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Rappers with Musical Skills?
Old 2nd August 2005
  #1
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Rappers with Musical Skills?

heh
Old 2nd August 2005
  #2
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XHipHop's Avatar
1. I'm not sure if Biggie, Big Pun, Nas, Jay Z, Big L...or any of the other "greats" of the 90's were "musical"...does anyone know?

2. The MPC IS an instrument. The fact that you said that almost makes me think that you are coming over here to ruffle some feathers or to share your predisposed opinion about this genre or maybe just the people you've worked with. Guess, what, in the right hands, a turntable is an instrument!!!!!!!!!!!

3. What does that guitar center comment mean?


Edit: you've edited your post before I finished with mine. I think that most successful rappers definitely have an ear for melody, can hear what notes work together, etc.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #3
Dor
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i happen to rap & make my own music. I can play a few chords but for some reason only in 1 bar loops.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #4
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**chime**

i have a VERY basic understanding of music theory. i can find the chord i want when im producing so i can lay down riffs, but if you told me to play a certain chord (c-minor for example) i wouldnt know where it was. ive probably used it hundreds of times, but i didnt and still wouldnt know it.

that said, i do create my own music. i probably spend 10x more working on the music side than on the rapping side. theres alot to actually making the music, especially when you do it by yourself. i found real quick that the actually playing of a keyboard took too much time to invest time in it from the get-go. i spent years working on arrangement, drums, breaks and sampling. i just started this past year working on playing keyboard.

with that limited amount of musical knowledge, id say i still have about nine thousand times more of it than the average person that comes through my studio. this store at the mall sells these instrumental cds (all commercial, probably bootlegs, monthly rotation) that i am practically tripping over because everyone brings them to my studio. i have five copies of some of them, probably two copies of at least ten of them and tens upon tens of single ones.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #5
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I doubt that Frank Sinatra ever pushed Quincy Jones aside during a session and said " I got this, Q"
Old 2nd August 2005
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paultools
I doubt that Frank Sinatra ever pushed Quincy Jones aside during a session and said " I got this, Q"

HAHA great post!
Old 2nd August 2005
  #7
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Old 2nd August 2005
  #8
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Musicality is a really wide concept to me, and what is to be considered music is up to each new generation or creative spirit to deside.

It´s a very different concept between the art and the music I think, in art it is stuff that looks like reality that is considered good (or atleast understanable to most),

but in music it´s the artificial part that is considered more musical, music that souinds like the reality (just sounds or samples etc) are considered less musical, why?

I think a dj as a composer is a natural evolvement, working with sounds and textures, cuting and pasting to create something new of something old.
I´t takes a musical skill of the person who does these colages, no doubt..

This is a postmodern way of creating music. And lastly, one way of creating music does not have to exclude the other. The more different styles and sounds there are out there the more interesting will the world be.

Peace
Old 2nd August 2005
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence

2. We'll have to agree to disagree on whether the MPC or a turntable is a musical instrument. Certainly a talented person could entertain someone in a musical way with both but that doesn't make either an instrument. That makes the person skillful, creative and talented. Turntables were made to play records and some people have gotten creative with them and done wonderful things. I love a good DJ but In wouldn't pay $40 to sit and watch someone scratch records or trigger samples from an MPC on stage by themself. They only when other er... "instruments" are playing along with them. Solo MPC artist? Don't think so.
Check out:

the Xecutioners - http://www.x-ecutioners.net/

DJ Q-Bert (or the invisible scratch pickles)

DJ Nu-Mark (from Jurassic 5)

1000's of people pay to see these guys scratch records every night.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence
wouldn't pay $40 to sit and watch someone scratch records or trigger samples from an MPC on stage by themself. They only when other er... "instruments" are playing along with them. Solo MPC artist? Don't think so.

....Lawrence
...youd be suprised.

i did a show a few months ago, it was three live acts with a battle going on between them (which attracted alot of paying people). one of the acts was made out to sound like a group with an emcee... it turned out that it was a DJ and two guys with MPC2000s. EVERYBODY thought it was going to be lame, you could hear people complaining about watching something so boring all over the place.

these guys, called Meat and Potatoes, ended up doing a half hour set and completely tore down the house. people were angry when they stopped. so, dont dismiss the idea. if you know what youre doing, anything can be an instrument and be entertaining.

