23 posts categorized "Music Videos"

March 20, 2011

Large Professor on Trying Different Beat Machines

Beatmaking Pioneer Advises To Keep An Open Mind To New Gear


For most beatmakers, gear changes and explorations are, at one time or another, inevitable. Pursuing your own style and sound has a lot to do with setup that you use. So it should come as no surprise that setup changes are often necessary.

In the video below, Large Professor talks about how he tried out all of the major beat machines (E-Mu SP 1200, Ensonic ASR-10, Akai MPC) of his time, and how it was RZA who helped influence his decision. But whether it was Large Pro's quest to broaden his sound, or a simple case of curiosity and exploration, one thing's for certain: the recording budget—something not afforded to most—definitely gave him the freedom and resources to try out new beat machines.

The video below is presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

Large Pro talks machines and Rza's influence (via Grind Music Radio)

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

January 31, 2011

BeatTips MusicStudy: Mos Def ft. Talib Kweli - "History" Produded by J Dilla

Repetition, Rupture, and Groove


What's dope about any J Dilla interest is the fact that he's increasingly being recognized for: samples, chops, ruptures, loops, and soul—hip hop. Just as with DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Large Professor, a study of J Dilla brings you back, fundamentally, to the study of soul music. That being said, listen to this joint "History" by Mos Def and Talib Kweli—one of the best beatworks I've ever heard by J Dilla. It's subtle yet direct and defiant at the same time... And yo, as you listen to this, ask yourself: Would this song have gotten any real strong reaction five years ago and why?

The music and videos below are presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

Mos Def - "History" Feat. Talib Kweli (Prod. By J Dilla)

Here's the music video for "History"

Finally, if anyone really believes that "live" renditions of hip hop/rap originals are co-equal, check this out. It "seems" to be comparable, but notice how much the "feeling" and essence of J Dilla's beat is missing.

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

January 30, 2011

BeatTips MusicStudy: 'School House Rock' Drops Knowledge to Hypnotic Rhythm

Educational Short Film Uses Music to Teach Grammar; Soul Music Framework Makes "Verb" Episode a Standout


When I was a kid, Saturday mornings were a turbo-charged affair. Television was the event and I was front and center. For me, the two big draws were the cartoon "Justice League" and the comic television show "Shazam." I watched these shows with vigorous regularity, even forgoing breakfast at times. But there was perhaps nothing that grab my attention more than the School House Rock series.

Originally created in the late 1970s, with re-airing in the early/mid-1980s (that's when I saw it), School House Rock was a series of animated musical education short films (episodes) that were designed to use music as a conduit for educating kids on subjects like math, grammar, and even the U.S. legislative process. Of course, as a kid, I didn't know any of this; I thought that they were just really long commercials. In fact, that's actually what I referred to them as: the School House Rock commercials.

Each School House Rock *commercial* was decent, but there was one that absolutely drove me into the roof: "Verb: That's What's Happening!" Aside from the fact that this School episode featured a central character who looked like me (ethnically), chillin' at the movies (my favorite activity) and playing sports, this was by far the grooviest of all of School House Rock offerings. Bob Dorough's musical arrangement had this incredibly aggressive rhythm that kept turning over and building up steam. (In hindsight, it was my first real comprehension of the power of a loop.) And unlike the other School House Rock songs, "Verb" was unabashedly soulful. The bass rumbled throughout with a sonic thickness; the guitar wined and shuffled; and the drums kept everything steady with a straight-ahead framework that underscored every element, as if there was a compressed time clock at work. The lead vocals, were sung with a lounge-show veracity; and the background vocals were more gospel-tinged than anything else.

Superb, both in purpose, scope, and execution, "Verb: That's what's Happening," was perhaps the first music visual to spark my interest in the connection of music and the moving image. It was also the first lesson on grammar that I actually remembered and understood... "I get my thing...in action. Verb! To be, to see, to live, to feel..." (Yep, still remember it.)

The music and video below are presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

School House Rock: Grammar Rock - "Verb: That's What's Happening;" music and lyrics by Bob Dorough, performed by Zachary Sanders

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

October 27, 2010

"Beats Show Your Personality," Says The Alchemist In New 9th Wonder Documentary

Clip From Upcoming Documentary The Wonder Year Features Acclaimed Beatmaker (Producer) The Alchemist Talking Shop


In this video, beatmaking vet The Alchemist discusses some of the most noble aspects about the beatmaking community. There are references to the unique nuances that comprise each beatmaker's style: He draws parallels between beatmakers and painters. And then there are references to the beatmaking community's general sense of unity: He speaks on the brotherhood and camaraderie of beatmakers (producers), acknowledging that "we feed off of each other." Dope video clip.

For educational purposes...


THE ALCHEMIST SPEAKS ON 9TH WONDER from Pricefilms on Vimeo.

