It’s that time again, people. My Hip Hop In Context class notes for class number 4 are here. There is only one more to go (sheds single tear like Denzel in "Glory”). FYI, the final class won’t be this week, so the notes from it won’t be coming on the same schedule as this and the previous 3 entries. We got an email over the weekend saying something came up, and 9th had to push class back to August 3. As I said on social media after getting that message, it was a bit more bitter and a bit more sweet added to an already bittersweet situation. As you may be able to tell from the notes I’ve posted here on the site, I’ve been enjoying the shit out of this class. So, it’ll suck once It’s over. It’s like the series finale of your favorite TV show. You’ve been building toward it, and you’re excited to see how it's going to end, but at some point you realize that after that episode there won’t be anymore new ones. No new season to get excited for. That’s how I feel about the final class in this series being on the horizon. Anyway, we can discuss that when the time comes. Here are the things I jotted down in class 4. I’m actually surprised that I have as many bullet points as I do. I didn’t feel like I wrote that much in class. See, in this session 9th brought in fellow producer and friend Khrysis to sample records and make beats for us. While this was going on 9th spoke and answered questions as we went along. Khrysis had his Macbook, a turn table, headphones, and his Maschine Drum Machine all set up at a table. Below you’ll see a video he did with Mass Appeal in their Rhythm Roulette series (9th also has one as well which I have also included). In it you’ll see him do something similar to what he did in class. He found the samples and worked on the beats. Also, he did that same head nod. Yo, this cat was in the zone!!! It was hilarious at times. Especially when it seemed like he forgot he was wearing a mic and hummed along with the music as he tapped away on the drum machine. I was sitting in my usual 4th row seat and laughed a few times when I saw him zoning out like that. But as a creative person, I totally understand and appreciated it because I knew he was cooking up some HEAT!!! Which is EXACTLY what he did. I think in total he did 3, maybe 4 beats. All were dope. The first one was a sample they had pre-selected before class and they spoke a bit about it. Then Khrysis added a simple drum beat to it and played the whole thing once he was satisfied with it. The second beat was the best one to me, but as I said, they all were dope as fuck. On this one, he was messing around trying to find something to sample. In this case, the sample was something that jumped out at you. I remember thinking “Yo, use THAT shit” when that part of the record came up. And sure enough that’s the part he used. So, he grabbed that part, did a little bit live for us to hear, but did the majority of the work in his headphones as we did our thing. When he was done he went ahead and played it and I got my entire life to it. All the Hip Hop Heads who read this will know the exact feeling I am about to describe. So, he started playing the beat and my head immediately started nodding. That involuntary nod that just happens when the beat is ill. Then shortly after that, I balled my face up like something in the room stank. That’s another involuntary thing that happens when you listen to dope Hip Hop beats. At this point I’m sitting there with an ugly face and my head nodding. But this is what the music made me do. The only thing I didn't do was scream. But trust me, people. I wanted to. That’s ANOTHER involuntary thing that happens at times. It’s like you’re sitting there, and then just yell out “WWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”. This may be followed by cursing. For example, “WOOOOOOOOO, that shit is hot as fuck!”. The final beat was one he did all in his headphones and played when it was done. On this one, he went back and played it in pieces so we could hear the different elements by themselves, and of course played the whole thing again in the end. Anyway, here is what I actually did write down while all this and some good conversation about Hip Hop production was going on. First up, check out the Khrysis episode of "Rhythm Roulette"...
Beat Maker - Term used mainly for Hip Hop production. Not to be confused with producer.
Record Producer - Per Wikipedia, “A record producer or music producer has a very broad role in overseeing and managing the recording and production of a band or performer's music. A producer has many roles that may include, but are not limited to, gathering ideas for the project, selecting songs or session musicians, proposing changes to the song arrangements, coaching the artist and musicians in the studio, controlling the recording sessions, and supervising the entire process through audio mixing (recorded music) and, in some cases, to the audio mastering stage.”
The Break - Records and samples. The best part of the beat.
Roger Linn – Designed the first drum machine, the LM-1 Drum Machine. The Linn Drum was used to create A-Ha’s “Take On Me”. For more on Linn, click his picture.
Linn 9000 – Used on Michael Jackson’s Bad album.
Linn Drum Ministudio was produced in 1986. Once his own company was in jeopardy, Linn teamed with Akai to continue to make his drum machines.
Akai MPC 60 – DJ Premier used this machine until a couple years ago.
E-Mu SP 1200 – Allows 12 seconds of sample time. Used by folks like Pete Rock.
ASR-10 – Made by Ensoniq. Used by people like Nottz and RZA.
Roland TR 808 – Used in lots of rap from the early 80’s and also by lots of West Coast producers.
FL Studio – Formerly known as Fruity Loops. You could download the software from the internet for free and use it to make your beats.
Maschine – Combines the traditional beat machine with computer software. The software shows the producer what he or she is doing (e.g. audio wave forms, etc.).
Grandwizard Theodore – Stopped a record with his hand while his mother came into his room to talk to him, and in doing so he accidently invented scratching.
“A lot of things in Hip Hop we took from sports” – 9th
“The radio is such a confined space” – 9th
Bob James – One of the first jazz artists sampled in Hip Hop. His song “Take Me To The Mardi Gras” was sampled to make songs like “Peter Piper” by Run DMC, and “Hold It Now” by The Beastie Boys. The drums were also sampled to make “Straight Outta Compton” by NWA.
“Daylight” by Ramp was sampled by Q-Tip to make “Bonita Applebum”
Q-Tip – He did most of the production for A Tribe Called Quest. His use of jazz samples influenced many other producers. They went out started sampling jazz records looking to create the same magic Tip did with Tribe.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad – The DJ for Tribe.
“Mystic Brew” by Ronnie Foster was sampled to make “Electric Relaxation” by ATCQ.
“Saudade Vem Correndo” by Stan Getz was sampled to make “Runnin” by Pharcyde.
“Swahililand” by Ahmad Jamal was sampled to make “Stakes Is High” by De La Soul. The sample appears at 8:09 into the song. Also the song was sampled to make “Showing Love” by Ab-Soul among many others. In total this song is credited in the creation of 12 songs. The Ab-Soul sample appears at 1:44.
Black Cinema Soundtracks – “Some of our favorite songs come off of some of these soundtracks” – 9th
Hip Hop taught lots of young black kids about Jazz and other genres of music.