JoKo’s Note: Before I let Shepard get into it, I want to let you all know that I haven’t been neglecting you. I’m in the process of moving to NYC and life’s a bit hectic at the moment. In the meantime, enjoy my fellow HMCers posts, and especially this guest post from HMC’s good friend, Shepard…
Shepard: For those that don’t know I am a beat fanatic. I’ve also been known to partake in the creation of a bit of the boom bap from time to time. So When JoKo asked me to make a list of my favorite instrumentals for this guest post it sounded like a great idea. The only problem is there’s so much good music to choose from that picking only a few is next to impossible. So this list represents my favorite tracks right now, at this moment, today, as I’m writing this. I don’t want to hear anyone ask: “Shepard how could you not put xyz on the list?” or “Shepard you don’t honestly believe that so and so is a better producer than so and so?” Shut the hell up with all that noise. It’s my damn list. That said lets get into it!
Musiq Soulchild’s Halfcrazy
I love this beat for two reasons: A. It’s sexy as hell! That guitar. Those horns. The bassline. Perfection! B. It contains an interpolation from the theme of one of my favorite French films, “Vivre pour Vivre” (yeah I’m a snob). The track is produced by “Othodox” who is Musiq’s go to producer. He has also penned hits for Justin Timberlake and Rick “The Diabetes Don” Ross. Fellas, it would behoove you to pick up this single on wax. Ladies love Musiq Soulchild and playing her this instrumental might just show off your sensitive side.
Flying Lotus’ Session Cats
Flying Lotus is one of those producers whose instrumentals transcend the background. They never play like a blank canvas for some rapper or singer to dominate. Instead each Flylo track exists as its own complete work of art. This is one of his earlier tracks and it might be a bit easier to digest if you’re not down with the experimental music scene. The textures of the synthesizer used here give off an immediate head nod vibe that you’d have to be crazy not to bounce to. I’m constantly inspired by what this guy can do with a sample, ableton live and a midi trigger.
J Dilla’s Snappin Necks In Africa
IF YOU’RE NOT A JAY DEE FAN WE CAN’T BE FRIENDS. Point blank period. Dilla’s style is incomparable. This beat in particular showcases the “sloppy” drum programming and sparse stabbing bass lines he became renown for in the late 90’s. Snappin Necks in Africa samples Dorthy Ashby’s song Wax and Wane in a pretty straightforward way and isn’t Dilla’s most complex chop but it will always be one of my favorites.
Swizz Beatz’ Its Me Bitches
I already know I’m gonna get a lot of heat for this but I need to say it. Its me Bitches is my favorite song of all time. No lie. I don’t know what it is about this track, but it gets me so amped! I guess I dig the part where the beat goes “clickaclickaclickaclickaclickaclicka” makes you wanna slap the taste out of someone’s mouth. Swizz Beatz irks me though, mostly because he stole my wife. And cause he’s ugly. And cause he spells “beats” like an 11 year old. And cause he stole my wife. Nevertheless this beat is well crafted and serves its purpose by letting the bitches know, it is indeed me.
Kendrick Lamar’s Rigamortis
This beat is nucking futs dude. Without Kendrick’s vocals you can really hear how much work the producer, Willie B, put in on this track. The drums build well as they undergo a transformation via low pass filter. And when the 808’s drop we enter a whole new realm of stank. I recently found out the sample here was pulled from a record released in 2010. I suggest you check it out, Willie Jones The Thorne.
Little Brother’s Watch Me
If you know Little Brother then you know 9th Wonder was the producer of that group. However on their album The Minstrel Show 9th requested the help of another North Carolinian beatsmith, Khrysis. In short, Khrysis is a muphuckin problem. This is hip-hop at its finest. Khysis is able to create smooth tracks with his ability to break his samples down into the smallest of parts and rearrange them seamlessly. Watch me samples the late great Michael Jackson’s “With a Child’s Heart”… #nopedo.