Author Archives: Proof
New track we did. Taken from Realizm’s – Scribe of the Occult
Following up a solid lead from The Critical Path mixtapes, Slice Of Spice present Overworked & Underpaid, the debut album from First Division (Shylow & Expertise). Featuring beats by Marco Polo (Executive Producer), DJ Premier, Kev Brown, Jake One, The Doppelgangaz, BeatWyze and guest appearances from Prince Po, Rah Digga, Torae, Hannibal Stax and more. Peep the preview and single below and pre order via Slice of Spice.
DJ Sammy B-Side has meticulously gone through the ever growing High Focus crates and carefully pulled out a delicately balanced selection of bangers and gems from the HF arsenal for your listening pleasure. Stream or download.
Beat Butcha’s made a name for himself world wide, working with the most respected artists over the UK, US and AU. His grind, the way his music resonates with his colabs and his natural progression in production is something that’s to be respected. I threw our ’10 second sample time’ over to gain a little more about the man who’s steady ‘spreadin’ the infection’. Big ups to the Beat Butcha!
1. What was your first piece of equipment you made a full beat on and who taught/mentored you?
I mean, apart from looping my favourite beats making pause button tapes at 11 or 12, I was pretty much like most bredders. I started off with very little knowledge or skill of the craft, I’m completely self taught, it all basically started with audio editing software which my friend gave me a demo of called ‘Cool Edit ’96’.
Before I even had a crack, I’d just reinstall the software every 30 days when the trial period ran out hahaha, you know I was ‘keeping it real’ as fuck hahaha (Until someone introduced me to Mr Quistgard).
So yeah, first equipment I had was my first Desktop PC, in ’98, at 16 years old, I shared it with my Mum, it was a piece of shit, even at a late 90s standard. I had no clue what people made beats on, other than knowing vaguely about the Akai MPCs and the EMU SP-1200, which obviously I had heard people talk about on some of my favourite records.
I was already trying my hand at DJing here and there, I had one Technics 1210 at the time and a cheap mixer & I was using my Mum’s Hi-Fi record player as the second turntable. I would take my Mum’s record collection and fuck about sampling bits of French records through and aux lead out my mixer into a shitty soundblaster soundcard using a demo of Cool Edit ’96 to mix-paste sounds over each other.
I’d get drums from either open sounds on hip hop 12”s, CDs or breaks from break compilations and try and mix-paste them over bits of music. Then I’d loop the groove I had made, actually used a more evolved version of that method of making beats for years.
2. I notice you utilise live instrumentation, including the addition of an upright piano to your arsenal. Has this been a natural progression for you or have you always played keys and fucked with live/non sampled production?
It was definitely a natural progression, in the first 7 years or so (until 2005 or 06) I was completely sample based, I didn’t have any keyboards, didn’t know how to use midi. Didn’t know anything basically, I had an MPC 2000 and I was digging for samples, but was mainly using Cool Edit/Audition to sequence.
But as time goes by new things inspire you, new sounds come along and you want to learn new things, you get tired of the limitations of your equipment & skill set. One of the biggest problems I used to have were Basslines, without midi, a bass guitar or any keyboards I was really just limited to using 16 level function on the MP.
So the first synth I got was the Roland MC202, my boy DJ Kam (Beyond There/Mr Bongos) put me on to that being the machine that cats like DJ Spinna and supposedly Nottz used to get those ill bouncy sub baselines. It’s a really basic lil grey box with one sound you can shape and make do some dope shit, the keyboard is 2 octaves of square rubber buttons.
After that I bought a MicroKorg off my boy Chemo and when I got that I basically caught the bug for playing, I love the freedom it gives you in what you can do with song structure, beyond of course business implications.
Again I’m completely self taught, and 99% of the instrumentation in my music is played by me, I’m no virtuoso but I know how to get a good take. I’d say most of getting a good flavour to original tracks is in the sound design, the majority of preset sounds are meh, u need to tweak.
I’m always trying to learn about new bits of theory and technique, its fun learning new things and applying them. Also listening to a dope old joint and trying to break it down and figure out how they’ve made it, so you can apply that to whatever ur making.
I still sample here and there, but it’s pretty rare if my production is completely sampled, I’m all about those sample sounding textures though, most of my sample free material is about going for that aesthetic. Hence why I have stuff like a Farfisa Organ, Challen Upright, Juno-60, Guitars, various pedals, it’s pretty hard to recreate the feel of the instruments you hear in your favourite samples using VSTs.
The way I work these days is a stark difference to the old days, I don’t even keep much vinyl in the studio (mainly coz I don’t have much space for it).
Obviously from a business point of view, sampling has a lot of implications in terms of clearance & losing out on royalties & splits. Because of that, a lot of industry heads these days have issues with sampled beats, so it’s always good to have sample free stuff to play people.
3. What’s your current studio flow…pour up a drink/spark a spliff, find sample, loop drums, chop?
I don’t really have a standard flow, but quite often it involves either sitting behind an instrument or listening through sounds and samples and just vibing it out. Sometimes I will have a preconceived idea of what I want to make, but yeah it varies. I often spend days when I’m not feeling all that inspired making sounds & creating presets, so I got plenty of stuff to work with and so the flow is smooth when I’m building.
I do like my late night sessions with a bottle of Rum though, some of my best shit comes out of nights like that. I also really enjoy working the skeleton of an idea out with an artist into a song….
4. Name a producer or song that has changed your approach to drum programming.
There’s so many, through the eras, I think an obvious one was the Roc-a-fella Bink!/Just Blaze era. The way they were programming definitely made me completely switch my approach to drums, elaborate rolls and the use of toms and crashes.
After that era, the mid-late 2000s DJ Khalil, Hi-Tek, Jake One, & Focus had a big influence on me, kinda simplified my drums for a while because of what they were doing.
5. Incredible production but the MC let it down. Name a track or album like this.
I’m sure there’s loads but I can’t think of one off top tbh. I thought the beats on Right Said Fred’s album were banging, but the MC really let them down. Right Said Fred if you’re reading this, step ur bars up cuhz!
6. Practice, appreciation for the art and creativity are 3 things that make a good producer. How does these things translate into someone’s ‘signature sound’
For sure, I mean what you focus on in taste and in learning will translate into how you sound, I always feel like you can hear peoples influences in their signature sound. And of course practice will help you sound how you want to sound.
7. Tell us briefly about how you got to the point of securing tracks for the likes of Mobb Deep etc..Where did you catch the break?
Not really a simple answer to this question, but basically I been doing trips to the states since ’08, networking & just trying to be in the mix. There was no ‘break’, it’s all gradual…
8. You got 5k at your disposal, what are you going to buy for the stoods or would you take the nose blown and hookers route?
I’d build a shark pit in my studio or maybe an ejector seat, for when artists or a&r’s pass thru on some bullshit. If I had any left I’d get my arms replaced with grenade launchers, maybe start a charity for hip hop producers that have hooks for hands. It’s only 5k though, so mite just buy a snorkel and spend the rest on smoked mackerel pate.
9. If you had to pick it based off critical acclaim and longevity who would you pick out of Pete Rock and Large Professor and why?
I got a lot of love for both the soul brother and the live guy with glasses from Flushing, both have countless classics, but for me by a smidgen, it’s probably Pete Rock. It’s just a personal taste thing, both are legends but I just like more of Pete Rock’s catalog in total.
10. What do you see as the new trends for the ‘mass appeal’ in beat making?
Well I mean half time beats, machine gun note repeat hi hats & note bend 808 subs seem to be in every beat, or like just straight sample loop beats seem to be what everyone’s doing if they aint doing that.
Beat Butcha on Soundcloud
@beatbutcha_soi on socials
I though you dudes would have used the intro!?! All the same, great use of the break and similar parts in the sample. I’ll have see if I can dig through the archives and see what I did with sample a few years back. Always good to see another producers approach.
Thanks again to Servo, Realizm and everyone who polled this round. Appreciate it
Round 9 samples will be going out in the next week.
This month I though id switch it up a little and give the producers a drum break to level things out and see if you can still pick the programming over the sound. I might continue this for future rounds.
Only rules were that both producers had to use the drum break and of course the sample. I’ve picked up a couple of Al Di Meola’s albums over this years, a real mash of Jazz and latin flamenco type shit. Plenty of tempo and signature changes and some experimental stuff throughout, no real reason behind the dig this month other than it being in close reach. I hit up Realizm from Adelaide and local legend, Servo to do their thing. Thanks fellas, you both kilt that shit!
Have a guess below who mad which beat..I’ll reveal the producers at the end of next week.
This one came through the inbox last week. Aside from Calski, I haven’t heard much from any of the MCs to be honest. Impressive stuff. Nice beat with some solid bars and an overall well mastered sound. Looking forward to hearing some more from these guys.
P-Smurf, Master Wolf and Nix spit fire over Calski’s beat, questioning everything on false reality TV and reflecting the general discontent with mainstream media. Nothing is safe.
I though id share a little review blurb written by some hip, young upstart, of a show we tore down some 10 years ago. I think from the jump we were out to make the promoters night a cunt. Beside the fact the ticket prices were a steep $20, it was a poor choice of venue to hold a DMC event in the first place..The spot was a well know techno super club. Turns out half the club was shut and all the bedroom DJs and support acts were arse holed to the basement level to pay excessive drink prices and harassed by overweight bouncers.The Thursday night and loss of the sponsorship (if memory severs correct) didn’t help either. In standard fashion we drunk everyone’s rider, demanded more rider as ours was drunk by some ‘other cunts’, stormed the stage and proceeded to invite anyone and everyone to the stage to fuck it up with us. It will go down as one of the most memorable 750 shows, for me.
Here’s her reports…
750 Rebels performed prior to the announcement of winners. They were impressive in the sense that they were a big group of guys rapping in sync on a swamped stage. How the crowd managed to get up there, stay there and whether 750 Rebels were happy with this development remains an unsolved mystery. Not much else about 750 Rebels impressed me. The crowd on the stage were obviously having a GREAT time and the ones on the ground were moved to shuffle a bit (the most active I saw them all night). Either the music was better, or the Tooheys New was finally kicking in. By the end of the set, which seemed interminable, the room was fairly empty.
I really enjoyed and miss the old DMC battles in the early-mid 2000s. The fact, the DJ had to put a decent amount of forethough into their routine, covering the right selection of music, what parts to play and when was/is an art in itself. What records they were diggin, borrowing or stealing and playing on the night to get an original concept across to get the crowd Gd up was a big thing for me as I’ve never really learnt the technical shit on the decks other than blends. Some kid could use his fucking elbow to scratch a record but if that shit sounded wak it sounded wak but I could always appreciate and see the merit for some of the tricks and showmanship involved with some of it.
Big up to the DJ’s out there putting out live mixes and doing their thing still.
Stretch and Bobbito explores the social impact of what the Source Magazine in 1998 voted, “The Best Hip Hop Radio Show Of All-Time.” The documentary film is the story of quirky friends who became unlikely legends by engaging their listeners and breaking the biggest rap artists ever.
During the 1990s, Stretch and Bobbito introduced the world to an unsigned Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, and Big Pun, as well as an unknown Jay-Z, Eminem, Fat Joe, and the Fugees. The total record sales for all the artists that premiered on their show exceed 300 million. Stretch and Bobbito created a platform that changed music forever.
Stretch & Bobbito’s musical merits were only half of the story, though. Their show had a cult following in the art/fashion world and prison population. All would loyally tune in for the offbeat humor just as much for the exclusive music. Stretch and Bobbito brought a unique audience together, and inspired a movement.
Unfortunately, Stretch and Bobbito eventually parted ways, ending a landmark run that the NY Press once regarded as, “The Best Late Night Radio (All Genres).” In 2010, they reunited for a 20th anniversary broadcast, which rated as the #1 Twitter topic. Their impact is still felt today.
Summer 2015 release
The accompanying cassette
This month for our 10 seconds sample time segment I reached out to one of our country’s pioneers, Melbourne’s Trem one to get his insight and perspective on production in the culture.
1. What was your first piece of equipment you made a beat on and who taught/mentored you?
As far as actually makin a beat? I first started playin round with two boombox’s speaker to speaker recording the break part of old school rap tracks usin’ the pause button method, then elevated to recording break-beats on wax when i got my 12’s and started seein’ how it worked. Eventually my eyes opened up to actual sampling thru my old homie DJ Frenzie and then DJ Idem. Idem’s weapon of choice back then was a Roland W-30 which seemed to be the stock selection for many Melbourne producers.
I ended up buying Prowla’s old W-30 not too long afterwards when he upgraded to the Akai S-1000 and cut my teeth on the art-form of sampling at home with that 8bit grit. Id been in a stack of sessions with all those guys looking and learning but Prowlz was definitely responsible for running me thru the extended process in detail so I could go about my business unhindered. As it turned out Rob and I ended up with his S-1000 as well and that was when I really started motoring on with production and started to formulate actual tracks.
Although as every producer knows, self teaching is part of the fun, the schooling I received from some of Melbourne’s greatest in the game was invaluable. Frenzie, Idem, Prowla and Jase all played hands on mentoring parts in varying degrees.
What’s your current weapon of choice for knocking something out?
I switch and change, I’ve used all from the W-30 to S-9, S-1000, ASR, MP and FL Studio… To be perfectly honest I’ve recently had a lil hiatus from the beat making game to focus on other aspects of the production process but in the lab at present is the trusty S-1000 for sampling. Sequencing wize I use Nuendo for all tracking from beat stems to vox.
3. How did you approach FTTOHNL from a production point of view in comparison to your previous solo ep’s which where such a long time ago…Did you dig back through the vaults for some beats or just mash out over a set time period and knock out a specific sound that you visualised.
It was a combo, my initial idea was to self produce the entire thing with the exception of one or two, but alot of the beats I had in the vault for my solo ended up getting used on crew product and I moved a couple others on to artists I thought they suited. Then my direction switched a little with the release as it progressed and I wanted more external input from the producto side of things. I guess that was a bi-product of me mentally transforming back into emcee mode.
The process took as long as it took to write the album, I legitimately sifted thru hundreds and thousands of beats from all over to fit the mould of what I was keeping of my own and to bring into the same frame as what was already established for the
4. Last production I heard from you was on P-Link’s – In my Element and the latest being from Kings Konekted – The Campaign. Are you very selective about who you give/sell your beats too or will we see more production from you, outside the circle you’ve already worked with?
Yes and know, my biggest bug bear is not having control once you let go of the production. Id rather work an entire release, even if I didn’t make the beats for every track, Id want to be involved in the whole thing to ensure the vision is executed correctly. I’m a little control freakish with that sorta shit, I hate hearing releases with varying producers and it’s all over the shop. It’s really gotta be conducive or it just comes off amateur. This happens way too much. Learning what suits your style and spending that extra time in getting your beats to all sit on the same plain is paramount in my opinion
5. I like your simplified approach to your beats with the intent for the MC to be the front man. How do you flip your samples without things sounding too overdone.
Cheers man, yep, no tricks. Straight up and down. I have alot of appreciation for beat makers who get flexi with it but unless your doin some instro only type shit Id much rather keep it reasonably simple for the MC to go for theirs. Drums are paramount, no doubt but it’s ALWAYS been the loop that gets me, from a dope double bass loop to some ill strings or nasty piano licks, when you hear that 1,2 or 4 bar loop that just makes you put your drink down and go what the fuck was that, rewind, that’s the shit. You know when you can just have it on loop with no additive for hours, that’s what I look out for first and foremost
6. Incredible production but the MC let it down. Name a track or album like this
Ohh, yeah, nice question… its a hard one…Id love to join in the chorus of many and say Group Homes first or Necro but they both really work! Fuck, this is hard… I’m sure I’ll think of something that fits this question better but off the head, without going thru the stash, U-God on most early Wu comes to mind.
7. What do you think gives a producer a signature sound, how much do you think equipment/software and sample selection has to do with it over their processes used.
I think it varies, and has done for ever. Ced Gee had the ill drum programming, Marley had the ill soul loops. RZA work them off time pianos and Preem made classics with half bar rawness on repeat. Any and all achieved greatness with varying record selections and equipment. From splicing samples with reel tape to SP12’s and MPCs, its all relevant. I think the signature just comes with mastering whatever works for you.
8. Name a track/album or producer that changed the way you approach your sequencing/sample chops.
Fuck… Yeah another good one, um… I can’t really say I’ve changed my shit since the beginning. I’ve never tried to re-create the wheel, that late 80’s to early 90’s style is what i adapted and continue to build with.
9. If you had to pick it based of critical acclaim and longevity who would you pick out of Dr Dre and DJ Premier and why?
Preem for mine on all accounts. I hate to sound blasphemous but since NWA Dre’s shit hasn’t done alot for me. Some cool shit here and there no doubt, but I’d take that rawness over the polish all day and Primo has perfected it.
10. How would Sheer Talent sound in 2015.
I think beat wize it would stand up. I think lyrically it needs a little refinement, but the body is still there. I think the vocal delivery and overall mix needs a shitload of work but that’s a part of the learning process. It is what it is. But I’d take the pepsi challenge on the instros for sure, that shit still bangs…
Looks like everyone was bang on in picking this round. Great mix of styles and chops, I could barely pic Rob’s flip! sheesh!
Thanks again for everyone involved..Most likely we’ll be skipping a round this month but we’ll be back in June for the round 8.
Should give us a little more time to come up with something to test the producers a little more and work outside their comfort zones.
The sodden cunt of a man, Billionaire Bunk$ is back like herpes from a weekend with a cracker in Bali. After the somewhat success of Booze Bastards, he come’s through stroking the felt and pissing on cunts Nikes as one would expect. I’m not sure what’s better here, the adlibs at the front and back of the track or the witty puns laced over a classic break. Either way, I’m looking forward to hearing more from this dribble dick. Smart with the word play, he kind of reminds me of our own Sean Price in a way. Top stuff Bunks!
This month we tried to get a bit of a Christ theme happening over April with Easter and all. AkidcalledChubz didn’t hit us with the obscure uptown gospel joints but he did come through with a deadly OST. The soundtrack to the film, The Cross and the Switchblade which was based off a book from the 60’s about a minister who turns around the lives of NY gang members life through Christ…That was the Easter link and we ran with it. Decent soundtrack, Chubz had a couple of tracks to choose from but I though this one would be the most interesting to flip.
Was great to see how these three utilized and approached the sample differently, giving some pretty varying results. All heaters in their own right. Shouldn’t be too tough to pick this round. Cheers to all involved. I’ll reveal next week sometime. Enjoy.
Finally a release date for Days With Dr. Yen Lo. Looking forward to this. Subtle reference to the Nightbreed 12 in the clip.
I know, this shyts been done before on many a blog but upon revisiting last years Apollo Brown & Ras Kass’s classic, Blasphemy I picked up on a line that was a little pause worthy.
It got me thinking of a few others from the last few years off the top of my head of some classics we’d joke about on the reg back in school or when they dropped..Most of the time, and I use that term loosly (PAUSE), you obviously know what their trying to get but sometimes you can’t help but raise the eyebrow and think to yourself, didn’t his crew/collaborator, the producer/engineer or anyone else prior to the release pick up on the blatant homoerotic or suspect nature of the shit they were saying here!
There’s a fuckload more from way back and I could only imagine what these tight pant, molly dropping fucktards are yappin bout these days but here’s the Ras Kass one and a couple of others, plus one from your favorite rappers favorite rapper. I thought id throw in at a stretch for a laugh. All jokes and homo pokes aside there all killer tracks.
Rass Kass & Apollo Brown – Please Don’t Let Me
“Be careful who you let suck on your dick
That bitch might be a boy
I be frisking hoes in the club, I’m paranoid”
What kind of fucking clubs are you going to Razzy?
Fat Joe – John Blaze ft Nas, Big Pun, Jadakiss & Raekwon.
“whenever I see y’all Ima test ya, only cause I know that faggots respect pressure”
Jada’s no stranger to inadvertently spitting suspicious shit. This is one of those confusing moments.
Madlib & Freddie Gibbs – Real
“I stand on my two balls my dick and my ten toes”
Freddie gets at Yeezy on this but he also gets down on some strange BDSM shit by the sounds of it? That aint no regular game of twister G.
Canibus – 2nd Round K.O
“Well let me tell you something, you might got more cash than me, but you ain’t got the skills to eat a nigga’s ass like me”
Unforgettable. Even the name of the albums suss.
Roc Marciano – Raw Deal
“Mos yall rapper can toss my salad”
This whole album is classic but man Marc spits some brow raising shit..Let me tell you something, He aint asking rappers to come round and toss the Caesar dressing through the lettuce and croutons. If you don’t know what tossing the salad means then you should probably keep it that way. You don’t want that visual haha.
Extra mention to another line on the album “Yeah I’m a pampered dude, standing nude in the tanning room” smh.
Luniz – I got 5 on it
“I take sacks to the face, whenever I can”
I remember we paused on this hard back in high school. Obviously that volume of slang thesaurus never got passed around our parts. Numskull! what a fucking numskull. You get them sacks in the face, player….All day!
Raekwon – State of Grace
The Vatican Mixtape
“Love to hustle, my ring, call it big Uranus”
I was actually looking for another track off this mixtape in which Rae openly states somewhere that he’s on some faggot or homo shit but I can’t find it!? Anyway, this was another cracker.
Nas – NY State of Mind
“I’m not the type of brother meant for you to start tessin, give me a Smif and Wessin’, I’ll have niggas undressing”
He couldn’t really finish it off with “I’ll take the chain up of your chest hair” either. “I’ll take chains up of your dresser” would have been a little more suitable maybe haha.
Attn Heata, link us all up with some of them obscure joints in ya stash!