17 posts categorized "Dope Music"

October 16, 2010

BeatTips MusicStudy: O.C. Feat. Yvette Michelle - "Far From Yours"

Unassuming Beat, but Intensely Hip Hop/Rap

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

One of the better marriages between hip hiop/rap music and contemporary R&B ever recorded, "Far From Yours" is one of favorite songs (any genre) of all time. There are a number of things that I dig about this song. The understated yet confident rhyme tone that O.C. takes; the well-chosen drum scheme; the mix of the vocals—not too out in front; the gripping mood of the track... dope!

From the O.C. album Jewelz (1997), this was the lead single. On an album packed with street-based hip hop/rap, this song was perhaps put together with the hopes of O.C. cracking more radio play. Still, because of O's consistent rhyme flow and the solid beatwork—complete with hook scratches, this song was never labeled a "radio" joint, and rightfully so.

For educational purposes...

O.C. feat. Yvette Michelle - "Far from Yours"

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The BeatTips Manual by Sa'id.
"The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education."

September 17, 2010

BeatTips Music Review: Rah Digga And Nottz Make 'Classic' A Sureshot

Boom Bap Is Alive And Kickin'

By Mariella Gross and Amir Said (Sa'id)

A couple of weeks ago, BET aired “My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth about Women in Hip Hop,” a documentary mostly about Female rappers (MCs). Tastefully done and informative, the film raised several provocative questions. Among the questions that the film raised, perhaps the ones that struck the biggest chord were, “What happened to female rappers? Why did they all but disappear? And when (or will) they return to prominence? These questions gave way to further questions, Was there any female rapper left today, who could really engage (or even impress) you for an album's worth of music? Moreover, is there any female rapper who actually deserves (if you will) the title. Fortunately, Rah Digga confirms the affirmative on both counts.

With her latest album, Classic, produced entirely by Nottz, Rah Digga has not only represented for female rappers, she’s thrown it down for all rappers. On one of those albums that you can truly listen to from the beginning to the end—without skipping a song—, Digga shows off her wit and edginess, giving her trash talking, bravado-filled male counterparts a run for their money. And what also makes Classic so enjoyable is the fact that it’s boom bap and storytelling to the fullest. There are no bubblegum beats! And equally refreshing, Classic is devoid of hyper sexualized “nonsense rap.”

Consciously sidestepping the horrendous, ill-fated “sex and non-lyrical” image of the female in today’s rap scene, Digga projects a lyrical confidence that is both historical and right on time. Her voice is distinctive and steady, and her style holds true no matter the beat or subject matter. Simply put, Digga is squarely concerned with being no one but herself, which makes Classic even more enjoyable for fans of the non-filler brand of hip hop/rap.

As for the beats, Nottz—one of the beatmaking tradition’s most valuable personas—delivers nothing but heat. All of the staples that have made him a favorite of your favorite beatmakers are present on Classic: knocking drums; creatively woven arrangements; unique sounds; stylistic arrangements. Plus, with Nottz handling all of the beatwork on Classic, listeners are reminded of the benefits of having one lone beatmaker (producer) at the helm: most notably continuity and one solid musical message.

Finally, on an album full of bangers, which perhaps included only one semi-let down, “This Ain’t No Little Kid Rap” (surprisingly the first release single), it will be hard for you to pick out the top joints on Classic, but some of the clear stand out favorites—which required multiple listens—include: “Feel Good;” “Solidified; ” and “Look What You Done Started.”

Bottom line: Classic gets the BeatTips seal of approval.

August 13, 2010

BeatTips Pick of the Week: Paten Locke - "Soup for One" & "Breakthu"

With Live Studio 2-Song Set, P Locke Serves More Notice Of The Impending Beatmaker-Rapper Era

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

I'm impressed by Paten Locke. His beatmaking style has a lot of "soul" in it. His rhyme flow is raw, and his rhymes are (from most that I've heard), straight forward, easy to listen to but not pedestrian. And what really makes Paten stand out his uncompromising style, both on the beats and the rhymes.

For educational purposes...

