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Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Buster Williams et Big L (prod. Buckwild)

This week we have something special for you guys.  EMPT got an exclusive interview with one of the pioneers of the art of sampling, the one and only Buckwild…..

I know loyal EMPT go-ers pride themselves on knowledge of music, so if you’re not already familiar with this legendary producer, this is a great introduction.  Buckwild was a major contributor to the 90’s East Coast sound, commonly known as hip-hop’s Golden Age. During that time he accumulated a streak of classic records for Biggie, Jay-Z, Nas, Big Pun, and everyone else who mattered to New York rap. I’m serious, everyone (for real, everyone). As an original member of the Diggin’ In The Crates crew, some of Buckwild’s most famous work was done with the late-great Big L, including his first ever single, “Put It On”…

When the guys at Sony heard what we had done for L’s first album, they felt like we didn’t have something to use for a single, and sent L back in to do 4 or 5 more records.  He came to my crib and I gave him about 5 beats, one of those being “Put It On”.  Being the perfectionist that he was, it took him a few days to write his verses.  Then he called me up and had everything planned out for the “Put It On” record.  He knew it was gonna have Kid Capri on the hook, he knew what the hook would be, and he knew it was gonna be the single.”

I asked what it was like working with Big L in the lab…

He always had all his verses prepared perfectly.  He was a cool guy to joke around with and shit but when in the booth the dude meant business like no-one else.  He was so competitive when it came to his music, like… he would constantly ask what I thought, “Yo, if you don’t like it tell me.”  That was a attitude that the 3 Big’s had – Big L, Biggie, and Big Pun – they were never ‘know it alls’ in the studio, and that’s what made them great.”

Because this is Sample Saturday, I had to stick with the formula, and ask Buck about the construction of the beat…

Beats were flying out quick those days man, I think I made that one that weekend, and then L picked it up that week.  I always liked the Buster Williams record, I would play it while I was just bullshitting, cleaning the studio or whatever.  I always had the whole vision of what I wanted to use before I put the sample in the machine, I got to know the samples very well.  I think I used 4 different sections to create the beat.  As far as the drums, I would always know the sound I was looking for, I had it in my head.  That’s what a lot of these guys don’t understand, you can’t just put any drums to a sample… that’s the key to a successful beat, the tones have to match.  The Skull Snaps break was perfect, so I threw that into my Akai 950, and put the Buster Williams chops into my sp1200… and that was that.”

A few years ago I was lucky enough to work in the same studio as Buckwild, and got a lot of these type of stories first hand. He’s a great teacher, humble person, and obviously an ultra talented producer. Many of Buck’s beats were behind my motivation to make my own, and for that I am very grateful, and I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have involved in one of these posts.  Look out for some future Buckwild/EMPT announcements, and take the time to learn more about some of his classics in this Complex article from April.  Until next time folks…

Buster Williams – Vibrations

Skull Snaps – It’s A New Day

Big L – Put It On

via KevinCaseyMusic

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Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Ennio Morricone et Jay-Z

The 1966 film The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was a classic western that tells the story of three men who dangerously pursue information about the location of a buried treasure of coins.  The three characters, including a young Clint Eastwood as Blondie (“The Good”), go through several different stages in their relationships with each other, always depending on how much they need the other person’s help in ultimately finding the gold.  The movie ends with the men in a three-way shootout, leaving one dead, and another left behind hanging by his neck.  Sadly enough, the plot somewhat reminds me of the relationships a lot of people maintain in life, and especially in business (and even more especially in the music business).  I’ve observed all too many times people that keep close ties with an acquaintance solely because of what they know they need from that person, and often when that need comes to fruition or expires, so does that relationship.  It makes me feel good to know that the people I surround myself with have an equal admiration for what we all bring to the table, and are working hard side by side to one day enjoy the gold at the end of the journey… together.  The truth to that statement allows me to use that some-what corny analogy with pride. Ha!

