The value of the cassette (and Eminem)

The value of the cassette (and Eminem)

Jacob Keeley

For whatever reason, there is a special affection a person has for their first car. How someone could ever love some tiny foreign automobile is beyond me, but hey, to each their own. Myself, I lucked into my first car, because it just so happens to be the best automobile ever made.

That’s right, I’m not just talking make and model year, I’m talking my specific ride. It’s a 1999, two-door Jeep Wrangler, and to save you some time, because I could write this entire column about it, if I won the lottery I would sell it, only to buy it back for a higher price. That’s how much I think of my Jeep. If you don’t understand, it’s because it’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand. Good or bad, depending on how you look at it, that resale price just went up, because standard with all 1999 Wranglers comes a cassette player.

Isn’t a cassette just an infinitely worse CD, you ask? Perhaps, but if people are allowed to like vinyl because “it sounds better,” then I am most certainly allowed to listen to cassettes. If you had the pleasure of listening to music through a cassette deck, there is definitely something unique about it.

Because my mother is cheap and has a hard time throwing things away, characteristics that often describe a hoarder, I remember cassettes just as I remember VHS’s. For you youngsters out there, a cassette comes with two sides — when you get through with the first half of the album you have to flip to the second side of the album. If you don’t like a song, too bad, you can’t skip it. Instead, you have to fast forward over to where you think the beginning of the next song is.

So you can imagine after the news dropped that Eminem planned to re-release The Slim Shady LP on cassette, I was quite excited for it. To my surprise, there wasn’t actually that much of a change in the resale value of my Jeep, but I am a big Shady fan, so win-win.

You see, I am, and I believe to a certain extent all of us are, what you call a product of my environment. Growing up in the Metro Detroit area meant that my friends and I grew up with very unique, strong cultural influences: cars, sports and music. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but that’s a column for another time.

Seeing as I never had an interest in an NHL career, you better believe that I listened to plenty of Eminem. As a matter of fact, I think “Lose Yourself” was on every basketball warm up mix of every team I played on since it came out. Sometimes I’ll even listen to it moments before I have an important test to take, just to get the juices flowing. Now, I was far from alone.

When Eminem repped the 313 we swelled with pride because that was our area code, not knowing that we were actually worlds apart. That was no matter to us though, we still begged our parents for bleached hair and the explicit version instead of the clean one. Who knows, maybe since I’m of age I’ll finally be able to get both this time.

Call me old school, call me throw back, just don’t call me a hipster. I hope Eminem starts a trend, and cassettes make a comeback. In my best Slim Shady impression, “I listen to cassette tapes in my ’99 Jeep. Don’t you want to grow up to be just like me?”