Monday, January 16, 2012

Freedom Fighter for MLK Day

It's almost too perfect for MLK Day: Raheem DeVaugn's Freedom Fighter. "Bulletproof (f/t Ludacris)" was a surprising minor hit last year. DeVaughn has since incorporated Occupy Wall Street into his Marvin Gaye/What's Going On pastiche. Not bad for days like these. Lasting power though? Uncertain.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pete Rock, Roy Ayers, J Dilla

The story behind the Black Star track "Little Brother," produced by Dilla, who secretly used a batch of Pete Rock's beats to experiment with production. He took a Roy Ayers track, found 32 fragments of sound (most of which lasted less than 1 second), and blended them together to create an 8-bar loop. He did this for a few hours in the middle of the night while ?uestlove was asleep on his couch.

On the topic of Pete Rock, "The Joy" from Watch the Throne is maybe my favorite production on any track from 2011. So many interwoven sounds, sirens, grunts, not to mention one of my favorite Curtis Mayfield songs coming in and out of that soundscape. But it still remains mellow and easy. Love it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Black Star

Black Star is back, appearing on Fallon with the Roots this week to promote the new mixtape Aretha, which is slated to drop this spring. "You Already Knew" is real nice. Man, Talib Kweli always sounds better when he's working with Mos Def. And Mos Def just continuously sounds awesome. By the way, Mos Def is Yasiin Bey now. And from the new song, we can expect that the new Black Star sound probably hasn't changed that much, which is a good thing. Last thing I'd want to hear is them trying to force the production to make it sound more "relevant" to what is hip right now. They sound excellent with the Roots here and I can't wait to find out what other Aretha samples they use on the tape. Enjoy!