleep thinking to myself like what am I going to do? I mean in terms of working or career because I never cared about anything else other than graffiti, clothes, music, etc. That shit really scared me then slowly I started learning that I could flip the things that I'm about into a career.


Who were the graffiti artists who's work you dug the most?
Way too many to name. It was really going down around this time. Some of my favourites were Dcee, Dune Fuk, Dusk TCM, Spesh BTR just to name a few.

Now New York’s very scrubbed clean. How do you feel about the removal of such urban expression from its landscape?

I understand and I don't because people from other places want to move here because of those things then when they come here they're trying to eliminate the things that make New York New York. Make graffiti legal and it takes away from the sport. So clean the walls and let the kids just come back and rag them, then try and catch them I guess. But yeah New York is mad clean nowadays. I remember walking down 42nd street in like 93 and some dude comes out of a dark alley way and tries to sell you a talking clit, true story! Shit like that don't go down anymore lol.

When did you first become aware of music? Who introduced you and how?

Very young, when I was a kid lets say 5 or 6 years old my pops gave me a bunch of 45's and a Fisher Price portable player. This was my introduction to music through the Kool and the Gang record "Jungle Boogie”. I used to play that shit front to back, back to front over and over again. Kool and the Gang remains one of my favorite bands. The early 70's Kool and the Gang though lol.

Photo: Aquiles Torres

Rap & Hip-Hop was on the up and up as you grew, when did you first hear it? What sparked your interest? Do you remember the first joints you heard?

First joint I remember hearing and catching my ear was “We Only Buggin" by this group called Whistle. I'm pretty sure they were from Brooklyn but I could be wrong. That's the first joint I ever heard like “this is dope”. That was like 1985. I had to be 5 or 6 at the time and I was with my moms on the Belt Parkway going to Green Acres Mall...I'll never forget that. A lot more than the music sparked my interest though. There was the clothing, the style, the slang...the whole shit. It was difficult to dodge. It was all around us.

I’ve alway’s dug the radio. It's a medium that I enjoyed greatly as a kid. I’ve heard a few tapes from back in the day. How was it hearing it first hand? Did you have favorite DJ’s?

Another great question yo! The radio was my thing growing up. I remember early 90's when Kid Capri was on WBLS and you had Red Alert on 98.7. Then Stretch & Bobitto up on 89.9 years later. There was a few more shows I used to tape also. Getting it first hand you really never understand what it means and does to you until you go somewhere else where all that shit is foreign man. Its crazy. The radio literally left a stain on my brain. I don't have one tape that I recorded from back then but I remember the mix's by heart. There's one in particular that stands out to me. It was when Tribe dropped Low End Theory. Kid Capri was going back and forth on the Jazz! I still remember that mix to the T.

I made many pause tapes of radio shows when they dropped the new joints. Did you? I get a vibe from your music you might’ve. If so, take me on a journey with your experience.

Most definitely. I started making my first beats and loops off of stop and pause tapes in the early 90's. I thought that shit was so ill till I got a sampler lol. This was like in 97 or 98. I started digging for records really hard around this time too.

Jazzsoon Piece: Gouch


You're a freshly dipped gentleman so of course fashion must’ve meant a great deal to you as kid. When did you first make that connection, was it through Hip-Hop?

Thank you. I appreciate you fam. I couldn't tell you if it was Hip-Hop or more so my parents that put me on to being fresh and just collecting pieces or really being into fashion. My parents was real clean. My pops used to take me to Delancey Street when I was a kid to shop. Anybody in NY knows what Delancey was with the wears in the 80's. So I kind of had no choice. This is what I was being taught and shown as a kid. My pops was real strict about just being sharp with it, I had to keep my shit fresh or he would bug out on me.





Did you keep your sneakers as fresh? I used a tooth brush on my kicks, still do now!

Yeah without a doubt always keep my shit fresh. I came thru with the toothbrush a few times but really didn't need it. I got keeping my shit fresh down to a science!

Were you drawn to any particular brands/labels?

Polo, North Face and Nike. Those are my top 3 but I fucks with anything if it works.

As you grew up which were the groups that stood out to you/inspired you?

