26 February 2011

Tricks of the Trade: Rhyming Prompts

This video focuses on the use of rhyming prompts to facilitate rhyming and thus jump start the brain. This method is useful for conquering writer's block, free styling better, writing better rap verses and poems, and creating better songs. Let me know what you think about the method and if you have tried it.

I decided to use the Son of Ran video because it encompasses the origin of rhyming prompts. I had a video uploaded to YouTube yet I decided to take it down because I want to expand on this concept at a later time.

Tricks of the Trade: Rhyme Scheme and Internal Rhymes

For this version of Tricks of the Trade I decided to speak on rhyme scheme and internal rhyming. Rhyme scheme refers to the rhyming lines of your poem or writing (in this case rap verse). Internal rhyming refers to rhyme that occurs within a line or a bar. The verse that I decided to present is an old verse for a collab with my homie The Soul Occs (Dj Soulclap and Tony Tigerstyle). I do not believe that the track has been released yet, so enjoy the written verse. The rhyme scheme will be indicated with an open parenthesis and a letter inside the closed parenthesis. The end rhyme words will be italicized. The internal rhyming words will be bolded. Enjoy!

My mind's crafted from spitting these rhyme patterns (A)
Snatching vertebrates, that's a lot of spineless rappers (A)
Time's factored, that means that it's split up (B)
When things get physical, you won't even get up (B)
I don't talk or brawl, If you claim you walking tall (C)
I'll stick my foot out, just for you to trip up (B)
PT style, I do push ups and chin ups (B)
A bear hug will probably make your ribs touch (B)
...Go ahead dis-cuss, don't even diss us (B)
palm to your nose, you can't even sniff us (B)
We vicious, your scent we gonna pick up (B)
and burn you alive, like the aftermath of a Witch Hunt (B)
It's Praverb, Teamed up with Tony T. (D)
and Soulclap, y'all dudes are phony G's (D)
We raw, like potato skins (E)
We fat on these tracks, y'all dudes be staying slim (E)

24 February 2011

Inspired By...

I originally wrote this song to a beat from Dirty Hairy. I decided to present it to the masses because I wanted to go another direction with the beat. The verses shed light on what I am inspired by and why I will continue to write. The inspirational image was originally presented HERE.

I am inspired by life, inspired by the light
Inspired by the senses
Taste, sound, and sight
Inspired by religion, inspired by my pension
Inspired by the praise, applause, and recognition//
Inspired by nice writing and even poetry
Inspired by fans who haven't heard or notice me
Inspired by...the willingness, to get better
Inspired by various books, I spit clever//
Inspired by Skyzoo, inspired by Phonte
Inspired by Talib Kweli and even Dante (Mos Def)
Inspired by Black Thought...and The Roots
Inspired by Supernat's battle with Juice//
Inspired by J-Treds, Natural E, Masta Ace
And the words of Mike Tyson and Cassius Clay
Inspired by the New School and the Golden Era
Inspired by debates about who's flow is better//

Inspired by the beat, Dirty Hairy and I complete
Chemistry on wax, I had to add speech
Had to add vocals, I'm way past local
Inspired by the continents, I think global//
Inspired by...the act of expression
Inspired by those who chose rap as a profession
Inspired by the BrainStormers, we a dope group
With in-house production, avenues to promote through//
Inspired by the critics, inspired by the Spirit
Inspired by those who present nice lyrics
Inspired by the Sound Providers and Jazz Addixx
Inspired by Classic Rock and Black Sabbath//
Inspired by Miles Davis, styles and cadence
Inspired by live shows, I'm a crowd favorite
Inspired by Tim Tebow and slim people
Inspired by creating fabrics with thin needles//

Inspired by Sway and Tech, Bobbito and Stretch
Inspired by the overall feeling of being the best
Inspired by Dj Premier and 9th Wonder
Inspired by the cravings, I have a nice hunger//
Inspired by the remix, inspired by weakness
Inspired by my image, made in his uniqueness
Inspired by the passion, the confidence of speeches
Inspired by a small gatherings or a legion//
Inspired by the pen and pad that I hold
Inspired by hip-hop that spans across the globe//

23 February 2011

Behind The Beats: Skipless

First and foremost, who is Skipless...

I'm 19 year old dude from Finland, little town called Ikaalinen. Just normal dude with MPC and turntables in his bedroom!

You have previously released two instrumental projects through Dusted Wax Kingdom (Jazzamentals and Rooftops). How did the connection with Dusted Wax Kingdom come about?

