Thank 7-Eleven for Chicano Music Heaven?

Record stores in OC have been in decline this past decade. Tower Records is long gone and the block of the Virgin Megastore in Orange is a fleeting memory–but it's still forever captured in the Sasha Baren Cohen movie Borat. Independent spot Bionic Records once held three locations, but now shares a space with another store in Cypress. Even the last remaining national chains are struggling. FYE in Huntington Beach is having a major liquidation sale. Is there any hope for those of us who still want to buy music in a store instead of downloading it online? There is, indeed, a small glimmer when it comes to the multi-genre, multi-generational offerings of Chicano music!

Last month, I received an e-mail from a Chicano Rap music label
announcing that, starting in December, 7-Eleven stores in Southern
California would begin distributing titles from two of the most popular
artists from the genre these days: Lil Rob and Ms. Krazie. As someone
who usually goes to the liquor store down the street (where
the Asian cashier speaks better Spanish than I do and probably my
parents, too!) the news caught me off-guard. CDs at 7-Eleven? Really?
The only time I hit up the convenience store chain is on walks around the
block in Long Beach when I'm hanging out with my family. We are usually on a one-track mission to pick up beer, snacks and an OC Weekly paper on the way out. It never occurred to me that CDs would be on sale, too!

My sister-in-law told me
the stores in the LBC sold a lot of old-skool rap and even freestyle
CDs! With that, I had to see it for myself. Instead of checking online for a list of
participating stores, I figured I could easily find them on my own in
North Orange County. Yesterday I headed to a 7-Eleven in Anaheim,  across the street from a Taquer

Not only was Chicano rap represented, but much, much more! Thump
Records and Art Laboe's Original Sound label were there, too. A
customer could pick up the funk of the Gap Band, the guitar virtuosity
of Carlos Santana, the infectious bilingual Latin pop of Rene y
Rene, the Oogum Boogums of Brenton Wood and, of course, the barrio rhymes of Ms. Krazie.
Another “for the hell of it” trip after to a different 7-Eleven location
in Anaheim netted the same results including offerings from Lil Rob and Lil Cuete, as well. Everything was bargain-priced: a penny under ten dollars, too.

A trip to the convenience store
can now boast the broad experience of picking up a pack of cigs, a tall
can, a Reynaldo's burrito (if you dare), a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos and the Chicano
music CD of your choice all in one visit. Can iTunes do that? Nope!

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