Growing up I was on Tribe, GangStarr, Ultramagnetic MC's, The first Main Source album, 3rd Bass, KMD, Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud first album. There's so many to mention though! I could go on forever. I could never answer that question and be satisfied with my answer.




Were you a predominantly east coast head or did you dip in the west coast waters? If so who did you dig?

Man I'm glad you asked that because growing into my teens I became a strictly New York sound type of dude. I was anti everything else mad stupid, closed minded and ignorant. Anyways around 96 I moved out to Alaska for some years...that's a whole other story but all the cats that became my people out there were all on some “West Coast" type shit. I had no choice but to get hipped to all this stuff that I was being forced to listen to. It sounded mad foreign to my ears. It took a while but eventually I started forming a liking to certain artists and their sounds as I study this shit, I just don't listen. I fuck with the West Coast heavy body man that's another one I can go on for days. E40, WC, MC Eiht, Suga Free. Yeah man thats another one where I'll leave mad cats out.

You got a sampler in 97-98 right? Tell me more about that. Which one did you cop? How did you set about learning it?

Yeah it was somewhere around that time. My first box was the SP 202 DR Sampler. I got that like a year or two before my first MPC. I've been using the SP 303 for a couple years. The 202 is the one before that I believe.

Jazzoon & The Koreatown Oddity digging for gold

So you said you started digging for records around that time, which spots did you go to? What was shopping for joints like around that time? Any stories?

I've always been a junk store dude. My first official come up was damn near every Roy Ayers record on Polydor. This was at a spot where this dude would repair electronics and shit like that. He had mad records and was around the corner from my crib. I eventually grabbed everything he had. It was dope cuz as I look back I was schooling myself early on how to dig,what to look for and all that. I guess my illest story is I became addicted to finding beats and would do all types of things to get records. No bull, me and my peoples were literally picking up loads of records every weekend like 75 boxes in one shot on the regular. It was a dope time.




Who were the producers/beat makers you looked up to?

Well of course the usual suspects. I don't have to go through that list everybody knows by now who the OG's are. I named a few earlier but I think there's people out there that deserve shine and respect when it comes to rocking a sampler like Ced Gee, Paul Cee, Godfather Don, King of Chill, 45 King etc etc etc! Once again to many to mention.

I have to agree with you on the groups sir. We were lucky to come up in a time of such iconic groups. Any groups you dig now? I noticed you mentioned KMD, what do you think about MF Doom?

MF Doom is dope man. He's always been dope since back in the KMD days. “Who Me" and the Mr Hood album was my jam when I was a kid so he's really not a new artist to me. I really don't pump too much new music because I don't want it to mess with my creative process cuz I'm always on the beat. There are people making some really good music so I take things in and appreciate them.

Jazzsoon's lab circa 2001

In regard to equipment do you fuck with new beat making gear or you prefer the analog sounds?

I just need a sampler I'm comfortable with, some records with dope loops, a turntable or two, mixer and something to record on and I'm good real simple shit.

You said about beat digging missions? Any you wish to share? We can change names to protect the innocent lol. Did you have specific spots you were protective of so others didn't bleed them dry?

Too Many digging stories, price tag changes, old people being annoyed by me cuz I wouldn't stop calling them, many classified ads placed a whole and a bunch of shit. I think my best experience has to be the time one of my people told me his father was an old school jazz head and he had a crazy record collection in the basement. He let me come over one day with my 202 and I was just playing around. His pops didn't know so he let me eff with his records. So we in the crib with all the homies blazin' and coolin out and messing with these records and pops comes home like “what the fuck yall doing with my records” and shuts down the whole operation! To make a long story short I got cool with pop dukes and wound up buying all his records a couple years after that. He had crazy good shit. Some of these records I still have.

Any finds that still get you emotionally hyped when look at them now in the rack?

Yeah but those are secret beat pieces so I'm gonna keep those in the vault.

Any of the new crop of producers you feeling?

Yeah like I said there's some people putting good things out there as far as cats from this era. I feel good that I'm able to make my contribution.



You got mad stories sir, I feel blessed to be doing this interview. From the music I get the impression that television/movies are a big part of it. Am I correct?