First I released Jazzamentals by myself, but after few days or so Dusted Wax Kingdom's owner-A&R-promoter-manager-robot Dimitar contacted me via MySpace and he wanted to release Jazzamentals.

When I was making the Rooftops project I made a deal with DWK that they would release the project. Shout out to Dimitar, always looking out for the artists!

I contributed a song to your new project and I wanted to know what was the motivation to create the new project and how will it be distributed?

My dude Infamous Jean Claude made the graphic booklet for Rooftops. He gave me idea to make another instrumental EP for the upcoming summer. After swapping ideas and thoughts one emcee called Erick ARC Elliott from Brooklyn got involved with the project. So I thought that I would need more emcees for the project! Unfortunately in the end Erick did not have the time to record for this project, but I do understand, that dude always has a million things going on!

First I planned that this would be a commercial release, maybe even released as vinyl... There were a few well known Finnish emcees, but people kept disappearing. The only other person on the project besides you is Concrete Cee from Germany. He is a great emcee and person, very humble and a nice guy. Anyway, now this will be a free web-release. I spoke to Dimitar to see if DWK wants to release this project but I haven't received a response yet.

The internet has made it possible for numerous people to collaborate from different countries. How has the internet helped you in terms of beat making and networking?

I would not have any contacts without the internet. I really don't know how I would collaborate with emcees without the internet. The internet is a really good tool for promoting music.

I have found a lot of good underground hip-hop from the internet, that has influenced my production.

Describe the Finnish hip-hop scene in one sentence

30% good, 70% bad.

Being that I have a limited history of Finnish hip-hop could you please introduce me to some artists from Finland?

Megaphone state is greatest thing in Finnish scene in a while! Ekow is a great emcee and SimonSound is on point with the beats. Gracias is also a great emcee as well. Staffro and Maramice are the top Finnish producers in my opinion.

What are your goals for the next five years?

It would be great to earn a living with my music, but it is hard to make anything creative under pressure. I just try to get my name out and make a lot of beats. If I'm lucky, maybe I earn some money...

So I try to get a meaningful job and then keep doing whatever I want to as an artist.

I read on your website that you were inspired by Pete Rock, Large Pro, Lord Finesse, and others. What are some of your strengths and weaknesses of your production?

I always struggle with drums. Sometimes I spend few hours trying to find the right drum sounds and another few hours to program those damn sounds! I don't really know what my strength is. Mixing is the easiest part of producing, but I'm not saying that it is easy for me!

Who would you like to collaborate with and what are you currently working on?

If Nas would wrote a verse over my beat, that would be nicest thing ever! But yeah, to be realistic, I like to collaborate with good emcees! If you are good, you will be noticed. My next project will be out in March 1st, so be on the lookout for that one!

How can people get in contact with you?

Email is maybe best way to contact me; skipless2000@gmail.com
My homepage

Please all the rappers who need beats, contact me! I will reply to all the messages, and I'm glad to have new contacts!

And thanks a lot to Praverb for giving me the opportunity for this interview! It is always great to have people like you around!

22 February 2011

M-Dot & Dj Jean Maron - Tap Out

Another fresh video from M-Dot featuring Boston legend Big Shug. The video is directed by Steve Tappia (nice visual right here). This track serves as the fifth single from M-Dot's and Dj Jean Maron's highly acclaimed album Run MPC. M-Dot's and Dj Jean Maron are preparing for an European Tour that starts March 14th and ends April 4th.

Buy the Album Now!

21 February 2011

Cane - You Don't Hear Me Tho


The homie Cane teams up with Lou Burna (Killer Beat) and delivers some knowledge to the masses. Be on the lookout for My Universe dropping soon (shouts to Mister Fili with the camera work). WOW

Behind The Beats: JR of (JR & PH7)

Download The Interview HERE

Earlier today I conducted my first audio interview with JR of JR & PH7 via Skype. Listen as we communicate about the origins of the successful duo, touring, beat making, and interests outside of hip-hop.

Behind The Beats: Muneshine

Embedded track was originally presented by Bloggerhouse. The track is called Two Way Street and it features Muneshine and Oddisee.

First and foremost, who is Muneshine?

Hello! Well, Muneshine is a producer/MC/audio engineer based in Toronto, Canada. 1/2 of The Birthday Boys with D-Sisive, 1/2 of Twin Peaks with Ghettosocks, 1/2 of The Residents with Saint and co-founder of Wax Reform.

I have noticed that you have an uncanny ability to present music with universal appeal. You are a dual threat, meaning that you are an excellent beat maker and an awesome emcee. What prevents you from rhyming solely on your beats?

