Vee Miyagi wanted to bring in the essence of Dilla into a song he had put together, and he calls this one “You Know How It Go”, which originates from the “Purple” track Dilla came up with. How does Vee Miyagi do? Let me know.
Sunset Blvd. (Delicious Vinyl) is the latest effort from Yancey Boys but don’t look at the cover, name, and title and say “eff it”. It is an effort worth checking out, and you’re able to stream and listen to it right now. Perks? It features Slum Village’s T3, along with C-Minus, and they call the song “Jeep Volume”, the instrumental of which was sourced from a Dilla construction.
Yancey Boys have a nice one with “Quicksand”, and by welcoming Common and Dezi Paige, you know that’s a ball in the goal right there. Need further convincing? The instrumental is from the Dilla vaults. Boom: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!
TwoineyLo has a hot one right here called “Where Should I Run”. While the graphic says the song was produced by Dilla, what it means is that he rhymed over an instrumental that was produced by Dilla, not his vocal track. That aside, TwoineyLo continues to share his style with everyone and I look forward to hearing much more. I’m sure he could have an album out by next week. We await whatever he passes along our way.
My mom always told me that the first word I ever spelled was “Chevrolet”. C’mon, how many kids spell Chevrolet? This comes from having a dad who worshiped anything and everything Chevy, he was a car freak who fixed engines, went to junk yards for parts, went to auto stores just to be… there. He was not an auto mechanic by trade, but rather an engineer. His love of fixing things did not rub off on me at all, I fix shit and I prefer buying a new one. But what I did enjoy was his knowledge and admiration of the mechanics and dynamics of what made a car run, and why. If he fixed a certain car and didn’t have the right part, he knew all of the “alternate” parts. If something needed to be modified, he would do his best to dig through his boxes of magazines and do it himself, always did it himself. If he could do it cheaply but properly, he would take all morning, dad, and night. Maybe it was to get out of the house, but still, he wanted to be in that machine. I could relate to this, even though cars were and are not my thing. The kind of machine I wanted to be in looked like this:
We remember how it all began. 1 is not just one, it can be two halves: 1/2 and 2/2, with 2/2 representing both halves. Then things could be divided even more. You learn about the numerators and denominators, how 1/2 = 2/4 = 4/8, etc. I would remember these numbers and sequence of things, and as anyone into math will tell you, once you have a sense of how these number systems work, you eventually find shortcuts to get to the equation. That leads to percentages, not only of “one” or a “whole”, but of different numbers. That would lead to how to count your change when you gave the cashier at a dollar, you’d learn how much you would get back and why. All of these things I really enjoyed knowing and studying, because they were mental games. I loved puzzles, quizzes, anything that had to do with challenging the mind, and perhaps that’s why I got into “enrichment” class, for the nerdy/geeky kids. They saw me as someone who wanted to not challenge myself, but find more things to be challenged by.
Music has always been a part of me, or at least my surroundings. Some things come natural to me, in that if I hear a song, I would have a sense of its rhythmic patterns or time signatures. At least the basic stuff, such as the standard 4/4 time signature, or a 3/4 waltz rhythm. As I would read more about music and how it works, I’d discover that songs could be more than 4/4 or 3/4. Or if a song was 4/4, you could do a number of different things in that 4/4. If a song sounded complex, I’d wonder about its sequence and try to figure it out in my head, or clap it out. Eventually, I figured out that a lot of the music I was listening to was mathematical, which lead to those fraction lines.
It was one of those “Bobby Brady fireworks in the head” moments. The music I loved also had games in them? Well, I know I didn’t say that, but I realized that music could be more than just the surface, that it might be filled with many layers. I am always curious about why certain sounds and songs work. Or if I heard a song like, let’s say, Blind Faith‘s “Do What You Like”, I’d want to know if the entire song is 5/4. It is, not unlike Lalo Schifrin‘s theme to Mission: Impossible.
As I got into progressive rock and heard King Crimson‘s “21st Century Schizoid Man”, I enjoyed the mid-section of the song commonly known as “Mirrors”. When the song comes out of the driving first part and the tempo increases, the time signature turns to 3/4. For the longest time, I could not figure out the segment that switches over to something else at the 4:40 mark:
I love this song and yet could not figure out that section. In my 30’s, after 20 years of hearing this song countless times, I realized when that fast section switches over, it moves from 3/4 to 4/4, and there are all of these intricate things going on before that sequence is played twice, wraps itself up, and heads back into the 3/4 for awhile before returning back into that slow grinding 4/4 groove. I remember when I discovered this, I thought “why didn’t I sense this when I was a teenager?” Keep in mind that I loved the different time signatures and bars of jazz and prog rock, which I’m a fan of, but sometimes things may not fully click until much later.
1… 2… 3…
1… 2… 3… 4…
1… 2… 3… 4… 5…
1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6…
1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7…
1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7…
1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6…
1… 2… 3… 4… 5…
1… 2… 3… 4…
1… 2… 3…
Significance? The sum of 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 is 25. That numbered sequence is reversed, so 25+25 = 50, a reference to the 50th anniversary of India’s independence from England. When I read this, I thought “wow, you can do that with music?” That’s when I decided to do a song using that same sequence, but in my case, the 50 would represent where I’m from, Hawai’i, which is the 50th U.S. state. I don’t have the audience or appeal of Shankar, and while I did come up with great results, it could have been a lot better if I added more elements to the track. Nonetheless, it was still fun to do.
