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Music

Governors Ball

So despite the rain and mud struggles, I braved two of the three days at Governors Ball this weekend. I should have gone on Sunday, but my body just couldn’t do it. Instead of seeing Kanye, Beirut, HAIM, and all the other Sunday acts, I took a personal day of relaxation and zen. Much needed, and definitely no regrets, although I’m sure all those performers were fantastic. As for Friday and Saturday, well. It was definitely interesting. A super fun experience to have since I’ve never been to a totally muddy and grimy music festival, and it led me to believe that it’s an experience that everyone should have, especially in their twenties. Yes, it’s difficult to dance and get stoked about the music when you’re struggling with standing on two feet without slipping, but there’s a certain romantic quality in all of the mess. And I have to admit, any time I felt slightly overwhelmed by the intensity of the people or the ankle deep sludge, my friend and I escaped to the silent disco tent.

If you’ve never participated in a silent disco, make it your summer goal. They’re accessible, I’m sure at most music festivals in the city nowadays, and you will have so much fun. For all you Mister Sunday lovers, think of the crowd and general good vibes of a Mister Sunday party. Now just imagine that with noise canceling Sennheiser wireless headphones, surrounded by strangers and friends all losing it to the same music being played live by a DJ. I was impressed and totally in the zone. I had a silly/stupid moment the first time I participated in one last summer, when I realized that everyone was hearing the same music. D’oh. Favorite highlight: the two dudes dressed as referees who entered to an automatically parted crowd, warranting a male stripper-esque impromptu dance-off. As if I wasn’t already in love, the DJs who performed on each day were incredible. I can only imagine that it was as fun for them as it was for us.

As for the artists themselves, from what I was able to see, Kendrick Lamar was a definite favorite. As was Azealia Banks and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. But Kendrick Lamar impressed me so much because I’ve seen live hip-hop at festivals before and sometimes it’s disappointing. But I was the furthest from disappointed with Kendrick’s obvious love and appreciation for the New York crowd. That made me really happy, because if I were an artist, expressing my love for my fans would be just as important as producing quality work. My only wish was that he performed my favorite song, The Recipe, which he did not. He did, however, perform Poetic Justice, which is my favorite song, so I guess it broke even. Nonetheless, The Recipe can be found below for your listening pleasure.

Again, I’m sad that I couldn’t see HAIM on Sunday, but I was just too tired and wiped out from the previous two days of trekking. Despite all of that, I was pleased with the overall Governors Ball experience, and definitely look forward to what it has to offer in the upcoming years.

Kendrick Lamar – The Recipe (feat. Dr. Dre)

*BONUS* Just because. These ladies always deserve listening to.

HAIM – Better Off

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Music

Dr. Dre – Kush (feat. Snoop Dogg & Akon)

This just got leaked and as you can see Dre isn’t too happy about it. The song itself is just another song about weed and usually that doesn’t do much for me but when it comes to Dre and Snoop it somehow connects. What’s most impressive about this track though is the beat because  it bangs harder than almost anything I’ve heard in a while.

“It got leaked, and it was a version of it that I wasn’t really happy about, but we’re gonna go ahead and push it and put it out, since everybody seems to like it. It’s about weed smoking, and I didn’t want people to think that’s what my album was about. This is actually the only type of song with that type of content on it.”

My friend said it sounds like Timbo drums with the Doctor’s feel but I think what we’re hearing is Dre 2010 and since this is supposedly not even finished I can only imagine how ridiculous this is going to sound as a finished product. Initially the song starts off like any other typical radio fair but it turns absolutely rough and rugged and you feel like you just went back to the future or like Dre studied the shit out of the future and took it back. Impressive and pure fire. This will be in every single club and bar within the next two days guaranteed, enjoy.

Still I am, tighter than the pants on Will.I.AM – Snoop Dogg (Kush 2010)

Dr. Dre – Kush (feat. Snoop Dogg & Akon)

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Music

Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Soul Mann and The Brothers et Dr. Dre

Back with another Dr. Dre Sample Saturday.  According to his words, the man had something major to prove with this project.

