Category Archives: Music

Inigo Montoya – Places We Imagined EP (Mastered by yours truly)

Somehow I neglected to post this, but here is an EP I mastered for a friend and a very dope band out in Philly, Inigo Montoya.

Check it out below and support them on Bandcamp!

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“Shook One Pt II” Sample Found

Ever wondered if there was a sample people STILL couldn’t figure out? I have to be honest, this was one that I didn’t even realize was undiscovered. Maybe it’s because I like the song so much as is I just never really thought past how great this beat was.

Oliver Wang’s latest blog in the LA Times chronicles the “unearthing” of one of the last unknown sources of a hip-hop classic. Check it out here.

If you want to hear it for yourself, see the video below:

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X-Clusive’s ‘Coming Attractions’

A friend of mine and frequent collaborator, X-Clusive, just dropped this mixtape yesterday. I think you’ll enjoy this one; the kid goes hard. I know he’s been working on this one for a while and I’m proud of him to finally see it out. Head on over to datpiff.com to stream it and download it.

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This is How You Package an Online Release: Ski Beatz “24 Hour Karate School”

In my continued effort to share with you great things that have come from my favorite place I’ve never been, I present to you: Ski Beatz’ 24 Hour Karate School.

Ski Beatz has sort of emerged as the resident producer/engineer of DD172, and over the course of the past few months, has been compiling this project. Just a few hours ago, they released a snippet of the mixtape, but it’s not just a bunch of short tracks in an unlabeled .zip file; they did a visual mixtape preview video, as well as a very nicely mixed 15 minute audio file. Interwoven into the audio is a bunch of old kung-fu samples, and the same goes for the video: B-roll of kung-fu flicks.

The choice not to upload this video to Vimeo or YouTube (yet) is an interesting one, as it actually requires you to download the package itself. It is very refreshing to see other people as concerned with presenting a digital product as I am, and not just trying to revive physical CD packaging at a loss.

This is something Black Hoodie Rap takes very seriously and is a huge fan of: innovating with our new mediums.

Needless to say, Brandon and I can’t wait to get into DD172.

To download the preview for Ski Beatz’ 24 Hour Karate School, click here to go to the official site.

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Theo Martins – Veni Vidi Vici

In any form of art, I just like to see people being themselves, and creating something that is representative of them in some manner. If you do that, it’s going to be different. How else do you possibly account for difference in any creative medium?

Was that a little too esoteric for you? I hope not, because it’s just my way of saying I enjoy people like Theo Martins because they are themselves. Nice guy too. We’ve run into each other on occasion and have both been pleasant to one another, not even REALLY knowing who each other is. That’s a good thing, but I digress. I’m here to put you on to some music.

Stream/download the song below

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Who Woulda Thought Hip-Hop Could Take Us This Far?

When hip-hop took to the blogs some years ago, I always thought it was an interesting evolution, because every blog worth its salt offered something different. Each had little nuances that appealed to different audiences and tastes.

For example, I knew Nah Right had the New York/East Coast perspective I was used to when it came to hip-hop, 2DopeBoyz had the OkayPlayer-esqe taste and were located out West, so it was different. And last but certainly not least, Unkut offered the type of content that I always felt like was the NPR of hip-hop: thoughtful, interesting, and well-done.

What most had in common though, was they were music purveyors (Unkut excluded, but they were purveyors in their own way). They blew up, in no small part, because you could download free music from them. Not just free music, but relevant, new music.

It didn’t occur to me until recently (and maybe because this is a recent development), that hip-hop blogs have grown to be much more, and much more diverse. It’s not just about getting free music, it’s filling every need that people who love the culture require.

I check Nah Right a few times a day just to see what’s new and whose name is getting thrown around. I go to Blind I because their tastes are so refined, separate and esoteric. I’ll visit Potholes in My Blog, because they’re like the filter of the “underground.”

Sometimes you want to know what’s going on without a DJ droppin’ his name every thirty seconds, and that’s when Unkut get a visit. Music is bigger than just bars and hooks, and they understand that.

And perhaps what’s emerged as my favorite blog, The Smoking Section, offers a little bit of both. It’s an internet tabloid that doesn’t take long to read, but there’s something to read (and you get music too). A sense of humor in your writing will get you very far.

It’s been my contention that hip-hop blogs were among the first to really revolutionize how we consume entertainment media today. In a world where we always look to commoditize and attach a price to everything, this whole process sure happened organically.

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From TV Shows to Samples: Collecting Royalties is a Rough Game

TMZ broke a story recently that the Universal Music Publishing Group is seeking $3000 from the Michael Jackson estate for the use of an R Kelly song in an upcoming show titled “Michael Jackson’s Private Home Movies.” The clip in question, which is embedded below, shows MJ having some fun while listening to the “Ignition Remix” by R Kelly. There hasn’t been a response yet by Jackson’s lawyers.

I chose to share this story with you to show you that anyone and everyone can get caught up in the game of payment of royalties, particularly when they didn’t mean to maliciously violate copyright law.

They will especially come after you the more popular you become (see: Kanye West, more than once).

Part of the problem is that there isn’t much of a formula for what is considered “fair compensation” for sample use, royalties, or airing a song in a TV show for 20 seconds. In fact, there isn’t a formula at all. Back in 2008, SPIN Magazine published a very provocative feature that questioned if sampling, particularly in hip-hop, was being forced into obscurity because of undefined and often unfair copyright laws.

RZA, the producer and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, was quoted in the article as saying that the main problem is that there’s no standard operating procedure as to how songwriters and publishers should be compensated.

RZA believes sampling needs to be regulated, starting with standardized fees and government oversight. Producers often have to give 50 to 100 percent of any publishing revenue to the original artist they’re sampling. RZA would like to see a new system where the publishing is equally split between the new producer and original artist, and in which session players from the initial recording even get paid again. “All this publishing was taken away from the artists,” he says, “and that kind of raped the hip- hop industry.” But not everyone in the industry shares his opinion.
SPIN, December 2008

The reality is that publishers and labels hold all the leverage, and if they do not like the terms of the agreement, they simply say no. This is not exactly an even negotiation. It’s my own belief that all sides have the right to be compensated, but as long as there’s no precedent, standard or law, the mainstream and general art form of sampling is suffering.

Beyond sampling, it makes licensing songs for TV shows difficult as well, as Michael Jackson’s lawyers just found out.

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