Whaddup everyone? Hope all are enjoying their weekend thus far. As for me, I’m recuperating from the ol‘ “snip snip” (read: no chance of a testosterone fueled baby boy in my future) laying around the house while the wife has the girls out and about (I think that the circus is in town today). So, since I have the day pretty much to myself I plan on completing something that I’ve been sitting on for a week or so. Throughout the day I will be posting up a list of “The Top 25 Beats” with downloadable links for contributor’s each list. I’ve always been heavy on production, as an emcee you can be spitting the illest shit (i.e, Cannibus or past Royce Da 5’9″ albums) but if you aren’t armed with some dope production 9 times out of 10 the avid Hip Hop listener is gonna’ move on to the next selection. Lyrics are only 1/2 of the equation. Besides, you’ve all seen the “top songs”, “top albums” or “top emcees” lists posted all over the net’ but I have yet to come across a list dedicated strictly to the BEATS. I’ve compiled the lists from some of my fellow bloggers, cats whom I have the utmost respect for and am a fan of their work myself. That lists of folks includes Dan Love of From Da Bricks, Travis Glave of Wake Your Daughter Up (who BTW (cursing under breath) beat me to the “100 Greatest Obscure Tracks” @ PhilaFlava.com with his interesting post this morning), Mike Dikk from the hilarious Dumpin.Net and last but definitely not least….the Nati’s own Ill Poetic, the extremely talented “double threat” (emcee/producer) who abruptly came outta’ nowhere to at least give me (the album also seems to be picking up a huge head of steam judging from various reviews around the net’ as well) the album of the year thus far with “The World Is Ours”. I’ve been hella‘ busy these past few weeks and this is gonna’ be a time consuming post, piecing together the MP3′s accounting for most of it. I’ll be posting the list up pretty much one by one throughout the day & weekend so if any of my “fellow bloggers” (shhh….I caught some heat for that term a few months ago) would like to contribute their “Top 25 Beats” as well, feel free to shoot me an e-mail and I’ll do my best do include your submissions as well. The more the merrier!!!
With that being said, first up we have one of my favorite artists in the game right now (damn, does Ill Poetic need to hire me for a publicist or what?..just kidding) Cincinnati’s very own Ill Poetic. I’ve been in awe ever since hearing “The World Is Ours”, with it’s beautiful, crisp production Ill’s follow up to his debut “Illumination” is truly music for the your soul. Not only that, but Ill recently stopped by for W.T.R.’s version of “20 Questions” (stay tuned for an upcoming sit down with Jazz Addixx later in the week) and has been extremely cordial and quick to respond to any request that we’ve sent his way. Not only is Ill Poetic an extremely talented “diamond in the rough” whose potential is endless, but he’s a quality individual who judging from his recent MySpace “blogs” isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty (touring, self promotion, etc.) in order for the Hip Hop world to catch a glimpse of what it’s been sorely lacking. Now, similar to what Jay-Z said in reference to Rick Rubin (while working with Rick on “99 Problems”)..”Ya know, producers have their own little idiosyncrasies and such”, and that same phrase may be applicable to some of Ill’s selections for his “Top 25 Beats Of All Time”. More than a handful of selections that made Ill Poetic’s list succeeded in raising my eyebrows. When compared to lists from Trav, Dan Love, Mike Dikk & myself..Ill’s inclusions of tracks such as Witchdoctor’s (of the Dungeon Family) “Dez Only 1″ and Eazy-E’s “Real Muthaphuckin G’s” truly proves that Ill’s wide array of beats may stem from the little excerpts or tweaks in each song that your traditional Hip Hop lover may have overlooked. Nevertheless, here is Ill’s “Top 25 with the corresponding archive included for your listening pleasure..up next Dan Love’s “Top 25″….-Eric
Ill Poetic’s Top 25 Beats Of All Time (click to download)
2. “Respiration” prod. by Hi Tek-BlackStar….”I didn’t really dig BlackStar until I heard this song, but it was the beat really I LOVED that shit”
3. “We Major” prod. by Kanye & Jon Brion-Kanye West…”I love epic music, that’s what this beat is”
4. “Nag Champa (Afrodisiac For The World) prod. by Jay Dee & The SoulQuarians-Common….”The first of many J Dilla/Jay Dee beats that you’ll see (pop) up on here. This whole album is mastered ambience in Hip Hop”.
5. “Dead Presidents” prod. by Ski-Jay-Z….”The Lonnie Listen sample, I love the keys and the filter is perfect”!
6. “Take It In Blood” prod. by Live Squad-Nas….”I liked “It Was Written” better than “Illmatic” (I know that’s against Hip Hop law), this beat is one of the reasons why”.
7. “Good Mourning” prod. by Hi Tek-Talib Kweli & Hi Tek/Reflection Eternal….”I think this is my favorite Hi Tek beat…this or “Respiration”. I play this every fall”.
8. “E.T. (Extraterrestrial)” prod. by artist-Outkast….”No drum beat, the first of many Outkast productions on this list”
9. “Still Standing” prod. by Mr. DJ-Goodie Mob….”Especialy when Cee-Lo rhymes, but this beat is powerful and depressing with the low voices..but perfect. Matter of fact, the whole album (“Still Standing”) could go on here also!”