Thank you! Universal appeal isn't an easy accomplishment, so I'm happy to hear that.

There are two reasons why I don't rhyme solely on my own beats.

When I make a beat I give it a lot of attention. By the time it's ready to go out it's either going to someone who's hit me up for production or the inspiration to write just isn't there.

That leads to the second reason. I know way too many dope producers! I get more inspired to write when I hear a beat fresh and finished for the first time. When I make the beat I've already spent time and effort making it sound a certain way. When I get it to a point I'm happy with, I'd rather pass it off to someone else so they can feed on that fresh motivation.

That said, there's always going to be a few of my own beats on any solo projects I'm doing. They just need to give me that desire to write.

I recently purchased the single for Grown Man Rap and I love what you are presenting to the audience. Muneshine today is different from Muneshine five years ago because...

Thanks for picking it up homie!

In the last few years I feel like I've really grown up in the sense that I know who I am, what I want, and how to use my creative abilities to express and achieve those things.

I think technically I've improved a lot as well, both with writing and performing and production and mixing. I've sharpened up!

What inspires you to continue your involvement with hip-hop and beat making in general?

It's beyond inspiration at this point. D-Sisive showed me a quote from Chuck Close (portrait artist) that really sums up my outlook on music (and my involvement in the music business):

"Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us get in the studio and get to work"

You have an extensive discography and you have had the opportunity to work with some of game's elite. Are there any emcees or beat makers that you want to work with?

I've been truly blessed to work with the people I have so early in my career. However, my approach to music is different now than it used to be.

I used to see association with established artists as a bench-mark for success and accomplishment. I won't say I disagree with that now, I still feel that way to a certain extent, but right now I am embracing the fact that I'm a part of the next generation of hip hop artists that are creating timeless music. To me it's way more exciting to create music with emerging artists. The hunger is there. I still love working with the already-established artists as well, but for me it's just not as fulfilling.

I'm already working with a lot of my favourite artists: D-Sisive, Ghettosocks, Shad, Oddisee, Shuanise, M-Phazes, Illmind, and many more.
Some people I would love to work with are: Dj Premier, Blu, Pharoah Monch, Dom Kennedy, Mos Def, and Jake One.

What are some of Muneshine's interests outside of hip-hop?

I love travelling more than anything (aside from music). Seeing the world and experiencing new culture is exciting and rewarding. I like film, reading, food, coffee, lots of things!

Muneshine is currently listening to...

I'm mostly listening to beat CDs from producers as I'm working on my solo album, but otherwise I'm currently bumping: Diamond District, Sufjan Stevens, The Radio Dept., Skyzoo & Illmind, Emilio Rojas, Shad, and a lot of old music, hip hop and otherwise.

Can you tell us how the collaborative project with the Vinyl Frontiers came to fruition?

I first heard about Vinyl Frontiers when they hit me up with a remix they put together of my joint 'What Now' with Sean Price and Termanology. It blew me away and we started building through email (they're based in The Netherlands). I asked them to send some more beats, they did, it was impossible to pick one or two (or three or four even) so we decided to do the EP!

Check it out, free download at: HERE

What projects are you currently working on?

I recently finished up the Twin Peaks album 'Kissing Hands & Shaking Babies' with Ghettosocks, finished up production of D-Sisive's 'Jonestown 2' (I did all the beats and mixing) and I'm currently working on my new solo record 'There Is Only Today'. Its got production from Buckwild (3 joints), M-Phazes, Illmind, Oddisee, myself and more!

How can prospective emcees, press, or beat makers get in contact with you?

Hit me up at muneshine@muneshine.com, on Facebook or Twitter. I'm around!

20 February 2011

Suli Breaks - R.I.P. (Spoken Word Video)

I was introduced to this poet earlier today (via Killer Hip Hop) and I must say that I was impressed. Suli Breaks is a London based poet who has an uncanny ability to bring words to life. With R.I.P. the talented poet presents acronyms that expand beyond the original meaning (Rest In Peace). This video is very powerful and adds clarity to the words that Suli delivers. I will post an interview with the talented poet within the next two weeks.

My Recording Setup

Here is a video that presents where I record and what I use to record. I am a big advocate of home recording and I have learned that less is better. If you need any clarification or direction on how to assemble a home studio please contact me (via the contact me section).

