the Provider

Skuff - Destroy Everything

Destroy Everything is finally with us. Skuff’s newest addition to an already banging collection of albums. Much to my shame, I didn’t know about Skuff (or Inja) until 2011.. One of my mates gave me the heads up on them before heading to a festival they were playing at. I listened to a couple of tracks online from their Skuff & Inja Show; but nothing could have prepared me for the madness of seeing them live.

I can’t even begin to explain how good it was. I was also lucky enough to catch one of the Skuff & Inja Show CDs they threw out in to the crowd. Naturally, I was made up about that.

In the build up to this release, Skuff put out the Smash Anything mix-tape (and for those of you who haven’t heard it, go get it. Name your price on Bandcamp — don’t be stingy!) This was the perfect way to get people prepared for Destroy Everything. Great beats, lyricism and a tasty boom-bap vibe runs throughout this mix-tape.

The first track I heard in the run up to Destroy Everything was ‘NYE’, and what a track it is! Again, there is a really nice boom-bap vibe to it; and I’m so happy to hear it, as there has really been a lack of it recently.. Especially in the UK. Nothing is overdone in this beat either, its just a smooth groove from beginning to end. But this is common in pretty much all of Skuff’s tracks.. However, this track isn’t just reliant on the beat; the lyrics are relevant to us all. Come New Years, most people have a list of things that they want to change about themselves; whether it be to quit smoking, work harder, or just sort your shit out in general. But how many of us actually follow through with this? Best laid plans and all… So this is Skuff’s self-critique in time for this New Years.

I then heard ‘Feeling Good’. When I saw the title I was thinking, “could it be???”. As soon as I clicked play, there it was, Nina Simone and Feeling Good. I was instantly locked in. This is not just any fickle rendition of that classic track; this beat is savage. Skuff absolutely KILLS it on the mic too. It’s a completely different vibe to NYE; this one reminds me more of the raw Skuff & Inja Show material. The stuff that got me hooked on his music… This track appears to be Skuffs assessment on life and the the way to make it through. Lyrics seem to come so easy to him, and his delivery, as always, is second to none.. This track would surely silence any doubters he might have. 

I really love the progression of Destroy Everything; with the last couple of tracks involving Show Love (feat. Inja), So Sick, Dan Shaw (In Loving Memory) and ending on Veterans (written by Dan Shaw). It really leaves the listener in a somber, reflective mood. There is no doubt that this album came from somewhere deep, deep down in Skuff’s heart. It is as if Skuff opened up his soul and gave us his sentimental, nostalgic perspective of life. This is what hip-hop should be about.

Support real music, buy this album. And thank you Joey Lips for giving us this work of art.

http://skuff.bandcamp.com/album/destroy-everything

My Top 20 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time (1/4)

My Top 20 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time (1/4)

So I decided to come up with my own “Best Hip-Hop Songs of All Time” list. It was supposed to be a list of 10, but how can you narrow it down to just 10 songs? I’m not saying 20 is much better, but thats all I’m going to do… For now. I also tried to keep it to 1 track per artist, but there were just two time where I couldn’t resist.

1. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) (1992)

"But only you saw what took many time to see / I dedicate this to you for believing in me"

 This has got to be my all time favourite hip-hop song.. It can really only be described as two heavyweights of their field (Pete Rock - Production, C.L. Smooth - MC) laying down a timeless masterpiece. I fail to see how someone can say a negative thing about this track..

 The song was written in the memory of their friend, Troy Dixon (aka. “Trouble” T. Roy), of Heavy D & the Boyz (and for those of you who don’t know, Heavy D passed away a few weeks ago).

 In an interview with Village Voice, Pete Rock said, “I had a friend of mine (“Trouble” T. Roy) that passed away, and it was a shock to the community. I was kind of depressed when I made it. And to this day, I can’t believe I made it through, the way I was feeling.”

 It is widely regarded as one of the all time gems of hip-hop; receiving all kinds of acclaim, appearing on many “Greatest Songs” lists, and getting ‘shout-outs’ in countless other hip-hop songs (through the likes of Nas, Gang Starr, Kanye West, De La Soul, Method Man, Common etc.) I can’t think of any other song that better illustrates the ‘Golden Age’ of hip-hop.

