Once upon a time, the compilation was a huge part of underground Hip Hop. The West Coast especially saw careers rocket off an appearance on a dope comp that was in everyone’s tape deck or Discman. The aughts swapped the comp for the mixtape, and in the ’10s, the advent of digital streaming gave independent artists the capability to control their own distribution. These events have made compilations a rare commodity in 2021.
Be that as it may, a well put-together comp can be just as important as it was 20 years ago. Filmmaker Carter Johnson and actress Sirelle Wilkerson understood the power an assembly of talented Black artists from the area could have in providing a platform for listeners to hear commentary on current issues in one spot. They put their heads together, scouted for talent, and started reaching out to artists in the area. The end product is the Black Tape NW, a collection of some of the Top Left’s most striking voices speaking on the Black experience in today’s times.