Tag Archives: music

Turntable Track made from Ska samples

This is a great track. It’s a great example of Turtablism, or a Hip Hop track with no lyrics. In Turntable tracks, it’s all about the beats, so breaks and scratches replace MCs.

The track is based on some Rocksteady samples. I’m not positive, but I think at least one sample is cut from “One Step Beyond” by Prince Buster (not to be confused by with the more popular cover by Madness).

Another clever use of Ska samples is this Big Beat track by Lion Rock:

A classic turntable track that is probably the best use of breaks, scratches, and samples instead of an MC, to the point that you almost don’t notice that there isn’t one, is “The Motorcade Sped On” by Double D and Steinski:

There is a better mix of this track out there, but I haven’t found one on YouTube that doesn’t have significant audio problems.

BBC Docu about British Reggae

I have made a few posts over the years about reggae and how much I love not just the music, but the music’s unique ability to fuse with other music. Sometimes this forms sub-genres like rocksteady or dancehall and sometimes it leads to new forms of music, like 2 Tone or ragga.

Reggae and Dub are the original remix culture. In England, it draws many parallels with hiphop in the US. Reggae is the original protest music and the original rebel sound. The video below is pretty long, but it’s well worth watching.

Mos Dub – Johnny Too Beef

When I read this blog post about Assata Shakur being added to the Most Wanted Terrorist List, I noticed her story isn’t much different than those told by hackers that have been imprisoned. I also noticed that her criticism of the United States is summed up nicely by Mos Def.

“Beef” is a pretty harsh criticism by Mos Def of not just institutional racism in the U.S., but also of the hip-hop community and the people who look up to rappers. The track has powerful message about the hardships faced by the working poor. The track’s slower tempo means a lot of mixes use beats without much energy in them, which undermines the song as a form. Fortunately Max Tannone shared my concern and mashed up “Beef” with “Johnny Too Bad” by The Slickers. The result is a powerful mashup that is reminiscent of a dance hall/ragga protest song..

Technically, “Johnny Too Bad” sounds more like rocksteady than reggae, but unless you are a ska nerd like me, the difference between the different genres of Jamaican music is fairly academic.

Here is one version of “Beef” that sounds like a freestyle on a radio show:

Mos Def has done “Beef” in a bunch of different places, including The Dave Chappelle Show, so it’s not a freestyle.

Here is The Slickers version of “Johnny Too Bad”:

And here is the mash-up, known as “Johnny Too Beef”:

DJ Diplo Docu on NOLA Bounce and Brazillian Funk

DJ Diplo is a producer whose work I came to know during my brief but intense obsession with “Paper Planes“.

He is also a documentary film maker, and he did a piece that digs into NOLA Bounce and in particular, the gay sub-genre of bounce, known as “sissy bounce”. Check out this trailer, tho some of the dancing might be considered NSFW.

He also made a documentary called “Favela on Blast” about funk culture in Brazailian favelas, which I learned about through my brief but intense obsession with “Rap das Armas“:

Also, the loop in the trailer is effing awesome.

rap das armas redux

i have been obsessed with “rap das armas” since i saw tropa de elite. it turns out that the song has a long history. this is installment 3 in the ongoing “chris stays up all night surfing for weird hiphop videos from foreign countries and includes them in a long ass blog post that’s 90% embedded videos” series.

it seems share some characteristics with “paper planes” in that it’s based on a popular 80′s song and details life on the streets for a group of people forgotten or ignored by society. according to the wiki article, the hook for rap das armas comes from “your love” though i don’t see it. however, i understand the words to your love, so that might actually inhibit my interpretation:

the original “rap das armas” was released in 1994 by MC’s junior e leonardo (tropa de elite takes place in the late 90′s) notice how samples of gunshots are prominently featured, just like “paper planes”:

here’s “paper planes” for reference:

apparently a modified version of that appears in the film, and cidinho e doca remade it *after* the film:

my portuguese is really weak, but i think the words are significantly different.

the version of the song that appears in the film has more african sounding beats, which are reminiscent of angolan kuduro (angola is a former portuguese province, much like brazil). here are a couple of kuduro videos, notice the prominence of dancing, just like the new orleans bounce videos i posted before:

after tropa de elite and cidinho e doca brought the song back to popularity, there have been a lot of remixes. this samba version is my favorite:

this one is neat too, it’s set over a sample from “planet rock”:

if you aren’t familiar with 80′s b-boy tunes, here’s “planet rock”:

more itunes induced panic

itunes causes a lot of panic in my social circle.