Click to listen…

Sample: 

  1. Tom Scott and the California Dreamers - Today

Producer: 

  • Pete Rock

2. 2Pac - Dear Mama (1995)

"There’s no way I can pay you back / But my plan is to show you that I understand / You are appreciated"

 I don’t really know where to begin with this song… It’s flawless. Tupac was widely considered as a trouble maker and a bad influence with a ‘bad boy’ attitude; but I don’t see it like that.. He spoke his mind, all the time, and I personally think that is commendable; considering the amount of people (especially celebrities and musicians) that constantly just try to impress. Sadly, this trait lead to his death, as a result of the East Coast vs. West Coast ‘war’ that took Pac and Biggie.

 In this song, Pac really shows his softer, introspective and more innocent side. In a song dedicated to his mother, Afeni Shakur, Pac really spills his soul. With the content of the song being about fatherless childhood, lack of money, loss, jail, addiction and selling drugs; he somehow gives the song a hopeful overtone - knowing that no matter what happens, there is always family.

Click to listen…

Samples: 

  1. Joe Sample - In All my Wildest Dreams
  2. The Spinners - Sadie

Producer: 

  • Tony Pizarro

Certification: Platinum

3. Nas - N.Y. State of Mind (1994)

"Nothing’s equivalent, to the New York state of mind"

 It was really hard picking which Nas song to put here; as any song from his Illmaticalbum could easily find their way into the Top 10, even Top 5 hip-hop songs of all time. Therefore, it is not surprising that most people (myself included) consider Illmatic to be the best, and one of the most important, hip-hop albums of all time. A truly remarkable label, considering it is his debut album and the fact that he was a mere 20 years old when it was released (however, some of the songs were recorded when he was only 18). 

 Also, bear in mind that there is only one rapper featuring in this album (AZ, who rapped one verse in Life’s a Bitch); meaning that an 18-20 year old Nas rapped all but one verse on an album (his debut) that many consider the best hip-hop album of all time. If that isn’t special I don’t know what is…

 Illmatic, released in ‘94, had to compete with other heavyweights; namely Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die, Common - Resurrection, Gang Starr - Hard to Earn and OutKast -Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. The fact that there are books written on this album also reinforces the fact that this is an album that should be taken seriously! It is definitely hip-hop’s Bible.

 On to N.Y. State of Mind… This particular song was recorded in 1992, meaning Nas was only 18 years old when he spit these almost faultless and seemingly endless verses. It is one of those amazing story-telling songs of Nas’, a song you can easily visualise. He paints a very dark and tense picture of the streets of his home town, New York, and more specifically, the Queensbridge projects in Queens. Throughout the song he talks about his rapping skills, every day life in Queensbridge, crime and violence; stating that “nothing’s equivalent, to the New York state of mind”. The Eric B. & Rakim sample in this track is very fitting in hindsight, as Nas is the new Rakim, not a title or comparison that gets given lightly..

Click to listen…

Samples: 

  1. Joe Chambers - Mind Rain
  2. Kool & the Gang - N.T.
  3. Donald Byrd - Flight Time
  4. Eric B. & Rakim - Mahogany

Producer: 

  • DJ Premier

4. Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy (1994)

"Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis / When I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this"

 A great song from a great debut album, Ready to Die. Personally, I prefer 2Pac over Biggie, but no one can deny that Christopher Wallace came up with some absolutely amazing stories; this particular song reaching the ‘Gold’ status just three months after its release.

 This song details Biggie’s rise to fame, from his time spent on the corner selling drugs, living at his mom’s house and crime, to success in the industry; or as he describes it, “I went from negative to positive”. He also mentions his initial dreams of being a rapper as a child; being influenced by the likes of Word Up magazine, Mr. Magic and Marley Marl. R.I.P. Biggie..

Click to listen…

Samples: 

  1. Mtume: Juicy Fruit
  2. Rappin’ Duke - Rappin’ Duke

Producer: 

  • Sean “Puffy” Combs
  • Poke of Trackmasters

Certification: Gold

5. Wu-Tang Clan - Protect Ya Neck (1992)

"The Wu is too slamming for these Cold Killing labels / Some ain’t had hits since I Seen Aunt Mabel / Be doing artists in like Cain did Abel / Now they money’s gettin’ stuck to the gum under the table" (GZA)

It was a hard choice for my Wu-Tang song — Triumph, C.R.E.A.M., Impossible and of course Method Man being right up there along with this one, but in trying to follow the one song per artist rule, I chose Protect Ya Neck. Wu-Tang are one of the all time greatest acts in hip-hop; but with the likes of Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, RZA, GZA and the late great O.D.B. (Ol’ Dirty Bastard) that is hardly surprising.