In one of the most epic theme song’s composed to date, musical genius Ennio Morricone masterfully arranges a piano, viola, string section, horn section, timpani’s, and breathtaking opera style vocals, amongst other things.  “The Ecstasy of Gold”, as it was named appropriately for the movie, was chosen wisely by producer Charlemagne to sample for Jay-Z’s Blueprint 2 album.  The record, which held the same name as the album, was undoubtedly one of the standout track’s, and an extremely overlooked piece of the Nas and Jay-Z feud.  Charlemagne opened the beat with what sounds like a re-played piano part that runs at a slightly slower rate than the original.  Then at 0:21 he brings in the female vocal section, which is laid perfectly over the piano, and chopped and stretched in an arrangement that makes sense in the song’s 4/4 structure.  One of the Jay-Z tracks that for some reason you’ll hardly catch anyone talking about.  Leave it to us.

Ennio Morricone – The Ecstasy of Gold

Jay-Z – Blueprint2

via KevinCaseyMusic

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Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Tom Scott et Pete Rock & CL Smooth

This is the One Year Anniversary of Sample Saturday… and a very special one at that.

This past week I lost a friend of mine that I grew up with, went to school with, worked at Applebee’s with… and built a lot of unique memories with.  On Monday after his funeral service I spent hours with other mutual friends, reminiscing over his life, and telling our favorite stories of time spent together. The song “The Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” pays respect to Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s lost friend Troy who they lost in 1990.  Pete Rock told the Village Voice in 2007 that it was in the days after his friend’s passing that he came across the Tom Scott sample, and that certain elements in the record sounded so beautiful to him that it actually made him cry.  He went ahead and completed the track on the spot, turning out to be his best known, and undisputedly one of the most classic hip hop records of ALL-TIME.  As we all know, raw emotions can bring about some of the best material when writing music, and in this case Pete Rock shows us also when making beats.  “They Reminisce Over You” will always be widely associated with losing loved ones, and showing love to one’s family and friends.

Pete Rock says he started with the bass line of “Today”, and then scanned the record for other sounds to use.  Somewhere during this search he came across one of the most well-known loops in hip-hop, which starts at the 1:37 mark.  Pete Rock is known for finding the dopest horn chops, so sonically this was right up his alley.  The loop holds down the hook, and echoes out as the verses come in.  The intro is a sample from “When She Made Me Promise” by The Beginning of The End.  It makes me happy to see Pete Rock still making an impact today, especially with his recent work “The Joy” with Kanye and Jay-Z.  I have met CL Smooth several times and he is a genuinely cool dude… interviews like this recent one with Pete Rock give me the impression that he is too.  Much love to anyone else mourning the loss of a friend… we reminisce.

::: R.I.P. Miles Everest Dale :::

Tom Scott – Today

Pete Rock & CL Smooth – The Reminisce Over You

via KevinCaseyMusic

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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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Siriusmo – Allthegirls

Yes, that boob up there can only mean one thing in EMPT speak – Kevin Casey and I are putting on a show and spinning another party! This time it’s Saturday night at Foundation on the Lower East Side and it’s going to be a riot. We’ll be at Le Souk tomorrow night but if you want to see the dirty nasty no rules dance madness go down make it on Saturday…

P.S.K. we’re makin’ that green
People always sayin’ €what the hell does that mean?
P for the people who can’t understand
How one homeboy became a man
S for the way they scream and shout
One by one I’m knockin’ you out
K for the way my DJ kuttin’
Other MC’s man they ain’t sayin’ nothin’
Rockin’ on to the brink of dawn
I think Code Money yo time is on” – Schoolly D, What Does It Mean?

I digress but you have to excuse me my mind thinks in lyrical interludes. Now for the topic of this post, the Monkeytown Records golden child Siriusmo. This German producer is one of my favorites and though he tends to go left field every so often his hits unquestionable and something to talk about. I posted Urlaub In Berlin, the extremely funky highlight from his MiniRock LP a while back but had to repost it today because it couldn’t be more fitting for all the running around and energy I’m feeling from the city as of late.  Another down and dirty track back Siriusmo is a track calling all the girls to the dance floor.

All the girls get down…”

As I’ve stated before the EMPT business model is “Make The Girl Dance,” inspired by the French band of the same name and this important announcement fits right in. Unfortunately it’s only Tuesday and this tracks make it feel like Friday but there’s nothing wrong with a little fantasizing to get through the day, enjoy.