10. “Dez only 1″ prod. by Organized Noize….”This whole record could go on here too. This is my favorite song (beat too), though “Heaven Comin” is close…fu#k, they’re all close! This is like Organized Noize on some tribal shit….soo fly”.
11. “Think Twice” prod. by artist-Jay Dee…”Both versions, one’s an instrumental with live drums…either one’s fly”
12. “1st Of Tha Month” prod. by DJ U-Neek-Bone Thugs N Harmony….”This beat sounds like a BBQ. I’m a big DJ U-Neek fan (editor’s note:hmm, I wonder if the Ohio connection has anything to do with it, ha ha) so there’s alot more I could fit on here. The whole “E.1999 Eternal is fuc#in’ genius!, same with “Creepin…”
13. “Summertime” prod. by Hula & K Fingers-DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince….”The other BBQ beat, the last summer joint….almost”.
14. “The Inc. Ride” prod. by Louie Vega-Masta Ace Incorporated….”The one with the Isley Brothers sample that everyone uses, except they added synths in it”
16. “You’re The Man” prod. by Large Professor-Nas….”Large Pro = Good Shit”
17. “Jasmine” prod. by Carlos “Six July” Broady & Nashiem Myrick-Black Rob….”Jasmine” is beautiful, the little notes that hit at the end of the loop….the groove is soo coooool“
18. “Dreamin” prod. by The Runners-Young Jeezy….”Or the song on the first (Jeezy) album that had the same vibe, both beats are beasts”
20. “Pigeon/Scream Pheonix” prod. by El P-Cannibal Ox….”I (really) don’t get into El-P shit all like that, but the combo of these two beats are beautiful…but in an ugly way. I rock this shit EVERY winter, this sounds like New York after 9/11…but it came out like 5 months before”
21. “4th Chamber” prod. by The Rza-GZA….”One of my favorite RZA beats, but it’s really hard to chose”
23. “Let Me Ride” prod. by artist-Dr. Dre…”So I had to put a real one on”
24. “Spottieottiedopaliscious” prod. by artist-Outkast….”My favorite, most pimpest beat. The best live horns in Hip Hop….EVER!
25. “Share This” prod. RJD2-Soul Position (Blueprint & RJD2)….”It was between this and “Right Place/Wrong Time”, but I remember hearing the demo version of this and thinking that it was the coldest shit that Blueprint ever spit on”
Now, I’ve never personaly met Dan Love but I will tell you this….he has gotta’ be one of the brighest cats runnin’ a Hip Hop blog out there. I mean, did you see his recent post regarding Pete Rock’s production on “Electrify” from Talib’s “Ear Drum”. Hell, I hated that song and even stated it so on this blog..but, after reading Dan intricately break it down in his own style of lingo I damn near had a “hard on” for “Electrify”. Needless to say, it’s been a heavy favorite of mine ever since….if Talib would just switch up the chorus a bit. Hailing from the United Kingdom with endless knowledge of the “Golden Age”, Dan’s “Top 25 Beats” reads like a Premo “Crooklyn Cuts” track listing. Filled to the rim with easily identifiable East Coast CLASSICS, I now present to you:
Dan Love’s (From Da Bricks) “Top 25 Beats” (click to download)
Dan’s disclaimer: “As with any list, I feel like I need to make a couple of quick disclaimers here. Picking my Top 25 beats of all time is a near impossible task, so first off I’d like to state that these
are in no particular order: ranking them would be inconceivable. Secondly, the only way that I thought I could actually do this was to simply note down the first songs that came to mind (obviously a little bit of chopping and changing took place), so realistically this list could be totally different if I were to set about the task again tomorrow. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here are my Top 25 beats as of this particular moment in time…”
1. “Up Against The Wall (Getaway Car Mix)” prod. by DJ Premier-Group Home….Dan Love said: “Choosing favourites from Primo’s catalogue is difficult to say the least, but I always loved the piano sample on this track and the subtlety with which it was executed: it’s a truly beautiful beat”.
2. “Pete’s Jazz” prod. by artist-Pete Rock….”I could fill this list with Pete Rock tracks, but I believe that this particular song demonstrates his genius as convincingly as anything else from his catalogue (I wrote a whole post on it a little while back). Sophisticated, multi-layered and ridiculously bangin’: the replay value on this is astonishing”.
3. “Them That’s Not” prod. by Grap Luva-J-Live….”It must run in the family because Pete’s little brother Grap Luva smacked it with this one. The build up into the main beat drop is incredible, and there is no denying the originality of the concept here. Killer.”
4. “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” prod. by Large Professor-Nas….”It’s only since joining the blogging community that I realised that there are a lot of people out there who don’t rate this particular song, but I think that the beat is fantastic. I’ll brace myself for the backlash…”
5. “Step To Me” prod. by Showbiz & artist-Diamond D….”So many choice beats on ‘Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop’ that it is hard to pick a favourite, but this really is a standout. Massive horns, slammin’ drums… NY boom bap doesn’t come much finer than this.”