Peace and blessings,

19 February 2011

T.E.F.L.O.N. – Races (feat. Mina Leon, Ancient Mind, Praverb The Wyse) (Prod. by IDK)

Here is a track that was presented to me by my homie T.E.F.L.O.N. The track features the vocal talents of Mina Leon and verses from myself, Tef, and Ancient Mind. The concept of the track revolves around faith from the viewpoint of three different entities. T.E.F.L.O.N. spits from the lost soul perspective, while Ancient Mind spits from a Muslim viewpoint, and finally I spit from a Christian perspective. Although we all share three different views we still present the ability to respect each other's path to enlightenment.

18 February 2011

Skipless - The Travelers Ghost

The Travelers Ghost from Skipless on Vimeo.

Here is a trailer for my homie Skipless's project The Travelers Ghost, which is set to drop March 1sst. The project will include beats, rhymes, and remixes. I have a song on the project that is pretty introspective. Check out the trailer and get acquainted with the sounds of Skipless.

17 February 2011

Behind The Beats: T. Dragonette

First and foremost present your story to the masses

I wish I had a action packed story full of glory and excitement, but its just not the case. It goes like this. Since I was about 10 I have been obsessed with hip hop. I started out learning the basics of Djing when I was like 13 on my moms old turntable (Mom if you read this, sorry!) That lead to me spending a lot of time practicing and buying my own equipment and then Djing parties and clubs. Eventually I wanted to start making my own beats. Dj Premier was a huge inspiration to me back then and now, so I got a MPC and started teaching myself how to sample and compose music. Between working full time and going to school for graphic design full time I worked with local artist and sharpened my skills. Fast forward some years and I'm still practicing, finding new ways to make music and just working with great artist and trying to live a dream of mine.

What are some projects that you are currently working on?

First and foremost I am going to be putting out my own project this year. I have been doing collabs with other artist on their projects, and I want to put out something that I have total creative control over. Besides that, I have a track on DubMD's EP "The Requiem" that will be released shortly called "Passion" feat. Karnage, Spec Boogie, Chordz, Braille, and Kam Moye. I have a couple tracks in the works with Detroit MC Nametag and some commissioned work with skateboard company Active Ride Shop.

Who would you like to work with in the future and why?

That's a tough question because there are so many artist that are legit out there that I would love to work with. I guess I just want to work with people who are on the same page as myself and are feeling my music as much as I am theirs. I think a huge problem with the current trend in music is the fact that people are so quick to throw money at someone to get them on a track even if they don't fit, just because of who they are. It makes for bad music and a really repetitive sound.

Your favorite beat of all time is...

Depends on the day. Today is Little Brother "That Aint Love" (produced by !llmind)

Describe the feelings associated with creating a beat from scratch. What is your beat making process and how is inspiration transferred from the mind to your program of choice?

Its exactly that, feelings. One day I could be bummed out and I find myself looking for a sound to fit the mood, and there are other days where I'm so hyped and that reflects the sounds i pick and choose to work with. I mean there is no set formula for me, I have had days where I don't feel like making music and I made four great tracks. On the other hand I have had days where I want to make music and I can't make shit....those are the extreme cases, but its just like life, you never really know what the outcome will be.

What motivates you to continue to make beats?

The love for music and creating something. Also other producers making great music!

Beat making is based on presenting character and individuality into production. What are some of the challenges associated with creating beats given the current hip-hop trends?

I think the biggest challenge is standing out and being heard at this point. Just as is the case for emcees, producers are a dime a dozen now a days with the introduction of computer based programs like fruity loops, garage band, reason etc...it makes everyone who has a pc/mac a so called "producer" just by putting some loops together. I'm not taking shots at anyone that uses those, because there are producers out there that make insane music with those programs, but it does lend itself to over saturation of certain sounds and styles of production.

It appears that the famous beat makers are known for adding a signature sound to a beat. What do you believe is your signature sound or your strengths as a beat maker?

I guess I just try and make music that is a reflection of me. No matter how hard a person tries to sound like someone else, it will never be the same....so I just try and make music from the heart and that is my perspective.

How can prospective emcees, the press, Djs, etc contact you?

16 February 2011

Mykestro - Hammertyme

The homie Mykestro goes in over Soulja Boy's Speakers Going Hammer beat. The native California emcee is putting the finishing touches on The Barmittzpha, which is set to drop next month.

Mykestro - Hammertyme (Download)

Memorization Techniques 2

I came across an excellent article by Mark Shead that focused on the importance of recalling information as opposed to just repeating it.

Check out the article and drop some feedback...

