Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Tribute to The Vinyl Exchange

I first read about The Vinyl Exchange in this hard-to-read (click to enlarge, but I think you'll find that it won't help much) article in Subculture Magazine. Oddly, Subculture doesn't date or number their issues, but I'd say this one came out in late '96. The article read, "One of the few, true DJ Newsletters out. Every issue is a gem. Vinyl Exchange is basically targeted towards DJ's, but non DJ heads will catch themselves reading it too. The newsletter has everything any DJ would want each issue. The best thing is Vinyl Exchange is from the heart and doesn't get caugh tup in the politics. Vinyl Exchange is one of the few things I live for in life... and I'm not even a DJ." All you had to do was mail them a stamp and receive a free issue - who could resist that pitch?

Now, every issue was free if you could find one (you probably had to live in Cali), but the rest of us could get a yearly subscription for $7. Put out by DJ Stef (I've got her 80's freestyle mix on my iphone!), each issue of The Vinyl Exchange, the "newsletter for deejays and vinyl junkies," was eight pages and featured news, reviews of dope underground releases, a classified section, and a New Wax list, which listed every hip-hop record that dropped that month, by label. You've gotta remember, the internet was in its infancy, and info like this was crazy rare. There were also cool sidebar articles, where DJs would list their top ten vinyl releases, or there'd be a review of a new mixer or a column from P-Minus. The last issue I've got has a dope interview with Lord Finesse.

After publishing for several years (I believe it started in '95), The Vinyl Exchange eventually wound-up becoming online only. But it was still dope. I won some Z-Man CDs in one of their contests, and they had the illest, most knowledgable hip-hop internet forums ever. AJ Rok even became a moderator there! I really credit the VE forums for bringing together the right people to open the doors for the return of The Freestyle Professors, and all the terrific, limited vinyl releases by labels like DWG and Vinyl Addicts.

Unfortunately, a serious case of debilitating spam closed the forums to shut down, and the community essentially moved on to The DWG forums. But is still up and running, and DJ Stef also regularly updates her personal blog. Better yet, though, dig around, and you can find some classic VE interviews, like this one with DJ Evil Dee. ;)

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