October 05, 2010

BeatTips Approved: Joell Ortiz - "Sing Like Bilal," Beat By DJ Premier

Bass Chops Underscore Premier's Boom Bap Send-Up; Joell Ortiz Delivers Solid Rhyme"

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

This beat is "workmen" status for Preme; one more reminder of how even his most simple joints are MusicStudy worthy. The staggering bass chops, just one of Premier's recent signatures, goes well with Joell's deliberate flow and lyrical punch. I'm increasingly becoming more impressed with Joell Ortiz, which is why I'm glad to see he's hooked up DJ Premier. As far as dope rhymes and beats go, this is a logical match-up.
"Sing Like Bilal," off of Joell’s recently released “Farewell Summer EP,” is BeatTips Approved

Now only if a new Marco Polo and Joell Ortiz joint could pop off... (Ay, Marco, make that happen.)

For educational purposes...


September 25, 2010

DJ Premier Video Salute Offers Great Perspective On His Love For Music

The Narrative Of Part Of Premier's Pedigree Told Over Timeless Images And Sounds

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

One of the most engaging videos I've seen thus far...
This video, which actually uses a past interview of DJ Premier (sorry, I don't know for whom or when) as the narrator, tells part of the story of how Premier came to love not just music, but records and even turntables. Video also features a rotating slide of images and a medley of snippets of songs produced by DJ Premier. Each image—both stills and other video segments—suspends Premier's indelible mark on the hip hop/rap music and beatmaking traditions, reminding you just how robust and excellent his beat/song catalog really is. And each snippet—one surgically overlapping the other—presents a strong case for what many believe: that DJ Premier is (and perhaps will always be) the greatest beatmaker of all time.

For educational purposes...

A Man of a few Words...DJ Premier (via Gimantalon)

(Editor's note: For those interested, The BeatTips Manual includes an exclusive interview with DJ Premier that gives even more details about his story as well as a close-up of his methods and processes.)

Editor's question:
Is DJ Premier the greatest hip hop/rap beatmaker (producer) of all time?

September 21, 2010

BeatTips MusicStudy: Talk Talk - "It's My Life"

Embellishing And Layering Lessons From Talk Talk's Greatest Hit

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

Aside from the soul and funk records of the late 1960s and early 1970s,
(for example, some of the staple hits of Stax and Motown), I've learned a great deal about layering sounds from other music forms like new wave, British pop, British ska, and art rock as well. And among the various songs that the latter aforementioned music forms produced, "It's My Life" by Talk Talk has left quite an impression on me.

As a beatmaker who appreciates both the sample-based and synthetic-sounds-based compositional styles, "It's My Life" has been an important song of study for me. From a purely analytical focus, it's one of the first songs that helped me to really understand how the sections in a song's arrangement come together to formulate a truly engaging piece of music.

The verse section of "It's My Life" is made up several main elements or rather sub-sections. There's a steady groove comprised of a rubbery, bouncing bass line—that "walks up and down" nonchalantly. Then there's a subdued synth phrase (a mainstay of similar pop synth bands of the era) that staggers in two notes before dissolving into a sustained ambiance. And then there's a simple backbeat that features a hard-rapping snare on the "2."

For the chorus, the "big payoff" of every contemporary pop music song's arrangement, all of the subdued elements mutate and suddenly become more alive. Embellishments, shadings, and inflections are abound as the synth work becomes more deliberate and aggressive, staggering chromatically and rising—appropriately—right along with the growing level and intensity of the vocals. This is matched only by the bass line changing directions and going into overdrive, moving up a couple levels in pitch. Finally, not to be outdone, the drumwork gains more character with the layering of a tambourine (and a second "charged" snare) over the top of the existing snare, making this new snare-tamb hybrid—a staple drum sound combination of many of today's beatmakers—more pressing and climatic.

For educational purposes...

Talk Talk - "It's My Life"

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

September 19, 2010

Close Look Of 9th Wonder Teaching

Acclaimed Beatmaker (Producer) Leads Beatmaking Lecture At Duke University

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

For several years, 9th Wonder has been teaching a college level course on hip hop culture. And this past spring, he, along with fellow Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal, began heading up a course dedicated to soul music and the ways in which it's sampled and re-used in hip hop/rap music. This video, which was captured by Maestro (Maestro Knows) at Duke University, is most likely footage of 9th Wonder leading one of those classes.

For educational purposes...

Maestro Knows – Episode 8 (Professor Wonder)

September 04, 2010

Jake One Recalls His Rise To Success

Emerging Beatmaster Talks Shop With Grind Music Radio

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

Jake One is one of the illest beatmakers (producers) currently on the scene. Five years ago, his work with 50 Cent and subsequent connection with Sha Money XL put him on the map, and he hasn't turned back since. In this interview with Grind Music Radio, Jake discusses his first sold beat, co-credit production, his top five beatmakers, and more.

For educational purposes...

J O pt1 (Jake One)

J O pt2 (Jake One)

August 30, 2010

'Respect Yourself' Stax Documentary Worth A Look

Stax Records Doc A Sure Shot

By Amir Said (Sa'id)

"Stax Records replaced cotton as the biggest industry in Memphis, Tennessee!"
-Duck Dunn, Stax recording artist.

The above quote almost tells it all, but the Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story documentary offers a complete and searing look at one of America's most important record labels: the mighty Stax Records. If I should ever be so blessed to be in the position to acquire the Stax catalog, you can bet your bottom dollar, it's gonna be a stone cold hour when I get it...

For educational purposes...

Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story (Trailor, PBS)

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