15 February 2011

Memorization Techniques

As rappers, poets, students, etc we must rely on the power of memorization to present material or to retain information. I just wanted to know some of your memorization techniques. Some emcees feel more comfortable reading the lyrics while some enjoy memorizing them.

I utilized a stacking method in the past (I would usually memorize four lines at a time). This method revolved on a lot of repetition and mastery of one line at a time. Once the first line is mastered then the second line can be mastered and so forth.

11 February 2011

Behind The Beats: Alkota Beats

Alkota Beats Mix by DJ Grazzhoppa by alkotabeats

First and foremost, present to the masses your background in regards to your career as a beat maker...

I’m Alkota, a producer/beat maker from the frosty Northwest, Anchorage Alaska. I’ve been doing beats steadily since around 2003. My placements, collabos, and features include Rasco, Bekay, Pep Love, Verbal Kent, Access Immortal, Deuce Eclipse, Planet Asia, Josh Boots, and a slew of up and coming indies. My production is primarily sample based boom bap, but I also do sample free joints. Sorry no trap muzik/down south or club joints. As of January 2011 I’m doing Music, Video, and Freelance web/marketing full time.

On an average Alaskan night, Alkota will be busy...

I wake up around 6 am daily and work on projects and honestly don’t stop until 10pm-2am. A majority of my time is spent blogging, prospecting, and handling business and marketing stuff. Right now I’m cranking out a solid joint a day, and will slowly increase the quota on myself. I’m doing music like 50% and freelance marketing 50%.

Describe the feeling that you experienced when you made your first beat...

Disappointment. HAHA. No…really, my first joints were terrible, it took me 8+ years to finally be happy with my sound and get my work flow down. Granted I was always happy making beats, but I’ve been steadily improving my sound and technique. I’ve had the chance to work with some really amazing independent rappers and labels and that feeling is what makes me happy. I am very happy when I hear someone kill a beat of mine.

Does that feeling continue to inspire you to create more beats?

I’m on a mission. Placements, catalog, and bangers is what I’m after. My goal is to work with the best established and up and coming artists. I think the downward spiral and poison that is mainstream hip-hop is opening the doors for more indies to shine and make a living doing music full time. Semi intelligent people can’t stand the trash these labels are putting out. Case and point: The Superbowl half time show.

You and I talked briefly about the state of the economy and being one's own boss. When did you make the decision to quit your day job and make beats for a living?

I wasn’t happy at my job. Making good money is not satisfying in a mundane work scenario. Too many people accept a bullshit existence in lieu of stability, security, and material things. My side hustles made enough money to cover my bills (music, video, marketing) so I figured there is no better time than a recession/depression to start your own business. Economic instability means your job is disposable, it’s better to diversify and become your own boss because your upside potential is unlimited. If you fail, fuck it, go get another job or keep trying. My father was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer a few months ago and that was a wake up call that it’s time to start living and finding a passion to pursue.

I also noticed that you are a savvy businessman who has tapped into the flash drive market by presenting a flash drive shaped like the E-Mu SP-1200. When was this idea conceived and will the future lead to the creation of more hip-hop themed flash drives?

I was reading an article in Entrepreneur magazine at Barnes and Nobel about a married couple who were artists turned business people. They took their artwork (drawings, paintings, etc.) and had them manufactured into 3D rubber USB Flash Memory drives and sold them. A light bulb went off in my head instantly. I ran home and googled everywhere to see if anyone had come up with a specialty drive shaped like the MPC-2000XL and SP-1200. After discovering no one else had seized on this idea, I financed the heavy investment and placed an order for my custom drives. I submitted the images of the drives to tech and hip hop blogs and it went viral from there. Engadget, Kayne West, and many other well read blogs helped me launch my new business overnight. In about a month, I will unveil the Roland TR-808 drive. This one is gonna be huge, hopefully all the snyth heads, electro fanatics, and DJ’s will jump on board with these new 8GB flash drives.

What projects are you currently working on and what artists are you currently collaborating with?

I’m working with this dude Cyrus of Harm City from NC/Baltimore on his project right now. He’s got beats from Alkota, M-Phazes, and Vinyl Frontiers. We got Rustee Juxx on one of my beats and some dope cuts by Dj Grazzhoppa. Rasco is supposed to make an appearance on my track too.

I just dropped a Digi 12” with Brooklyn’s Access Immortal called “The Legacy” that’s available on my Bandcamp Page. I’m planning to drop an EP here in the next few months with Access Immortal and hopefully get some dope features.

