Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Top 5: Maverick


Some of the best shit in music drops in your lap through email or word of mouth such as one day last year I recieved an email from Oddisee (Mello Music Group) and it was a link to a beat tape EP called "First Step" by and up and coming producer named Maverick. After listening I automatically became a fan and began to follow Maverick's musical endevors.  Since that time Maverick has worked on various projects such as Redistricting (Diamond District's In the Ruff Remixes)Ghostface Beat Tape and the Smooth Grooves Beat Tape.  So with that said, Maverick lets you in on his favorite 5 an more.



Your Favorite 5 Producers:  It's funny because I think that this question gets asked to every single hip-hop producer in every single interview...and every single person has a different answer.  I will go ahead and throw it out there that I am assuming you are talking about hip-hop producers...because dudes want to act like they are music historians when you fail to mention Quincy Jones or David Axelrod or Gamble & Huff or anyone else that hip-hop is built from.  It's a little bit of passive aggressive conceitedness...like, I just want to show you that I have one up on you.  Trust me, all of these producers in other genres that a person might throw out there, I know about them.  I listen to everything...
In terms of hip-hop producers, my "favorite" ("favorite" and "best" are not necessarily the same thing) producer is always going to be DJ Premier...he is the reason that I am producing.  I learned to produce by trying to recreate DJ Premier songs...same thing for RZA.  He is up there too.  The other three would have to be Buckwild, Pete Rock and...I will have to throw the Beatminerz in there.  They were another set of producers that I really modeled myself after.  Black Moon's "Enta the Stage" and Smif 'n Wessun's "Dah Shinin'" were my soundtracks when I was in my teens...

Favorite Beat They Produced:  Super hard question because these guys' discographies are so extensive.  For Premier, my favorite beat from him would have to be Nas's "Memory Lane"...that song was just a perfect beat for remembering and reminiscing about life.  That is a perfect song to me.  For Pete, my favorite beat would be Nas's "The World is Yours"...so two of my favorite beats are on the Illmatic album.  For Buckwild, my favorite beat from him is Mic Geronimo's "Masta I.C."...he did O.C.'s "Times Up" as well, but that "Masta I.C." was my joint.  For RZA, my favorite joint from him might be "Criminology"...damn, RZA is a producer who is hard to name a favorite beat for.  He was so revolutionary at the time and was doing so much next level production...I think I had a new favorite from him every time that the Wu put out an album.  And for the Beatminerz, I have to cheat and give two favorites...Black Moon's "I Gotcha Opin Remix" is probably my favorite hip-hop song ever.  But Smif 'n Wessun's "Wontime" is up there for me as well...that's one of the hardest beats ever made.

Why or What do you like about their skillz behind the boards?  From Premier, what I love about him is his ear for samples...I don't know if you were intending that to be included as a "skill behind the board" but it definitely is.  In today's day and age, people pick almost the same types of samples...R&B/soul samples.  When I was growing up and listening to Premier, he was pulling influences from jazz, blues, R&B, funk, classical, rock...on and on.  His ear for samples is unparalleled in terms of scope...he pulls stuff from everywhere and makes it work.  In terms of Pete, the thing that I loved that he started out doing but doesn't do so much of anymore is combining multiple samples to make one song...when I would listen to songs like "For Pete's Sake" and "Straighten It Out", I would just be amazed at how he could hear pieces from one song and know that he could combine it with another song to make it sound seamless.  He and Large Professor were masters at this...so were the Bomb Squad.  This was a skill from the early 90s that hasn't really survived the times...probably because of sample clearance issues.  Which is why you will never have landmark albums like Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back or the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique anymore.

