Following the release of their debut EP ‘Long Live The Shellers’, Lawaun of The Shellers sits down to discuss his favourite mixtape…

What’s your favourite mixtape ever?

This is so hard because I grew up in the DatPiff era. Mixtapes during my childhood were what vinyl was in the 80’s. Frank Ocean – ‘Nostalgia Ultra’, The Weeknd – ‘House of Balloons’ and Meek Mill – ‘Dreamchasers’ were all some of my favourites. But I got to give the crown to J. Cole – ‘Friday Night Lights’.

Why is it so significant to you?

I think everyone enjoys discovering an artist before the world does. For me, I was listening to J. Cole from his first mixtape, ‘The Come Up’. However, this mixtape was THAT mixtape. Hearing J. Cole’s growth not only as a rapper but also as a producer was motivating. J. Cole really demonstrated how to paint pictures using words. This mixtape became the soundtrack to my adolescence. As I navigated through life, I found myself reverting back to this mixtape.

Were there any artists or producers that you discovered through this tape?

None that I discovered. This mixtape featured Drake, Wale, Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and Cyhi the Prynce. Production-wise Cole also pretty much produced the whole mixtape which is a flex in itself. 

Where exactly were you when you heard the mixtape for the first time?

I was in Year 10 so most likely listening to the mixtape on my way to school or something. If streaming was around during that time I would’ve contributed to about 70% of those numbers. The mixtape was on heavy rotation. 

Did it come into your life at a significant time?

I think as I got a little older it impacted me more. During this time I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I finished school. As I became more invested in production I started studying this project more and more. I remember spending hours trying to replicate some of the drum patterns and listening to the instrumentals to understand the sonics better.

How did the mixtape cover make you feel?

Like it was about to get dark.

Describe the mixtape in three words?

Gritty, Honest, Pure.

What song is your personal favourite?

This one changes based on the day, time and place. But it changes between ‘2Face’, ‘Before I’m Gone’ and ‘Back to the Topic’.

If you could put a price on this mixtape, how much would you pay?

Whatever therapists charge for therapy. The mixtape is therapeutic, it’s only right.

Did you have a physical copy?

To my knowledge, it only ever was released digitally. 

No? Which is your favourite that you have a physical copy of?

It would be my A$AP Ferg – ‘Always Strive and Prosper’ Vinyl.

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