Cornerstone is a marketing firm based in NYC that started in the later half of the 90′s by music industry insider Rob Stone. I’m not sure how long they’ve been cranking out the Cornerstone Mixtapes actually, by the time I heard of them, the series was on around Volume 16 and that was around the year 2000. What I do know though, is the mixtapes were never sold at retail, they were only sent to DJ’s, promoters, tastemakers, industry insiders, etc. via mail. In order to get a copy you had to be in the know. Each volume featured the newest music straight from the labels (before you could download something off a blog). Receiving a mixtape in the mail meant you were getting a new mix from some of the best DJ’s from NYC and around the country as well as something exclusive. It also meant you were in the know and probably a person people needed to know in your city.
In addition to new music, the cornerstone mixes also promoted the latest products from various brands including: Levis, Brand Jordan, Dodge, Trojan (Condoms), Converse, etc. They were the first to create a real synergy between Hip Hop mixtapes and corporate marketing.
It took a while before I made it on the list (Shouts to DJ Mega). Over the years it seems as if I’ve ended up with a whole collection of these things. Every once in a while I would take some time and listen to these old mixes. Some are still great, while others sound very dated.
Some of my CD’s include mixes from the Beatminerz, J. Period, Aphiliates (Drama, Don Cannon, Jaycee, Jamad, Ox), Mick Boogie, Clark Kent, Mark Ronson, etc. I just went through my collection today, and snapped a few pics, and wanted to share this story for those who may have never heard of these mixtapes. These are true collectors items.