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Yo Sam, School 'Em……

by Travis on January 22, 2009

“Yo Sam, Schooooool ‘Em…”. The words were spit by MC Serch on the classic (yes, I said it) Cactus Album, the debut album from MC Serch, Prime Minister Pete Nice and DJ Daddy Rich. Every since I first heard those words and I set on a hunt to find out who this Sam Sever character that was listed as producer on several of the Cactus Album tracks, I’ve been a Sam Sever fan. While the Cactus Album may have been an introduction to a ton of kids such as myself at the time, Sam has been around much longer than that.

The good news about all this is Sam is back on the scene, crafting beats. For the next few months, he will be releasing two beats/songs a month, building up to his solo album release in April. We have the two beats for the month of January, both bringing back that sound that made me fall in love with the music in the first place. I tend to lean toward “Go Back”, just cause that’s what it does, it takes you back. The stabs over a rolling percussion break bring the essence of hip hop into my mindstate when I bust the track in the headphones. It’s really a nice track that I could see a couple MCs doing damage on the track. “Day & Night” comes off as a little more modern. The strong drums back the vocals to give it a different feel. A strong track as well

Sam Sever – Go Back

Sam Sever – Day & Night

For those of you behind on your Sam Sever trivia, here is a spotlight I wrote up in 2007 for my “Favorite Producers Series”….

Sam Sever first got his introduction to the hip hop culture by throwing up graffiti 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 Bambaataa 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, he would start cutting school 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. 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 right there on his stereo for him. Rubin would be so impressed that he would call up Run from Run DMC 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 partly 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 did 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.

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