For RZA, I think that his creativity was on another level...he was able to have songs where notes were out of tune, drums were out of sync.  But I think that he realized...moreso than alot of big name hip-hop producers (with the exception of J. Dilla and Madlib)...that music is about what feels good and sounds good, not all of the technical stuff behind it.  I mean, who would think to make a beat like he did for Raekwon's "Ice Water", with someone moaning voice being the basis of the beat?  If I am not mistaken, RZA did the speeding up and slowing down of a song in Masta Killa's "Brooklyn Babies" before J. Dilla experimented with it on his Donuts album.  Plus, all of the sped up vocals that Just Blaze and Kanye West would become known for were pioneered by the RZA.  And lastly, for the Beatminerz, what I liked about them behind the boards was their "rawness"...they weren't producers who were overly concerned with mixing.  They were great at capturing the rawness and aggressiveness that the 90s were known for...I think that because they gravitated toward alot of rock music breaks on the Black Moon album and the Smif 'n Wessun album, they were good at realizing the types of music that captured the rawness they were looking for.

How have they influenced or inspired you?  I think that all of these producers inspired me in a similar way because they really took certain things regarding sampling production but each developed distinctive sounds from it.  All of those producers have a particular style...and though they have a wide range of songs and feels, they each put their own particular stamp on their songs.  The other thing that all of them inspired me to do is make music that has a feeling.  Today, there are alot of songs that don't even have music (no melodies), much less "feeling".  You have these songs that are nothing but percussion...and while that seems to be the thing for people to dance to and rhyme to, it doesn't give me any feeling when I listen to it.  I think that all of my influences taught me how to capture a certain feeling with the samples they chose and the songs they made.


Which producer would you like to collabo with?  Besides my top 5 favorite producers, I would like to work with Madlib...I love the samples that he picks and the sound that he goes for.  He doesn't care about being conventional and I think that is attributed to his jazz influences.  That Freddie Gibbs "Thuggin'" is in heavy rotation right now.  Also, Just Blaze...he is my favorite modern producer.  He is the successor to Premier, in my eyes...he captures that hip-hop sound in everything that he does, just real hard drums, great samples.  But he has a certain feel and emotion to the songs that he produces...from Jay Electronica's "Exhibit C" to Marsha Ambrosius's "Far Away".  I love to hear songs that you really feel an emotion about when you listen to them.

Outside of hip-hop, I loved Broken Beat music...that sound out of West London4Hero, Bugz in the Attic, Domu, Mark de Clive-Lowe...I love those guys and would love to try that type of music.  And of course, I am a HUGE Masters at Work fan...Kenny Dope and Louie Vega.  I love how Kenny Dope has that hip-hop background but also makes house/dance music...with that in mind, I am going to throw DJ Spinna in there also.  Sorry for the long answer...



How did you get involved with the Beat Tape Project?  I got involved with the Beat Tape Project through my dude, Gadget, who is behind Digital Hustle Films and the Behind the Beats series.  Me and Gadget met many years ago when I was working with Cy Young from Low Budget on a few songs.  Gadget came through and we just connected on alot of music stuff.  When I did alot of these beat showcases around DC and up in New York, I wanted to capture some of that on video.  He did the videos of some of those shows that are floating on YouTube...the Reboot show here in DC with DTMD and Surock as well as some other things.  In return, I did an interview for him for the Behind the Beats series.  When more and more opportunities came his way, he always kept me in mind.  I hung out with him while he was doing videos for Deric "D. Dot" Angellettie, DV Alias Khryst, Sauce Money, Wais P...and we just have gotten cooler as time has gone on.  So, when he came out with the idea to gather all of these producers together that he respected and start releasing projects under one banner, I was all for it...

 What was the inspiration behind "Theme of the Fool" for the "Smooth Grooves Beat Tape"When Gadget came with the idea of doing the Smooth Grooves Beat Tape, I was hyped about it because the idea was a great idea.  Flipping slow jams from our youth...that's my expertise.  I can chop samples with the best of them...that's the school of hip-hop that I am from.  Plus, I am not as young as some of the other guys on the project, so while I knew they were going to come with some things from the 90s...I knew that I could really hit people with some of the lesser known and forgotten songs from the 80s.  The joints from Meli'sa Morgan, Allyson Williams, Kashif, Evelyn "Champagne" KingChuckii Booker...that was the stuff that defined my childhood.  So I made sure to play the sample at the beginning of the song so that people knew what I took but flip it in a way that really changed up the feel of the song at the same time.

