Music Remixes

Put It On – Big L (J1K remix)

The people of London walk through the streets, never to look up at the sky which is littered with cranes and clouds and other peoples faces. Why would you look up for that. A solace can be found in the words of hip-hop here though. Maybe it’s something about the clouds, good match for the weather. It is a week where my headphones have rarely been removed, keeping the sounds of the street, the emptiness of peoples phone calls and pub talks kept at bay. A blanket of numbness somehow found its way around my exterior. The frustration I thought I left in America appears to have transmuted and loosened from my core, now creating a blasé sheath on my edges. This appears to be fine as most of the people you walk by seem to have the same fashion sense.

The appeal of hip-hop comes in when you need to feel again. You crave that raw – whatever it is you need. Blocked out. Let it flood back. No longer is it a stigma for a white girl who grew up in middle-class America to have a solid playlist with the likes of hip-hop royalty. One may argue a good artist is one who can create something that a majority of people can interpret, can relate to in a personal way. I never could relate to an Andy Warhol, which I suppose is ironic since I work in marketing. Cheeky guy. But Jackson Pollock? He is hip-hop: a canvas covered in wild paint and mess and sh*t all over it. It feels good. There is something there. It’s rough, exciting. That is what hip-hop feels like to me. It’s a release not a replica. Anthems are created when you have a call to action. Put it on. The haze of the City blankets, the cobblestone alleys and thick accents, which is fine as you will hear me humming this anthem.


Here is a remix of the 1994 classic, “Put It On.” A tune that is made to say, do what you need to do; a song that can crack shells and backs with its words; a beat that is the perfect walking pace, if you walk like you know where you are going.

Put It On – Big L (J1K Remix)


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 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)