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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , on December 11, 2009 by letterlbeats

Hip Hop,

I was listening to the new Cash Money song Money to Blow with Lil Wayne, Drake & Birdman. Obviously Wayne is an excellent lyricist who has found ways to not only creatively deliver his content but be an original in doing so.

I remember a time when Wayne was not so in demand. He hasn’t always been as good as he is now. In fact, for the last two years, I have said that no rapper who was as bad as he was, has ever gotten as good as he is. This is because he honed and perfected his craft. Not everyone in hip hop does that. In fact not everyone in lie does that. If you’ve ever seen the Gillie Da Kid videos (Google it, because I am not going in depth on that saga) he talks about the difference in Wayne’s flows before and after Wayne met Gillie. The point is, practice your craft and be a lifetime learner of it.

I wanna send birthday shouts out to Young General. He celebrated with a performance with his live band during a private party at his Chicago home. It was incredible to say the very least. The part I can remember was anyway. The album is…drum roll please…FINISHED! When it will be released I do not know, but that is the least of all things.


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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2009 by letterlbeats

Ladies & Gentlemen of Hip Hop,

With the end of the year quickly approaching and this beingĀ  the last 1st Friday of 2009, it’s time for Top 5 Fridays Hip Hop Albums of the year:

5. David Banner Death of a Pop Star

Actually, this album hasn’t even been released yet but thanks to 9th Wonder’s YouTube series called De Blog Jam (Filmed and edited by 9th’s keyboardist E. Jones) I witnessed them create almost the entire album. Even better is the fact that the album is free. Its quality far surpasses many records that you had to pay for this year. By the way, did I mention that 9th Wonder produced it? It features many of 9th’s homegrown N.C. talent plus a smoother more mature flow from Banner. Google it.

4. Slaughterhouse Slaughterhouse

I was having a random Twitter conversation one day and this dude was telling me that he prefers a brand of emcee who spends more time actually rapping than he does talking about how good he is. Slaughterhouse is definitely not that brand of emcee but these guys back up everything they say. They are lyrical beasts that grew tired of the usual bureaucracy of major labels and took their careers in their own hands. Comprised of Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5’9″ & Crooked I, they crafted the blueprint for today’s independent artists. During the 2009 BET Hip Hop Awards Show cipher Joe Budden said, “I never needed my A&R my A&R needed me.” I guess he doesn’t need an A&R.

3. Wale Back to the Feature

This wasn’t even an album, it was a mixtape! (See Drake below) Another free venture produced by 9th Wonder and mixed by Nick Catchdubs, its stacked with guest features including Jean Grae & Freeway. This was really something special because it’s not everyday you find quality hip hop like this.

2. Jay-Z Blueprint III

What can I say about this (See archives for song by song review of Blueprint III) except that my grandmother was singing Run This Town. Another classic Jay-Z album with the hottest everything in the game; guest features, beats, verses…everything.

1. Drake So Far Gone

If I need to explain this to you, then just navigate away from the page because you don’t know hip hop.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2009 by letterlbeats

Good morning Hip Hop!

During the last year, I started doing something that I hadn’t done since about ’01 or ’02; reading The Source, XXL and other hip hop publications, online and in print. Because I consider myself someone who wants to be in the industry, I have to pay attention to what’s going on in the industry (that reminds me, I have to get Jason a subscription to those mags for Christmas).

During this past year, I have also seen a lot of names come up as “the next.” I have noticed an interesting trend. The faster these guys go up, the faster they go down. Let me clarify down: this word speaks to their Q rating: (a scale measuring the popularity of a person or thing typically based on dividing an assessment of familiarity by an assessment of favorable opinion).

I haven’t heard Asher Roth’s name mentioned in the last three months. Whereas the first three months of the year you couldn’t turn on a TV or radio or open a magazine without hearing about or seeing this guy.

Charles Hamilton started off the year coming off a dope mixtape and had a very nice single with Brooklyn Girls and its video in rotation. I haven’t heard his name since June or July.

Kid Cudi has managed to maintain his relevance although it seemed for a few weeks there when Day & Night was starting to get old and the spins were that he was losing steam.

Drake seems to be the exception here because he did blast off, although in fairness, I’d been hearing about Drake since late ’07.

There is one guy who seems to have kept some perspective and is careful to take a steady long term approach to his career. If the rule holds true that the faster you rise, the faster you fall, he has been on a steady rise this year and may crescendo pretty nicely by next summer. Not to mention his material is dope and he is soooo true to hip hop.

I am talking about Wale. That Back To The Feature Mixtape was the best album I’ve heard all year. It’s so fresh and so new, yet it’s so reminiscent of a better time in hip hop.

As a footnote, one guy who is mimicking Wale’s approach is J. Cole. However in my opinion, the jury is still out on his ability.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2009 by letterlbeats

It’s time for another Top 5 Friday

Good Friday Hip Hop! If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I try to get at least one top 5 list in every month. Today I will countdown the top 5 trends in hip hop production for 2009.


5. The Airhorn

This has been a mixtape staple for years but only recently are we hearing it in actual songs on purpose. It originated in Reggae dance halls as a like a call to the dance floor. I remember hearing in a mixtape I got in like ’01 from Canal Street in NY. Then I would hear it from Dj’s at parties (probably because half of their stuff came from mixtapes). Obviously Drake’s Forever was the linchpin song that demonstrated this trick but I heard some others this year as well. Even Young General wanted me to throw it in Headbanger Boogie.

