Friday, November 11, 2011
Rap pioneer Heavy D passed away on November 8, and SPIN likes to remember him more that just hip-hop's ever-suave nice-guy and the ladies man behind megahits like "Nuttin' But Love." The 44-year-old rapper had a wide-reaching impact on hip-hop, and his presence cut a smooth line from Marley Marl's raw sample science through Puff Daddy's pop reign — and, in between, stopped everywhere from Jamaica to Neverland Ranch. Take a look back at 15 hits, detours, and other songs that owe him gratitude to grasp the full impact of Waterbed Hev.
THE FIVE MOST IMPORTANT TRACKS
1. Heavy D & The Boyz - "The Overweight Lover's in the House" (1987)
Over a vintage Marley Marl smacker, the second single off Heavy D's debut established Hev as one of the most formidable rhymers of hip-hop's golden era: A silky-soft playboy whispering in a girl's ear by the fireplace… but not so soft that he won't totally stomp her boyfriend. Alongside Big Daddy Kane, Heavy helped establish the smooth badass: Drake should thank him sooner than later.
2. Heavy D & The Boyz - "We Got Our Own Thang" (1989)
Simultaneously Teddy Riley's suavest, most utterly-impossible-not-to-Cabbage Patch-along-to beat (built on a surgically supercharged sample of James Brown's "Funky President") and Heavy D's suavest, most utterly-impossible-not-to-flow-along-to jabberwocky ("Bum-deedlee-deedlee-deedlee-deedlee-deedlee-dee!").
3. Heavy D & The Boyz - "Now That We Found Love" ft. Aaron Hall (1991)
Hip-house had played itself out years earlier and new jack swing was wearing itself thin. But Heavy and Teddy Riley still found the missing link between Yo! MTV Raps and Club MTV, due in no short part to Hev's manic fast-raps on this locomotive of a track. Ultimately it garnered Heavy D his highest charting song, landing at No. 11 on Billboard.
4. Michael Jackson - "Jam" (1992)
"Jam" was Michael Jackson's very first acknowledgment that rap was changing the pop universe that he had dominated for a decade. Jacko naturally requested Heavy, one of hip-hop's greatest pop ambassadors, for a tight four bars. Jackson played Heavy a song and, as Hev told Shade 45, "One of the hardest things I ever had to do was tell Michael Jackson 'that’s kinda wack.' Heavy recommended maybe hooking up Teddy Riley instead… and HIStory was made.
5. Heavy D & The Boyz- "Nuttin' But Love" (1994)
The story goes that Russell Simmons wouldn't sign Heavy D to Def Jam way back when due to his plus-size frame, lazy eye, and smoothed-out club jams. Of course, the Hevster not only had the last laugh by never turning into a babbling capitalist shill or self-help yogi goofball, he actually became a crossover sex symbol with a cheeky hit video (produced by Russell Simmons protégé Brett Ratner!) full of supermodels that he never had to marry or indulge with a train wreck reality show. Produced by boisterous New York City DJ Kid Capri, "Nuttin' " was an undulating, pop-funk marvel, and the video remains a historic hoot — starring Chris Tucker (sporting an orange touring cap, Hawaiian shirt, and pearls!), plus the aforementioned bevy of "yeah, whateva" catwalkers, including Cynthia Bailey from Real Housewives of Atlanta and Rebecca Gayheart, a.k.a., the "Noxema Girl," a.k.a. Dylan's wife on Beverly Hills 90210, a.k.a., squeeze of director Ratner. Later, Ratner was brought on to direct Tucker's Money Talks, due to their meeting on the "Nuttin' But Love" set. Hey, don't blame, Hev.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011
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Friday, June 10, 2011
(Excerpt from Complex Magazine)
Public Enemy f/ Pete Rock “Shut ‘em Down (Remix)” (1991)
Album: "Shut ‘em Down" Single
Label: Def Jam
Pete Rock: “I had a relationship with Def Jam and at the time I was with a company called Untouchables with Eddie F. They would go out and get us work. I got a shot with Public Enemy, and then after that I had a huge relationship with Chuck D.
I made that beat in like fifteen minutes, that’s what’s ill about it. Immediately when I got the opportunity to do it, I got so excited that I just started working on the beat.
I was a fan and I used to always see them work because we used the same studio as Keith and Hank Shocklee. I used to be in there watching them. I saw Ice Cube’s album being produced, I saw a couple of Public Enemy joints being made. From then, I think they wanted to give me a shot because they were hearing about me on the come-up.
“I made that beat in like fifteen minutes, that’s what’s ill about it. Immediately when I got the opportunity to do it, I got so excited that I just started working on the beat. I got everything I needed, did it real quick fast [at home before the session] and got the sounds down, then I got in the studio and tweaked it. I chopped it, lined it up better, and perfected it in the big house.
“I [rapped on it] on my own. I just did one version with [my verse] and one without it. They picked the one with it. They loved it.”
Read more from Pete Rock Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records
Métissages Mix 23.04.2011 - Spécial Pete Rock by DJ Green Giant
Friday, February 18, 2011
This was must have been an experience all its own, to say the least. My man Jaeki/Complex put hours in with DJ Premier to bring you a complete breakdown of all his classic records, straight from the hoarse’s mouth.