My dude Adamn from Alaska is copping some of my best beats at the moment and we are going to be shooting some videos for him, so watch out for that! Peep my dude Phonetic as well, he’s crazy talented. After you listen to him go get a map and find out where he’s from.

Shabaam Sahdeeq got a couple beats from me for his next project, Pep Love of Hieroglyphics grabbed a beat that will be the single on his next album, Verbal Kent from Molemen Records got a banging joint called Yellow Jackets. Sean Price owes me a verse, so hopefully well get him on something dope. There are a few other artists and developments that are going to happen, but shit falls through all the time and I don’t wanna jinx myself. But 2011 should be a good year for music. I’m just trying to stay focused and move forward regardless of anyone else.

What artists do you want to collaborate with in the future and why?

I'd like to work with some more of the BCC/Duckdown artists, since I really dig their music. Other than that, any and everyone that is putting out dope music and will get my beats heard! This joint with Rustee Juxx and Cyrus is gonna be a banger!

What makes production from Alkota stand out amongst the multitude of beat makers?

Honestly, I try not to follow trends and fads. When it comes to making music I do my own thing. I’m obviously heavily influenced by some beat makers and boom bap, but I don’t really give a fuck what everyone else is doing. I’ll borrow drum programming from different genres of music, but after that I just make whatever happens. Who knows…maybe I sound like everyone else!? But I certainly don’t copycat produced garbage. Additionally, I really try to limit my intake of hip hop and rap music to keep my ideas fresh and prevent subconscious biting.

What is the best way for potential clients, press, or fans to reach you?


If you are digging my music, support my Bandcamp page! I'm not getting rich off this shit at all, but my goal is to influence music in a positive direction, so every dime is put back into make new records.

Any closing remarks...

There are two debates that are really fucking annoying, played out, but constantly surface everywhere. If you spend anytime partaking in these discussions or debates you are an idiot. 1) Hardware vs. Software for making beats. It honestly doesn’t matter what you use as long as its dope. End of story, get over it. 2) Producer vs. Beatmaker. Do you really care what people call themselves? Do you honestly pay attention to what other people do? Shut the fuck up. Who cares if someone calls themselves a producer and truly isn’t. Go make a beat or read a book.

09 February 2011

Behind The Beats: Centric

First and foremost introduce yourself to the world...

I go by the name "Centric" and I'm a record producer from Cali representing FreeAtLastMusic.

Who inspired you to began making beats?

I would have to say producers like Pete Rock, J Dilla, and DJ Premier inspired me the most. Just Blaze, Kanye West, and 9th Wonder also played a huge part in that as well.

When you listen to the first beats you made you...

Hopefully I guess lol, I began to think of all the possibilities.

How does a beat maker stand out amongst the multitude of emcees?

I think beat makers/producers have been standing out more and more. A great instrumental can over power an artist if he/she isn't talented or experienced enough to hold there own. People can't deny a great instrumental...which is why Jazz is it's own genre.

How effective has social networking been to your career as a beat maker?

It's been very effective. If it wasn't for social networking, I wouldn't have been able to collaborate with artists such as Kool G Rap and Canibus. I try to utilize all of my resources.

What projects are you currently working on?

I just released my 2nd album "The Alter Ego"...in stores now. Currently I'm working with Cy Yung & Urban Truth (FreeAtLastMusic Group) on their solo projects. I'm also working on EP's with Fred Knuxx (IMG/Universal) and Trife (TeamMajors).

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future and why?

Ummm let's see. Jay-Z, J Cole, and Elzhi from Slum Village to name a few. I think they are all amazing artists.

What are some of your strengths as a beat maker?

I would say the ability to adapt to different styles. I can be VERY versatile. Very few producers can produce for a variety of genres.

The beat is deemed the backbone to a song. Nice production can elevate an average track and poor production can damage a good emcee. What is the most important element of a beat?

I'm sure ever producer would say something different, but in my opinion the backbone to a song is the melody. A good baseline can only get you so far, but a good melody can be pure melodic if need be. Drums are very important, but a great melody can take a song to places far and beyond.

How can fans, press, emcees, etc get in contact with you?

They can send an email to freeatlastmusic@gmail.com or contact my manager Troy tjtpatterson@hotmail.com.

06 February 2011

My Imagination...

These verses were inspired by Last Emperor's The Great Pretender. I just used my imagination to present these What If based thoughts. I am posting this because I do not think I will ever record this haha. Let me know what you think.