In a way you’re correct and in a way you're not. I would say I'm most inspired by things I latched on to as a child specifically. I don't own a television or a DVD collection. I fall asleep through movies if it isn't appealing to me. I'm into specific shit like 70's & 80's cops and robbers, NYC crime movies like the ones they used to play on channel 9 or 11. A couple of other things too like old school SNL, Serpico is my shit, Colombo and a few sitcom's etc. I won't say I didn't channel any inspiration from TV/movies at all, I just feel that's a small part of it.

Do you have favorite directors/actors/genres or is it less specific?

Yeah I would say it's less specific. I could name a person like Andy Kaufman but his main thing was comedy. I don't think I have a favorite director or actor but I do appreciate the art form.

Shows/films from certain eras convey strong images of a place. Do you think that is a positive or negative thing for a city like New York?

I was going to say it's a bit of both but as I continue thinking something pops in my mind. 9 times out 10 people will be on their guard coming here from somewhere foreign after watching Wild Style or some shit thinking its 1982 and 42nd street and still sells talking clit's lol. If you've been to Time Square lately you just might run into Spongebob or Mickey Mouse! To get to the point people still have this preconceived notion that your gonna get pick pocketed, slashed or your pocket book robbed when you come through. Don't get it twisted...on the right night it just might happen but this is 2016 not 1978. Two different worlds...Google it.

You've said before about the hustle. Did you have a 9-5 before that? What was the catalyst that led to what you do now?

I've been off the books for about 8 years now working for myself. I’ve had a million odd jobs though. I had my first job, a paper route. I was like 10 years old. I wasn't that kid that was like I wanna be an astronaut when I grow up or blahzay blah. I had no fucking clue what I wanted to do but I knew it was something alternative though. When I was like 14 before going to bed one night I was asking myself like...yo what are you gonna do with your life? I had no clue. The shit kind of scared me. I sucked at school. All I wanted to do was wear Polo, smoke weed and do graffiti. Have fun and shit. But its all come together someway. I still got a lot of work to do to get to where I'm going.

How do you go about getting stock to sell? Is it all about the hand to hand deals? I can imagine your a direct, to the point gent like that.

I do hand to hand deals with people but a big part of my grind is all about finding something for a dollar and getting 2 for it so to speak. where I find that something can be anywhere but the more time I spend and places I go to the more stock I'm able to acquire.





Ivan Cash. The name means nothing to me but I guess you have a story to tell. Enlighten those who live in darkness.

Shout out to Ivan Cash and Brian Frank two really cool and talented people man. They're responsible for shining a little light in my direction by putting that video out. That short did a lot for me, I'm not gonna front. They didn't have to do that you know. People be paying money for shit like that. I had no clue what was going on. They hit me on the email one day like months after the last photo video and was like...we want to do a short film on you, like a day in the life type thing. I was like cool, let's do it. At the time I was trying to do a music video. I think this worked out better lol.

So let's fast forward to the last few years. Was there a point where you wanted to get music out for people to hear/buy?

Absolutely man but for some reason it never happened sooner. I don't know why. Maybe I wasn't ready. I could have put more music out there throughout the years. I'm sitting on a lot of material but you'll start to see more releases in the future.





The classic TV show ‘Taxi’. Tell me and the readers more. What's it mean to you?

That show means a lot to me. The album means a whole lot more though. My man on my block used to do a wild Jim Ignatowski impersonation real talk lol, no bull I still remember that shit. The whole idea came to me one day and I was like I gotta put this together. It made perfect sense and then putting that on cassette makes it complete. Its crazy. I was sitting on that Taxi record for a long time. I never forgot about it. It's coincidental that that winds up being my first official release. I used to watch the show when I was a kid and always remembered the music. That shit all came together without really doing anything. When it's meant to be it's gonna happen straight up! I had fun making that piece, come on man Bob James loops you never heard? That's a no brainer! I was worried that somebody would be sparked by the same shit/get the same idea and beat me to it. But that didn't happen.

StrictlyCassette. It's a movement no doubt about it. How did you connect?

I know Mark B. at Strictly Cassette for a pretty long time. That's my peoples. We met in Alaska at an open mic along with a whole crew of others circa 2000. This whole thing been in the works for some time now.

Was it a no brainer deciding to put out the taxi tape with Mark?

