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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