MixtapeTorrent.com Interview with Orange Karma's CredibleMusicReviews.com

Crediblemusicreviews.com is an album and mixtape music review blog operated by Orange Karma Records. Mixtapetorrent.com sat down for an interview with Justin Epstein, Orange Karma Record's Marketing Director and owner of Atlanta-based PR firm Premier Public Relations, who filled us in on what it takes to write on-point mixtape reviews.

[Mixtape Torrent "MT"]: There's a few mixtape review sites out there like rapreviews.com and mixtapesone.com. What makes crediblemusicreviews.com different?
[Orange Karma "OKR"]: crediblemusicreviews.com is the only resource for professional mixtape reviews on the internet. Other mixtape review sites provide just below the surface reviews that are pieced together for the purpose of selling or promoting items. We don't sell mixtapes. We don't advertise on our site. We write our reviews to provide in-depth analysis of the music people want to hear.

[MT]: And what music do the people want to hear?

[OKR]: The short answer is Lil Wayne. [Lol]. Mixtapes and Lil Wayne. Our ten most popular album reviews of all time; half of them are Lil Wayne mixtapes. Only one of the top ten is a studio album. The rest are all mixtapes!

[MT]: Whats the only studio album?

[OKR]: LL Cool J's "Exit 13"

[MT]: Why do you think online users are more interested in mixtapes than they are official album releases from the artists?

[OKR]: An enormous community thrives around hip-hop mixtapes and those who are part of it are fiercely loyal to "the mixtape game". A network of promotional and download sites exist to support the mixtape community and this drives mixtape hungry fans to blogs such as crediblemusicreviews.com. Mixtapes are intriguing. They can contain new, unreleased material that is attractive to fans of particular artists, some of who have built massive underground followings. These fans are unrelenting in their search for fresh material and our reviews are a quick and easy way to get through the bad material and get to the good stuff. Without us, the casual mixtape listener is spending hours and hours listening aimlessly to old, recycled and just-plain bad music.

[MT]: With so many tapes being released everyday and a growing number of artists and DJs releasing tapes, How do you decide which tapes to review?

[OKR]: Official, artist-released mixtapes from established artists are always the most attractive tapes to review. They usually carry newsworthy back stories, they contain unreleased material and information on upcoming albums or events. These are tapes like Chamillionaire's 'Mixtape Messiah' series or Lil Wayne and Dj Drama's 'Dedication' series. Just as attractive are compilation mixtapes from established DJs that are often used as promotional platforms for new singles and remixes and have long-running series like DJ White Owl, DJ Drama and DJ Spinatik. We tend to avoid reviewing compilation bootlegs that are essentially greatest hits mixtapes and stuff with poor sound quality or artwork. We love to get a bubbling artist's mixtape prior to their first studio album because these tapes are often instrumental in breaking an artist and its fun to be a part of that... Check Scotty Boi's "I Got Next" mixtape.

[MT]: Why aren't there more music companies and critics writing mixtape reviews?

[OKR]: The mixtape realm is a dense, foggy world of obscure material that is difficult to wade through yet alone review. Knowing what's new, whats not, what's official, what's not, is half the battle. Writing mixtape reviews is a street-level variety of journalism that doesn't fit well with popular media's turnkey style of publishing. The popular releases all arrive around the same time on Tuesdays like clockwork while we have DJs all over the world dropping mixtapes non-stop, most of the time without any pre-release advertisement or forewarning at all. So, its tough. Having producers and management personnel to consult with on the reviews helps too because they know the artists, Djs and producers and that helps get info regarding the release.

[MT]: Who contributes to crediblemusicreviews.com's reviews?

[OKR]: Our reviews are written by a paid and volunteer staff of music professionals and journalists. Obviously we don't have the same people reviewing underground hip-hop as we do indie rock, but we have a fun... and competitive... system of writing reviews.

[MT]: Yessir. There you have it. So anything else, what's new at crediblemusicreviews.com, what's the future have in store?

[OKR]: Right now, we are focusing on getting more high quality indie & roots tapes reviewed and strengthening our relationships with our affiliates. We are excited about our exclusive partnership with the king of all mixtape sites Mixtape Torrent and we are looking forward to a featured partnership with Wordpress that should happen in the coming months. We also would like to see rock and other formats enter the mixtape arena. I know that from a production standpoint its much easier to hop in a vocal booth, spit a few bars over someone elses beat and WALA a hip-hop mixtape is born. But, the promotional power is undeniable and with artists like Timbaland & One Republic, Ludacris & Kid Rock and Lil Wayne & Kevin Rudolf blurring the lines between hip-hop and rock, I wouldn't be surprised if we see more rock and alternative artists start releasing mixtapes.

Justin Epstein