WFMU MIX MACHINE: THE ROADIUM SWAP MEET TAPES
King blog WFMU (thx to Miles for an appropriate honorific) is a necessary daily feed for anyone who likes music at all, but they’ve got a new recent feature that should really get L.A. locals panting. “Listener Fodder” is curating the Mix Machine, which digitizes and re-releases old swap-meet hip-hop mixtapes on to the Internet. Though he picked them up in San Diego, these are quintessentially L.A. productions—Wreckin’ Cru era-mixes sold at Torrance’s Roadium, where N.W.A. was born and where hundreds of other kids first heard the music that would push them into hip-hop groups of their own. I once interviewed the Visionaries’ Key Kool about what it was like to grow up eight inches from the Roadium:
Was the Roadium Swap Meet as legendary as they say?
We lived literally on the back wall of the Roadium, and there was a cut in the fence, so we’d just hop the fence every time and get in free. And there was a record stand—a guy named Steve Yano, a Japanese-American dude—and we’d roll up there and Dr. Dre was selling mix tapes, and Yano would play every new hip-hop record—we’d be like, ‘We’ll take that EPMD, we’ll take that Cold Crush Bros.’ We’d put together whatever money we could scrounge up, buy a few records, go to my homie’s house on the other side of the block and DJ all day—rhyming over beats, trying to do anything—and all weekend that’s all we’d do! Our first record Galleries was mixed at Steve’s studio, and I’d be like, ‘Do you remember me?’ And he was like, ‘Of course! You’re the tall Japanese-American kid who plays basketball!’
What neighborhoods do you go back to when you visit your families?
My parents are still there—the same place right behind the Roadium!
And I should have asked Arabian Prince if he ever made any of these to sell. Mixes to stream and download below, and keep checking the Mix Machine link for updates. They’re scheduled to post new material weekly!
Here are all the mixes posted at WFMU so far. And you can buy your own here… or at the real-life swap meet. Also—these are giant files that take a while to stream. You may wanna just download immediately.
DR. DRE ’85 LIVE
DR. DRE ’86 IN THE MIX
DR. DRE ’87 MEGA MIX
DR. DRE AND TONY A ’88 BOOM N BASS