It's sad times we're living in, feels like I'm giving in
No reinforcement, equals no discipline
Elevated mind state, no mention of simpletons
Old ways reflect known sage of senior citizens//
So I travel daily, learn on my escapades
Grip the iPod, next second I'm pressing play
Drifting to another time, planet or galaxy
Pondering those who were planning a fallacy//
A horseman, known for disbanding the cavalry
Or a wizard with powers that were granted magically
With my imagination, I am a ghost or a goblin
A TV host, known for jokes or train robbing//
A cartoon villain that catches the Roadrunner
Comforted Zeus and somehow I stole thunder
All flashy and classy, sitting in a Chrome Hummer
Mind is a telephone book, no need for phone

I can pretend to be the president, chilling in the White House
Drinking Coca Cola while spitting Dew and Sprite out
Write an article with no flaws, no white out
Poke your eyes out, I have my own hide out//
Freestyle is never scripted, I spit lyrics
My presence and aroma make it seem like I'm scented
Not demented, my dimensions are extensive
I'll ace any test, spelling or comprehensive//
...Skipping school, I slipped in the ooze
Mr. T attitude, somehow I just pity the fool
Making a Band something like Diddy would do
My electric bill compares to what the city would use//
A linebacker or computer rhyme hacker
My mind fractured, gave birth to eight or nine rappers
Paternal instinct, I'm in sync with the ruckus
Langston with a gavel, now that's Poetic Justice//

02 February 2011

Alkota Beats: Making Beats With Alkota

Making Beats With Alkota - Reason 5 from Alkota Beats on Vimeo.

Here is a short trailer by Alkota Beats. The full version will drop soon and Alkota will present his beat making talents with various programs including Reason 5 and Recycle 2.1. Also be on the lookout for a Behind the Beats feature with this talented beat maker.

Behind The Beats: Vinyl Frontiers

The Vinyl Frontiers are...

Two producers from the Netherlands who love to make beats. We started making beats somewhere around ten years ago. We were mainly influenced by US 90's hip-hop and always have been interested in collecting vinyl, hence the name Vinyl Frontiers.

How is the hip-hop scene in the Netherlands?

During the last 5 years hip-hop in the Netherlands has become one of the more popular mainstream genres. Ever since the 80's, hiphop has been around and changed progressively. It has also withstood innovations and turned mainstream. When we grew up and went to hip-hop shows there was a very specific kind of atmosphere and audience. The usual rappers, Dj’s, breakers, graffers, etc. Nowadays it has increased its audience, ranging from college dudes to desperate housewives and from dealers to politicians.

This is a good thing mainly because now hip-hop in Holland actually has domestic artists selling out the biggest venues and getting airplay on national TV and radio. It has inspired a new generation to try hip-hop and bring new elements into the music. Also it is becoming more and more professional industry wise with the rise of a lot more record labels.

Basically the hiphop scene in the Netherlands is a healthy one with the potential to become the biggest genre and leave a permanent mark on the Dutch music industry.

Is there a productivity difference between European based artists and Western based artists?

Generally speaking we don't think there's a big difference between European and western based artists. We think the thing that influences artists everywhere is the sound that's the most popular at that moment. For example, from the moment the club oriented synthy beats had hit the charts it became attractive for producers all over the world to make similar beats and for artists to use these beats to make a hit record.

On the other hand you'll always have producers who'll make music without aiming for that goal. These producers are more likely to be influenced by the music they like, not paying too much attention to what is hot right now, but focusing on creatively reinventing themselves.

Maybe the difference between producers between these parts of the world are the local influences musically as well as cultural differences.

You guys have collaborated with a lot of respectable artists. Being that you guys reside in Netherlands, how do you guys reach out to the talent here in the States?

We've had the opportunity of meeting some of these artists while they were touring through Europe and being able to play them our music in person is one way we've reached out to artists. Another way and also the most important tool for us is the internet. Being able to communicate and exchange music globally has made the place where you reside as an artist less important. We hope to visit the states soon though to expand our network and meet up with all the people we've worked with or will be working with in the near future.

The Internet has allowed artists to work together in the midst of distance issues. How effective has social marketing been to your success as beat makers?

One of the best internet developments for producers must be the blogs. Everyone in the world can make his own blog and share his or her personal taste with anyone who's interested. This gives us the opportunity to send our music all over the world hoping that they'll post and share our work. For example, we made a beat tape influenced by TV themes a while ago that reached blogs spreading out over more than 70 countries.

Another example of the importance of social media is the fact that we're able to make direct contact with the artists themselves all over the world instead of having to work your way through A & R’s and managers.

I noticed that you guys are in the finishing stages of an EP with Muneshine called Larger Than Life. How was this relationship established and how was it working with Muneshine?

