In 2013 veteran DJ and producer House Shoes founded the Street Corner Music record label. An homage to one of the first record stores he worked at, Shoes uses his platform to highlight some of his favorite under the radar instrumental work and share it with a wider audience.
During their first five years of operation, the expertly curated full-length instrumental projects put out on Street Corner Music cassette and vinyl have become highly sought-after commodities. And the stories of artists with releases on the label read like a Micro-Chop’s greatest hits article.
Grammy-nominated producer D.R.U.G.S BEATS made a 50-instrumental beat tape with his MPC, a VHS tape, and his VCR. Juicy The Emissary composed an entire album out of 59 Kmart-issued cassette tapes from the 80s and 90s. Meanwhile, 14KT taught himself how to make beats with pause-tapes and Cool Edit Pro and K, Le Maestro flipped Amerie’s “One Thing” with the little-known Mixcraft software.
In addition to some SCM artist’s interesting use of archaic software, cassettes, and VHS tapes, Roots member Stro Elliot constructed his “Soul II Stro” instrumental by accidentally discovering how to extend and reverse samples with his ASR-X.
“There’s some kid out in Idaho or Iowa who’s really bumping your beat tape hard and it’s getting them trough some troubles. Hopefully we inspire many.” — D.R.U.G.S BEATS
As if that weren’t enough, ILLingsworth spent many years cranking out multiple beats per day to help him perfect his craft. Likewise, Foisey. started pushing out beats as an 11-year-old before dropping his first Street Corner release at a mere 19 years of age. And last but not least, ewonee . used field recordings behind drums to add texture to one of his non-SCM releases.
Even House Shoes — who started making beats with a four-track and a nine-volt, battery-operated Rock and Play sampler — has a fascinating backstory of his own.
No matter what method or process SCM artists use to compose and compile their body of work, an innovative and/or uncommon approach to producing seems to be the common thread tying together the label’s discography. And as interesting as the process may, the final result of quality music is the ultimate goal.
D.R.U.G.S BEATS seemed to sum up the philosophy well in our 2017 interview when he said, “Hey bro, you never know who’s listening. There’s some kid out in Idaho or Iowa who’s really bumping your beat tape hard and it’s getting them through some troubles. Hopefully we inspire many.”
With that in mind, I’ve compiled 104 of my favorite Street Corner Music instrumentals from a wide variety of their full-length releases into on seamless playlist. I hope the music presented here inspires you to show some more direct support and purchase an SCM release. You can buy the label’s music from their website, Bandcamp, or Fat Beats.
And of course, if you enjoy this playlist, you can tell a friend about it or share it around on social media. Enjoy, and make sure to keep an eye out for more quality instrumental releases from Street Corner Music in the future.
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