AUDIO: Yancey Boys featuring T3 & C-Minus’ “Jeep Volume”

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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.

AUDIO: Yancey Boys featuring Common & Dezi Paige’s “Quicksand”

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FREE MP3 DL: TwoineyLo’s “Where Should I Run?”

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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:


  • I love math. I did quite well in school, but math was a subject I enjoyed because for me, it seemed like fun, even though it was a process of learning and remembering. For me, if it was reading or social studies, I would moan and groan like the rest of my classmates. Studying felt like a chore, and we wanted to be outside and play on the jungle gym. Math came fairly easy, and I enjoyed the simple 1+1, 2+2, 2×2, and 16÷4. Then one year, we started to learn fractions. As all of us remember, this was a big step up from mere addition and subtraction. We knew our numbers, but now we were going to learn about the numbers within the numbers, or how to divide things in ways we didn’t know about, but for some reason in mattered.

    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.

  • While I remained “a drummer without a drum set”, I loved the power of the drums and rhythms in songs. I worshipped the guitar heroes too like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Frank Marino, but I wanted to be a drummer. I’d listen to my favorite music and play “air drums”, and I was damn good at it. Or at least as good as a kid could be in the privacy of my own bedroom and mind. I’d listen to a song like Ten Years After‘s “I’m Going Home”,and it was easy: all I had to do was play a consistent beat throughout the entire song. If I played something like Led Zeppelin‘s “When The Levee Breaks”, it was more than just “1… 2… 3… 4…”, there were a few intricate parts in that song. If I played Santana records, I’d love the sound and feel of the music but the rhythms were a bit more complex. Yet in my mind, there was always the core of the “1… 2… 3… 4…”. However, in the background there might be other things going on: the congas, the timbales, all playing in their own mindframe but still getting to where they needed to be after a sequence.
  • One thing I remember from school was seeing “fraction lines”. On one hand, it was a way to see how numbers were divided, so you could see how “1” could be divided in 2, 4, 8, or 16 equal parts. In some tasks, we would use a ruler and on this ruler we could see an inch, and in between that inch, a number of lines. We could figure out half an inch, 5/8 of an inch, or create a line that was of any length, as requested. It was possible to go back between inches and centimeters, so all of this was somehow interesting to me.

    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.

  • Somewhere before this, a number of bands were doing this and someone decided that these complex music equations was worthy of a name: “math rock”. This was nothing different from what bands have been doing for decades, but for those who loved to hear music **with** thought, this was perfect. If you’re into jazz, you discover the music of Don Ellis, who would play songs in 5/4, 7/4, 11/4, or whatever he felt like doing. When I got into Indian classical music, I discovered that their musical notation (tala) is completely different from Western notation, and each of their time signatures may have specific names. For example, our 4/4 rhythm is written out as 4 + 4 + 4 + 4, or what is known as teental/tintal. I discovered this while reading liner notes of albums by Ravi Shankar, which would always describe the feeling, emotion, or pathos of a song, before telling the reader/listener how to hear the song. Then you’d read about other songs, and how they are presented in Jhaptal, Ektal, and countless other names. I’d read up about this, and some of it was similar to Western time signatures, while others seemed a bit more… maybe “crazy” and “hectic” aren’t the proper words, but it wasn’t just simply clapping “1… 2… 3… 4…”, but any mathematical equation you wanted to play, you could do so in music. I remember reading Shankar’s autobiography where he spoke of writing a composition based on the 50th anniversary of India’s independence from England. He did it in a tala that was “3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 + 3”. In other words, if you were to count that out, you would do it as:

    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.