For the last couple of years, there’s been a lot of talk out on the streets about whether or not I can still hold my own, whether or not I’m still good at producing. That was the ultimate motivation for me. Magazines, word of mouth and rap tabloids were saying I didn’t have it any more. What more do I need to do? How many platinum records have I made? O.K., here’s the album — now what do you have to say?” – Dr. Dre on 2001

I never doubted him personally, but those that did better have smartened up after their first listen of 2001. Generally speaking, Dre’s production on this album brought back the West Coast sound and saved the style from perpetual obscurity.  “Xxplosive” personifies everything a typical West Coast joint should represent; a laid back crisp beat, gangsta lyrics, and of course a Nate Dogg feature. This track always stood out on the album because it’s the only song that doesn’t feature a verse from Dre himself. Instead the underrated trio of Hittman, Kurupt, and Nate Dogg take the reigns and destroy one of the standout records on 2001.

“Xxplosive” features an interesting sample from the Soul Mann and The Brothers song “Bumpy’s Lament”.  This song was originally composed and performed by Isaac Hayes for the Shaft soundtrack.  Soul Mann and The Brothers produced a cover album of the soundtrack which contained the version of “Bumpy’s Lament” that Dre decided to use.  In true Doctor fashion he had the sample replayed professionally, giving him the flexibility to make it his own.  The bell melody counters the guitar riffs perfectly… great music. (P.Walsh/K.Casey)

Soul Mann and The Brothers – Bumpy’s Lament

Dr. Dre – Xxplosive

via KevinCaseyMusic

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Music

Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Joe Cocker et 2Pac

I’ve never dropped “California Love” at a party and gotten a negative reaction, and I’ve probably played it a few hundred times over the last ten years.  There’s something undeniably special about this record that made it 2Pac’s most well-known of his career.  It was originally recorded with three verses from Dr. Dre, and wasn’t until 2Pac heard the raw session that he asked to be put on the song.  To add to the popularity of the song was the Hype Williams produced video, with a futuristic theme inspired by the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.  The big budget visual for the song pretty much made its way onto every all time Best Rap Video list.

I was surprised to learn that Dr. Dre only produced two tracks on Pac’s double disc All Eyez on Me. When broken down, it is pretty clear that his use of various samples on “California Love” is one of the greatest ever.  The first is Joe Cocker’s “Woman to Woman”, which provides the main groove for the beat; a jumpy piano and horn loop.  The “California, knows how to party…” hook idea is taken from the 1:09 mark of the ultra funky record “West Coast Poplock” by Ronnie Hudson & The Street People.  Lastly, the “shake it, shake it baby” chant is sung by Roger Troutman through a vocoder, where he is actually just interpolating similar riffs that he performed on his band Zapp’s single “Dance Floor.”  How Dr. Dre successfully created a record that seamlessly blended the highlights of all these classics is hard to understand, and in the end just one of the production credits that makes him the legend that he is.

2Pac ft. Dr. Dre – California Love

Joe Cocker – Woman To Woman

Ronnie Hudson & The Street People – West Coast Poplock

Zapp – Dance Floor

via KevinCaseyMusic

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Music

Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – No Doubt et Dr. Dre

So far with Sample Saturday, we have discussed mostly records used from the 60’s and 70’s.  Today for a change, I figured I would uncover a sample from the 90’s. Chronic 2001 is one of my favorite hip hop albums to this day, and the more I learn about the way it was put together, the more I am impressed with the mastermind Dr. Dre.  “Forgot About Dre” was the second single, and the most successful, earning Dre and Eminem a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.  The record lashes out at Dre’s critics, announces his return to the game, and reminds listeners of his many influences on the culture of rap music.  Who can argue with him?  We also get to hear Eminem in full-fledged Slim Shady mode, describing himself choking out passing pedestrians with candy bars… amongst other things.

My favorite part of the song was always when a cool guitar riff joins in at the 1:54 mark, as Eminem explains “and when the cops came through, me and Dre stood next to a burnt down house…” The idea for the guitar, which is a one time occurrence in the record, was taken from the song “The Climb,” off of No Doubt’s 1995 album Tragic Kingdom.  The sample is a small part of the overall sound, but I would not be surprised if it was the piece that Dre originally built the beat around, which would explain the choice of an unusually slow tempo for his production.  No one can mess with the Doctor on the boards, and when he drops Detox this year (fingers crossed), it will be a another reminder to anyone that has forgotten about Dre.

No Doubt – The Climb

Dr. Dre ft. Eminem – Forgot About Dre

via Kevin Casey Music

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Music

Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – David McCallum et Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre’s production used to be more sample heavy in the 90’s compared to his recent work.  Nowadays he is more likely to have studio musicians replay samples, giving him more flexibility for arranging the elements.  Although he may not be known as a “sample” producer, Dre has indeed dug up countless amounts of dusty records and crafted them into hits, dating back to his NWA days.  Unlike a lot of other producers, Dre seems to elevate his samples to a new level … he makes them sound “now” … and big (huge actually).

