By Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)
When was the last time you bought music? No, not compressed files you purchased for $1.29 per song at Steve Jobs' virtual megastore; we're talking about actually setting foot inside a brick and mortar shop and spending a couple days' lunch money on a Brand Nubian (or Belle and Sebastian) LP. Yeah, we realize that physical copies of music are an endangered species these days, but for some of us, digging in crates will always beat browsing for bytes (just doesn't have the same ring, does it?). And if you're in that digging in the crates crew, then Wax Nostalgic—the City Guide's weekly look at a living, breathing record store—is for you.
For our first stop, we head to New York's Big City Records. Despite the name, Big City is a hole-in-the-wall in Alphabet City with a vague storefront that's easily missed. But the store boasts a very organized stock with a DJ and producer friendly (Q-Tip and Kon + Amir are customers) selection of soul, jazz, and hip-hop, as well as a consistently updated collection of rare EPs and 7-inches. The owners honed their craft in New York's legendary A-1 Records in the mid-90s, and opened Sound Library in 1998 before opening their current shops in 2007 (a second Big City branch is in Union, NJ). Part owner Jared Boxx was kind enough to take part in our inaugural Wax Nostalgic 7 Question survey.
What's the first record you ever bought? What was the last?
Jared Boxx: First record I ever bought was A Tribe Called Quest's "The Jazz" 12-inch in early 1992. It was before I had two Technics turntables, and it was to remind myself to save money and become a DJ. My newest find is Odds Against Tomorrow's "Point of No Return" 7-inch. Thanks Forrest!
What's your favorite record of all time?
Jared Boxx: My favorite record of all time is Ecstasy by the Ohio Players.
What's the most valuable/expensive record you own?
Jared Boxx: The most valuable record to me is a signed copy of the X-Ecutioner's "Raida's Theme." The Grandmaster Roc Raida himself signed it. He is greatly missed.
If you didn't own a record shop, what would you do?
Jared Boxx: If I didn't own a record shop I'd be out of a job, like too many of us.
Have you ever played a certain record and gotten laid?
Jared Boxx: Playing music describes your love and desires for others, and having Marvin Gaye's I Want You LP close by can make all kinds of amazing things happen.
Why should people buy records?
Jared Boxx: People should buy records because they are a great investment, and it's how the artist would want you to own the music they created.
Vinyl will never die because...
Jared Boxx: Vinyl will never die because it's the greatest medium to capture the goals of the artist, visually and musically.Big City Records
521 East 12th St., New York, N.Y.