  • I don’t listen to all music with math in mind, but math is always in mind, especially with music. In other words, if it’s music where a 4/4 time signature is expected, I’ll listen to it for that. I’ll listen to a song for its music, its means to create emotion, all of the metaphors I use to simply listen. Yet if a song is different from an accepted norm, I can’t help but put my math hat on and start thinking, something that you pretty much have to do. If you are a drummer, you are looking at a diagram of numbers. You have to hit the hi-hat a certain way, you hit the snare at certain points, and if you want to do something different, it may help to create a new pattern. That “new pattern” may be described as a groove. There are some who will tell you that there are huge cultural and ethnic differences in music. James Brown, George Clinton, and Prince would honor the principal that the groove was always “on the one”, or on that initial beat. Even actor Malcolm Jamal-Warner would single this out in a classic episode of The Cosby Show, where when he, as Theo, was in a recording studio with his family and musician Stevie Wonder, he was told to say something into the microphone, and what did he say? “Jammin’ on the one“.

    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:

  • For me, math is always in the music. Music and math are one. Of course, math doesn’t apply to just music. As I got into food as something create rather than rip out of a box and warm up, you have to understand and follow the rules of the recipe. If you put more than 1/4 cup of any ingredient, or less than 2 tbsp of something else, it will taste either bad or be deficient/lack flavor. Some of the best cooks/chefs are able to play with food by feeling, and can tweak it visually or by flavor, but that also comes from years of experience. Same with a musician, who may be part of a band or orchestra, and if you’re playing by the book or with a sense of improvisation, you know where to come in to fit in, or to compliment what is being played, along with moving out of range at appropriate times. Math is with you when you are driving somewhere, reading the sign that tells you how long you have to go to get to your destination. It’s with you when you are a construction worker, when you have to coordinate the dimensions of a room, carpet fabric, or anything that will make the room look right. When the room looks and feels right, you might say that everything is in “harmony” with one another, a musical metaphor but as a way to say that this is right, or as right/accurate as it can be.

    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.

    Clap, clap.

    One, two.

  • Music is limitless if you understand or know the rules and guidelines, which will lead you to color outside of the lines.
  • REVIEW: Dynas’ “The Apartment”/”It’s My Turn” (single)

    Photobucket What Dynas did with this single is get a classic Dilla beat, have DJ Jazzy Jeff produce a track, and called it a day. Oh, but what a GOOD day this is.

    “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.

    SOME STUFFS: Dilla music a part of Beat Generation 10th Anniversary reissue series

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    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.

    FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: “Mochilla: 10 Year Anniversary Part 2 (The Studio Sessions)

    The Sounds of VTech / Mochilla 10 Part 2   

    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

    FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: Frank Nitt’s “S.T.F.U.: The Mixtape”

    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. FRANK NITT – S.T.F.U. THE MIXTAPE by Siegle Management Group

    DVD Review: Timeless (3 DVD box set)

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic 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.