Paten Locke - "Soup for One" & "Breakthru" (via Open Session, KUCI 88.9fm)


July 04, 2010

MusicStudy: Classic Ghostface Killah - "Guest House" feat. Shareefa and Fabololus

Storytelling Mastery Over Cinematic, Sample-Based Beat

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

I gotta admit that I had serious concerns about Ghostface's upcoming album, The Wizard of Poetry, purportedly an "R&B" affair. But having heard this heatrock, I was longer worried; instead, I was actually looking forward to how the rest of the album shaped up. The beatwork for this song is monster-crazy! Props to whoever created this beat... Good work, Ghost.
(P.S., I have yet to hear the entire album.)




June 25, 2010

BeatTips Pick of the Week: DJ Premier, Just Blaze, and the Alchemist Rock Paris

Three of Beatmaking's Most Revered Names Play to Enthusiastic Paris Crowd

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

This past March, beatmaking giants DJ Premier, Just Blaze, and the Alchemist got together to serve Paris, France with a show like no other I've ever attended. In front of an absolutely beaming and energetic crowd, each beatmaker (rocked) the stage, trading many of their most recognizable bangers. The video drop in this post includes great footage of these beatmasters as they drive the audience into a frenzy. And aside from seeing these vets receive the honor and applause they so well deserve, it is the fans themselves at this event that bring me the greatest joy from this video.

For sometime now, I've been kind of discouraged about going to hip hop/rap shows. It's not that there isn't any quality hip hop/rap acts worth seeing—there are—, it's just that personally I've found that over the past couple of years or so something seems to be missing from the shows. I didn't know what that was into I saw this video. It's the sheer love and admiration for the art form, the beatmaking craft, and the acclaimed beatmakers (producers) who contribute to hip hop culture and the hip hop/rap music tradition.

Side note: This past week, I passed up the chance to go check out Talib Kweli and Jean Grae live at Brooklyn Bowl. I've been told by a number of people that Talib and Jean's performances were fantastic (apparently Jean Grae even brought out her mom to sing, and she brought the house down). So yeah, I essentially missed perhaps a great show, simply because I wrongly assumed that something would be "missing" from the event. And although I can't speak on the feeling of that show, I know very well that what I've been looking for in a show was certainly present at the Paris venue that DJ Premier, Just Blaze, and the Alchemist rocked...power to the beatmakers. Right on!

For educational purposes...

DJ Premier & Nick Javas, Just Blaze & The Alchemist @ Paris, France

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The BeatTips Manual by Sa'id.
"The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education."

June 18, 2010

BeatTips Pick of the Week: J Dante x Man Mantis - 'Whole New World'

Steady Rhymes and Ready-for-"Prime Time" Beats

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

Listen to enough "mainstream" hip hop/rap (not all of it's bad, by the way), and you just might buy the nonsense that hip hop/rap is dead, or has been dying. However, those who embrace and are in the hunt for new music know damn well there is a lot of explosive, enigmatic, experimental, and just otherwise dope hip hop/rap music floating all around. Such is the case with J Dante and Man Mantis (Worldaround Records).

On their 5 cut EP, Whole New World, J Dante (rhymer) and Man Mantis (beatmaker) stew up a refreshingly easy-to-listen-to collection of music. Part art-house, part philosophical, part just plane dope ass sample flips, Whole New World is a quality music teaser that does exactly what an EP is supposed to do: invite you; engage you; and of course, make enough word-of-mouth noise to warrant a full length send-up. On Whole New World, J Dante and Man Mantis summon various hip hop/rap influences (notably Little Brother in their prime, Kanye West pre Graduation, and even Outkast), but they standout precisely because they build upon their influences, earnestly working to carve out and maintain their own sound (and vibe) identity.

J Dante's rhymes are carefully (patiently) delivered; he's comfortable with his rhyme flow, not concerned with trying to overstate and/or "gimmick up" his voice. Instead, his rhymes are steady, relaxed, and certain. On the beats, Man Mantis builds out five quality stated joints that take on a slightly different style, texture, and characteristic while adhering to an overall unique sound composite—exactly what you want out of beatmaker who handles ALL of the beatwork on a project.

Bottom Line...

Listen to music long enough, and you'll drop an array reactions. From everything like, "this shit is dope;" to "this shit is whack;" to "it's all right—needs garlic." But that' cool, because that's the journey of music. You never know what you're going to get at the next stop. So fortunately, my arrival at J Dante and Man Mantis' music has been more than worth the travel time.