When I accidentally came across David McCallum’s “The Edge” years ago, my ears went into high alert. Turns out McCallum is better known for his acting as a star in the 1960’s television series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and also as a key character in the current drama NCIS.  Also a classically trained musician, McCallum teamed up with producer David Axelrod and put out a total of four studio albums in the 1960’s on Capitol records.  His best known musical work to date is “The Edge,” this being due to its use by Dr. Dre, who turned it into the smash hit “The Next Episode.”  For the intro to the song, and in between verses, he used a sped up rendition of the opening 2 bars, attached with the 2 bars that come in at 0:21. The main riff for the song is heard at the 0:05 mark, and that makes up the verse.  The result – one of the greatest hip hop party records of all time.

David McCallum – The Edge

Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg – The Next Episode

via Kevin Casey Music

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Music

Ben Folds – B*****s Ain’t S**t (Feat. Mr. Reynolds and Lin-Z)

Before hearing this I thought Ben Folds was the very antithesis of gangster, but a few years after graduating college I’ve finally learned the lesson my Liberal Studies 1 professor was trying to drill that whole semester, all is truly one.

B*****s Ain’t S*** is the tragic love story of a young Snoop Dogg who comes home to his girlfriend after 6 months of jail only to find out that the love of his life, his Mona Lisa, his Juliet or “main squeeze” was sleeping with his cousin Daz and doing all sorts of trickery. This is the one of the most beautiful renditions of what is probably the hardest love song ever made, enjoy.

Bitches can’t hang with the streets
She found herself short
Now she’s takin’ me to court
That’s some real conversation for your ass”

Ben Folds – B*****s Ain’t S**t (Feat. Mr. Reynolds and Lin-Z)

MP3

P.S. If you’re not familiar with the original it is a bonus track on Dr. Dre’s classic 1992 freshmen effort The Chronic.

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Covers Music

Klaxons – No Diggity (Blackstreet & Dr. Dre Cover)

I went out last night and next thing you know the suns out and it’s Friday morning… I’m still up and have a huge to do list before getting into the weekend so this is going to be a quick one.

Been posting a lot of new music lately, time for a throwback, a cover by the Klaxons of the 1996 smash hit No Diggity. Original performed by Blackstreet & Dr. Dre, No Diggity was such a big hit that it overtook the “Macarena” for the Billboard 100s number 1 spot. I don’t know if you guys remember how big that silly Columbian dance was but for an R&B record to knock down a world hit is a pretty big deal. Anyways, this cover was done for a BBC compilation CD entitled Radio 1 Established 1967. For this compilation artist were allow to cover a song from any year since 1967 and the Klaxons chose No Diggity – fresh. Anyways, would love to stay and chat but the day calls, enjoy.

Klaxons – No Diggity (Blackstreet & Dr. Dre Cover)

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Music

Eminem – Say Goodbye to Hollywood

“People shouldn’t be afraid of failure, they should be afraid of success.”

To say the least, life for the highly ambitious can be very complicated, bitter-sweet and full of irony. Say Goodbye to Hollywood, from the “Eminem Show” LP shows just how well Marshall understood this perspective.

I love my fans, but no one ever puts a grasp on the fact i’ve sacrificed everything I have.
I never dreamt I’d get to the level that I’m at. This is whack, this is more than I ever could of asked. Everywhere I go, a hat, a sweater hood, or mask. What about math? How come I wasn’t ever good at that…
Cause all I wanted was to give Hailie the life I never had, But instead I forced us to live alienated, so i’m sayin’
Goodbye Hollywood, please don’t cry for me, when I’m gone for good.”

Eminem – Say Goodbye to Hollywood

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Music

Dr. Dre – Let Me Ride

When Jimmy Iovine (Chairman of Interscope) signed Dr. Dre he said he knew nothing about rap music, in fact he didn’t like it. Yet he was so taken by Dre’s production and sound quality that he couldn’t pass it up.

“Let Me Ride” is off of Dre’s 1992 LP “The Chronic”, produced during his G-Funk era, it has funky bass line & great drum groove. Turn it up.

“Rollin’ in my ‘64″

Dr. Dre – Let Me Ride (Feat. RBX & Snoop Dogg)

MP3