  • Ethiopian jazz musician Mulatu Astatke was someone whose music may not have been massively spread in the same way Miles Davis and John Coltrane, but his influence has spread around the world for his unique musicianship, compositions, and arrangements. A recent reissue of his work by Strut Records (my review can be found here) explores what he has been known for, primarily in hushed circles but now people are getting a chance to hear his genius. For some elitists, jazz should be purely American and only American, but by going directly to the primary source of that jazz, Astatke comes full circle with it as an unspoken means of communication, and to finally see him performing this live is incredible.
  • Things get lifted to a higher level when Eothen “Egon” Alapatt introduces an artist who was a big influence on him and a number of people. He’s interrupted by MF DOOM briefly before Egon speaks on finding Verocai’s album, and asking the crowd if they have a specific pressing of the album, the “must have” pressing (record nerds know the deal). Before this segment, we see a photo collage of Verocai in the studio, and almost 40 years later, we see him as he is today, in the flesh, tall and lanky, ready to play. As soon as he gets the orchestra and band ready, there’s something you feel will happen. Then “Karina” begins, and it’s true magic. It’s the unfolding of the album, the equivalent of seeing a music video for the first time after staring at album covers and reading liner notes for years. In this case, it’s in the flesh, in your face, and live. You are seeing your imagination and admiration come to life, and it’s happening, song by song. Those in the crowd know these songs by heart, and to hear each song get applause less than five seconds after each one is sensed is very moving. It’s soulful, it’s funky, it made an impact on hip-hop in a small way, and it is that “outside” admiration that has managed to make him bigger outside of his home country of Brazil. You see Verocai smile a bit, and you know he’s feeling it too. 18 songs later, and you wish he would play another 18.
  • Suite For Ma Dukes is the music of Dilla recreated by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and a 60 piece orchestra. As a record collector, you’ve probably gone through countless records by big bands, high schools, and Air Force groups, and yet you enjoy them because it’s small parts of a big puzzle unknown and unnamed. These big bands will not hesitate to cover the music of a musician, band, or composer. Dilla was known for not just sampling known and unknown tracks, but to do it in a way that doesn’t exactly sound like the original, he was funky and got a lot of attention because people liked his work. To be able to hear his works recreated by a 60-piece orchestra is a trip, because now you’re hearing one’s sample-based intellect turned into reality, it’s not a drum machine or sampler you’re seeing, but each sound reproduced as traditional composition, notated note by note, beat by beat. You’ll hear familiar sounds, familiar beats and rhythms, and one can only imagine what it would have been like of Dilla was alive to see and more importantly, hear this. The crowd goes nuts as soon as they recognize things.
  • One of my favorite moments is when “Stakes Is High”, the song Dilla produced for De La Soul is performed. Various special guests roll up on stage, showing love and support for the music Dilla created, and… I should also state that most of the songs performed in Suite For Ma Dukes is very much a suite in the jazz and classical sense, all done instrumentally. The orchestra is getting down, the guests are getting down, and conductor Ferguson is banging and head-nodding, showing his appreciation for the feeling he is helping create. All of a sudden, out from the crowd of special guests on the stage comes Posdnuos with microphone, and the crowd absolutely goes nuts. It turns from a controlled jazz and classical performance to one where one could imagine people in the crowd pointing at the stage, placing hand to mouth, and saying “oh shit, that’s motherfucking Plug One!”. In place of Dave (Trugoy) was Talib Kweli, and to see the smiles on the entire orchestra… they know what’s going on. It was such a moment for me, especially as a De La Soul fan, I almost started to tear up. It’s a great song unfolding and revealing itself, from our imaginations to the reality, and it looks and feels good. As Jurassic 5 once said, it’s about holding on to what’s golden, and this was truly a golden moment. The cinematography is incredible, true to the photographs of Brian “B+” Cross and Eric Coleman (who directed this), one of my favorite shots is at the intro to “”Don’t Nobody Care About Us”, when you see the drummer about to get ready, he’s looking at Atwood-Ferguson’s cue as he conducts. The music is causing the drummer’s sound barrier to vibrate, and it makes Atwood-Ferguson look like a cross between the album cover of Johnny HarrisMovements and the music of Don Ellis At Fillmore. When the drummer finally kicks in, instant chicken skin. As you see Atwood-Ferguson vibrating and rocking you realize: that’s how a lot of us feel when we’re listening to hip-hop. The effect works.
  • The entire DVD was beautifully shot in black & white, and the extras on the DVD’s, featuring everything from behind the scenes footage, photo galleries, and interviews only add to the greatness of this box. What I liked is that while hip-hop is far from dead, people are acknowledging the influence and its influences by archiving what has existed, so that those in the future will know what it meant to people. Just as jazz has become America’s classical music, hip-hop music is very much that for its followers, creators, and admirers, even though the powers that be will never make it so. Hip-hop, at its best, has never been about what anyone else thought, it was done because there was an unspoken movement to make it work. The Timeless treats Astatke, Verocai, and Dilla as legends, or at least humble musical spokesman for those who were not able to speak, as musicians and producers who had a need to be heard. This is honor, and I hope Mochilla will continue to “unfold” and “reveal” more artists and producers like this in the future.

    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.

    Hoc n’