<a href="http://jdantexmanmantis.bandcamp.com/album/whole-new-world-ep">Intro by J Dante x Man Mantis</a>

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The BeatTips Manual by Sa'id.
"The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education."

June 03, 2010

MusicStudy: "Still Dre" Instrumental, produced by Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, & Mel-Man

A Grand Lesson in Stacking Changes Over Core Groove

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

For educational purposes...

"Still Dre" instrumental, produced by Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, & Mel-Man

May 14, 2010

BeatTips Pick of the Week: Rhymefest - "Give It To Me;" Video Directed by Konee Rok

Powerful Music and Unflinchingly Moving Images; Hip Hop/Rap Music at its Most Noble State

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

There are moments in history that come and exact such force that you can't help but to remember them. And revere them. Vividly. And with rebel-like devotion and admiration. That being said, I never get misty-eyed over times gone by. And when it comes to hip hop/rap music, I'm especially calm. Why? Because hip hop/rap music's most fundamental formula exists. Permanently. Dope music is dope music. A dope rhyme is a dope rhyme. A dope beat is a dope beat. Clearly, Rhymefest gets this.

With his latest release, "Give It To Me," Rhymefest begs for nothin'. He doesn't try to merge. He doesn't try to pony-back ride off of anything. No. He just digs deeper. Inside of himself. Inside of the essence of hip hop/rap music. Inside of that ethos that summons up ferocious social commentary. And true to hip hop form, Rhymefest does it all with style. And in a way that you know he's battlin'. Battlin' against whack rappers. Battlin' against talented rappers who tone-it down. Battlin' against rappers doing emo music. Battlin' against beatmakers who perpetually stab at making music that moves away from hip hop/rap music. And what does Rhymefest use to win this battle? Rhymes. Real rhymes. Machete-edged rhymes that cut stone and metal. Chemically-laced rhymes that bleed brilliance and machismo.

Then there's the video. Director Konee Rok is nothing, if not fantastic. And since Rhymefest has shown me nothing short of a penchant for thought-provoking creativity, I can only assume that he played a pivotal role in the framework of this video. So assumptions considered, these two have produced a visual that is not only fitting for the fist-in-the-mouth rhyme and beat that is "Give It To Me," it's also incredibly forward thinking and shrouded in the nature of classic filmmaking ingenuity.

For educational purposes...

Rhymefest - "Give It To Me," video directed by Konee Rok

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The BeatTips Manual by Sa'id.
"The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education."

May 02, 2010

Nottz In Action, In Rare Form

Close-up of Nottz Putting Work in; Interview Included

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

Believe it or not, this Nottz video is roughly 10 years old. But, by and large, it's been slept on. It's a gem: real nice close-ups of Nottz's setup—Keyboards abound, and Ensoniq ASR-10—most likely the "brains" of the outfit—stands out. Interested to know what (if any) updates Nottz has made to his setup since the recording of this video.

For educational purposes...

Nottz interview In the Studio, video via Uplifment Digi. Ent./Sam Siege Productionz

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The BeatTips Manual by Sa'id.
"The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education."

April 23, 2010

No I.D. Gives Props to the Maschine by Native Instruments

Acclaimed Beatmaker Reveals How He Made 'Death of Autotune;' Sheds Light on His Workflow

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

"It's probably the tightest thing, since I was on a physical drum machine," so says critically acclaimed beatmaker NO I.D. about Native Instruments wonder unit, the Maschine, a hardware EMPI (Electronic Music Production Instrument) that features a software sequencer. In this video, the widely recognized mentor to Kanye West breaks down exactly how he put together the beat that would be used for Jay-Z's "Death of Autotune." "Death of the autotune was just a sample I had sitting around, he says, clearing up all misconceptions that live instrumentalists were brought in to make the now infamous "D.O.A." groove. In addition to detailing his method for creating "D.O.A.," NO I.D. also talks about how his workflow is predicated upon previously sampled sounds that he keeps stored in the folders of his Maschine.

For educational purposes...

"Death Of Autotune" Producer No I.D. on Maschine, (video via Native Instruments)

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The BeatTips Manual by Sa'id.
"The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education."

Dedicated to exploring the art of beatmaking in all of its glory.

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