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Trav's Favorite Producers, Part Three – Sam Sever..Said The Rest…Yo' School 'Em Sam

by Travis on September 28, 2007

It’s sad that some producers seem to be severely overlooked in the grand scheme of things in hip hop’s vast history. One such producer was a white kid from Manhattan. Sam Sever first got his introduction to the hip hop culture by writing graph starting in 1979. By the early 80′s, Sam would be involved in the legendary The Roxy club scene, watching classic shows such as Afrika Bambatta and The Soul Sonic Force, Grandmaster Flash, Jazzy Jay, Love Bug Starski and other legendary old school artists as a young kid.

It would also be during this time that Sam would catch the producer’s bug. In junior high, a classmate of his would be K-Rob (of “Beat Bop” fame, K-Rob and Ramellzee). K-Rob would rhyme while Sam provided the beat by banging on gym bleachers, lunch tables, elevators, desks, doors, anything to make sound. By 1983, K-Rob and him would meet up with another kid known as DJ Rick who lived uptown. Rick would have a TR 606 drum machine, a machine that would blow Sever away, being able to program all the little beats he had in his head on this machine.

Sam’s journey through hip-hop history would continue onwards and by 1984, Sam would start cutting schools to make beats and hanging out with another local legend, Man Parrish, who had a slept on classic record himself, “Hip Hop Be Bop”. Sam would end up buying Man Parrish’s TR 808 drum machine. By this time, Sever really caught the production bug. Through his Roxy connects, Sam Sever would also met an up and coming Sleeping Bag artist Kurtis Khaleel, better known as Mantronik. Mantronik was in a group with MC Tee to form the group Mantronix, who would release the classic New York single “Fresh Is The Word”. Sam would sit in on many Mantronik production sessions, such as the Just Ice and Mantronix session.

In 1986, Sam would hook up with Tricky Tee and release the single “Leave It To The Drums” b/w “, which Sam was the producer. It was also during this time that while hanging out at the club “Danceteria”, a skinny 17 year old Sam Sever would meet the Beastie Boys, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin. The meetings would result in Sam going to Rubin’s crib with his drum machines and start playing beats r
ight there on his stereo for him. Rubin would be so impressed that he would call up Run and from there, Sam would program the drum beat “Is It Live” from the Raising Hell LP. Sam Sever would start working with Russell and the Def Jam label, he would do a track for Oran “Juice” Jones and another R&B cat named Tashan.

Sam Sever is also responsible for the exsistence of 3rd Bass in many ways. It would also be Sam’s big break as well. He would met MC Serch and would help him with his demo. At the same time, Sam was also working with Pete Nice on his demo as well. It would be Sam that convinced the two to combine forces and form a group. 3rd Bass was formed, from there they would get signed to Def Jam (to take the place of the departed Beasties). Sam would go on to say that fun thing about making “The Cactus Album” was the spontaneity.

By the early 90′s, Sam would take his own crack at being in a group when he would join forces with MC Bosco Money to form Downtown Science. The group would be signed by Def Jam and they would release a rather obscure self titled album. The album spawned two singles “Radio Active” and “Room To Breathe”. Graced with with creative beats, Bosco Money does a solid job on the album in the lyrical department. It might have just been a bit “too different” (think a predecessor for El-P or even RZA) for the time period, meaning to me at least, it was ahead of its time.

Sam Sever has worked with LONS, Nikki D, Sham the Proffessor, ADOR, Beastie Boys, Lordz Of Brooklyn and others. Sam continues to make music and has a reported project in the works that has him working with a variety of artists and styles.

Downtown Science – Downtown Science (Def Jam, 1991)

1. This Is A Visit
2. Catch The Wave
3. Radioactive
4. Out There But In There
5. Natural People
6. Somethin’- Spankin’- New
7. If I Was
8. Drums Through The Wall
9. Delta Sigma
10. The Topic Drift
11. Down To A Science
12. Summertime
13. Saw You At The Party
14. Room To Breath
15. Winning
16. Fat Shout
17. Keep It On
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