When you want to get your name it the streets or listen to exclusive songs before they hit radio, Tapemasters Inc. is the answer. The Tapemasters Inc. team is made up of DJ Wex and DJ Lex, they are more than just a DJ crew they are also a marketing and promotion company. Tapemasters Inc. produces a classic mixtape series, they have an AOL radio show and they own kicks that have kids running to their local bootlegger. DJ Lex sat down with us talk to about kicks, mixtape concepts, and new R&B talent for 2006.
How did your team hook up?
Lex: Basically we met five years ago in college. A mutual friend introduced us at Five Towns College; it?s a music school in Long Island (N.Y.). We started doing tapes from there; you know mixtapes and promotions and stuff like that. That?s basically how we met and we?ve been a team ever since.
Why did you guys pick the Mixtape game to get into?
Lex: Well the thing was, that was something we both did during school. We both started doing Mixtapes like ten years ago or so in high school. Then it turned out that I was Lex and he was Wex. His last name has Wex in it that?s how that turned out. He did his own mixtapes, I did my own Mixtapes, so we just collaborated and started doing mixtapes together. Tapemasters Inc started two years.
Why did you guys decide to name yourselves Tapemasters Inc?
Lex: Well it was a few of us at the time, a couple of us thought of it. I guess we had a fall out with a former member and now we just continued it and took it to the top. We are one of the top five teams out there.
How many people are in your crew?
Lex: It?s just us. We have a couple of people we work with on the side. We have another crew call Hustle Club which consist of a few other DJs. But it?s basically Lex and Wex. We have DJ Young Legend out of Philly, we kind of took him on our side a couple years ago. I was working at Def Jam at the time, he was really grinding, he would hit me everyday so we kinda took him under our wing and showed him the ropes. He is doing his thing now. He does a lot of promo work for us in Philly. Then Hustle Club right now consist of Tapemasters Inc., Keyz, DJ Finesse and DJ Suss One.
You guys collaborate with other DJs for your Mixtape sometimes?
Lex: Yea we do. DJ Envy done our tape, we collaborated with him many times. We have a south series with him called Purple Codeine. We like to collaborate with him a lot. We might go for duo of the year or something. We collaborate with people who is on the same team as us.
You don?t see a lot of mixtape DJs collaborate with each other because everybody wants to be the king. I thought that was surprising.
Lex: People ask us to collaborate and stuff but we like to stay in our own zone. We don?t really like to collaborate a lot but usually we collaborate with (DJ) Envy. Keyz we collaborated with a couple of times; DJ Smallz we collaborated with once and there is probably gonna be another collaboration in the future. We are good friends with him.
I know you guys are know for getting the exclusives before anybody else is that your concepts when you are doing your Mixtapes?
Lex: Yea, I guess you can say that. Our Hip Hop is called The Inc. Files and that is our exclusive Hip Hop. Then we have The Future Of R & B series that is our exclusive R&B. We like doing the concepts and stuff like that. Like one of our concepts is called ?The On Air Collection?, which we take popular songs at the moment, they don?t have to be exclusive or anything just songs that are on the radio top ten. It?s called ?The On Air Collection? meaning on air has to do with radio but it also has to do with sneakers. We are big sneaker dudes. On air meaning as in Nike Air Force Ones so we throw an exclusive shoe on the cover; a custom shoe our designer makes. So on air goes both ways, its radio and kicks, so that?s one of our big concepts out there.
So what is your sneaker collection like?
Lex: The sneaker collection is kinda crazy. Between the two of us we have over two hundred pairs. I have stacks in my room. I have about 105 pairs. Basically every week there is a new pair of kicks that I buy.
What you rockin right now?
Lex: Right now I have a pair of Jordan X ice blue on, which are real limited. You can?t really find them anymore. That?s what I?m rockin today. I just haven?t worn them in a while. I?m into Jordan?s and Air Force Ones and Wex is more of a Nike Dunk type of guy.
We have a sneaker website going up called sneakerselects.com. It?s gonna have exclusive shoes on there.
Besides the mixtape do you guys DJ at clubs?
Lex: Yea, we spin. We don?t have a lot of time to spin; so we have a DJ, his name DJ Chaci of Tapemasters Inc. He does a lot of the club stuff with us.
How do you keep your ears open to find new talent?
Lex: It basically comes to us. We have an artist called AC, he?s from a group of ours called Slim & AC but their both doing solo stuff right now. You can find AC on a lot of our mixtapes, (DJ) Envy, Big Mike, DJ Smallz, and a whole bunch of mixtapes. He is working on his solo CD right now and DJ Envy is doing it with him. That is our artist. There is a number on the CD and a lot of phone calls and a lot of emails everyday, maybe like 40, 50 people a day contact us. They send us music and if we like it then we take the relationship further. You can call us a street A&R.
Do think now that because a lot of DJs are putting out exclusive mixtapes, and nobody is doing blends, that is hurting the art of DJing?
Lex: There are a couple of blend DJs out there?like it really hasn?t hurt them because it is more rare to see a blend CD out there. When a blend does come out everybody will jump on it, so it?s not all that bad. Our team member (DJ) Keyz is putting his hundredth mixtape out and that?s a blend CD from front to back. They got some real real hot blends on there, so when somebody see that out on the street, they are going to pick it up because it is not everyday you see a new blend CD. We are actually going to be doing a mash up CD.
Which unsigned R&B artist do you think is going to make some noise this year?
Lex: We are actually working with an artist from Canada, his name is Uness. He is an R&B, Popish kind of dude. He plays all his own instruments, produces all his own records and got a great voice. You can find him on our CDs right now. —— By: Interview by: Adeniyi Omisore