being the only tech support person for my family, i am often called upon to solve problems that are beyond my skill to heal. today’s problem involves the syncing of itunes to a new PC, when the old PC is no more. the hope is to take the music from an ipod touch, and add it in to itunes. the problem of course, is that itunes wants to erase what’s on the ipod, and replace it with what’s on the PC, which is nothing.

i had a sneaking suspicion that all was lost, since most consumer devices that facilitate ripping a CD (like the original xbox) almost never let you move the files to another device. apple had to suck so much RIAA cock to allow itunes to exist in the first place, they are basically required by law to screw their consumers when it comes to transferring devices.

i turned to google for assistance, and the first search result is an apple fanboy/shill trying to stay on-message while he tells a new user that he’s completely fucked:

first comes the butthurt:
HELP! COMPUTER!

followed by the “it’s not a bug… you just don’t know what you are talking about” response:
proper fucked!

also, no one makes backups. ever. just sayin’.

and when i look at the “more like this” box, it’s full of people who have the same problem:
everyone loves the old in-out-in-out

apple is a big company, supposedly bigger than microsoft, and big enough to have it’s own private police force. surely they can stand up to the RIAA and tell them how it is, but alas, i guess not. too bad for their consumers.

i had to download a utility to be able to copy the files off, which all have randomly generated names. thankfully i know script-fu, but what about the people who don’t? what happens to them?

if you having snycing problems i feel bad for you son, i got 99 problems, but playing my pirated shit on my player of choice ain’t one.

the MAFIAA problem: bunker mentality

you'll get my money when you pry it from my cold dead feathers!!i am a fan of the nervittles blog, and while reading a recent post, i was introduced (or sort of re-introduced) to a concept known as the bunker mentality.

in essence, the bunker mentality is a psychology of desperate defense. it happens on the battlefield when you are in a literal fight for your life, as in surrounded, outgunned, outnumbered, low on ammunition… heroic last stand type stuff.

this also happens off the battlefield when you are so focused on your immediate problem that you treat all outsiders as enemies and quit listening to all advice, even the good advice that could help you eliminate, or at least minimize your immediate problem.

so what does the MPAA/RIAA/world+dog have to do with drama between a telco blogger and Digium? bunker mentality.

the legacy content industry is dying. the business of selling physical media is in decline. this has more to do with market changes than it does with piracy. the rate of that decline is subject to much speculation. the various content industries would have you believe that they are losing billions of dollars a year as a direct result of filthy scumm pirates. i find that hard to believe.

as an avid reader of (and commenter on) techdirt, i read and write a lot about the need for the content industry (movie studios, record labels, and book publishers) to embrace new business models and the response from the trolls, shills, and the occasional industry type is a resounding “hell no!”

i think that this has more to do with emotions and perceptions than actual logic or reality. the truth is that when your business is in decline, you are basically gripped with fear. this fear makes you circle the wagons and dig in for that last stand.

the problem with that approach can best be answered by history. there are many great tales of last stands against a superior force: thermopylae, little big horn and the alamo, are all great stories of heroes who fought bravely to the bitter end. the things to keep in mind about those stories is that the heroes died at the end. if you have no other choice, the decision to go down swinging is a brave and noble one, but if you do have a choice, any other option seems like a better one.

the content industry has basically decided to go down with the ship when they are surrounded by lifeboats. to me, it seems utterly stupid. maybe the industry sees this as form of honorable suicide, like seppuku.

new orleans bounce music

i love learning about regional music, especially regional forms of hiphop. i am also a big fan of treme, on HBO, and one of the characters on the show is a big fan of bounce. bounce has found it’s way out of NOLA and into the mainstream in the form of lil wayne, but that’s no reason to discount it :-)

i am also a fan of music that is made from or derived from something else. according to wikipedia, a lot of bounce is based on various samples of the triggaman beat which is a song by the showboys. the distinctive features of triggaman are the police siren and the dragnet theme as you can hear in this video:

bounce is based mostly on call and response and not much of what i would consider rap. here is a bounce track that examplifies those qualities:

dancing is a key component of bounce, in fact that’s probably why it’s called bounce:

which is reminiscent of dancehall reggae, where music is mixed and remixed again and again in clubs and the full musical experience is something that happens live, instead of on physical media. this live component is something that just can’t be downloaded. in fact, this live component is probably what makes those downloads valuable.

in my youth i was really in to punk rock. going to shows, especially shows at small venues like bogart’s in cincinnati. we all called it “the scene” and while the music was a big part of it, there was a lot more to it. this other stuff, the clothes, the social aspect, the venue… it’s all stuff that you can’t download. this is what musicians should be focused on instead of selling tracks.