Protect Ya Neck is Wu-Tang’s debut single from their debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers); another outstanding debut album on this list so far - along with Nas’sIllmatic and Biggie’s Ready to Die. This song also features eight of the nine original Wu-Tang members.

It was originally released on Wu-Tang Records along with After The Laughter Comes Tears; but after creating an underground hype, it was released on Loud Records (Method Man being on it’s b-side).

It is a typically good RZA beat — raw, interesting and rusty. Added to that, seven verses from great, young and confident MCs. It’s really hard to believe that this was their first single, they absolutely demolish the beat; giving warnings to their rivals, shaming their old record label (who treated them badly) and basically giving a taste of great things to come from this hip-hop supergroup.

Click to listen…

Producer:

  • RZA

My Top 20 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time (2/4)

 So it’s been a little while since I put the next lot up from my “Best Hip-Hop Songs of All Time”, just been really busy! Anyway, here they are:

6. A Tribe Called Quest - Check the Rhime (1991)

"It was I, The Abstract / And me, the five footer / I kicks the mad style so step off the frankfurter"

A Tribe Called Quest… One of the greatest names in hip-hop and beat-mining; and one of the most important things to ever happen to it. I don’t really know where to begin when talking about these guys.. It’s hard to do them justice; and just as hard to chose which ‘Tribe’ song to put here, as they have countless songs that deserve to be in the Top 10. I watched their documentary recently, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, it was one of the best things I’ve ever watched.. To say the least, it’s emotional!

If you asked 10 different people what their favourite Tribe song is, you’d probably get 10 different answers; which just goes to show how talented and on-point they were. For me, it’s between Check the Rhime and Excursions; both of which feature on Tribe’s 1991 masterpiece album, The Low End Theory.

I love everything about this song; from the bass-heavy production to interaction between Phife and Q-Tip. This is just one of those old school, golden age, pure hip-hop songs..

Click to listen…

Samples: 

  1. Minnie Riperton - Baby, This Love I Have
  2. Grover Washington Jr. - Hydra
  3. Average white Band - Love Your Life
  4. Steve Miller Band - Fly Like an Eagle

Producers: 

  • Q-Tip
  • Phife
  • Ali Shaheed Muhammed

7. De La Soul - Eye Know (1989)

"This time the Magic Number is two / ‘Cause it takes two, not three, to seduce"

 What a fitting way to follow up A Tribe Called Quest… De La Soul. Another one of the great names of hip-hop and beat-mining. I don’t think I’m ever not in the mood for De La Soul.. For those of you who don’t know, they are amongst the founding members of The Native Tongues; a hip-hop collective from the late 80’s and early 90’s who’s style is renowned for positivity and expression - so it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that A Tribe Called Quest are also amongst the founding members, along with the Jungle Brothers. If this collective isn’t already overly-impressive, other members include Black Sheep, Leaders of the New School, Mos Def and Common. If you haven’t already, check out their album 3 Feet High and Rising, one of those groundbreaking hip-hop albums - from a time when sampling was at it’s most expressive stage and wasn’t ruined by lawyers and money…

Again, it was tough to chose a song from this supergroup.. But Eye Know just edged it. It’s such an easy-to-listen-to, happy beat; laced with the unique style of word from Posdnuos and Dave. What I love about this track is the simplicity of the lyrics; and yet they are still so complex.. Something De La Soul bring to every track.