6. “You Want It” prod. by Showbiz-Showbiz & A.G. feat. Wali World….”A slightly left of centre choice I know, but ‘You Want It’ encapsulates that mid-‘90s sound so perfectly that I had to include it on my list. Of course, there are loads of other Showbiz productions that could have been included, but alas, there are only 25 spots…”
7. “I Got To Have It” prod. by Joe Mansfield, Special K & Teddy Ted-Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs….”The oldest beat on my list, and the only one to come out of a city other than New York. Boston represent! Never fails to put a smile on my face.”
8. “Shit Iz Real” prod. by Da Beatminerz-Black Moon….”Where do you start with Da Beatminerz? It’s the strings that always did it for me on this beat, creating that dark, eerie vibe that was so perfectly crafted on the early Boot Camp releases”
9. “Hellucination” prod. by Da Beatminerz-Smif N Wessun….”‘Bucktown’ is the obvious contender here, but the bare bones feel of this track is incredible. Ridiculously heavy drums and the nerve-tingling samples go together so well to create yet another Beatminerz’s banger”
10. “Electric Relaxation” prod. by artist (read: Q-Tip)-A Tribe Called Quest….” had to have a Tribe beat in here somewhere, and ‘Electric Relaxation’ has always been one of my favourites. Soulful, rich, beautiful… you know what I’m talkin’ about”
11. “Crooklyn” prod. by Q-Tip-Masta Ace, Buckshot & Special Ed….”Q-Tip came up trumps with this one. It’s really the bassline that wins me over with this particular beat, but the overall feeling of warmth that it creates is outstanding”
12. “Luchini” prod. by Ski-Camp Lo….”Ski must be one of the most underrated producers in hip hop history, and ‘Luchini’ goes to show why. Little more than a loop with drums, but man, this is a serious banger”
13. “Without A Doubt” prod. by artist & Salaam Remi-Black Sheep….”Another slightly less obvious choice, but it made the list because like ‘You Want It’ and ‘Crooklyn’, it encapsulates that combination of warmth and grit that made the early to mid-‘90s so special perfectly”
14. “Warning” prod. by Easy Mo Bee-Notourious B.I.G….”Stripped down and raw, Easy Mo Bee delivers something truly sensational with ‘The Warning’. I remember reading in Ego Trip’s Book Of Rap Lists that Preem stated that this is one of ten songs that he wishes he had produced: recommendations don’t come much higher than that”
15. “Mecca & The Soul Brother” prod. by Pete Rock-Pete Rock & CL Smooth….”A demonstration that straight out the blocks, Pete Rock was a producer of serious stature. All the trademarks of his production style are already in place in ’91, and this stands as one of the greatest compositions in his catalogue for me. Those horns…”
16. “The Extinction Agenda” prod. by Buckwild-Organized Konfusion….”In my opinion, Buckwild was the strongest producer to come out of the D.I.T.C. camp and his work on Organized’s sophomore release was outstanding. Less in your face than the majority of my other choices, but still a truly great beat executed with style and finesse”
17. “Time’s Up” prod. by Buckwild-O.C….”Buckwild’s finest moment? A hypnotic head-nodder that demonstrates that a truly great beat needn’t be compliated. Classic”
18. “Come Clean” prod. by DJ Premier-Jeru The Damaja….”Again, picking Primo favourites is nearly impossible, but he accomplished something special with ‘Come Clean’. Who would have thought that something that sounded like a dripping tap could be so bangin’?”
20. “The Gimmicks” prod. by K Def-Real Live….”Gotta give K-Def his due props somewhere in this list, and ‘The Gimmicks’ is basically a definitive lesson in boom bap production. Sleighbells and those soaring strings make this one of his finest moments”
21. “C.R.E.A.M.” prod. by The RZA-Wu-Tang Clan….”I imagine other people may favour other RZA productions over this, but the haunting piano loop and bass get me every single time”
22. “Whutcha Want” prod. by Rob Lewis-Nine….”The Otis Redding and string samples really make this song. Another fine example of that NYC sound before the genre started to lose its way, and a certified banger to boot”
23. “Up North Trip” prod. by artist-Mobb Deep….”Of course, ‘Shook Ones Part II’ would be the obvious choice here, but the raw simplicity of this song wins me over. The snares on this beat leave your ears ringing, and it’s all the better for it”
24. “No Endz, No Skinz” prod. by Showbiz-Big L….”Another Showbiz production that stands out from his plethora of quality material. The beats on general on Big L’s debut are outstanding, but this is the standout for me”
25. “Runnin” prod. by Jay Dee-The Pharcyde….”My top Dilla production of all time. This is a song with personal significance as I caught onto it just as I began to get serious about hip hop, but subjectivity aside, this beat still sounds amazing over a decade since it was released”
From Dan: “There you have it. Props to Eric for letting me share in some of the glory of When They Reminisce… which has quickly become a staple of the blog scene (keep on killing it Eric!). I’m going to spend the next few days slapping my forehead as I realise what I’ve managed to leave off this list, but such is the nature of both the nerd in me and the act of list-making in general. I’ll be nursing the headache for the foreseeable future: I’m outta here.”