Every so often, an album and/or an artist comes along that just grabs me by the ear and demands me to play over and over again. When that artist comes out of nowhere and the only reason I chose to download that artist’s album in the first place was because it had a cool album cover. When it turns out to be one of your favorite albums of the year, that’s when I love rolling the dice on unheard of artists, that’s when I love doing what I do, this little hobby of mine in the blog. This weeks “New” (since he is new to the scene) Artist Spotlight features a producer out of San Antonio, Texas by the name of Diego Bernal. I can’t even recall how I found the album, I think it was probably on HHB. I took a chance, gave it a listen at work one morning and the Latin flavored instrumental hip hop album had me hitting the digital “rewind” button on my ipod every other track.
From that moment this past spring to even tonight, I play “For Corners” on an almost daily basis. Other people in my life have loved the album as well, ones that are usually hip hop heads. My own Mom became a fan of Diego and his “For Corners” album, and promptly gangked the extra CD Diego sent me. A female friend and I went to the movies, I was playing the CD in my car and she asked me to burn her a copy (I had to help her with the free digital download found on Exponential Records site). Another friend and his wife were taken back by fury of horns, strings and banging drums found in his music. Yes, I’m championing his music, it’s played an important part of my life these past six months or so, and that too me is the sign of good music.
Diego has a very interesting story. His samples aren’t the typical funk, soul and R&B samples of yesteryear. His day job isn’t your typical struggling producer day job neither. He isn’t from a hip hop hotbed, but damn, this dude can make some music. We sat down with the very intelligent and opinionated producer in one of the more enjoyable spotlights I’ve done in awhile on one of my favorite instrumental albums of the year, if not the favorite……
My challenge to any MC out there is to make a song or even a mixtape out of this project.
Let’s hear something, I know MC’s read this page….give it a shot, let me hear something.
DIEGO BERNAL – FOR CORNERS
For Corners is the first full length album from Diego Bernal, a civil rights attorney and beatsmith, located in San Antonio, TX. For Corners is Diego Bernal’s love letter to the music, cultures, era and people that nurtured him.
The music is dusty and layered with Latin soul, from the triumphant blasts of horns to the laid back groove of lowrider melodies. It is a call to return to the simplicity and integrity of hip-hop’s best moment and an invitation to enjoy a slightly different kind of southern comfort. Not so much dirty south as directly south. The full album is a completely free download. Enjoy!
01. Diego’s Donut (RIP J. DIlla)
02. Armor All’d Out
03. Bring It On Home
04. Damn You
05. Dusty Sanchez
06. Father’s Son
07. Fat Sal
08. Go Diego Go
09. I Have a Long… Resume (Interlude)
10. May Day
11. Momma’s Boy
12. Money Cash Woes (Interlude)
13. MC Rakim Cool Kane and the DJ Furious Boyz Crew (1986)
15. My Friend Wants to Know (Interlude)
16. The Pause Tape Trainer
17. Velcro Flow
18. Summer’s Over (Interlude)
19. The Way It Was
Diego Bernal: Thanks, man. My name really is Diego Bernal. A lot of people ask if my name is a combination of two Mexican actors’ names- Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal- but it’s not. Also, I’m not cool at all, not in the way people who make beats are supposed to be.
WYDU: Can you give some background on your up bringing? You also seem to have a deep respect for golden age hip hop. What were some of the reasons you wanted to get into making music and beats?
DB: I was born in McAllen, TX and raised in San Antonio. I claim both but SA is undoubtedly my hometown. My grandparents on my mother’s side lived in the Bay Area, so my summers were divided between there, home and the Rio Grande Valley. It was a pretty diverse experience and very rich, musically.
As far as the golden age is concerned, I’m 32 years old. I grew up and came of age when all of that great, creative music came out. I heard A Tribe Called Quest’s