and yes, an MPC is an instrument, along with a turntable. the time it takes to master REALLY knowing how to scratch (read "getting the sound you want, not settling for the sound you get") takes just as much time, if not more, than any instrument. you can use an mpc to play any sample, even a simple piano C-note, and make it sound like your playing a piano(within reason). alot more difficult.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #11
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heh
Old 2nd August 2005
  #12
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Jules, can we do something about this? Is this going to be a month full of "haters" coming over here telling us what we're doing is wrong?
Old 2nd August 2005
  #13
well im sure a lot of people who dont make it have backup plans like.. a day job

not just rappers, everyone, including the dude who knows how to play a c minor chord

i think as a producer its extremely valuable to be able to play instruments and know about theory and arrangement and everything. as a rapper, well you dont really need it? its got little to do with what youre doing, which is rhyming

edit: actually its important to know about arrangement and structure as an mc, but what do u need chords for when youre talking
Old 2nd August 2005
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence
It's like 50 million guys are waiting to be rap stars but 48.9 million have no musical backup plan. All I'm saying that if you love music and you love the industry, learn some music so you can hang around even if you never make it big as a rapper. Wouldn't you rather be playing guitar, bass, keys, sax, whatever in a band and making 70k than working in a factory making 70k? Learn a "standard" instrument. It can only help. It can only help. Uh... did I say it can only help?

That's all I'm trying to say. I wish all of you much success.

Lawrence
This is a very good point. Although I disagree, the MPC IS AN INSTRUMENT, the point you are trying to make is a good one. I've been in rap for tooo many years. And one thing I can say is tooo many wanna be's who think owning a Triton and MPC make them a producer. WRONG! This dosen't mean that you need to know how to read music, but it CAN only help.

The future of rap music will be dominated by those who DO play other instruments. (Did I just say that? I should have put this in the other thread ) Those who can't will be left behind just like any other musical genre.

Your comment about 50 mllion rappers ect. is a bit unfair. There are just as many wanna be guitarist who can only play by ear and have no backup plan. This is true for all musicians. It's not a rap thing...it's a human thing. Some people got it....some people don't.

Old 2nd August 2005
  #15
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Old 2nd August 2005
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence
I'm not a hater, I'm an audio engineer who is simply frustatred by what I've seen and heard in the studio from "rappers". I can't and have no desire to rap. I can create a typical standard rap beat with 5-6 musical parts in about 10-30-45 minutes tops depending on the (choke me for saying this word...) complexity.

There's 50,000 guys walking around with notebooks full of rap "songs" waiting to be discovered who can't even do that for themselves to help it along. It drives me nuts. 30 minutes a day man, bass, piano whatever. 30 freakin' minutes a day. I'm done with it.

My comments and opinions were meant to make some people stop and think, they are not gospel. My opinion on turntables and MPC'ers is just that... an opinion. I've been wrong before. I guess I'll have to readjust my thinking as to what "instruments" are. See how conversation works? It's a give an take.

Peace... I mean that literally.

Lawrence
You could say the same thing to any kid that plays on a basketball court for 3 hours a day after school!

Thanks for letting us know that not every dream comes true...

And, again, you are taking a jab at the genre stating that you write "typical" beats in 10-30 minutes!

That line ALONE shows that you are here to push some buttons, man. This forum is about "engineering and producing"... I'm sure many people that are posting here do this for a living!

So come back without the attitude and share some techniques with us and let's have some fun.

We don't need the condascending attitude...
Old 2nd August 2005
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence
Huh? You're comparing two of the greatest musical talents in the last 75 years to a rap guy who uses his boy down the block to make generic beats for him to rap over?

Are you serious? If you are you illustrate my point better than I ever could.

No offense intended. I love a lot of good rap music. I emphasise "good". Tupac was a genius. Biggie had the sweetest vibe I'd ever heard at that time. Eminem has (had?) such an original style of writing it stood out among the pack. Snoop has a really original sounding voice. 50 also has nice pipes and very original music. I could go on and on. There's thousands like them who never made it. What are they doing now?

It's like 50 million guys are waiting to be rap stars but 48.9 million have no musical backup plan. All I'm saying that if you love music and you love the industry, learn some music so you can hang around even if you never make it big as a rapper. Wouldn't you rather be playing guitar, bass, keys, sax, whatever in a band and making 70k than working in a factory making 70k? Learn a "standard" instrument. It can only help. It can only help. Uh... did I say it can only help?

That's all I'm trying to say. I wish all of you much success.

Lawrence
My point is, why would a rapper need to know music theory in order to be a superstar rapper? FS sang (frequently out-of-tune). Tupac rapped. Why would either of them need to know music theory or how to play an instrument? AS for the superstars you mentioned, notice that none of them succeeded based upon some arbitrary "standard" of musicality... you listed the specifics about why they are popular. Are you suggesting that they would have been ever bigger if they knew the difference between a Dorian or Mixolydian scale?

BTW, to the current generation, Tupac was a much more relevent talent than FS.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence
I'm not a hater, I'm an audio engineer who is simply frustatred by what I've seen and heard in the studio from "rappers". I can't and have no desire to rap. I can create a typical standard rap beat with 5-6 musical parts in about 10-30-45 minutes tops depending on the (choke me for saying this word...) complexity.


Lawrence
You should do it then, if you blow up you can command $150,000 a beat like Scott Storch!
Old 3rd August 2005
  #19
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Old 3rd August 2005
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence
I love a good DJ but In wouldn't pay $40 to sit and watch someone scratch records or trigger samples from an MPC on stage by themself. They only when other er... "instruments" are playing along with them. Solo MPC artist? Don't think so.

