Mar 15, 2015
Ode To A Boombox 2
I believe that a boombox is the machine that ultimately symbolizes hip hop.
Regardless of the size, model, shape or year it was manufactured, a boombox is the artifact that best represents hip hop's genesis and, at worst, its demise.
For an audio cassette aficionado like myself, the boombox is the vessel through which the jams jammed onto 60 or 90 minutes of ribbon can be heard. At a minimum volume, the music played on the box is for solitary enjoyment. At a louder volume, you have the grounds for a jam in your hands or wherever it is stationed within proximity of people.
A boombox is as hip hop as the city where the culture originated and where the still at the top of this post was filmed. My vicarious love for New York had me hungry to record hip hop music from New York radio as a teen. My passion for music on a whole made me hungry to be like the legendary radio show hosts I admired. Therefore, it is clear I have a connection to boombox culture and also admire those who pursue and maintain it. I'm thankful to have been aware of the importance of these portable stereo radio/cassette players within hip hop culture history and impacted by it.
The connection to hip hop and the boombox is more than metaphorical or symbolic.
When I said a boombox representing the death of hip hop earlier, I meant the infancy of hip hop has grown and matured to the point that these machines are outdated. They are artifacts. Technology has evolved to the point that these machines are not compatible with the current climate of stereo equipment.
Hip hop music from the 80s is outdated depending on who you ask. With the exception of timeless tracks recorded in the early 80s like Afrika Bambaataa's Planet Rock or Planet Patrol's Play At Your Own Risk, the majority of hip hop music from that decade is not compatible with the current climate of hip hop being produced today.
I wrote in great detail about my Toshiba RT-SX1, my first boombox and start of my devotion to the brand.
The photos are from a record store art exhibit from a few years ago.
Thank you to all involved for allowing me to DJ at the event, take some pictures of the boombox on display and reminisce.