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. Steely Dan - Peg
  2. Sly & the Family Stone - Sing a Simple Song
  3. The Mad Lads - Make This Young Lady Mine
  4. Lee Dorsey - Get Out of My Life
  5. Albert Hammond - I’m a Train
  6. Lyn Collins - Think (About It)
  7. Otis Redding - (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay

Producers:

  • Prince Paul
  • Posdnous
  • Dave
  • Maseo

8. Jay-Z - Dead Presidents I (1996)

"Hit with the RICO, they repo your vehicle / Everything was all good just a week ago"

So time for Jay-Z, the $500 million man.. A lot of people don’t like Jay-Z anymore, granted he isn’t what he was, but in my opinion it would be very hard to stay on the level he was at in the ’90s - although after that he has still made some incredible albums (with The Blueprint 1 & 2 and The Black Album). In fact, every single album Jay has ever released has gone platinum! One of which, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, reaching 5x platinum - meaning it sold over 5 million copies.

Dead Presidents I can be seen as the foundation of the Nas - Jay-Z feud.. A few lines from Nas’ The World Is Yours (from his Illmatic album) being sampled on this track. It’s a shame it started over a sample, or that it happened at all - but to be fair, as a result of this feud, some great tracks and lines were created. From the likes of Nas’ Ether and H to the OMO and Jay-Z’s Takeover and The City Is Mine.

Therefore, Dead Presidents is not only a great song, but a legacy. The beat, produced by Ski Beatz, has been used by countless other MCs - proof it is a master piece beat. The massive low end presence and the interesting kick/snare pattern definitely making it one of the best ‘head bobbers’ around. Added to this, Jay’s raw, fluid and charismatic story about the drug ‘game’ and his success. However, it isn’t just another song glamorising this ‘slangin’ of drugs and the material goods it can bring, but also a reminder that it can all go from a dream land to nightmare all so easily..

…Did I mention it was his debut single?

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. Lonnie Liston Smith - A Garden of Peace
  2. Nas - The World Is Yours (Tip Remix)
  3. A Tribe Called Quest - Oh My God (Remix)

Producer:

  • Ski Beatz

Certification: Gold

9. 2Pac - Changes (1998)

"It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes / Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live / And let’s change the way we treat each other"

Another 2Pac song in the Top 10.. And rightly so. 2Pac has to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, and in my opinion, the greatest. If you don’t believe me, look at how many albums he has sold - over 75 million worldwide - and that was as of 2007.. He was more than just a rapper tho.. He was a poet, an actor, a role model, a voice of change and many consider him to be a martyr. Furthermore, his life is a epic story of both tragedy and triumph. From being in his mother’s womb while she was in prison to being one of the most well known and respected artists to being gunned down at just 25 years old. A truly inspiring story.

Changes - another timeless 2Pac song - was originally recorded in 1992, but was not released until 1998 (two years after his death); on his Greatest Hits album (which reached the diamond certification - meaning it sold over 10 million copies). This, for me, is THE song that got me into hip-hop. As soon as I heard it I was hooked. A lot of people think the beat is corny, but for me, when I hear the intro of this song, I know I’m in for a good 4 and a half minutes. The thing I love about 2Pac, which is very evident in this song, is that he raps about ‘real’ issues - not money.. not cars.. not diamonds.. But about poverty, racism, police brutality, drugs, gang violence and pleading for social change.

Interestingly, the Vatican chose this as one of 12 songs to feature on their Mysapce page. Think about that..

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. Bruce Hornsby - The Way It Is
  2. 2Pac - I Wonder if Heaven Got a Ghetto

Producers:

  • Tupac Shakur
  • Afeni Shakur (Pac’s mother..)

10. Common - I Used to Love H.E.R. (1994)

"I met this girl, when I was 10 years old / And what I loved most, she had so much soul"

This is one of the best examples of lyricism in hip-hop. Hands down.. Common (who is pure sophistication) absolutely killed this track. I can’t think of a better example of an extended metaphor in a hip-hop track. Common creates an incredible analogy - ‘comparing the degradation of women with the deterioration of hip-hop music’. I could easily write paragraphs and paragraphs on this song, purely on the massive content packed into these lyrics, but I’ll save the time (if you want a good analysis of the lyrics, go to rap genius).

In a nut shell, this song is a time line of the progression (or deterioration) of hip-hop from the 80’s to the 90’s). From its infant, innocent stages to a very Afrocentric stage - based on unity and stopping violence (with the likes of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest - and the rest of the Native Tongues collective). Followed by a shift to the West Coast creating rap’s gangster image to it’s corruption due to money and jealousy. Putting aside all the metaphors used in this track - it is a sad story of a girl Common grew up with, who’s character and personality took a turn for the worse.