All my girls get up…”

Siriusmo – Allthegirls

Siriusmo – Urlaub In Berlin

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Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Billy Stewart et Jay Electronica

I remember walking into Buckwild’s studio one night late last year just to bullshit with the master himself and talk music, and I asked as I always do “Anything been coming out that you’re feeling?”  He asked “You heard that new Jay Electronica?”  I had not – so he put me on.  Just Blaze flipped the sample into something that sounded classic yet brand new, and the lyrics had me stuck on each word.  I hear a lot of new records on a day to day, but there was no doubt that this one stood out.  In an unorthodox release strategy it was put on iTunes in December of ’09 as an EP with clean and explicit versions plus the instrumental.  That instrumental eventually would be rapped on by half the industry, until the point of exhaustion if you ask me.  Nonetheless, the single set a very high standard for Jay Electronica to maintain.  For the New Orleans born rapper with a New York delivery, it will not be an easy feat.

The first part of the Billy Stewart sample that is used is taken from the 1:52 mark, and those 4 bars are then repeated with some type of flanger effect added to the whole intro.  Then the sample from the beginning of the record (0:02) starting with “Cross my heart that I’m…” is brought in, which leads into the drums.  The majority of the beat is then based of that same sample being looped and chopped in a few different ways.  Every 16 bars or so, Just Blaze freaks the Billy Stewart record even more, as he uses smaller chops to construct what we hear at the 1:17 mark of “Exhibit C.”  That extra little part to me, is what takes the beat and the entire record to a different level.

Billy Stewart – Cross My Heart

Jay Electronica – Exhibit C (prod. Just Blaze)

via Kevin Casey Music

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Noctambule – Yacht Party

Wrecking ball hit yah like a freight train coming, I’m on a Warpath gonna hit the ground runnin…” – Rat Fink

That’s right fool, after about 2 weeks in LA we’re back in the big city and though I’m tired as f&*k,

The show must go on…
I’ll top the bill, I’ll overkill
I have to find the will to carry on
On with the –
On with the show –
The show must go on… – Queen

We had to put the Noctambule series on hold to explore some opportunities on the West Coast but now that business is done and the future has opened up we’ve decided to come back with our biggest celebration to date, our first Yacht Party. We’ve partnered up with NYPudding.com to get a  luxury yacht and throw a mean party. Yours truly and Kevin Casey will be taking care of the music so expect some EMPT flavor on that end. Also, there’s a bikini fashion show sponsored by Pesca Boutique throughout the whole event, nice.

I’m blowing up like you thought I would, call the crib same number same hood, it’s all good.” – Notorious B.I.G. (1994, Juicy)

If you want to come you can buy admission here. That get’s you free booze and food for the 3 hour ride: “(Full premium bar and unlimited beer, wine and champagne), including sponsorship by Grey Goose and Corzo Tequila. Le Souk will be catering a fabulous menu for the evening as well.”We’ve invited all our industry friends, there’s press coming blah blah blah but most importantly is going to be a good time.

I left LA last night and just landed, I think it’s 6 AM but I can’t stop going, fast that is. I was looking for the right song to capture this non-stop limitless state of mind and landed on Volta Cab’s Clarissa – perfect. The boys over at Nashville Nights couldn’t have put it better…

Side effects of Clarissa may include, ‘the power of flight’, ‘good vibrations’, ‘out of body experiences’, ‘euphoria’ and a ‘general disregard for whatever may be troubling you’.

The Space Age at it’s best, enjoy.

Volta Cab – Clarissa

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Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – The O’Jays et 2Pac

When All Eyez on Me came out in 1996, I was in middle school, and was still getting familiar with hip hop as a genre.  For years, all I listened to was the east coast heavy hitters of the time, and it took me a while to really give Pac the proper attention.  I still consider myself underexposed to Pac’s music, which is my own fault.  I guess the growing up in New York thing left me coast-bias deep down. Although it took me a while, I eventually gave All Eyes on Me the attention it deserves, and I understand why it is so highly acclaimed.  It’s not that other rappers don’t touch on the same subjects as Pac, it’s just that they don’t do it nearly as well.  On “Life Goes On,” the subject is losing a close friend, that friend being his lifetime partner Kato.  I listened to this song regularly after my boy DaVaughn died a few years back.

