When I graduated from college and moved down to LA in the early 2000’s, I was just a wide eyed youngster trying to understand the insane size of this sprawling city. In fleeting moments it felt like I had it under control, but mostly it felt like I was being swallowed whole. Luckily I had a small but comfy apartment, a budget for weed, and a taste for well produced hiphop music. Enter Pete Rock’s classic instrumental album “Petestrumentals,” which became my best friend for a full year after it was released. Whenever the sprawl felt too sprawly, I would race home after work, smoke a massive joint and listen to “Petestrumentals.” It was the perfect remedy – I spent countless nights on my balcony, stoned as sh*t, freestyling to those beats, planning my next move, and just letting my thoughts flow into uncharted territory.
Never did I imagine that my trusty “Petestrumentals” record would become a blueprint for an entire genre (in my opinion). Instrumental hiphop records were pretty rare in the 90’s and early 00’s because hiphop was teeming with skillful rappers, so it was tough to find a dope beat that wasn’t already ripped to shreds by some dope MC of the moment. But these days this style of production doesn’t make the young MC’s flock to it, instead they’re looking for something much more modern. So somehow, this classic hiphop boom-bap style of production was re-born as it’s own genre of instrumental music. It’s like a new form of jazz in a way, and still is chock full of samples, horns, vocal chops, etc, just like the good ole early 1990’s bangers.
White Cliffs is definitely one of my favorite new producers, and his brand new single called “Twiddle” puts his talents on full display. Thoughtful, smart arrangements and sounds mixed with classic boom-bap style snares and kicks makes for a really enjoyable listen. Makes me want to roll something up, stretch out and get to thinking. Here’s to White Cliffs and the rest of the producers out there keeping this style of production alive!
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