Mr. Lif's Tape Battles

Welcome to MR. LIF'S TAPE BATTLES...

In the immortal words of my boy Paten Locke, "I grew up on tapes"!!!!

Lately, I've enjoyed a renaissance in which I've been listening to music exclusively on cassettes. This has reconnected me to those special moments that occured when I first was falling in love with hip hop. 

As long as I've been a fan of the genre, people have always battled: debating about which MC is the best in the game, which album is better than the other, etc. In continuing that tradition, I've created a tournament in which classic albums are pitted against each other, and YOU - the lovers of this music and culture - decide which will proceed to the next round. 

Join this quest to crown hip hop's best! Cast your votes below...

- Mr. Lif

Season 3 | Recap

Photo by megalomandee

After edging out The Low End Theory by only one point, Midnight Marauders went on to defeat De La Soul is Dead by a large margin. Behold the Tape Battles Season 3 Champion, A Tribe Called Quest with the win!

Check out the Season 3 recap below:



De La Soul 3 Feet High & Rising, De La Soul is Dead, vs Buhloone Mindstate

WINNER - De La Soul is Dead


A Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders, The Low End Theory, vs People's Instinctive Travels And the Paths of Rhythm

WINNER - Midnight Marauders


A Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders vs. De La Soul De La Soul is Dead

CHAMPION - Midnight Marauders

Season 3 | Finals

Photo by megalomandee

After another gruelingly close battle, Midnight Marauders walks away with a one point win over Low End Theory. Peoples Instinctive Travels.. did not fare well.

Now it comes down to De La Soul is Dead vs Midnight Marauders.

In your opinion, which album is the better of these two?

Winner: Midnight Marauders

Season 3 | Round 1

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De La Soul gave me one of my first views of the black, eccentric rap artist. In the late 80's, I had already been exposed to the Ultramagnetic MC's from hearing their single "Watch Me Now" on Harvard University radio. But when I saw the "Potholes in My Lawn" video, it confirmed and solidified a beautiful new color in rap.

Oddity, weirdness, and having the courage to be brazenly and beautifully "you" are factors I regularly celebrate in art, largely because I was taught by these artists. Watching De La Soul's evolution over the span of their first three albums remains a landmark that I continue to return to and learn from time and time again.

So here's the hard part... One amazing group, three albums that are absolutely legendary in their own right.

Which gets your vote for best album? 3 Feet High & Rising, De La Soul is Dead, or Buhloone Mindstate?

Winner: De La Soul is Dead

Season 2 | Recap

Photo by megalomandee

Photo by megalomandee

Without a doubt, Nas Illmatic is your Tape Battles Season 2 Champion! Next up, Illmatic will be facing Liquid Swords in the Seasons 1 + 2 title defense round!

Check out the Season 2 recap below:


Public Enemy's Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back vs. Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full, vs. Boogie Down ProductionsCriminal Minded

WINNER - Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full


EPMD Strictly Business vs. Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane vs. Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.

WINNER - EPMD's Strictly Business


The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die vs. NAS Illmatic.

WINNER - NAS Illmatic


Eric B. & Rakim Paid In Full vs. EPMD Strictly Business vs. NAS Illmatic.


Season 2 | Finals

Photo by megalomandee

Photo by megalomandee

Tape Battles Season 2 Finals: It comes down to this! The winners of each of Season 2's battles will fight for the final win.

Eric B. & Rakim Paid In FullEPMD Strictly Business, and NAS Illmatic dueling for supremacy. The winner will face GZA Liquid Swords next week in a title bout as the official end of Season 2.

Now in your opinion, which album is the best out of these 3?

Winner: nas illmatic

Season 2 | Round 3

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Tape Battles Season 2 Round 3: I hope you all had a great holiday season! While many of us were enjoying some down time, EPMD Strictly Business was busy absolutely slaughtering The Great Adventures of Slick Rick & Long Live the Kane. It was a landslide victory, to say the least.

Now, in Round 3, we travel back to 1994 when two colossal MC's entered the game and changed things forever. The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die vs NAS Illmatic.

In your opinion, which album is the best out of these two?

Winner: NAS Illmatic

Season 2 | Round 2

Photo by megalomandee

Photo by megalomandee

Welcome to Tape Battles Season 2 Round 2!

Last week, we had our closest battle yet with Eric B. & Rakim Paid In Full edging out Public Enemy Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by a score of 65 to 63 (according to your votes on my Facebook and Instagram pages).Boogie Down Productions' Criminal Minded was unfortunately slaughtered, scoring only 28 points.

This week we have EPMD Strictly Business vs Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane vs Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. your opinion, which album is the best out of these 3?

Winner: EPMD Strictly Business

Season 1 | Recap

Tape Battles Season 1 Winner - Liquid Swords by GZA

Tape Battles Season 1 Winner - Liquid Swords by GZA

Y'all have voted and it's clear - without a shadow of doubt - that GZA's Liquid Swords is your Tape Battles Season 1 Champion.

Season 2 begins on Dec 8th, 2014. Who will Liquid Swords face in it's title defense? That's up to y'all!! Until then, keep classic hip hop in heavy rotation in preparation for for Season 2. 

Check out the Season 1 recap below:

Round 1

Geto Boys Grip It on that Other Level vs. Ice Cube Death Certificate vs. Mobb Deep The Infamous


Round 2

Outkast Aquemini vs. Common's Ressurection vs. Dr Dre The Chronic


Round 3

GZA Liquid Swords vs. Ol' Dirty Bastard Return to the 36 Chambers



Mobb Deep The Infamous vs. Outkast Aquemini vs. GZA Liquid Swords