You may not think “mathematical” when it comes to Paula Abdul, but in her video for “Forever Your Girl”, she was trying to teach a young girl how to dance in a certain sequence, and did so by trying to tell her where to do certain things in a sequence of 8 beats. The look on the girls’ face when Abdul says “you’re on” seems to be an expression that a lot of people have when you describe the time signature or pattern to them.
A lot of people fell in love with Outkast‘s “Hey Ya”, leading to countless cover version in a number of different styles. Part of its appeal is that the time signature is 22/4, or 4 + 4 + 4 + 2 + 4 + 4:
There’s also De La Soul‘s “Stakes Is High”, and outside of it being a Dilla production, what people like about it is because it is not the normal hip-hop 4/4 rhythm. In this case, it’s 12/4, or 4 + 4 + 4:
You also have one of my favorite DJ Shadow songs, “Changeling”, which is 14/4, or 4 + 4 + 4 + 2:
Music is the same way. Math is always a part of the equation, but you can have the freedom to bob and weave out of it if you follow the rules that are in play. Even with rules, you can still have fun with it. As a listener, or as a creator of sounds, math is important. It may not make people dance “on the on” at first, but with enough practice and dedication, you’ll get to the sum of that equation. Music should make us feel, and a lot of times it makes us happy, so if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
“The Apartment” is the Dilla track and it makes one wish that Dilla’s influence was bigger than it is, but then a lot of songs and instrumentals would be watered down with people hearing sounds and samples one way, but not doing it quite right. “The Apartment” is a feel-right song.
“It’s My Turn” feels like the 90’s over again, with a horn-ridden sample and a drum machine layered over it, with heightened hi-hats and a deep bass that makes you want to dance, do a bit of jazz hands, and makes you feel and question why you feel so high. This is a high single, and I wish all hip-hop these days sounded like this. Fuck it, their loss.
Dilla tracks can be found anywhere and everywhere, but a lot of them are of questionable quality, partly due to being sourced from unknown places. BBE are about to release some newly remastered tracks by Dilla as part of their Beat Generation 10th Anniversary reissue series, with a new release for “Pause” and “Featuring Phat Kat”. This will be made available digitally on March 1st, along with releases by Pete Rock, King Britt, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Marley Marl. These singles will feature previously unreleased versions of the songs, and those that were released are remastered.
The full length compilation will be released on vinyl, CD, and digital on March 29th.
The good people of Mochilla have uploaded another segment of their 10 Year Anniversary mix, and there’s a lot of goodies on this one. Here’s the track listing:
1. King Ruly & Toy Selectah! – Bumpin Time! (Sistema Local Mexmix Version)- Keepintime
2. DJ Shadow – Roy’s Theme – Keepintime
3. Clutchy Hopkins – Thanks Mochilla – Timeless
4. King Britt – The Radcliff Remix – Timeless
5. Nobody – Song For Sophia – You Can Know Her – Keepintime
6. Suite for Ma Dukes – Morning Order – Timeless
7. Quantic – Cumbia de Mochilla – Mochilla
8. J.Rocc – Dirty Fingered B-Boy Edit – Keepintime
9. Arthur Verocai – Karina – Timeless
10. Te’Amir – Yekermo Sew Remix – Timeless
11. Mulatu Astatke – Yekermo Sew – Timeless
12. Black Spade – Fall in Love Remix – Timeless
13. Suite for MaDukes EP – Fall in Love – Timeless
14. DJ Nuts – From SP On My 303 – Keepintime
15. Suite for Ma Dukes – Angel – Timeless
16. Jackson Conti – Sunset at Sujinho – Brasilintime
17. Suite for MaDukes – Antiquity – Timeless
18. Oh No – A Remix in 3 Parts – Keepintime
19. Jackson Conti – Papaya – Brasilintime
20. Suite for Ma Dukes – Stakes Is High – Timeless
If you know of the name Frank-n-Dank, then you know how they became known for their work with the late Dilla. They’ve managed to carve out a nice name for themselves in the Detroit underground, and one of the members is ready to carve out a little more. Frank Nitt has just released STFU: The Mixtape,
You can download it by clicking here, or if you want to listen first, play the Soundcloud player below.
http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F6874045&show_comments=true&auto_play=false&color=ffbc00 FRANK NITT – S.T.F.U. THE MIXTAPE by Siegle Management Group
A lot of people have wanted to see the end result of the Suite For Ma Dukes performance that was created in honor of the late James “Dilla” Yancey, and now it has been released. While it is certain it will be released on its own, you’ll have to purchase the full DVD box set it is in, but it’s worth the cost of admission.
Timeless: The Composer/Arranger Series (Mochilla) was, as the press material says, “the name of a concert series that was created in homage to the composer/arrangers who have influenced hip-hop in the most literal and profound ways.” In other words, it is a much deeper way of experiencing the music that influenced a cast of producers, DJ’s, and fans than just reading interviews.
As a producer, it is an extreme honor to have your music created in this way, and one can only show support for a “fellow producer” who was shown this kind of respect. To see one’s hard work, determination, and creativity turned into a project like this… it’s a beautiful thing. Job well done.