Bloggin 4 Beats: “Moment Of Clarity” Remix

JLBarrow • September 04, 2009 • No Comments

I think in years to come people will be sampling ?uestlove. I know, you’re thinking “sampling another producer in hip-hop is blasphemy” but ?uest is not simply a producer. He’s one of the best drummers of our generation. And besides, even DJ Scratch has admitted to jacking those Little Feat drums from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Bonita Applebum” and sped them up to make the beat for “Funky Piano.” Anyway, I like to jack drums from 90s neo soul from time to time and it turns out that more often than not ?uestlove has done the drumming. So I’m just giving him a heads up/warning: If you leave open drums at the beginning of your songs, they’re getting snatched….

For this latest remix I was messing with the Curtis Mayfield record, “You’re So Good To Me” which was famously sampled for Mary J. Blige’s “Be Happy.” In the begging and somewhere around 5:18 the song breaks into these angelic saxophone and keys that I looped up and chopped. Then I went through my collection of drum breaks and came across the ones from Jaguar Wright’s “Same Shit, Different Day” which were played by none other than ?uest Love. A few weeks ago I was messing with PM Dawn’s “Die Without You” and had a bassline I’d filtered laying around so I added that and the skeleton for the beat was in place.

The real work began when I found an acapella. The original beat was at roughly 84 bpms but I found the words to Jay-Z’s “Moment of Clarity” and felt they fit the mood of the beat the best. But matching up the vocals took a lot of trial an error. Simply dropping my bpm down to 82 to match the original MOC wasn’t enough. Jay had a lot of pauses to match the tempo of Eminem’s haunting original and my drums didn’t match “exactly.” However, by listening to the original over, and over…and over again I was able to make the appropriate tweaks.

[audio:MomentofclarityJLB.mp3]

At the encouragement of my boy Mr Mecca I am posting the instrumental because he said pretty matter-of-factly “you didn’t need Jay-Z on this…”

[audio:ThinkingClearly.mp3]

Now I’m wondering if ?uesto will make an appearance on the Blueprint 3? That live album they did together was great so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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