Life as a baller, alcohol and booty calls, we used to do them as adolescents do you recall.

The beat was made by Pac’s long time producer Johnny “J”, who produced a total of ten tracks on the double disc All Eyez on Me. He used various parts and loops of the opening sequence of “Brandy” by The O’Jays to create the basic framework, but elevated the track with live guitar licks and smooth female vocal riffs.  Exactly seven months after the album release, Pac was gunned down.  A few years ago, Johhny “J” died in a Los Angeles prison in an apparent suicide.  With both producer and artist passed away, the music certainly goes on, as this record manages to stand out amongst Pac’s large catalogue of music.

Sample Saturday is brought to you by Kevin Casey Music.

The O’Jays – Brandy

2Pac – Life Goes On

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Kevin Casey’s Sample Saturday – Michael Jackson et Nas

Today’s Sample Saturday includes songs from two very prestigious recordings; Illmatic, one of the most critically acclaimed hip hop albums of all time, and Thriller, the best selling album in history. Illmatic introduced the world to Nas’ lyrical talents and established him immediately as one of the major players in the rap game.  The album did not receive the immediate success that was expected, but over time it gained the recognition that it deserved.  Great music is timeless, and I think a perfect example of this is Illmatic, which went platinum in 2001, seven years after its release.  It’s gritty sound and quality of production elevated the game, thanks to a team of producers that included DJ Premier, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, and Large Professor.

The Large Professor produced “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” was crafted in genius fashion, using samples from more than five different records. The horns in the hook were lifted from the Kool and the Gang record “N.T.”  The drum break was chopped up from the opening bars of “Slow Dance” by Stanley Clarke.  The male vocal snippet that pops up time to time in the song was taken from a live version of “Long Red” by Mountain.  And then … as the intro comes to an end and the verse begins, the other samples fall back and we can clearly hear “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson, it ain’t hard to tell.

Via Kevin Casey Music

Michael Jackson – Human Nature

Nas – It Ain’t Hard to Tell

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LOOC Magazine (China) – Kevin Casey Interview

Last year Kevin Casey gave Et Musique Pour Tous the exclusive release on his New York-centric mixtape Live From New York, and what a privilege it was. I don’t want to say much because this entry is all about the interview but we saw K.C. create this mixtape from scratch out of his studio in NYC and to see it getting love out in the far east is a beautiful thing. Check out the interview and Live From New York. Here are some words from the man himself, enjoy.

Hello everyone…I had the chance last month to chat with the people from LOOC, China’s #1 Hip Hop magazine, for their January 2010 issue. We discussed Live From New York, hip hop past to present, and plans for the future. You can read the full interview in English below the pictures.

I want to thank my partners at Et Musique Pour Tous for their continuous support, and for being the first to report on this project.

Kevin Casey

L: LOOC Magazine K: Kevin Casey

L: First of all congratulations on putting together such a great tape.
K: Thank you very much.

L: On top of everything I wanna know, Live From New York 94-2k1, where does this concept or idea come from? You chose this specific time period, what is the reason?
K: The overall concept was something I had in my head for years before beginning the creative process. It was the music I grew up with, and the music that I knew the most about. With such a large number of classic records to chose from, the material was there, so it was up to me to put it together the right way. As far as the years represented, I chose 2001 as the cutoff before I began the tape. I felt that 2000 and 2001 had a lot of albums that still represented the feel of the 90’s. (Reunion, We Are The Streets, The Blueprint, Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, Supreme Clientele, to name a few) The inclusion of these years is one thing I think separates LFNY from typical 90’s hip hop mixes. The period was originally 1995-2001, until I threw on Method Man “Release Yo’ Delf,” which was the only song released in ’94.

L: Comparing the music of that period with today’s New York Hip-Hop, what is the biggest change?
K: I would have to say the biggest change today is more contrived material. Declined sales got the label executives overly involved in projects, pushing artists in whatever direction they believe will sell records, and in the meantime compromising the artistic vision of the albums. Forcing the issue in any way is hard to hide when you are dealing with rap music, one of the rawest musical art-forms there are. Naturally, the art-form suffered, especially in New York where hardcore hip hop was king. People had to make money, so changes were inevitable.