Yeahl, most definitely. That was a perfect fit. It made sense right away...everything about the project just came together very easily. It was just one of those things.

Conceptually I was blown away by the design and promo adverts/pictures. Was that a mixture of both yours and Mark's genius?

Yeah I would come with an idea and Mark would flip it exactly how I pictured it.

I have to ask why release it on tape? Do you have an affinity for the format?

I thought it was perfect to put it on cassette because of the quality of the music I flipped. It was all off DVD. I sampled it off a laptop into the MP while the DVD was running. It has a ringy dirty type thing going on like sampling off the tv which I thought was proper for a cassette release. Im all for this cassette revival that's going on right now but I wouldn't say I'm a cassette head or collector. I just found a box full of some really rare promo and advanced copy shit a while ago and flipped them all! A cassette head wouldn't do that. There are things I would keep on cassette though like old radio shows. Things you can only get on cassette. That type of stuff interests me more.

Are you pleased to see the tape movement/ releases coming full circle? As a collector it gets me hyped.

Without a doubt it's dope. What's going on right now with the cassette is like what vinyl was in 99 early 2000’s. Literally everybody and they moms is dropping a cassette now!




How's it feel to have music out there now for people to hear it? Do you get a sense of accomplishment & achievement?

It feels good man but I'm no where near my goals but we gonna keep pushing.

Have you had responses from other Beatmakers/producers? My friend Ray West is a big fan of the Taxi tape. He said it was inspiring.

Nah not really. I know cats are on that spy tip though lol. It's cool you know, this is a very competitive sport. I don't expect anybody to be throwing no love. Big shout to Ray West though.

You ever considered doing a visual version/video for the release? I only ask because when I listen I can picture somethings working like the videos you post on Instagram.

I have actually but finding someone to work with on the visual side of things has been very difficult for me. Everybody that's dope wants bread and everybody who's not that dope wants to do a video for free. I just have to come to terms with coming out of pocket.


What's the next project to drop from you? Can you go into much detail?

Next up is the 84 Doctor K Tape. No release dates on anything yet but I can definitely say this summer will be busy.

For those who don't know who's Doctor K? What does he mean to you?

Doctor K is Dwight Gooden. He was one of the greatest pitchers in the game and he played for the Mets during the best years of his career. He was on the 1986 team. That's the last time the Mets won the series. He was also one of my favourite baseball players growing up.1984 was his rookie season.

Away from music you have any other projects in the works?

I have something almost life changing on the table but I can't speak about it now because I'm under contract and I'm still waiting for everything to be finalised. But I can tell you this if it goes thru the world will be seeing a whole lot more Jazzsoon.



Before we wrap up this interview I wanted to ask what a normal day is like for Jazzoon? Break it down for me.

Normal day is just regular shit. Wake up shower, check my ebay send some packages to the post office, get back to the crib and turn the boxes on, throw a record on the plate, steam something up and get busy. But then I have other days that aren't so regular ya know. I might be headed on a road trip to dig or I might throw a suit on and go out and break bread at some classy joint with my girl etc , etc. Alway’s something new.

Any last thoughts/shout outs/vibes you want to share?

Stay tuned. Stop, look and listen.

Make sure you FOLLOW JAZZSOON.


44 comments:

  1. Jack Horsfield24.8.16

    Gutted I missed this. So good!

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  2. I miss NY. Been in the south way too long. Great piece, totally homesick now.

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  3. Dope, good to see some people stretching the boundaries of hop hop especially with a well made and put together cassette!

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  4. Matt Herm (hazmat79)24.8.16

    Love this release. Jazzsoon putting out that cassette love.

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  5. After adding the Taxi tape into my regular rotation, I was really excited to hear this and it doesn't disappoint! Classic Beastie lyrics, with that familiar James Brown funk that can only be arranged so masterfully by Jazzsoon!

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  6. Casey Primm24.8.16

    Such a fire cassette! the white shell is so dope

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  7. Dope tapesπŸ‘πŸΌ.

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  8. Came to enter the conest....wound up reading a dope article....either way, I still win

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  9. Long live cassettes!✌��️

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  10. Not from NY. But i mean the Burroughs where it was at! My man laced me with a noice copy of the Taxi jointz (cannot front on cd!)that i loved! Was lovin all the little diam Latka and Jim skits. Used to watch that show on rerun and shit was bananas! Anyways, that Jazzsoon shit is fire! Cannot front! Keepitkoming!

