I say this all the time these days. Just because you may never heard of a group or an artist, don’t automatically discount it. A lot of those “unheard” guys are the hungriest, and lets face it, hunger makes for great music. Proof of that is found on the album “Blak Market”, which was released by the Philly duo, Drumz & Llingo. As a big fan of the yesteryear sound myself, Drumz (aka Drumat!c) and Llingo (aka Llingo Apt) bring us a raw sounding album that conjures up the memories of the golden age and hip hop in all its glory. Llingo brings it both in the terms of beats and lyrics, while Drumat!c drops the dusty drums and sounds. This year has been rather lackluster in terms of quality hip hop releases, but this album is ranks as my favorite so far this years, although it was released in mid Dec of last year.
This is a group that I highly suggest checking out if you are a fan of the “true school” hip hop sound. I might have missed them myself if it wasn’t for Dface of DXA (who hopefully you remember being featured on WYDU last year) emailing me the album. From there, it’s been all butta!
TipItBak – Drumz & Llingo feat Need Not Worry
LLINGO APT BEAT CD 2009 V1
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Also, be sure to check out the extremely dope t-shirts that Drumat!c designed earlier this year. They are currently sold out, but get on the list for the next printing, they are well worth it.
WYDU: What’s good guys? Let’s get the introductions and background info out of the way as far as who you are and what you do…..
Drumat!c: Peace, everybody! I operate under the secret identity, DRUMAT!C. I’ve been collecting vinyl + djing for over 11 years. I started dabbling into production around 1999 — breaks and music loops. Soon after, my pops (the fusion drummer) helped me out with some basic equipment: DR-202 drum machine, SP-808 sampler and a Dell computer for mult-track editing. Later, I discovered the SP-12 turbo through my brother’s friend, Ron (peace to Ron out in LA). This kid Ron used to flip vintage gear on E-bay. One week, he had an SP-12 turbo and lent it to me. That way I could learn to use it and eventually get my own. Eventually, saved up some dough and found a mint one. Mastered some of the basics of step sequencing and programming drum patterns. Sold the SP-12 turbo to my man, got an MPC-2000XL, displeased me very much. I sold that and got an MPC-60, loved it. I sold it for college tuition. I got an SP-1200 from LLINGO + Akai S950 off of Ebay… they now appear in many family photos!
Llingo: I’m Llingo Apt. I was born in Philadelphia, spent my younger years in the Philly area until I was in 7th grade, then I moved to the Low Country, Hilton Head/Bluffton , South Carolina. Came back to Philly for College at Temple University. Now I teach high school, world history in the Philadelphia public school system. I’ve been writing rhymes hard core since 95’. I started makin beats around 01’ when I met Drumat!c.
W: Sticking with more of the same ole same ole as far as questions, producers are notoriously known for having some monster egos. How did two producers such as yourselves hook up to form Drumz And Llingo?
D: Yeah. Llingo and I met through mutual friends. My wife and his wife used to work with him at a local steakhouse, that’s a long story though. Anyhow, we used to meet up in Llingo’s Aunt’s attic. He had a Numark turntable and a Korg EM-1 midi production unit. This thing was unable to sample sounds, but we used to mess around with it, programming beats + recording our rap + scratch sessions. I’d hook up a simple beat, cut on the tables, he’d rap and we’d just bug out. From then on we eventually got a hold of our own equipment and started diggin’ at all the recor
d spots together. He can explain the rest.
L: Well, when we started I was looking to link up with someone who could make beats I could rip over. I was stackin loot so I got this Sp12 from Drumat!c and this Yamaha rs700 machine, which was flipped into an Sp1200 shortly there after. I figured if I got some equipment Drumat!c could learn some different machines and we could get the sound we were looking for. But initially anyway, I was an Emcee only, I played around and learned the SP’s but I’ve only been makin beats for 7 years. We understand each others views and styles so there are no ego’s competing. We both know were always learning.
W: In what ways are your approach into making beats and the overall sounds different from each other?
D: He get’s high and I get low. Haha. J/k. I’m a hard-core drum addict (hence the name). I’m overly meticulous when it comes to drum sounds, sequences, and arrangements. At times I’ll spend 10-30 hours on a beat. I’m insane… I know this.