It started out with an acapella from a Muneshine track laid over a newly made beat. After a few days hearing it back, it made us wonder what Muneshine himself would think about putting the track out as a remix. We reached out to Muneshine and he liked what he heard. After that moment we started making more music and decided to do a whole EP together. Muneshine is one of the fastest working artists we've had the pleasure to work with so far. I think the fact that he's a producer and engineer too made the whole thing a lot easier and faster to wrap up cause we didn't have to rely on third parties.

Are the Vinyl Frontiers expected to replicate this formula and present more EP's with other artists? If so, who will be next on the Vinyl Frontiers radar?

Most definitely. We have about Seven EP's planned for this year. Some of the names we can confirm already are Maffew Ragazino, Treklife, Kaimbr, and Reazun, who is a French rapping artist from Holland. We decided the best way to get our name out internationally is to provide products that are entirely produced by us. Most of these projects will be available for free download, since we just want to expand our fan base.

List some of the artists that you have worked with in the past...

Some artists that can be heard on our music are:

Redlight Boogie
Rock (Heltah Skeltah)
Maffew Ragazino
J Sands (Lone Catalysts)
And a lot of Dutch artists

In your opinion, what does a perfect beat sound like and can an emcee ruin a perfect beat?

A perfect beat doesn't exist. This is because music is always personal as far as taste goes and it’s much more about the endless journey for a producer to make the perfect beat. I think this is what keeps you motivated as a producer. When you make a beat you think it is next to perfection, you'll probably make a better one the next day or at least want to try.

Also, we think a lot of beats can be made or destroyed by the emcee who uses it. A lot of crappy beats have been made into great songs and vice versa. Still, as producers we never had a problem with listening to a great production with a emcee that couldn't match the quality of the production.

Who do you guys want to collab with in the future?

We'd like to work with Redman, Sean Price, JT Money, Apathy, Celph Titled, Louis Logic, MF Doom, Kardinal Official, Saukrates, Fabolous, Young De, Eastsidaz, Big Boi

On a commercial point of view, we want to work with everybody.

How can prospective clients, fans, and press, get in contact with you guys?

twitter: @vinylfrontiers

For inquiries: vinylfrontiers@nicksteenge.com

Any final words?

We have got a catalogue of beats that are still available and for sale at affordable prices. (a little marketing we know)

01 February 2011

Review rating scale...

I will start reviewing projects soon and I wanted to present to the masses the Review Rating Scale. An 1 is comparable to a hamburger: this means that the project is bad haha. A 2 is comparable to a cheeseburger: this means that the project is decent but needs work. A 3 is comparable to a double cheeseburger: this means that the project is average. A 4 is comparable to a quarter quarter: this means that the project is excellent and should be shared to the masses. A 5 is comparable to a double quarter pounder: this means that the project is classic and there is no room for growth.

Rating Scale:

Kil Beats - Through The Wire (Review)

This beat tape was sitting in my inbox the other day and I decided to review it. The beat-tape, presented by Kil, incorporates elements of the hit show The Wire. The first beat that I listened to was "Rules Of The Game (Omar's Coming)." The beat reminded me of the Big Payback and sounded like it should be used in a Blaxploitation film. The next two beats are very nice and present elements of street life. The latter, "I Can Get You Guns," sounds funky in it's presentation and Kil does an excellent job of incorporating a Nas sound byte. The "No Need To Stand Tall" Interlude has some sound bytes from The Wire (sounds like an old man got shot because he kept his mouth closed). "What Happens If We Buck" continues to enforce the theme of using sound bytes from the show over Kil's production. The project continues to gather steam and showcases the production ability of Kil.

The latter part of the beat tape boasts an array of gems: "Could Be Wrong" Interlude, "Zombie Master," "Save My Soul," "2 Minute Warning," "Legacy's Hustle," and "Rat." "Zombie Master" and "Save My Soul" are awesome because they are soul driven productions that sound reminiscent of something that 9th Wonder would conjure. Vocal tracks are presented from track 16 to the conclusion of the project. The standout track in my opinion comes from Stevan Smith and it is called "Legacy's Hustle." The rapper presents an entertaining hustler's tale over a hypnotic beat by Kil.

This project is very enjoyable and it introduces the audience to the production range of Kil. This project is pieced together very well and you can tell that Kil was very meticulous in regards to selecting the best sound bytes and beats to match the sound bytes from The Wire. I would have loved to hear more beat switch ups and maybe shortened sound bytes.