Gang Starr f/ Nice & Smooth “DWYCK” (1992)
DJ Premier: “It was just a fun record. It was a B-side joint. We did ‘Down the Line’ on the Nice & Smooth album, so we were like, ‘Ya’ll do one with us.’ So we just made a B-side and it was ‘DWYCK.’ WC was here when we cut that record. He was up in New York hanging with me. Don Barron from Masters of Ceremony was also here. Everybody cut their vocals, and Smooth came the second day. He laid his, and we put it out there, and all of a sudden it was a summertime smash. After that we were doing shows everywhere thanks to ‘DWYCK.’ It was a very high point in my life.
“It was supposed to be on Daily Operation, but the label wasn’t rolling with it. They just wanted to leave it the way it was. The buzz, however, was so big, we re-mastered it and tacked it onto the album, but then [the label] just didn’t do the re-pressings. I think we would’ve gone, maybe even platinum. ‘DYWCK’ was that big. We were upset, so we said, ‘Let’s at least put it somewhere down the line because even if they don’t want anything on the album, if they want ‘DWYCK’ on it, they’ll cop’em.’ So that’s why we put that on Hard to Earn.”
Nas “N.Y. State of Mind” (1994) after the jump…
Nas “N.Y. State of Mind” (1994)
DJ Premier: “That was just amazing because it happened in this room. Actually, anything from ‘92 and on, we did it here. It was just amazing watching him work because I was already a fan of him when he did ‘Back to the Grill,’ ‘Halftime,’ ‘It Ain’t Hard to Tell,’ and ‘Live at the Barbeque.’ So when I heard him on those records I was like, ‘Yo, I got to do something that’s on the same level.’ So I came in here, and flipped the ill, gutter, Joe Chambers sample (‘Mind Rain’). I can tell you because it’s cleared. [Laughs.] Nas watched me build the beat from scratch. And he wrote the verse in the studio. If you listen to ‘N.Y. State of Mind’ you’ll hear him going, ‘I don’t know how to start this shit,’ because he literally just wrote it. Before he started the verse, I was signaling him going, ‘One, two, three,’ and he just goes in like, ‘Rappers I monkey flip’em, in the funky rhythm.” He did that in one take. After he did that first verse, he goes, ‘How was that? Did that sound all right?’ And we were just like, ‘Oh, my God! The streets are going to go crazy when they hear this!’
“It was one take, but he would format it before. He’ll sit at the front, cover his mouth when the beat’s playing, and would mumble it. So we can’t hear what he’s saying. He was real quiet, but he would bring his whole army. Rest in peace to Drawz, by the way. He just died not too long ago. I remember [Nas] bringing Slate, Wallet Head, basically, all the people he was shouting out. They would be like, ‘Can we go in [the booth] too?’ They just wanted to feel it, you know? It was just funny to watch them all in the booth doing ‘Represent,’ and yelling in the background.”
read the full story at COMPLEX
Monday, February 7, 2011
(AllHipHop News) A full documentary on J. Dilla dropped today (February 7th), on what would have been the critically acclaimed producer's 37th birthday.
Gifted Films Inc. teamed with OkayPlayer.com and Brian "B. Kyle" Atkins to produce J. Dilla: Still Shining, an 39-minute documentary project on the Detroit-born producer.
J. Dilla is a revered producer who utilized technology as well as live instrumentation throughout his career, to craft a previously-unheard style of production.
Artists like Slum Village, The Pharcyde, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Janet Jackson, Common, Guru, Vivian Greene, Talib Kweli, Mos Def and others benefited from Dilla's sound.
Tragically, J. Dilla died on February 10th, 2006, just days after his 32nd birthday.
The producer suffered from Lupus, an incurable blood disease that effects over 5 million people across the world, annually.
Still Shining tells the story of J. Dilla, born James Yancey, through photographs, rare concert footage and exclusive testimonials from artists like Common, Q-Tip, Erkyah Badu, Busta Rhymes, ?uest Love DJ House Shoes and others.
Production on Still Shining began on the day of Dilla's funeral, according to producers of the documentary.
"I'm very happy to have this opportunity to thank his fans," said J. Dilla's mother Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey. "I am happy as can be for the support he has been given, [it] lets me know that he work was not in vain and all of the work he has will live forever.
"He has so much more that's going to be given to the world and this was his wish during his illness, that he be able to give his gift to the world," Ms. Yancey continued. "He was able to live long enough to give that gift back and it will last a lifetime. I'm so proud. I'm not mourning because I am rejoicing. I have been so blessed to have been the mother of a genius."
Still Shining is an interesting, personal look into the life of Dilla, with comment from the man himself, who revealed his inspirations for production.
"I get the inspiration from talking to people like Pete Rock and Diamond D," Dilla revealed. "Every time I call Pete, he's in the basement. Every time I call him he's working. Every time I call Diamond, he's in the lab. So it's like it's nothing for me to do but do the same thing."
"It was a great experience being around him," legendary producer Pete Rock commented. "We gave each other a lot of inspiration, I would call him on the phone what time it was. If I had a beat going that was crazy, I was letting him hear it. And he would do the same thing."