Mainstream Hip-Hop vs. Mixtape Hip-Hop

Melvin Collins
Comp I
October 29, 2010
Some people see hip hop as a category of music. Well where I’m from, which is the south, hip hop can be divided into two categories mainstream hip hop and mix tape hip hop. Each category involves some of the same people, but songs that an artist puts out through mix tape music most of the time are never released to a mainstream audience. People could probably come up with many different ways to separate a mix tape from a mainstream album, but the main three I see are the audience size, quality, and the way of getting the music.
The Audience is a big difference, because mix tapes are listened to by a much smaller audience than mainstream music. For example, a Gucci mane mix tape may have a lot of attention and anticipation in one region, but in another it may not be popular at all, even though his mainstream album is. Even the song producers can have a little mainstream success. For example hip hop producer Lex Luger started out by producing a lot of songs that you only heard on mix tapes, but just recently he has started producing for a lot more major artists. He also has produced one major single that got a lot of attention in the summer of 2010. The single I am referring to is by Rick Ross and is called BMF or Blowing Money Fast. Since doing this he has done a lot more songs for artists that are seen a lot more in mainstream hip hop. A lot of artists that you see in mainstream hip hop actually started out doing mix tapes, but as their popularity grew they begin to make the transition from mix tape hip hop to mainstream hip hop. For example, hip hop artist Drake started out doing mix tapes in Canada, but as his popularity grew he started distributing mix tapes to all parts of the United States and released a very successful mainstream hip hop album. When comparing these two terms think of it like this. Both the terms are like city’s the difference between them is that mainstream hip hop is a big city while...