This track wasn’t taken too kindly by Ice Cube tho, who took it as an insult, further fuming the flames of the East Coast - West Coast feud (despite the fact that Common is from the Mid-West)..

I really recommend reading these lyrics to fully realise the extent of these genius lyrics.

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. George Benson - The Changing World
  2. Jungle Brothers - I’m Gonna Do You
  3. Eazy-E - Street Talkin’

Producer:

  • No I.D.

My Top 20 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time (3/4)

Again, it’s been a while since I put up more of the “Best Hip-Hop Songs of All Time”. Anyway, read them below:

11. AZ - Rather Unique (1995)

"So where it all begins is here / Destiny and me finally meet / So how can I be weak? / I’m rather unique"

This is probably a surprising one to put on a “Best of All Time” list, but it genuinely is one of the best of all time. I don’t know many people that have heard this before - which is a real shame. Every word he lays down just seems to fit perfectly amongst his rapid, amazingly articulated words. The beat? …Well, the smooth 80’s style keyboard laced with the infamous ‘Funky Drummer’ break and the occasional James Brown vocal mark another Pete Rock classic. I could happily listen to it all day.

At some point of this song, those of you who actually know hip-hop must have thought “this guy sounds a lot like Nas” …And you wouldn’t be wrong. He’s got that same kind of flow, that same gift with words and the same Brooklyn aura. In his early days, AZ had worked with Nas - being the only featuring rapper on Nas’ debut album Illmatic (in Life’s a Bitch).

Something to think about: AZ was labeled the most underrated rapper of all time.

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. Les McCann - Anticipation
  2. James Brown - Funky Drummer
  3. Big Daddy Kane - Just Rhymin’ With Biz (feat. Biz Markie)

Producer:

  • Pete Rock

12. Biz Markie - Just a Friend (1990)

"OH BABY YOU, GOT WHAT I NEED, BUT YOU SAY HE’S JUST A FRIEND / AND YOU SAY HE’S JUST A FRIEND"

Biz Markie has got to be one of the coolest rappers of all time. He is essentially the class clown of hip-hop. But the best thing about him is that he isn’t scared to be a joker! I can’t imagine any modern day rapper acting the way Biz does… No chance. 

The song just sums him up so well. Amusing lyrics with some catchy out-of-tune singing for the chorus. You just know he enjoyed making this one! You almost feel sorry for Biz while he’s telling his amusingly helpless story about a girl he’s making moves on.

His singing in the chorus is horrible - and yet, some how, absolutely amazing! It is ridiculously catchy. I challenge those of you who know this song to NOT sing along for the chorus.

He is by no means the most talented lyricist nor the most talented MC, but he does his own thing very well!

… Yes Biz!

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. Freddie Scott - (You) Got What I Need
  2. Lee Dorsey - Get Out of My Life, Woman

Producer:

  • Biz Markie

13. Public Enemy - By the Time I Get to Arizona (1991)

"I’m on the one mission /To get a politician / To honour or he’s a goner / By the time I get to Arizona"

Public Enemy changed hip-hop. They are one of the most consistently amazing acts in the scene. They simply do not make songs for the sake of making songs… Every song they make has a purpose. It was really hard to chose which PE song to put in the list with the likes of Fight the Power, He Got Game, Harder Than You Think and countless others from their long 11 album reign over hip-hop (with two more albums coming this year). There was no one like PE before them before they came along, so in my opinion, it is only fair that they be classed as innovators.

They are well know for their politically-charged lyrics with a critical point of view of the media and the lies both tell to the general, but more specifically, the African American population. They embody the calm, pro-equality message of Martin Luther King Jr. and the sheer militant, enough is enough aura of Malcolm X.

Public Enemy are ‘total music’ in my eyes - what I mean by this is that they kill it in every aspect of the song - the beat, the lyrics, the message and the relevance. They managed to do this because each member of the group did their job - and they did it very well. Chuck D - I literally don’t have enough to say about him. He is without a doubt one of the greatest, most inspirational, creative and important MCs to ever touch a mic. It is really amazing that he has managed to keep up his own very high standards for so long (like I said, 11 albums - and soon to be 13). The Bomb Squad - are just that, the BOMB squad! The beats they provide for the group are just as important as the words of Chuck D. They are sampling wizards - usually sampling several tracks in each song; resulting in some raw musical fusion.

