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HOT TIP

Mix-tape market is alive, well

February 18, 2007|August Brown

THE Recording Industry Assn. of America's raid of DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz recording studio last month didn't end the gray-market hip-hop mix-tape industry. But it did scare many retailers such as MixUnit.com into yanking the collections of freestyles, unreleased tracks and sample-heavy remixes off their shelves, making them much harder to find if you don't know the right blocks of New York and Los Angeles to get them.

Fortunately, GetRightMusic.com still hosts free downloads of nearly every mix tape worth owning, including chart-toppers such as T.I., the Game and Young Jeezy, artier MCs including Papoose and Saigon, and instrumental cuts and hard-to-find vintage mixes. Compilations from Clipse and Lil' Wayne made some critics' year-end best-of lists, and are often more experimental and thrilling than the artists' actual albums.

The site is also a useful tracker of the latest beefs between MCs, hosting hilarious dis tracks and videos of run-ins between rival rappers. You'll lose an entire workday making sense of the 50 Cent versus Dipset flame war, but it's worth it to watch Cam'ron shrieking maniacally at Hot 97 FM's Angie Martinez.

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-- August Brown

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