L: I hear his beats and they inspire me to make the dopest material possible. He does spend mad time on his drums! I just try to make the best collage possible and still maintain a simplicity that allows an Emcee to flex.
W: You released the album, Blak Market, this past December. You couldn’t really call it a producers album, since Llingo does some rhyming on it. What is the concept behind it? Did it come out the way you intended it to?
D: Llingo does much of the rhyming on it because he’s also a highly skilled lyricist. The concept was hard, gritty beats over that underground Philly flow. Our whole production/emcee crew — KicDrum Products — is the most underrated. We’re like the DITC of Philadelphia. We got cats from Rhode Island, NY, California, the UK, Japan, Croatia and Germany all down with our crew. If we had more money in the budget I would’ve like to add a bit more live instrumentation and spend more time developing the overall sound. I dig the sparseness and simplicity behind the album. A lot of hip-hop beats lack that simplicity, allowing a lyricist/emcee to flex their skill on the mic. Now a days, everything is over produced and you got the producers trying to outshine the emcees… that is ass-backwards.
L: Yeah, I mean we just wanted to have hard beats and hard rhymes on there.
W: On the album, there are four songs in which both of you are credited as the producer. How difficult is it working with another producer and each other in general?
D: It’s quite easy. I’ll hook up the drum samples, sequences, etc. Maybe add the bass line, throw a horn in here, or do a synth pattern there, and LLINGO will take that and just build on it. We obviously both own an SP1200, so it’s actually that much easier for us to go back and forth. But he owns an EMAX and I own the S950… so that’s where our sound differs. Different textures and styles converging to form new sounds. When we work on tracks together there’s always a nice juxtaposition of sounds. Sometimes I’ll come to his crib and hear his beat, and I’ll just suggest adding something here and there. We’ll try it out. If it works he’ll keep it. If not, he’ll delete it or we’ll try other records. There’s always that mutual respect for one another. We both have mad skills on the beats. And we both offer something different, creatively.
L: Usually the way it works is… he comes over my crib and looks through my records. We listen to some albums listen for sounds and arrangements we like, figure out what break were gonna chop or upload into the SP and then he goes to work on the drum patterns. We find the music and I chop it and lay it down, same with the bass, we each add to the bass or sometimes just one person has a dope arrangement. I usually add some atmosphere and percussion and Drumat!c handles the transitions.
W: You have several guests on the album, who did you work with and how did you go about choosing who to put on the album?
D: Again…The crew is so underrated. We’ve met some of the most talented individuals over the years. We met Ikan at the Philly Hip-Hop gathering in West Philly – University Campus. We met DXA through the MPC_Forums. We met Need Not Worry from SoundClick. WiseDome was a breaker that met Bamboo, who is my younger brother. Bamboo is just insanely talented — he also makes beats and rhymes.
L: These guys are just great talents that we build with and who inspire us on the daily so it was only natural to work with these heads. Everybody sounds different! Everyone has their own flavor but the sound of the LP stays cohesive. We wanted their creativity and energy to be a part of our mixture and we couldn’t be happier!
W: The album has a real “analog” feel to the album, how did y’ll go about getting that type of vibe?
D: A while back my pop’s asked me to help him find a recording studio that had 2″ tapes. He recorded at Phil Nicolo’s studio (1 half of the Butcher Bros. — Joe the Butcher) in Conshohocken, PA. That kinda fell apart and so he was looking to record elsewhere. He had all his music on 2″ tape and needed to get his last few songs mixed down. Anyhow, I did some hardcore research on the net and came across this spot in South Philly, PLAN B STUDIOS aka the SPICE FACTORY — http://www.myspace.com/planbstudiosphila
The crazy thing is that this studio is located across the street from my old high school — CAPA. It’s actually where the old South Philly Bank used to be on 11th + Montrose.
L: Yup the studio was all his doing. We used analog reels, boards and used only the SP1200 and EMAX rack unit for production. We didn’t use pro-tools to record our beats or vocals.
W: For each of you, what goes into making a good beat? How important is a good sample in that creation process?
