Behind the Beats: Sensei Walingh
First and foremost, who is Sensei Walingh?
The name Sensei simply came up since I'm a fiend of Japanese culture & martial arts, and been practicing martial arts ever since I was 8 years old. Since I'm chopping up breaks in the lab (or dojo), and I know how to do it, I got the nickname Sensei...so add my first name, and there you have it lol.
How long have you been making beats?
Well, that's hard to say, I'm literally born in the studio, and ever since I could walk I was knocking on my pop's drum computers, but the real sampling began when I was 11 years old, so basically 18 years.
Your father is a renowned guitar player (Jan Akkerman). How did growing up around music help you excel as a beatmaker?
Well, it gives an advantage in many ways, how to compose, how to handle chords and such, my pops also used to produce records, so when I was in the lab with him I basically kept my mouth shut and watched/listened how he made tunes. But like many big names in the game, it is a big advantage if your pops/moms/siblings are involved with Jazz. You will be motivated to acquire the skills due to exposure.
Describe the hip-hop scene in the Netherlands.
It sucks. Straight up. The mainstream stuff that gets airplay is lyrically/production wise watered down to an extend that I often feel the urge to throw the TV out of the window. There are some who know how to rhyme (MD, U-niq, Sonny D, Mr Probz, Redlight boogie, Kain Slim, & Deams to name a few) but for some reason they do not get the attention they deserve.
The problem is that many kids/rappers are trying to be different, but at the same time they're all doin the same thing. They mess with Fruity Loops and they think they're on top of the game overnight.
Plus the fact that mc's these days don't mess with samples as much as they used to because of the sample popo (police), so they grab a bunch of so-so beats, and that's how the overall quality goes down in my opinion.
You have been blessed with the opportunity to work a lot of respected emcees Do you feel the urge to elevate your production when you work with those that are deemed legends?
Hell yeah, the funny thing is, my homie Echo1 of The House of Repz hooked me up after he was peeping some youtube flicks I posted with me making beats or whatever, and he asked me if I was down to provide some beats for Kingslink. And that's how it took off.
I started bombing him and Kenny Diaz (co-owner/founder of Kingslink NYC, also a sick producer if I might add) with material and they were feeling it. At one point Echo1 told me about a joint with Dj Premier, and that they were thinking bout doing remixes and such, and since Premo is one of my idols I was like: toss me the acapella, I wanna kill this.
Echo1 send me the acapella and I built a beat around the acapella and it came out quite nice I think, if somebody wants to peep it they can check two mixes that I did on the Dj Premier & House of Repz "U gotta Love Us" record. You can also check Kenny Diaz beats on the joint called "Resistance." So after that dropped, Echo1 came up with the idea to do a joint with C Ray Walz on one of my beats (it's on the C Ray Walz album called Who The Fuck Are You - "Deeper Feelings"), and one with Tame One (The Artifacts) and Dro Pesci, and I did a bunch of remixes for the Repz plus a remix for A-Butta (Natural Elements), but don't know when they will drop.
The Repz album got features with cats like Organized Konfusion's Prince Po, Kool G Rap, C Ray Walz etc, and I did some remixes for the joints with Prince Po and Kool G Rap, so I hope they will drop sooner or later cause they're knocking haha. Also working with Bateria from the Repz on some joints, and hope to work with all of the Repz and members and affiliates for my solo EP. Last year I linked up with Raskill Records and they asked me to provide a beat for Canibus, the joint is already recorded, but when it drops? that's all a surprise I guess lol.
How valuable has the Internet been to your career?
Very. If it wasn't for the Internet I wouldn't be messing with the cats I'm messing with right now. It's easy to hit up everyone via social media sites and I often bomb the shit out of the pages of mc's that I like haha. It works fast, you can toss a beat, someone sends you the separates, it's easy like that, so without the net there's no Sensei, that's for sure.
Describe the origin of the Make Senz crew. Is the crew still active and do you guys have plans to record new material?
It started off as a joke, me and my childhood homie were messing with tapedecks, decks, and a mic, and shit got serious quite soon, started to rock stages and cyphers throughout the country. At first I was mainly responsible for all the productions, spinning, and cuts on hooks, and later I picked up the mic again. At one point we had build up a catalog with at least 300 tracks, but as soon as we had to record the album things got stuck. I was determined to do everything for the crew but it did not work both ways, there's no other choice than to stop trying to make it work. Like in many crews, there's always some bullshit involved plus daily life struggles, it's a shame it had to end both the friendship and the collaboration, but hey, gotta move on.
Are you currently collaborating with artists from the Netherlands? If so, who?
Yes, right now I'm workin with my man MD, and I just did a remix for Kain Slim, and I send Deams some beats to mess with, and I work with some Dutch spittin mc's called Risskant, Snipe, Ruwes, Crookid and other's.
Speaking of M.D, what is the progress of your collaborative album and when do you plan on releasing it?
Basically all the tracks are written, beats are done, we just have to record the joints and make a music video of it, complete the artwork, and all that nonsense, and then it's ready to be dropped. First we have to win the Dutch grand price which we are in and hope to drop the album this year.
Describe your beat making process to the masses?
Well, I grab a couple of beers, tobacco, some crates, my mpc, and I sit down on the couch digging through some sample records. It depends on my mood which type of stuff I will knock out, if I feel like making jazzy joints I'm digging for jazz, and that goes for every style I guess.
Once I found a nice piece to chop, I chop it up, I place it on the pads, I load some drums, place the drums, and I layer the samples, vocals bits, bass etc. And once I got a beat I'm feeling, I record it onto my laptop, and I start marketing it to my peeps haha.
It is normal for creative people to experience a creative block here and there. How does Sensei Walingh deal with creative blocks?
The biggest block would be the radio. Since boom bap went underground, we as true schoolers ain't got much to live for, there are still some dope cats who still manage to present dope music on every single joint they drop, but the majority kinda left the scene, or did not get a deal of some kind to keep on doing what they love. Over here cats are like "you sound too American" so over here it's hard to get a buzz going, but in the end it's always like, fuck it...I love making beats, I love mcing and deejaying, so I'ma do this. The block won't last for more than a few days anyway, and it has always been like that throughout the last decade. They key is, (as my pops always told me) keep on doing what you do, don't listen to people who yell stuff in your ears like "you should try some commercial shit with synths," even though you love that boom bap shit. If you get caught up in the hype and trying to make a few bucks, do you.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I'm knocking out beats for my solo EP with several respected names in the game, and I'm trying to get this thing with MD off the ground. For all the rest I'm pretty much digging for gems that I will chop up, which is time consuming like crazy. But once done, I will definitely knock out another 50 beats this year for mc's.
If you had the choice to collaborate with five emcees (of the past and present), who would you want to work with and why?
Good one...in no particular order that would be, Rakim, Nas, Freddie Foxx, Roc Marciano, AZ...ah man...too much to pick...Busta should be on it, Kool G, D-Stroy, Pharaohe, man...ah leave it like that haha. I just wanna knock out heat with peeps that feel like doing damage (and got skills).
How can the masses get in contacts with you?
Easy, stalk me on Twitter, Myspace or YouTube.
Any Final Thoughts?
Yeh, all you hip hop lovers out there, keep it 100%, start buying records instead of downloading them, keep on graffing, b-boy'in, mcing, mixing on decks, beatboxing, making beats, all that. Keep it live. One.