Once upon a time, you couldn't walk down certain lower Manhattan blocks without tripping over sidewalk vendors' card tables loaded down with cassettes. Sometimes, they'd be bootleg concert tapes, but a lot of the time, they'd be the latest hip-hop mixtapes. And in the golden age of the form, no one dominated that game like Tony Touch. The boricua DJ was born Joseph Anthony Hernandez and raised in Brooklyn, and started cranking out the tapes around 1991. Besides showcasing his technical skills, Tony Toca quickly shone for getting the hot shit for his tapes -- new beats, unreleased tracks, exclusive freestyles, the works.
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Later, as the tape, per se, became an endangered species, he moved into production, collaborating with MCs like Kool G Rap and M.O.P. He also manned the wheels of steel during live performances by the likes of Guru and the Terror Squad. In the '00s, Touch began focusing more on reggaeton -- his last studio album, ReggaeTony 2, was released in 2007. Still, his party-rocking sets encompass the gamut of urban dance sounds, from R&B to hip-hop to reggae to house. His appearance this Thursday at the Vagabond helps mark the club's informal one-year anniversary, and Touch's second gig at the club since this past March.