In this Nodfactor.com exclusive the Dilated Junkie DJ Babu breaks down the creation of each track on his new CD Duck Season 3. Seeing as it’s an 18 track CD, we’re gonna break this up into two parts for the attention deficient.
Intro: f/ Dilated Peoples
The intro coincidentally is the last thing that I made for the album. I recorded way more songs than I needed and whittled it down to 18 songs, but I still needed something to set it off right. This time I wasn’t just DJing, I was making the beats so it was really exciting for me. At that point I’d only had Raka and Evidence on there for skits so what better way to tie together than to do a Dilated Peoples intro starting the album with two of my favorite MCs in the world. Me being a producer made me appreciate that I was in a group with two talented MCs and I have access to that whenever I need. And I wanted everyone to know where I come from: I’m Babu The Dilated Junkie.
2) Dearly Departed f/ M.O.P.
That one was kind of a round about mess. It ended up being great but I’d been sitting on that beat for a while and knew I wanted to use it for Duck Season. Originally it was for The Beatnuts. I’d given them that song a while ago and after over a year of trying to coral those guys it just wasn’t happening. So I took the beat back. I have nothing but love for The Beatnuts, those are my dudes from way back, but I was a little hurt. It was already in my head and I could imagine how they’d sound on the record. But thank goodness I had a mutual friend of MO.P.’s named Dan Green, who is also Terminology’s manager. Dan was doing a lot of work with Lil Fame and M.O.P. on the side and I crossed my fingers and said “hey Dan what are the chances?” I thought it would be one of those instances where I mailed something and they mailed it back, which is cool with technology. It’s crazy that you can do that. But if I had a choice I’d rather be in the room with them. I think so much more happens with an artist and a producer when you can bounce [ideas] off each other face-to-face. Somehow someway M.O.P. end up in L.A. and I got them in the Dilated Studio in my own comfort zone and these dudes were cooler than ice cubes. It was a beautiful session from the energy to the vibe, no awkward situation, just being able to naturally break the ice and everything came together.
3) Fan Mail f/ Little Brother, Joe Scudda and D-Brock
That was the first song I recorded for this. I’ve gotten a lot of critiques about that song because it came out as a 12″ maybe a year and a half ago when I was on a different time schedule. But looking back at all the songs I collected this showed a strong side of what I do. Two years ago we were on a co-headlining tour with Little Brother. We’ve been label mates on ABB and fans but we never got a chance to build. So we spent a month on the road with the whole crew with Khrysis, Doe and all those guys and we ended up back in L.A. We were on our tour bus making beats hanging out and digging for records and I told Phonte and Pooh that I got a beat and it’s got your name written all over it. We sat in a room and wrote together and Phonte was bringing Darien into the booth and coaching him on the vocals, putting an incredible hook on it. It was old but to me it was something I needed the world to hear.
4) The Unexpected f/ MF DOOM and Sean Price
This one is a real blessing. That was a round about thing too. If you haven’t heard, trying to work with someone like DOOM can be really difficult, as far as just getting him on the horn. Finding the mysterious super villain is difficult but that was the easiest part for me. My man Devin at Nature Sounds has a really good relationship with DOOM and he made that happen. For a long time I was sitting there with half a song with MF DOOM. Originally my plan was to put Madlib on there. Low and behold, the #2 most notorious mysterious hip-hopper is Madlib, and me and him live in the same city. I see him at the clubs all the time, we go back for years but for as long as I’ve known him you never know what he’s doing from one day to the next. It got to the point where I was like “this is not happening.” The album was done and I was waiting on Madlib and Sean Price for a whole other song. He had one with Skyzoo and Torae and something happened to the Duckdown hard drive so I never even heard that song. So I sent him another beat and stopped hearing from the other cats. So I sent Sean the MF DOOM track and he was bugging out that I had him on the album. Days later he comes back with rap and it ended up being one of the stronger tracks on the album. I’d been sitting on the beat for a while and Alchemist was asking about it, he was trying to rap on it himself. It’s one of those ill foreign, European anonymous samples and went straight to the lab. Those are usually the best ones.
5) Frozen f/ Guilty Simpson
I’ve been associated with Stonesthrow for many years and a huge fan of the label. Me and Peanut Butter Wolf go back to 1996. I’d been checking for Guilty since his early stuff with Dilla. I sent him a bunch of beats for his record and he picked the beat for “Kill ‘Em” I didn’t even ask for money. I love Guilty and I told him when the time comes I’m gonna need you for my album. We had a smoke session and this was one of the beats I left him with and he took it to Detroit. I had the idea before I even wrote the song. He’s such a raw lyricist and I can’t wait to work with him again.
6) East West Connection F/ A.G.
Runaway Slave is one of the greatest albums of all time. I’ve always looked at A.G as the main lyricist of D.I.T.C. Finesse was really nice on the mic but he was an ill producer. AG had a unique flow, killer voice. I was fortunate to know A.G from many years back. We performed together at a Fat Beats anniversary in Amsterdam. That was the first time I met him. He was always positive and listened to Dilated’s music. I got a hold of him again and he was out in L.A. and I told him if you got free time come to the studio. That’s one of those where I pinch myself and say I worked with A.G. He asked for no dough and was just on some raw rap shit.
7) My Opinion f/ Bishop Lamont
Obviously everyone knows him from the Aftermath connection but what you should know about Bishop is that he’s a real true to the core hip-hopper. As much as you wanna put him in a box dude is a real talented artist. He’s a very real and genuine cat. I had this beat and I initially wanted to put The Game on it. I tried to make it happen through my man DJ Skee who DJs for Game and on Power 106 but after 6 months of trying and me not having any budget it was looking more and more feeble. I don’t want to put it out there like he was my second choice but it was a blessing in disguise. It’s one of the records getting a really good response and I’m glad the Game thing didn’t work out in actuality. From when we did this track to now Bishop has been repping the West very hard. He’s in the Aftermath camp but he raps about listening to Hieroglyphics and stuff. It’s a unique stance he’s taking and he’s someone I’m really pulling for as a fan and a DJ. He came in and wrote the raps on the spot and I could tell by his work ethic that he’s been working around top notch cats. He made my job way too easy.
8 )2 Feet f/ Kardinal Offishal & Rakaa Iriscience
Kardi’s my man from way back. We’d done a lot of shows with him as Dilated and shared a lot of stages in Canada. It’s real blessing that I got that track before he had an international smash around the world. I had this crazy Reggae styled beat and he has that Caribbean vibe and I knew he could chant. We didn’t get to physically work together, I sent the track in the mail and he sent the parts back and I got Rakkaa in the studio to finish it up. Kardi is such a talented guy. That’s him singing on the hook and al those things that sound like keyboards on the hook that’s him vocally doing all of that. I sent him a rough idea about something revolutionary and speaking to the youth but make it palatable and he came with the spine of the song and there was nothing more I could say. Rakaa comes in and closes it out spittin’ hot fire.
9) Black and Brown Army f/ Chase Infinite and Sick Jacken
If you live anywhere in Southern California you know that Sick Jacken is part of a legendary group called Psycho Realm. A few years ago his partner Duke was shot and paralyzed and it kind of put a damper on what the group was doing. This was maybe seven years ago. Ever since then Sick Jacken has started this whole movement called Sick Symphonies. They kind of reinvented themselves and have a pumped, killer army of fans. Chase has been my dude for years. He’s one half of Self Scientific and they share the same management so it was a no brainer. They were in the lab working on a side project together so we all just sat in the room together, smoked, picked a beat and did it on the spot.
Read part 2 HERE.