In terms of the dialogue at the beginning of the song, I wanted to use something where someone had done something that could be considered to be "foolish" in the name of love, since I flipped Miles Jaye's "I've Been a Fool for You" for my song (I am being generous today, for everyone who doesn't know the sample).  That scene from Love and Basketball was one where Sanaa Lathan was being QUITE foolish in terms of just putting herself and her feelings out there on the line to a man who is about to get married to someone else.  I thought it was a perfect intro to the song...a song for someone who, despite their better judgment, was putting it all on the line for love... 

  
Any final words or thoughts?  I know this is the spot where everyone usually plugs all of their own projects but first and foremost, I just want to say that we really need to get back to making music we feel and working with people that we respect.  Once those things are in place, I think that you will see more memorable music in the fans' hands.  I can't think of too much music today that I hold in the same regard that I do the hip-hop from years ago...instead of making albums and cohesive projects, people make CDs full of singles that don't relate to each other in any way possible.  For these artists who have the attention of the public, take a chance with your music...throw something out there that you really believe in and stand behind.  If Jay-Z made another album like Reasonable Doubt or if Nas made another album like Illmatic, more people would buy it today than did back in the day because they have more people's attention.  With that attention, push the boundaries a little bit.  For the fans, take a chance and try something new sometimes.  There is so much music out there for us to have the same 10 songs on the radio and the television.  There is room for everything...

Make sure you check out some of the projects that I have released, such as the First Step EP and Redistricting (Diamond District's In the Ruff Remixes) , as well as the projects that I have songs on like the Ghostface Beat Tape and the Smooth Grooves Beat Tape.  This year, I should be putting out the Next Step as well as my own solo project with me MCing and producing.  Also...and this is me peer pressuring him...me and my dude MaG should be finishing up our 9MMs project, which has been in the works for quite sometime.  Shout out to Oddisee, Vega Benetton and MaG...my friends in this music that I know beyond the music.  Shout out to the people who have taken the time to steer me to where I am now...DJ Spanky from back in the day at KLSU, Chris Clay from back in the day at Q106 FM, DJ Johnny "Juice" Rosado from Public Enemy.  And shout out to everyone in the DMV, up in NYC and back home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana doing their thing...



More Information About Maverick:


MUSIC:

Redistricting (Diamond District's In the Ruff Remixes):  http://maverickmusic.bandcamp.com/album/redistricting-sampler-in-the-ruff-remixes


BLOG:


VIDEOS:

Maverick's "Road to Perdition":  http://youtu.be/M9vxCK20pLU
Behind the Beats:  http://youtu.be/SLETG6gb8Mk
Real Producers of the DMV:  http://youtu.be/G65WZvPECc8
Ghostface Beat Tape, Uno's Edition (Part 1):  http://youtu.be/ihLISV0SGyA
Ghostface Beat Tape, Uno's Edition (Part 2):  http://youtu.be/iqUiItA6g1c
Ghostface Beat Tape, Uno's Edition (Part 3):  http://youtu.be/RtrG8pauq3A
Reboot Producer Showcase (Part 1):  http://youtu.be/TwINAlkf46w
Reboot Producer Showcase (Part 2):  http://youtu.be/mw0JnPLpvYI
Reboot Producer Showcase (Part 3):  http://youtu.be/ExOjP6oST3Q
Reboot Producer Showcase (Part 4):  http://youtu.be/a6KS8rgD9hU
Reboot Producer Showcase (Part 5):  http://youtu.be/dppOueL_fQs
Maverick and 88 Keys @ !llmind's BLAP Showcase (Poor Quality):  http://youtu.be/FRbJkyj2SVk

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