Everything is a remix

Original image via Luke Chesser

Everything is a remix.


Solange – Cranes in the Sky (Kaytranada Edit)

In the footsteps of Dilla… (image via FB)

Canadian artist Kaytranada has been making beats since he was 15 years old, so dedicated to the craft he made a new chop every day for three years thereafter. Just scroll through his SoundCloud page — there are mixtapes, a series of his own dope productions, and remixes of the Fugees, Jill Scott, and Danny Brown. But the remix he dropped today of Solange’s ‘Cranes in the Sky’ is exceptional.

“I couldn’t help it and i can’t deny how good it sounds. this is just an edit to play on my dj sets, and i played it once and everybody wanted it right away. Honestly i was gonna wait to see if Solange or her team or whoever works for her wouldve ask me to do an offical remix so if they still want to, i could make it sound better than that version but ohhhhh, what the hell….anyways i highly recommend you that new Solange album “A Seat At The Table”.”

From hip-hop to RnB, electronica, and funk, Kaytranada does it all, so eclectic he even leaves the genre blank with ‘?????’ on his Facebook page.

Danny Brown – Really Doe ft. Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt

Danny Brown, the so-called hip-hop’s ‘dark knight,’ is not one to follow trends. MTV even called him “one of rap’s unique figures in recent memory.”

On his newest album Autricity Exhibition, named after a Joy Division song, he lets go of all the anxiety and demons that haunted his 2014 depression. He also wanted more respect from his rap peers who seemed to outcast him for his weirdness. Nas was happy to tell him otherwise, and to stop complaining and get to work.

“Stop thinking about everything else and go with the actual thing that got you here. Sit there and fucking do the work. Put the beat on and let the fucking shit happen. Something is going to happen.”

And it did. What results is even darker, twisted rap, which remains true to his unique persona. “Really Doe” is one of those standout tracks, in which Brown raps “Show me somethin’ I ain’t seen before.” Peep it below, and download the album if you want to warp into a different dimension. 👊

Hiatus Kaiyote “The Lung” (Paul White Unofficial Remix)


Just off his production for Danny Brown’s Autricity Exhibition comes a remix of Hiatus Kaiyote from Paul White, one of my favorite producers.

White’s beats vacillate from hip-hop to electronica, but he most often excels in lacing the two together. Not sure where to start with Paul? Check out these other gems.

Grandmaster Flash explains how he created the drum break

grandmaster flash get down

Drum beats only exist because one DJ, Grandmaster Flash, decided to get ‘scientific.’ In an interview with the Washington Post, the hip-hop pioneer recounts the inspiration and creation behind the drum break:

“My mother and my sister used to have house parties. What I noticed is the part [of the record] where there was a drum solo, the crowd would become more reactive at that point. I’m like oh wow — so why isn’t that most of the record? How can I take this 10-second part that I, personally, thought should be the whole entire record and — If I was speaking in 2016 — manually edit it and cut and paste it on time to the beat?”

To spin the record counterclockwise, Flash had to experiment with all facets of the turntable including the needle, rubber matting, experimenting with hardening some felt — materials that he stole from his mother who was a seamstress. He then tested his own recorded vinyl albums on various turntables: Fisher Price, Magnavox, before landing on Technics which nailed the right record speed. Flash was doing all this at a time when even putting fingerprints on a record was “a major violation to vinyl.”

“I came from a scientific approach. Once I came up with the queuing, the proper needle, the “wafer,” duplicate copies of records, the mixer, which I had to rebuild, I was able to take a 10 second drumbeat and make it seamlessly 10 minutes.”

As soon as Flash had all the tools and identified the “the get down” or climax of the song, he was able to create drum loops in a process called the backspin technique or “quick-mix theory.” It wasn’t before long he teamed up with MCs to rhyme over the beats, thus laying the foundation for hip-hop.

More Work, Less Research

Go through your scrapbook, Moleskine, Evernotes every once in a while and cross patterns and connect the dots. Instead of doing more research, review the notes you’ve taken to date.

The big idea exists not in the next article you read but in how you tie together everything you’ve collected to date. What are the major themes and takeaways? More importantly, what are you going to do with that information to make it useful?

Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever, make. – Joss Whedon

Learning depends on your ability to synthesize information but also depends on your ability to recast information into something novel.