In 2009, the traditional practice of exchanging physical copies of records for money is a trade that might best be called quixotic. But New Yorkers are stubborn people, and the record store is not dead. Below, the top ten records that sold in the last week at a store near you.
Fat Beats proclaims itself “The Mecca of NYC Hip Hop”–“That’s all I can say,” says 26-year-old employee J57, whose real name is James Hines (the “57” refers to the 57 varieties of Hines Ketchup). “The slogan is it’s the ‘Last Stop for Hip Hop’,” he says. “But now it literally is. All the other ones closed down.” The store, opened in 1994, is managed by DJ Eclipse (watch him give a tour of Fat Beats here). Located on the second floor of 406 6th Ave, the store has vinyl-covered walls and promotes a strictly hip-hop inventory. The name also doubles as an iconic label. Other than Eclipse, the staff is made up entirely of the eight-piece hip-hop group Brown Bag All Stars who spend their hours at the store trading off rhymes (they shot their new debut video in the store). Fat Beats has a rich history, including in-store appearances from Eminem in 1998 and Common in 1999. J57 says the store’s most memorable recent in-store was a spoken word appearance from KRS-1. “It was definitely a fire zone problem,” he says. “The place was so packed you couldn’t walk.”
The Top 10 Records Sold at Fat Beats in August so far:
Fat Beats is located at 406 Avenue of the Americas # 1, 212-673-3883, open Monday to Saturday noon to 9pm and Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm.