Although only a handful of cuts ever make it to the fully blown beat deconstruction process, my desire to understand the craftsmanship behind my favourite bangers means that I’m constantly on the digital dig. With such a wealth of information out there on these here internets (shouts to Dallas) it’s not often that such searches end in disappointment, but they do sometimes result in having to scrape my jaw off the floor after marveling at the revealed ingenuity of the producer behind the boards.
Clear leader in the ‘how did they do that?!’ stakes is unsurprisingly the inimitable DJ Premier whose legendary status requires no further exposition from yours truly. Instead, here are a handful of Preem-honed cuts and their sources that failed to qualify for the beat deconstruction process on the grounds that I simply have nothing intelligible to say about them that enlightens the composition process. Commentary will be sparse because – and this goes against all my blogging tendencies – the music speaks for itself. Hats off to Premier: the man’s abeast.
All City – ‘The Actual’
taken from Metropolis Gold (MCA, 1998)
Chi-Lites – ‘We Need Order’
taken from A Letter To Myself (Brunswick, 1973)
Okay, so the stabs are there at the beginning, and that percussive roll kicks in after six seconds… this flip is blinding. On a side note, half of Metropolis Gold is brilliant, half is awful. Weird album.
What?! You can hear the chimes that make up the Gangstarr track in the first few bars, but basically Latimore’s smooth groove is rendered completely unrecognisable at the hands of Premier. You’d have to know: now you do.
Common – ‘The 6th Sense’
taken from Like Water For Chocolate (MCA, 2000)
Intruders – ‘Memories Are Here To Stay’
taken from Save The Children (Philadelphia International, 1973)
Clearly this has been sped up, pitch shifted and chopped all over the place, but you can hear the solitary piano chord at 0.23 that makes it into this fine track from Like Water For Chocolate. That’s about the only sensible thing I can say about this though: ludicrous flip.
Oh, actually this one’s straightforward. Chop that section at 0.02, splice it in with that other bit at 0.05, chuck in that cheeky guitar lick… who am I kidding.
You can actually pick up on the one bar that becomes the main loop with this one (check the 0.40 mark), but those chops at the beginning? Get outta here.
AZ – ‘The Come Up’
taken from A.W.O.L. (Fastlife, 2005)
Lawrence Hilton Jacobs – ‘Holdin’ On’
taken from Lawrence Hilton Jacobs (?, 1978)
I need my mate Geoff to tell me if this is tremolo or vibrato on those strings at the 0.10 mark. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll be able to shed much light on the construction of Preem’s loop though. I’d forgotten how good this track off A.W.O.L. was: I bet you had too.
Mr Martin, you blow my mind.