Things we failed to post over the holidays

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Yes, even the venerable writers over here at 4080Records aren’t immune to holiday gluttony and laziness.  So to apologize, here’s a mega post with a bunch of stuff that we failed to post over the holidays that you may find interesting.

Guess who loves 2Pac?

It is literally the last person you would think of (besides the youngest Jonas brother).  Apparently 2Pac’s Changes is so popular that even the Vatican chose it to be on its official MySpace playlist.  I’ll hold off on the snarky comments about the Vatican having a MySpace page, but I’m pretty stoked about this move.  With over a billion Catholics in the world, that is one huge audience for the “dead” rapper (yes, the quotes around dead is a joke).  It actually does show a little bit of self-awareness, as they slipped 2Pac into a list populated by safer choices.  At the minimum, it sort of acknowledges the Vatican’s image problem with the younger generation, and may be an attempt to reach out.  At the least, it’ll boost Pac’s album sales.

CNN Says:

As of Thursday night, “Changes” had been played more than 4.6 million times on the Web site.

Hip Hop’s worst music released on Vinyl

While that’s not the real title of this NPR piece, it may as well be.  It’s a quick comment on how hip hop seems to be passing the vinyl resurgence by.  While the hipsters rejoice, many hip hop labels simply aren’t following the trend.  Whether this is because vinyl isn’t a new fad to hip hop enthusiasts, or whether it’s because the hip hop labels simply aren’t seeing the trend, is unclear.

Appropriately, the production of new hip-hop vinyl has nearly slowed to a halt, even amid soaring demand for overpriced hyper-limited Animal Collective collector’s editions and overpriced reissues of Beatles albums. A few of the larger, artsy independent labels — Stones Throw, Rhymesayers — still press albums to vinyl, but most majors and smaller labels have abandoned the format.

They go on to list a bunch of albums that came out on vinyl this year.  Most are absurd, commercial monstrosities.  Albums by Soulja Boy, Gucci Mane and others.  Still, Raekwon’s new album, and  the new UGK album both made the list, which is nice.

Best Def Jam Songs of the last 25 Years

NPR does redeem itself with this list.  A bunch of NPR writers/contributors picked their favourite Def Jam tracks to celebrate Def Jam’s 25th anniversary.  Amazing tracks are featured here, like Slick Rick’s Children’s Story, Beastie Boys’ Brass Monkey and, of course, Sisqo’s Thong Song.  I’m not joking.  That actually made the list.  But yes, check it out and revel in the retro hits.

How to Repair Warped Vinyl

Lifehacker pointed me to this piece by Wired Magazine. They do make note of a couple of things:

Thin vinyl is harder to fix, and tends to warp easier, even after you straighten it. Some warps are harder to fix than others – dish warps are the easiest to fix, while edge warps can be more troublesome.

The basic premise is pretty straightforward.  You place your warped vinyl between two heavy sheets of glass and put it in some sunlight.

You can also heat records with the help of Mother Nature. Use the same method as above, and put the LP sandwich in direct sunlight. The glass will slowly heat up and the vinyl will begin to soften. If the glass doesn’t seem heavy enough to press the LP flat, find a weight (a can of soup or some such) to press it down in the middle. Normally, 10-15 minutes is long enough to heat the vinyl. After it’s cooked, let it cool and give it a spin.

Crazily enough, they also say you can use your oven, heated to 200 degrees farenheit and bake it for 5-10 minutes.  That seems a little too scary to me, but I guess if your LP is so warped you can’t play it, you don’t really have anything to lose.

Record Labels Screw Over an Indie Record Store

BoingBoing is reporting that Legend Records, an iconic independent record store in Ottawa, has been forced to plead guilty to a charge of copyright infringement.  BoingBoing says that the store was importing rare CDs, and apparently the major record labels just don’t care for it.

Apparently, these discs (which are themselves licensed, as far as I can tell) aren’t licensed for sale in Canada, and Canadian law (apparently) bans this kind of parallel importation.

But none of these CDs are actually available in Canada. And no one orders rare, expensive imports unless he’s already got the artist’s entire catalog.

Who among the hip hop purests out there hasn’t drooled over some rare Japanese import?  Some of the dopest hip hop groups in North America have only ever really found commercial success abroad.  Why shouldn’t we be able to purchase a CD and support the artists we love?

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