All Mixed Up: A Cultural Exploration of Mixed Tapes and CDs

Folklore Forum

All Mixed Up:
A Cultural Exploration of Mixed Tapes and CDs

Don Stacy
University of Oregon

Abstract
This article examines the mixed tape/CD phenomenon in the socio-historical context of lyrical play to show how it functions in our society as an important conduit for the free exchange of information and culture.  Mixes are viewed as a form of “Do It Yourself” (DIY) material culture to show how they serve as ideological playgrounds where the players encounter an infinite number of worldviews and develop the skills needed to construct and express their own worldviews and cultural models.  Interviews with mix-makers and numerous examples of mix cover artwork are used to explore the folkloric process of mix-making, focusing on individual content, style, and production techniques while discussing cultural aspects of mixes in relation to ever-changing technologies and the copyright debate.

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