To the uneducated mind, being from Denton, TX might not sound so glamorous. But to those who know this small town in the northern outskirts of DFW is home to the biggest college of music, which spawned the first jazz studies program in the US, there are many wonders to behold.
One such wonder I encountered in my days at UNT was New Vintage, a group that reminded me of Return to Forever at one moment and D’Angelo the next. Turns out they liked rap too and could reproduce my beats live with uncanny attention to detail when I guested at their shows. (WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.)
Cultural Refugee’s “Sorry I Can’t Stay” is one of those beats and it samples “Find a Way” from their self-titled EP.
Welcome back to Beat Class, the only class you’ll ever need if all you have to do is name samples used in my production. It’s been a while since we last met so if anyone is new to the class or hasn’t been doing their homework, feel free to catch up HERE. Otherwise, let’s get a move on.
In today’s lesson, we take a look at “Lasted Forever” from Cultural Refugee. This track samples “Morning Song” by The Clang Association, an intriguing, fellow Denton artist who doesn’t seem too concerned with exposure. As a result his work is rare to come by. I didn’t discover this record by employing my many years of digging experience or my knowledge of labels, producers, composers, arrangers, instrumentalists, genres, eras, etc., but by sheer chance or fate, if you like.
As a digger, knowing when fate is calling you takes not only patience and open-mindedness, but also a willingness to submit control to the crates and let them guide you. When you walk into a room full of countless, unorganized records, where do you start? How do you know if you’re looking in the right place? When are you gonna find whatever it is you’re looking for? Here’s a nice piece of shit.
Welcome back folks! It’s time for another edition of Beat Class, the only educational series to give you the knowledge of a producer’s sample repertoire first-hand. Yes, many front to protect themselves and their intellectual investments, but not me because, let’s face it, you’re not gonna pay for this shit anyway, right? And if I ever get sued, I can just claim fair-use on grounds of educational purposes.
Indeed, I think I’m pretty smart and now you can too by schooling your friends (who I’m sure are HUGE Juicy the Emissary fans since you won’t shut up about me to them) on what samples were used in the song you insisted on playing while they nod politely, intermittently interjecting a reassuring “wow” or “that’s awesome,” patiently waiting for it to end so they can put on their new favorite Lady Gaga song that they just discovered while shopping at the grocery store.
So here goes: in today’s class we will take a look at “From the Cradle,” which is featured on Chris H’s 2008 release Systematic, which, if you haven’t heard, is a thesis on complex biological processes and their implications in the day-to-day life of advanced, or not-so-advanced, species.
Beat Class #2: From the Cradle
Stevie Wonder – Maybe Your Baby
The New Birth – Pretty Words Don’t Mean a Thing (Lie to Me)
Secrecy is an innate custom in Hip Hop. Its roots transcend creativity, but it manifests itself in every aspect of the culture from DJs covering their records’ labels to the infamous stealth of successful graffiti writers. Producers are no exception.
With the advent of the internet, much of this esteemed confidence that many artists have relied on for years has been compromised. Today, for better or for worse, there are countless websites and blogs dedicated to revealing certain information many forefathers have worked hard to keep under wraps: samples.
When talking about this, one has to understand that it is not only the artist’s secret recipes, so to speak, that are at risk here, but also their livelihood, for there is an army of lawyers and publishers with far more resources standing on guard, poised to attack and hijack this creative process for their own financial gain. Being sued is now a routine play for many producers and attempts to clear samples are often demurred, sometimes requiring 100% of the publishing, which any competent professional would agree is beyond unreasonable.
While this legal climate is, at best, unfortunate for those who pioneered and fostered this art form (many of whom are now senior in every sense of the word except financial security), it’s simply devastating to younger generations who now identify with this highly convoluted, corrupted, choreographed, and, frankly, castrated culture that they mistakenly call “Hip Hop” and I feel this habit of secrecy is, in part, to blame.
It’s hard to respect something you don’t understand.
This is why I have decided to open the Beat Class series, which will reveal samples used in various pieces from my catalog and help you come a little closer to my craft and Hip Hop. I truly want this to be an educational and interactive experience so everyone please share your thoughts, questions, and comments.
“Raver,” featured on The Beats You Never Had in 2010, uses some pieces most people have probably heard, but might not recognize at first. This is accomplished by displacing musical phrases from their original context and reconstituting their functional role in the new arrangement. It’s puzzle art.
*Bonus*: Extra points for anyone who can name the sample at the end.