Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Roy Ayers et Nas & DMX

You are looking at the man himself Roy Ayers.  In a time frame of almost 50 years (dating up until the present), Ayers has been releasing and working on projects spanning almost every genre of music.  The handful of Roy Ayers sampled beats I have made in my day never got placed onto albums, but about 100 other producer’s beats have.  Ayers’ record “Everybody Loves Sunshine” alone has been sampled 35 times! (at my last count) Anyway, here’s a video I came across of the legend discussing his feelings on sampling.  The more I learn about this guy the more I become a fan, doesn’t hurt that he seems like the nicest guy ever…

Now on an only-related-through-sampling note, I also caught an interview today with the recently released DMX.  The direction his life has taken him in the last few years is truly sad, and when you listen to X’s lyrics as far back as his first album, you can easily detect signs of a very prominent dark side to the rapper’s life.  Its hard not to reflect on his recent path during this guest verse on Nas’ “Life Is What You Make It”.

Life is too short to get caught up on some dumb shit; Wake up, 40 years old on some bum shit…..Now realize that you ain’t got shit; Not long ago, you was the man, on some hot shit”

Damn reality is harsh sometimes.  The man did get caught up, I just hope his story isn’t over.  Anyway, the track contains a sample of Roy Ayers’ “Vittroni’s Theme” off of the soundtrack of the 1973 movie Coffy.  Since this record isn’t much to really listen to, I threw in “Everybody Loves Sunshine” as well. Life is what you make it, let’s make it.

Roy Ayers – Vittroni’s Theme

Nas ft. DMX – Life Is What You Make It

Roy Ayers – Everybody Loves Sunshine


Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – B.T. Express et DMX

B.T. Express was among a group of classic funk and soul artists used to create DMX’s debut album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, somewhat of a rap masterpiece.  Listening through beginning to end you hear aggressive beats matched with vivid accounts of street life in Yonkers, New York.  The raw nature of the album both in sound and content has yet to be matched in the years since it’s release.  On another end of the musical spectrum is B.T. Express’ album Do It Till Your Satisfied, which is one of the most sampled projects in hip hop, with almost every track being used at some point in time.  The title track, which was the group’s biggest hit, contains a funky break that can be heard in at least 10 tracks spanning from Bobby “Bobcat” Ervin’s “Do It” in 1989 to most recently Ne-Yo’s 2010 hit “One In a Million”.  That means royalty checks coming in for the last 20 years from a few groovy bars of music; I dig it.

The producers involved in It’s Dark and Hell is Hot all brought forth their distinct styles to the project. Dame Grease, who handled the majority of the beats, often used fairly small and simple chops to create a very dark backdrop for X to rap to.  For “Get At Me Dog” Grease pitched down the opening measure of B.T. Express’ “Everything Good To You”, which slowed down takes on a whole different feeling. For most of the record the sample is a continuously loop, but at certain parts Grease triggers the chop more rapidly to intensify the feel.  This street single was a big statement during a time of shiny suits and money rap. Big Sheek Louch on the intro and the hook adding even more toughness to the track, plus enough growls and barks to scare off the competition.

B.T. Express – Everything Good To You (Ain’t Always Good For You)

DMX – Get At Me Dog

via KevinCaseyMusic

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Kevin Casey Music Presents Live From New York (1994-2001)

Man look at these suckers. I ain’t no rapper, I’m a hustler. It just so happens I know how to rap.”

In the beginning Hip Hop was about b-boying, djing, graffiti and emceeing. The drug game of the late 1980’s changed the ghetto so, it was only natural that it would change the music as well. Additionally, Hip Hop itself became quite profitable and in turn created an opportunity for a lot of trapped young artists to leave a life of crime, danger and limits. I’ve come to realize that people perform at the highest level when their backs are against the wall. The extreme conditions and adversity that came from living in the hood was transferred into a musical energy and ‘realness’ that was able to touch and reach an entire world. It was survival of the fittest and to be an emcee in the 90’s you had to hold your own, no exceptions.

You see me all my life I had to sell drugs, while you grew up with straight nerds, I grew up with thugs.”

Why the brief history? Well, if you want to appreciate New York City’s mid to late 90’s Hip Hop you’ll have to realize that these guys aren’t just talking loud and being aggressive for no reason, they’re representing an attitude one needed to have in order to survive and stay sane in the concrete jungle that was NYC in the 90’s. Look at it this way, you don’t go into a battlefield to put your gun down, read a book, have some tea and talk about where you want to summer next year. You’re going to be screaming and hollering, cold, alert and focused at all costs; you’re going to be aggressive and you’re going to be challenging that next man if he’s trying to take you out. Like I said, it was a concrete jungle and survival of the fittest was the type of mentality that applied, “only the strong survive”

That was the mindset in NYC because prior and even during Guiliani that was the reality. I’m not praising it or saying it was correct but if you want to appreciate the music for what it is without having actually experienced that lifestyle, then you have to listen with some perspective. So when you hear lyrics that sound somewhat extreme, violent, and brutal, understand that that is just the top layer and the language only serves to represent issues that went much deeper than the words being used to represent them. Lastly, the only way to escape an extreme circumstance sometimes is to develop an extreme type of mentality. Most people don’t have to deal with such challenges in life so it may be hard to relate. For the sake of this mixtape I suggest you try, it will be worth it.

With that said, we exclusively present a mixtape that captures that time in New York City better then anything I’ve yet to hear – Kevin Casey Music Presents: Live From New York. Officially this is a mixtape but the editing and thought process displayed on this tape will make you think you are listening to an extremely well produced album. The transitions and details from song to song are flawless and carefully crafted. It’s not often a mixtape displays this level of depth with no compromise of quality. Kevin Casey has done his research to provide listeners with an expansive yet refined taste for the best NYC had to offer. Pretty much all classic mainstream and underground NYC hits are represented. However, only the best verses from the wide spectrum made the cut, making the listening experience easy and extremely entertaining. Having grown up listening to this music, I can tell you this was no easy task. Rappers were hungry back in the day and there were a lot of good verses but Casey did in fact manage to narrow it down to the best. All the rappers you hear on this tape are at their absolute prime and deliver their lyrics with the energy and hostility of the street. Like the time it represents, this tape is hardcore, gritty, challenging and extremely entertaining. This mixtape is available as a free download at and was made for the sole purpose of spreading good music. It’s been a while since New York City’s golden era was revisited with such thoughtfulness and sincerity; this is truly worth the listen. All that said, let me end this post like the tape begins:

New York will… not… lose… ever!

Live From New York (Intro)

Live From New York (Intro)