This song is a great example of their militant vibe - being a personal ‘fuck you’ to Senator John McCain and the state of Arizona for their decision to no longer recognise the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; claiming the Senator wants it to be like “the good ‘ol days” of of inequality. The music video ended up being banned from some channels, as it depicted the members of Public Enemy taking out their anger on the State senates and John McCain… With a car bomb.

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. Mandrill - Two Sisters of Mystery
  2. Jackson 5 - Walk On

Producers:

  • Chuck D & The Bomb Squad

14. N.W.A. - Express Yourself (1988)

"When I start expressing myself, Yella slam it / Cause if I stay funky like this, I’m doing damage"

N.W.A… The renegades of rap, and to my knowledge, the first real act to be labeled ‘Gangster Rap’. When people think of rappers / groups that were taken too soon they usually think of Tupac, Biggie and Big L - however, N.W.A. definitely appear high on this list for me. For such a short ‘life span’ (just 5 years), N.W.A. left a huge legacy in the rap / hip-hop scene.

When you think about the standard N.W.A. song, you’ll probably think about violent lyrics mixed with frequent profanity - however, Express Yourself really showed a different side to the group. In a more positive, less violent and graphic song, Dre really emphasises the need for more self-expression in the hip-hop scene. He downplays drugs and calls out rappers hypocrisy - as well as the unoriginality of some he labels as ‘sequels’ - which has been, and always will be, a major downfall of the industry.

What is special about this song is that it is just a pure hip-hop song… Stripped back to the roots - with a simple funky loop from sampled material with an MC spitting fluid, positive rhymes over it. A special song indeed.

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. Charles wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band - Express Yourself

Producers:

  • DJ Yella
  • Dr. Dre

15. Dr. Dre - Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang (1993)

"Compton and Long Beach together: now you know your in trouble"

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg - two of the biggest names in the industry, and have been for a very long time. This is an anthem. 

Widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever recorded, and to some the greatest; so it seems quite far down in my list - but it all about personal preference.. Don’t get me wrong, I love this track, and everyone involved in it.

Everything about this song (from Dre’s debut album - The Chronic) gels perfectly together. From Dre’s slick ‘G Funk’ style beat to Snoop’s unrivalled smooth delivery. Even the lyrical criss-crossing between Snoop and Dre comes exactly when it needs to. This is one of the greatest head bobbers of all time - brought to you by two of the kings.

Click to listen…

Samples:

  1. Leon Haywood - I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You
  2. Kid Dynamite - Uphill Peace of Mind
  3. Ronnie Hudson & the Street People - West Coast Poplock
  4. Congress Alley - Are You Looking

Producer:

  • Dr. Dre

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.. But what happens when the music is gone? When there is no melody? When all you hear is silence.. The bitter sweet defining sound of nothing.. Nothing at all..

—Oz

Good music is not heard.. It’s felt.

Getting Pretty Gramatikal…

                    

So I’ve finally decided to use tumblr more… Starting with Gramatik.

The Slovenian producer has been around for a while, but has recently singed to Pretty Lights Music; not surprising really.. It’s easy to see the similarities between the Gramatik and Pretty Lights style..

For those of you who don’t know Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith), listen to his tracks! …And while your at it, Gramatik’s. There is really no excuse not to, as all of his EP’s and albums are available for free download (although donations are also accepted) on his site, www.prettylightsmusic.com

The first time I heard Pretty Lights was actually live in Oxford. I was at a night put on called Metropolis, and was upstairs (missing Sub Focus, who was playing downstairs at the same time)… From that point on, I was completely hooked.

There are loads of reasons why I’m so fascinated by the Pretty Lights / Gramatik style.. One of them is the crazy synths and bass lines that you hear in the songs (more so with Pretty Lights).. I can only describe them as unique. Another reason is that I am a massive fan of sampling, hip-hop, Motown and soul.. The way both these guy sample songs, but put enough of their own flavour to make it their own is truly amazing.

Pretty Lights - Shining Bright Despite The Plight

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZtCScsIrgc

Gramatik - Chillaxin’ By The Sea

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyhgmmBx9Rw