Drake Forever Cover


4. The Drumma Boy Sound Effect

Even though Put On by Young Jeezy was the summer anthem for 2008, in 2009 everybody started biting Drumma Boy’s (the prodcuer of the song) style by inserting that electro synth build up sound effect into every damned song. My understanding is that it was supposed to be his signature tag but I guess it doesn’t work if everyone else does it.


3. Synthesizers

I suppose this was more of a carryover from 2008 but I think the death of Michael Jackson and the trend of 80’s throwback kept it going. In the last month I can’t turn on the radio without feeling like the line between hip hop, pop, techno and electro has been blurred beyond recognition.


2. Hi Pass Filtered Ad Libs

This is also known as the “telephone” effect. Obviously we were first introduced to this on B.I.G.’s Warning. But now it’s like people can’t make a song without having at least one track of vocals passed through the filter. Even singing vocals. That Sean Kingston song is a perfect example. Melodies or some sh*t like that.


1. The Triplet Kick

The staple song for the year on this one would be Every Girls by Drake, produced by Tha Bizness. It’s essentially an extra kick between a double. It’s really simple but I’ve heard it so much that I don’t understand why this never happened before. Timbaland used to do it all the time but when he did it with a bunch of other off beat type rhythms. These are like your basic 1,4,7,11 patterns (on a 16 step based sequencer) but done on a 1/32 as to be able to add that quick triplet. It’s funny because I know Jason is reading this right now and has no idea whatI am talking about.

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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by letterlbeats

“I’m a perfectionist, I never pressure the pen space.”

-Cee Lo Green

Ok, so I am not a person who blogs, for blog sake. I am going to cut the review of Jay-Z’s album short because it’s not what hip hop is talking about right now and I am trying to make a concerted effort to stay relevant. The album is dope no doubt, but like he and Swizz say, “On to the next.”

I have a few things I wanted to talk about but first I need to talk about the 2009 VH1 Hip Hop Honors that honored 25 years of Def Jam. VH1 as always done a good job of going above and beyond the standard of present day hip hop awards shows and really making our love for the culture feel legitimate. One of the highlights for me was the performance by Public Enemy and Black Thought performing LL Cool J’s Rock The Bells. Actually I loved the whole thing because I forgot about the performance with Method Man and Mary J. Blige performing You’re All I Need. The Trey Songz and Warren G collaboration on Regulators left a bit to be desired but you can’t re-create everything.

2009+VH1+Hip+Hop+Honors+Performances

I have only made about three beats in the last week or so. I am waiting on some new equipment. As well, I haven’t been sampling very much at all. Obviously Jason is happy about that. But the biggest thing I have been doing is seeking inspiration. I like to dump images and sounds into my brain. I like to hear what other producers are making so I will be motivated to be better than them. I like to absorb culture so I can reflect it in my music. That’s why I love web surfing. I can see all of the videos and images I want. I love big colorful websites. I found Tha Bizness website (they made Drake’s Every Girl and Jeezy’s My President Is Black) and it’s awesome. I also DJ Khalil’s site and he has a ton of web videos. His studio is raaaaw. I like the direction musically he is going as well. He is starting to straddle a Rock/Hip Hop line that I was delving into for awhile this summer. Jason and Young General were feeling that also. But inspiration is the key.


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Daily Dose of L

Posted in Daily Dose of L with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2009 by letterlbeats

This weekend was craaaazy! And it kind of rolled into Monday.

On Friday I went to an event at Clarendon Park in Chicago. It was like a small piece of hip hop heaven. A community group called Kuumba Lynx provides a hip hop education and awareness program for students in the neighborhood. I used to run a kids program in Ohio and I wish I could have had something like this to get them involved in. They had grafitti artwork displayed that kids had done. There were kids break dancing. It was just one of things that if you missed it, you missed it. It was very cool and I had a chance to meet some people. It was really a refreshing reminder that this isn’t all about making money. It’s about doing it because you love to do it and because it’s fun…who took the fun out of hip hop?

So Rock The Bells was insane. They have a second stage at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park (IL). That was nuts because you are like 10 feet from the stage. When we first got over there, M.O.P. was killing it. I have never felt that type of energy at a concert before. Oh and by the way… I MET KRS ONE!!!!! That’s like an aspiring director meeting Scorcese. And on top of that he was cool as hell.

I gave beat CDs to damn near everybody but the highlight was being able to hand them to the GZA, M.O.P., Supernatural, KRS One and Murs. And one of those white guys who looks really important in hip hop (You know what I’m talking about…hahaha).

On top of all of that, at the last minute, I came back to Chicago for Mixtape Mondays at Exedus II. Big shot out to them as they continue to provide a forum for artists, however they should think about changing the format. General shut it down with me as his hype man but it took so long to get to round 2 that we had to beat it around 12:30.

Look for new videos from me this week. Also the mixtape is out. It’s called Hip Hop Loves Soul Volume I. Jason will have it available for download this week but you can download it now for FREE on my Myspace.

One

P.S. WTF was going an at the BET awards? I understand all the Michael Jackson tributes even though it seemed to be a bit much at times, but why did Beyonce sing Ave Maria? Why was Young Money’s performance poor? I know Drake tore his ACL but Weezy is usually better than that. Why did they let Don Cornelius go on like your grandpa was talking?

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