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  11. Tino Elias24.8.16

    Hats off to this man jazzsoon,you inspire not only me but everyone that reads this article. Youre music got me tru high school.Thank You long live tapes and hip hop

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  12. Anonymous24.8.16

    Can i please have that cassette for free. That would definitely cheer me up, i am laying here, knee injured. :(
    Hope the luck is with me...
    Greetings from Berlin, Germany from lilly_lotus_bln@instagram

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  13. Sic! Lemme get that tape

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  14. Anonymous24.8.16

    Beastie boys and james brown , a match made in heaven!

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  15. I'm glad all of you are digging this. Peace we got more in store!

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  16. Nice interview and great tapes!

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  17. NYC is made for a mixedtape

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  18. 93kid24.8.16

    This cat Jazzsoon is crazy. "Steak & Shrimp on the weekends nahmsayin?!" I gotta get my hands on more of his music. All those beats in the vid were sick as fuck!

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  19. Anonymous24.8.16

    I need this tape! �� @thestereohype

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  20. Great interview gentlemen! Keep killin it brother!

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  21. YESSSSSSSSSS I need this tape! You're Keeping Hiphop and Cassette culture FRESHHHH in 2016✌ Nuff Respect!

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  22. really upset i missed out on buying the Beastie Brown tape. two of my favorite artists together....doesn't get much better than that!!! funky stuff Jazzsoon!!!!

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  23. I could have every album ever made and my collection would STILL be incomplete without this joint!

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  24. Really good read. Just started getting into his stuff recently and have not been disappointed with any of it. Plus Im fascinated with the NYC!

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  25. Thank you for the enlightment. Dope read. Will cop that Beastie Brown real soon!

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  26. Jazzsoon owes me 20 bucks since last summer yo! You should just give that tape to me fr. Dope article too.

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  27. Jazzsoon is amazing! my friend showed me the taxi tape and it blew my mind! Love to see you making more music! Keep it up!

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  28. Cant wait for next drop!

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  29. Anthony Delaney @jazzcatsss24.8.16

    Yooooo!!!

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  30. Anonymous24.8.16

    ayo wuddup! big ups & props to strictly cassette's for dropping mega bombs!
    Jazzsoon mix is bananas & the cool as a whistle white shell design is buttah babee!
    I'm a cassette connoisseur & my tape deck is hungry for raw ingredients!
    R-E-S-P-E-C-K, Peace & One Love. Ready to Rock til my tape Pop!

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  31. Pick me fir the winner of the beastie brown cassette give away. I love the idea of jeeping tapes alive. Im an 80's baby so tapes were a big thing in my era.

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  32. Dope article, dope release...

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  33. Absolutely love the Beastie Brown, I can't believe tapes are back, I've got a massive bix of them stashed away I have to dust off.

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  34. Dope interview, gotta nab a copy of a cassette

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  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  36. B-E-A-S-T-I-E GO!! When JazzSoon decided to skullfuck our minds with the King Of Funk(RIP JB) and the Kings Of New York(RIP MCA)you know you were in for something eXtRaOrDiNaRy! One of the best releases of 2016, no doubt! Light yo blunts and toss back an ice cold Stella Artois and let the tape deck kick out the jams motherfucker. Those that sleep, weep! But no worries my fellow tapeheads...grab the digitals to satisfy that funk deep in your soul! You will be glad that you did, trust. This is Maddox619er and im out!!! Thanks for the goods @strictlycassette & @jazzsoo

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  37. Brillant cassette want it so bad , I am speechles dope article !!!
    Miss these times of my childhood dayz when I was listen to cassettes into deep. #childhoodmusic

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  38. So good and so dope!!! WRFR X JAZZSOON X STRICTLY CASSETTE! Collab soon! - Dubs One

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  39. The BEASTIE BOYS gave me an identity that lives with me until this day! RIP MCA B-Style for life!!!!!

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  40. Oh yeah and SAVETHEHIPHOPCULTURE Thank you for all the dope posts!

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