Lawrence
I'd never paid $40 to see a solo tambourine gig. Tambourine's still an instrument.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7ciel
I'd never paid $40 to see a solo tambourine gig. Tambourine's still an instrument.
That should just about end that argument! That's too funny and too true! Good one.

Old 3rd August 2005
  #22
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I rap, or perhaps M.C. if Im feeling myself, but more often than not Im making beats and prodcing, from picking up a guitar to bass, to my MPc. Not to ride my own nuts. HEhe.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XHipHop
Jules, can we do something about this? Is this going to be a month full of "haters" coming over here telling us what we're doing is wrong?

It's gonna be like this all month man. Been on the forum for a bit and all I can say is alot of these rock dudes do not respect hip hop and they chime in with alot of bull... with alot of racial overtones. Along w/ country music, hip hop is the biggest seller and some of the folks here dont like that. Some even preface their comments by "I was waiting for somebody to bring up rap music."

For anyone to think that 50 cent, eminem, dr dre, jadakiss, lil jon, paul wall, 36 mafia, timbaland, scott storch, etc. go to Guitar Center and buy loop cds and then rhyme over them is pathetic at best and shows that they have not listened to the music they are commenting on.

this is a great forum but the bull will be here
Old 3rd August 2005
  #24
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To Whom It May Concern:

not that I'm a huge fan of "hip hop" sessions...I'd say working in NYC there was no way around it, I also encountered many musical artists, producers, engineers that are in the "hip hop" community...as much as I'd like to whine about it, I learned a lot about working with people, and picked up some great tricks along the way, stuff I apply to rock and jazz sessions. Anyways, just another point of view, ez
Old 3rd August 2005
  #25
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Lawrence,

If you want the name of a rapper who has musical training, then I will give you Scarface. He can pick up pretty much any instrument and begin playing it. I have been in the studio with him and he'll pick up a guitar and start playing a KISS song. He's also left handed and can do it with a right handed guitar upside down.

Wyclef Jean is another talented musician/ rapper.

There are many rappers who have made it in the business who have no musical training (they don't really need it, honestly). But, a lot of them have a natural gift for knowing what sounds good.

Now on to more positive discussions.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #26
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heh
Old 3rd August 2005
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence
BTW, for the person who brought "racial overtones" and "rock dude" into the discussion... I'm a black male born and bred in Detroit, MI. My Ipod is filled with all kinds of music including rock, but I grew up in and still live in the heart of the inner-city.

Where the heck did that come from?

Lawrence
Lawrence, I don't think he was singling you out with that comment...rather there have been a few heated threads in the past and he was alluding to them. The hip-hop guys have been looked down upon in the past on here but I applaud Jules for letting us have a forum to play in this month!
Old 3rd August 2005
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7ciel
I'd never paid $40 to see a solo tambourine gig. Tambourine's still an instrument.
you seen Aierto Moreira play pandero???

I thought not....
Old 3rd August 2005
  #29
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NOt EVEN RAPPERS

Guys I think before attacking someone we need to try and understand the context of a person's comment. THE guys who work with mediocre guys from their neighborhood and have those sessions as their only rap experiences are speaking from a poor perspective. THE truth is not only do most of the "neighborhood" guys not have musical talent, Helll most of them arent rappers Not by good rap standards. I went to a local showcase in New ORleans and honestly I can see why people idolize some of the mainstream rappers/producers in the game. I can see why guys figure Dre is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Because compared to some of these guys I saw on stage DRE is the JESUS CHRIST of Modern Music.

So if my only experience with rappers was with those guys, I'd try to jump off a curb to commit suicide.

Now I cant defend him on the comment that guys should have a back up plan IN MUSIC. Hell if they want a back up plan, I'd say go to medschool or something. THERE are alot of starving musicians in the world. Probably more musicians in poverty than there are bands making 70Gs a year.

Now on the subject of Guitar Center Beat cds. PLEASE NOTE THIS.

All you guys who are learning about/engineering Hip Hop but dont understand it totally.

PLEASE NOTE THIS. Hip Hop CDs in Guitar Center are not used by Rappers/Producers. THey are sold to wannabees in Guitar Center. THe same guys who buy a mexican strat, learn 2 chords and quit. A real producer using a "hip HOp" disc, is about the equivalent of a Marcus Miller, John 'Pat', or Will Lee using a roland 5080 for its slap bass sound. Some things are made to be sold to imitators. Kinda like michael Jackson Beat It Jackets with all the zippers
Old 3rd August 2005
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no ssl yet
Kinda like michael Jackson Beat It Jackets with all the zippers
Hey...I had one of those. Mine was red and my brothers was black. Don't be knockin' the Micheal Jackson jacket. heh Ahhhh...those were the days.
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