From Istanbul to Stardom: The Rise of Bass Producer Tape B
Being a first-generation child often comes with the pressure to succeed at the “American Dream.” It’s something Kemal Berk Alkanat, also known as Tape B, knows all too well. The fast-rising bass music producer was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and moved to the States with his family when he was just three years old.
As Alkanat grew older, he felt the weight on his shoulders to be successful so that he could make his parents proud and one day take care of them. However, there was never a career that interested him enough to pursue with passion.
It wasn’t until the summer going into his freshman year at the University of Central Florida that his friend introduced him to GarageBand, a free, easy-to-use Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that comes pre-installed on Apple devices. Alkanat was immediately hooked on making beats and remixing his favorite songs with a punch of bass.
Unbeknownst to his parents, Tape B got his first board, speakers, and other DJ equipment using some of his college scholarship money.
“I never told my mom this,” Alkanat admitted to MP3 MAG. “I got a scholarship for $2,500 I think, and I used half of it on everything I needed to for the semester… But then I had [roughly] $1,000 left, and I’m like, ‘Alright, I can just go to Guitar Center and spend this on the music equipment I need.’”
When Alkanat started his journey with making music, his only goal at the time was to be good enough to play at college bars and parties. That quickly changed when he fell in love with producing. He hoped to pursue it seriously after he graduated in December 2019, but struggled with self-doubt.
So, he lined up a job with Enterprise Rent-A-Car a few months after graduating, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do. “I didn’t know what I was doing, really,” said Alkanat.
Amid his conflict to figure out his career, Alkanat said attending Lost Lands Music Festival in 2019 was the turning point that inspired him to pursue his music more seriously.
“That was the push I needed,” Alkanat remembered. “When I was in my tent just listening to my own music, I was like, ‘Alright, I can so do this if I just released music.’”
On top of that newfound motivation, Alkanat lost the job offer at Enterprise because of the pandemic. So, when the world pressed pause in March 2020, Alkanat used that time to press play on Tape B – spending the entire year at home making and releasing music.
Having that time at home to focus on releasing tracks, coupled with pandemic-era live streams on Twitch where aspiring artists could get their songs played and critiqued by big-name producers, helped fast-track Alkanat’s career.
Tape B started gaining traction on SoundCloud for his trap tunes including, “10 Freaky Girls” and his flip of Slushii’s “Candyflip.” He also began booking shows in South Florida, but he still struggled to figure out his signature sound and who he was as a DJ.
One night, after being upset with his performance at a show in Tampa, it dawned on him:
“It just kind of hit me when I was scrolling through YouTube like how I used to when I was a kid, and just going through UKF, and I was like, ‘Oh, why am I not remixing this?’”
That same night, Tape B created his flips of Blue Foundation’s “Eyes on Fire”, La Roux’s “In for the Kill”, and Flux Pavillion’s remix of DJ Fresh’s “Gold Dust.” By leaning into remixes of old-school dubstep songs, he figured out that blending a dose of nostalgia with deep, dirty bass was his thing.
Some may argue that instead of pressing play on Tape B, Alkanat actually hit the fast-forward button. His flips quickly caught the attention of not only listeners across the globe but artists he looked up to like Zeds Dead. The duo played Tape B’s then-unreleased flip of their song “Collapse” several times at shows and festivals in 2021 and 2022.
“Having them be my first big artists to even show me respect and stuff was just, like, the coolest thing,” Alkanat said with a smile.
Fast-forward to today, Alkanat is truly living the American dream as he gets to tour the country to play his original songs and flips that have amassed over five million plays on SoundCloud alone. Fulfilling his own version of that dream is something Alkanat is still getting used to and feels incredibly lucky to have achieved.
He added, “I consistently feel like life really isn’t real. It’s everything I wanted… It’s really odd to me that it just worked out so perfectly.”
Alkanat said his parents couldn’t be more proud of him and will see him perform for the first time when he opens for Zeds Dead at their Brooklyn Mirage show on July 28. Tape B also just released his debut EP with Zeds Dead’s label Deadbeats, entitled, Over Saturated, on June 14.
Tape B attributes his growing success to staying true to his sound and sticking to what he loves: creating original beats with a classic dubstep feel and putting new spins on old classics.
He revealed to MP3 MAG he plans to release another volume of his popular mixtape series of hip-hop flips, Drip tapes, by the end of the year. He’s also working on a new series that will be dedicated to his flips of old-school favorites like “Bangarang” by Skrillex and “Crave You” by Flight Facilities.
While Tape B is enjoying his newfound stardom, this is just the beginning for him. The young bass music producer said he has much more in store that he can’t reveal just yet, solidifying him as one to watch in the years ahead.