With physical record shops in decline wax junkies are having to rely on a handful of specialist online stores for that mandatory Hip Hop fix. For the second in our series of interviews with the UK’s finest record hustlers we caught up with Adam from Rapshack.co.uk.
What was your motivation for setting up the shop?
Rapshack: I had previously helped run established record shops around Essex for a few years and thought I could go it alone.
How many people are involved in the day to day running of Rapshack and who does what?
Rapshack: The main day to day running is majority done by myself but I do have people who help out from time to time; Graphic designers, admin staff and web developers.
Can you break down how the business works in terms of how the stock gets to you and who it comes from?
Rapshack: Stock comes from distributors and importers and is delivered before the weekend in time for us to record and upload images and sound bites. We then list everything in our mail outs and email these off during the weekend.
How does the quality control work and how do you decide what to stock?
Rapshack: Stock is decided on years of experience from being involved in Hip Hop for the last 23 years or so, recommendations, DJ and radio playlists.
Do you think the people who used to buy in record shops are now buying online or just not buying at all?
Rapshack: Yeah some are buying online and have been for a while, but most ‘walk in shop’ shoppers like the one on one interaction.
What kind of stuff is selling at the moment?
Rapshack: Either real underground stuff like Rhymesayers material, DJ Premier production material, UK stuff like P Brothers and Task Force always do well.
Sales figures aside, what UK artists are doing it for you right now?
Rapshack: Wordsmith, P Brothers, Foreign Beggars, Professor Green.
What new US Hip Hop are you feeling?
Rapshack: Drake, Dr Dre, Statik Selektah, Pete Rock, J Dilla.
Do you DJ / make beats / rap / break or write yourself?
Rapshack: I DJ, and have done for the last 14 years or so. I used to make beats but I needed to find a job and didn’t get the time any more.
What do you think of the Dubstep and Grime scenes’?
Rapshack: I love Dub Step and think the scene is probably one of the few things keeping Vinyl alive. Grime is cool but I think its day is done. There are some good rhymers in Grime but their direction is all wrong and they see selling out as the main goal.
What do you think of the competition: Disorda, King Underground, Juno etc.
Rapshack: Juno is an excellent site and is well established, Suspect Packages is also well established and has the UK artists back from all his hard work from back in the day, but unfortunately there isn’t enough material been made these days to keep it looking fresh. King Underground is cool, aesthetically it looks good, they sell similar stuff to ourselves – probably our nearest competitors.
How many records do you own?
Rapshack: Personally I own thousands of records, from Hip Hop to Funk, to Drum and Bass to Soul, Rock to Reggae. I had to give away hundreds of breaks and gems the last time I moved house simply because I don’t produce any more and I needed to stream line my collection.
If you weren’t selling records, what would you be doing?
Rapshack: That’s a difficult one to answer, I teach DJing and Performing music as a business at a local college as part of a Music Tech course, but I only got into that from my experience in the DJing and music field. Music is pretty much all I know, I was brought up surrounded by it, so I think some where along the line if I hadn’t started DJing and progressing from there I think I would have been involved with music still. May be so on the promotional side of things??
Will Rapshack.co.uk be around in five years time?
Rapshack: I think Rapshack.co.uk will be moved on from what it is today in terms of a web site. I think with the lack of product available, the site will diversify more from a retail site than it is at the moment. It already has videos posted and an events page, I think these will eventually push the retail side of things out.
Who knows, the record labels may some how ban the MP3 and will have to resort to producing an actual product again like vinyl. I hope so for all our sakes!!
By: Max Weldon