UpNorthTrips Presents The 10s | Everything Is Purple: Celebrating The “Purple Tape”
It’s one of the most revered pieces in hip-hop history — both literally and figuratively. When listing off items that deserve to be enshrined in the ultimate hip-hop museum, Flavor Flav’s clock, Jam Master Jay’s fat gold rope chains, and a copy of Raekwon ‘s Purple Tape are amongst the essential artifacts.
The Purple Tape is, of course, that legendary colored cassette which circulated in 1995 and is an integral element of The Chef’s legacy. It’s also the more popular term within hip-hop circles for Rae’s classic debut album, officially known as Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… . Even with the demise of the cassette format, it’s still one of the most sought after tapes by rap memorabilists. (A copy of the OG cassette is now up on ebay for $260.00)
In this clip , Rae describes how the idea to make the cassette the color purple was influenced by the crack game. How back in the day, during his hustling days, it was customary for dealers to identify their product by using colored vial tops. In one of the most genius marketing moves the rap game has seen, Rae decided to adopt this same method for his debut release.
For the 17th year anniversary of the Purple Tape ‘s release, we decided to pay tribute, the Up North Trips way. So we put together a dope mix of some of our favorite grape-tinted cuts for your listening pleasure.
“Now let’s get purple like Grimace or Barney…”
Nas – “Purple”
Breakdown: Blunt in hand, Nas transforms from New York to Purple State of Mind on this cut featured on The Lost Tapes compilation.
Purple City f. Jim Jones – “Purple City Byrdgang”
Breakdown: Fuckwhatyouheard. The whole Purple Movement was pioneered right from right here. The Harlem-based crew, with tight affiliations to The Diplomats, buzzed up on their own, releasing eight mixtapes and moving an estimated 800,000 copies hand-to-hand. Their increased exposure and unique styles platformed them to commercially release three albums to date.
Saigon – “Color Purple”
Breakdown: Originally released off of Sai-Giddy’s ’06 Abandoned Nation mixtape, this version appeared on the Yardfather x DJ Drama Gangsta Grillz effort. Produced by Scram Jones, the video for Sai’s anti-gang anthem took five years to come to fruition and dropped in early 2011.
Cam’ron – “Purple Haze”
Breakdown: Cam had all of New York wearing pink, and then switched it up and had ’em all seeing purple on this joint, featured off the Diplomats debut. Cam has never sounded as good as he did during the Heatmakerz era.
Big Moe – “Purple Stuff”
Breakdown: Rest In Purple, Big Moe.
A$AP Rocky ft. Spaceghost Purp & A$AP Nast – “Purple Swag: Chapter 2”
Breakdown: Before all the beef, the A$AP Crew and Raider Klan linked up to remix Pretty Flacko’s breakthrough hit. Ty Beats produced the chopped and slowed sounding tune which samples Mike Jones’ drank sippin’ anthem, “Still Tippin'”. It be that pretty motherfucka.
Juicy J ft. Gorilla Zoe & Project Pat – “Purple Kush”
Breakdown: From his second album, Hustle Till I Die , Juicy linked up with older brother, Project Pat and ATL’s Gorilla Zoe for this Purple Anthem. Whether it’s the purp in the blunt, or the purp in the cup, these dudes obviously don’t discriminate.
Purple Ribbon All Stars – “Kryptonite”
Breakdown: Anytime Big Boi and Killer Mike get on the same record it’s always something to check for. Although the Southern supergroup had success with this record, and the remix which featured Busta Rhymes Lil Wayne, Bubba Sparxxx and Remy Ma, the success of the crew was short lived.
Beanie Sigel ft. Bun B. – “Purple Rain”
Breakdown: Philly and Houston collided for the Codeine-laced track which appeared on Beanie Mac’s third album. On the DJ Scratch-produced joint (which flips The Dramatics’ “In the Rain” sample), Bun and Beanie trade bars back and forth praising the Poured Up Gods for that thick purple syrup.
D-12 ft. Eminem – “Purple Pills”
Breakdown: Off the Dirty Dozen’s debut, this drug-filled ditty is full of shock value and adoration for everything and anything that could get you fucked up. From uppers to downers, shrooms to pills, this has something for every junkie out there.