These alchemists are an integral part of music, in some cases they are responsible for what picture is painted. Their range is limitless and they have the to control your moods just be the manipulation of note placement, drum pattern and adlibs. Being the beat junkie that I am, I found it only right to pay tribute to some of the producers who have created the ever-evolving soundtrack to my life. This list is by no means in any particular order and hopefully I’m able to introduce some of you to new favorites. Enjoy and spread the love … it’s the Brooklyn way!
It’s a brisk autumn day decorated in colors of black, gray and white. A crisp wind sneaks up underneath your loose fitting blouse as your hair effortlessly glides across your cheek. All the while you are focused on a target, eyes penetrating the chosen destination. A hum of violins creep up in acrescendo and even though you notice the melody, you don’t lose focus. That’s what I envision listening to Wax Tailor’s music. It’s cinematic, it breathes, it’s beautiful.
Wax Tailor has been compared to artists such as RJD2, Portishead and DJ Shadow because of his mood music. Extending the days of “trip hop” his use of strings and heavy bass line is the reason why this amazing producer was at the top of the CMJ Hip Hop and RPM charts in 2006 and “Tales” remained in Itunes Top Electronic Albums list for 28 weeks straight.
Hearing Jake One’s production makes me fall in love with the hardcore street rap of the 90s when groups such as Mob Deep, the Notorious B.I.G. and CNN were running things. I like his work so much that he was one of the producers I chose to include on The Lotus Lab Show 63 – Mad Notes, which was pure instrumental heaven. Hailing all the way from Seattle, this beatsmith is a professional when it comes to making headnodding tracks. As a producer for many G-Unit projects, Jake One has worked with some of the best emcees of the underground such as Doom, De La Soul, Little Brother and Elzhi. In 2008, Jake One released the impressive White Van Music, where every track is straight fire. Since then he’s released The Stimulus Package with Freeway and Patience with TruthLive.
Honestly, I wasn’t always a house music head. In the late 80s and early 90s when people in the North and MidWest were listening to house I was too busy dancing to freestyle. Not until I was introduced to Osunlade did I appreciate this form of dance music. Now tribal/afro house is my favorite form of this genre. Many of his production is drum heavy, giving a very raw, tribal feel due to his belief in Yoruba. Born in the St. Louis, this Yoruba priest started out composing music for Sesame Street during the same time I was wearing patent leather shoes and dancing to artists such as George Lamond and TKA. His spiritual belief system is so apparent that he names a lot of his songs after Yoruba principals and deities. My personal favorite from him is Sokin Sikartep
His beats are velvety smooth. When I bought Jazzy Jeff’s 2002 release, Magnificent, I never knew the track “Musik Lounge” was produced by Oddissee. And when I was nodding my head to the Diamond District’s mixtape In the Ruff, I also didn’t know that beat smith Oddissee was responsible for a lot of the boom bap. Odissee whose influence comes from singers, guitarists and poets on the Sudanese side of his family and blue grass guitarists, gospel singers and hip hop loving cousins on the American side. He has made beats for acts such as Talib Kweli, J-Live, Little Brother and Freeway. Check out his Bandcamp page for music from this eclectic producer.
Since Tricky’s debut solo release, Maxinquaye in 1995, I have been a fan. His dark beat production, raspy voice and patois-filled ad libs is a winner in my book. Not to mention he always has the best female vocalists that compliment his trippier style. Tricky hasn’t changed his style over the past 15 years as a solo artist. Shying away from the media and giving the public limited access to him seems to be keys to his success. He’s dabbled in a little acting as well, with bit parts in The Fifth Element and the TV sitcom Girlfriends where he played a musician and showcased his talent.