D: Drums are most important to me. The i
nitial drum break, sample, etc. should be meaty, have good clarity, and have just enough air between the hits that will allow you to chop in the SP. The SP has a very difficult decay function. It’s another long story. Those who know about the SP know the deal. Samples are most important to the person composing the music. You can make dope beats out of the corniest records. It’s all in how you use them.
L: Samples are very important because I get almost all my sounds from samples, whether I chop or loop em. I sample my own sounds into the SP as well as sounds off record, but a sample is a sample. I think sampling is an art. Its like creating a collage, using sounds instead of pictures. A good beat has to have drums that knock and bass that thumps everything else is like icing on the cake ya know?
W: Hailing from Philly, it feels like the city is starting to make a strong comeback as of late. Do you guys get that feeling as well? How would you describe the current scene there?
D: We’re very disconnected from the scene. Being that we’re adults with careers, hip-hop is a passionate hobby for us. We are hip-hop, but not the kind of individuals that hang out in clubs and drive around in pimped out rides. We’re just regular cats that love music + art. We grew up on the music so we’re making music WE want to hear not what we think people will like. It’s gotta be about you first and foremost. The first person you have to impress is you. I think hip-hop has lost that creative drive. Not to say that there aren’t cats out there being creative. I’m saying, as a whole, it’s lost that competition for being hailed as the best. It’s harder for this younger generation to get a grasp on the culture. They’re losing touch with it and subjected to the hyper- commercialism of it all. Now you got hip-hop in every product and marketing campaign, car commercials, toys, video-games, the gap. It’s ridiculous. It’s like seeing a Japanese samurai or a Native American/ African tribal dance appearing everywhere as a way to sell product.
L: Like he said we both work and are married. I teach high school so I don’t go out on week days. I think the scene in Philly is pretty dope though. The quality of DJ in the city is great but the quality of the music varies. Groups like Outer Space, Jedi Mind, and The Roots of course, are thriving. Philly has one of the greatest Hip-Hop events in country once a month at the Rotunda on Penn’s campus in West Philly called the Gathering and there’s always a stage show, B-Boys and Girls from all around the North East corridor, Writers and Emcees come from everywhere and its all free. We used to hit up Beat Society all the time in Philly, Drumat!c was featured on one of their shows, but they moved the venue out of Philly. Beats and Rhymes and Fresh Produce still go on which are similar events and 215hipop.com has a strong following. The Hip-Hop history in this city is long though you know, you better have some dope spots!
W: Anybody in the game you really want to work with?
D: Large Professor. Roc Marciano. Planet Asia. BLU, Deda
L: Rakim, Gza, GhostFace, Lauryn Hill, O.C, Rise, Tash and Dres
W: What does the future hold for Drumz & Llingo? Are you guys going to do some solo work?
D&L: Definitely doing solo work. the DRUMZ and LLINGO concept was just that. It was a way for us to make music that we really miss. We want to hear more of that boom bap style, east coast style hip-hop. We’ll always do random collaborations, but we’ll always do our solo work as well.
W: Any last words for the non believers out there?
D&L: Go buy the album. Listen to it and learn it. It’s got a lot of depth to it. The album sounds like it was release in 1991 because we didn’t have any pro tools involvement. The album is strictly 12-bit gear, 2″ Otari Tape machine, a 24-track Soundcraft board, vintage pre-amps, compressors, spring reverbs, etc. It’s an all organic album. It’s definitely a fun compilation of music that contains a tremendous amount of spirit + energy. The fact that we did the album as a crew in an actual studio, is even a rare thing. We had each and every member of the album come into the studio and rhyme on the mics that everybody else used. We had people hanging out like the good old days. Nothing was done remotely. It was all done in-house. It was fantastic experience that we’ll never forget! We miss that in hip-hop. Hopefully we’ll inspire dudes to bring that shit back to reality. Computers have taken over everything. They’re great for facilitation of music, design, and movies but sometimes you have to remember what it’s like to be a human, you know, interacting with each other in a socialized atmosphere.
W: Good luck guys and thanks for one of the best albums I’ve heard this year so far (It’s going on the 2009 list since it’s so close to the end of the year
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