It’s no secret that I’ve been feeling a tad nostalgic lately. There are treasures in memories, helps you cope with change. I remember when I first met Te, Pooh and 9th when I was working at The Source. It was a good time. We’d just miraculously given an indie album, The Listening, 4 Mics during the most trying times at the mag and the guys came through to say what’s up. It was one thing I could look to and say “we scored one for hip-hop.” As journalists we take a beating despite our best intentions sometimes so those moments when the stars align are a beautiful thing.
Of course years later things are very different for the group, for the mag and myself. You never see that ish coming, the end that is. Things can seem great and then *snap* wind changes on ya.
This whole creation was very organic. Months ago I had gone on a tirade sampling bits and pieces of songs I thought I’d use later and a few days ago found this piece of Stevie Wonder’s “Looking For Another Pure Love.” The title just jumped out at me and my multiple personalities so I clicked on the MP3s. Not only had I taken the intro break but I’d take little snippets or stabs that I could plug into the channels in FL and play out in the piano roll. I loaded the break and because the session was set at 90bpms it sped it up, but I didn’t mind. I listened for where I wanted the drums to go and just played them on top of the sample with a little brush hi-hat and was feeling the swing. Then came the fun part.
I can’t play keys for my life but I love the sounds. I took the stevie snippets and created a little four-note melody and added some echo delay (check the function tab) and it gave it this wonderfully ethereal vibe. I did this a few times until I had a couple of segments I liked. I listened to it thinking “I wish I had some A Tribe Called Quest acapellas” but there were none to be found. The beat had such a happy vibe though that I couldn’t think of anyone else that could pull it off. Then I remembered I’d gotten two hard to find LB acapellas and after playing them over the beat I simply smiled. “Relax yourself, be easy cuz, we like the way you do it.” For whatever reason, I REALLY needed to hear that at that moment. It felt good. So when those winds of change get to blowing, raise your sail and use that energy to keep it movin.
So I was feeling myself a little bit too hard, right? I email this joint to Phonte, Nicolay AND Khrysis like five minutes after its done. My man Ohsokool at WHCR plays it on Sugatreats and I’m just cheesing, happy as a nympho in porn shop. Then I get this response from Te…
“The vocals are sloppily placed and the beat is in a different key than the singing…”
OUCH! Yo, my pride is HURT for like a minute…like..wow…didn’t see that coming. But ya know something funny? I manned up quick for two reasons 1) How much time do you think he spent making the ORIGINAL sound just right? Probably way more than the two hours I spent. 2) How many producers get told way worse than that about their beats on a daily basis? So I wrote him back and thanked him for the criticism and stomping on my dreams and he wrote back…
I meant that the vocals didn’t fall in the same pocket as the original….me and Pooh sound ‘offbeat’
Ok, I can dig that. I know it ain’t perfect but that’s what happens when you make beats for fun, you can indeed get just a little sloppy. I definitely heard flaws in it when it played over the air but was just happy to have it played. After messing with it some more I just couldn’t get my beat to mesh exactly as the original without it sounding crazy so I left it alone. One of my friends said they missed the days when I just posted beats (Low End Theories Blog) so here is the instrumental with a minor tweak to eliminate some ambient noise:
Seeing as I just got an encouraging note from one of the original Skull Snaps, I may just take a break from the remixes LOL