Join 3,503 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


'Listen to the bass go Boom!': creating the Mama Said Knock You Out instrumental
July 22, 2012 5:10 PM   Subscribe

great short video: Marley Marl, the producer of LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out', recreates the beat, explaining its component elements and releasing a never-heard-before snippet of alternate LL vocals: "he says, 'hey, I got a sample that is so dope.' He pulls out Sly and the Family Stone..."
posted by the mad poster! (36 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, the Akai MPC60. It's like the Telecaster of the 1990s.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:20 PM on July 22, 2012


I loved that!

But of course I am not alone in loving cool James.
posted by argonauta at 5:34 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


But of course I am not alone in loving cool James.

Who? Who else loves cool James?
posted by Cosine at 5:59 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great post! Really enjoyed that. Man I LOVED that song back in like '91. Couldn't get enough.
posted by jnnla at 6:00 PM on July 22, 2012


This joke on Jimmy Fallon a couple weeks ago had me floored (skip to 3:30)
posted by victory_laser at 6:07 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


er, 3:00
posted by victory_laser at 6:08 PM on July 22, 2012


Oh, HELL yes!!!

I could seriously watch this kind of thing all day long.
posted by tantrumthecat at 6:24 PM on July 22, 2012


Fantastic. Looks like this is going to be the first in a series from Marley Marl and I am very much looking forward to more.
posted by jessamyn at 6:31 PM on July 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


love seeing stuff like this broken down. A great find. Thank you.
posted by greenhornet at 6:54 PM on July 22, 2012


aw man, Marley Marl is the best. I remember clear as a bell the first time I heard this record, Tower Records, on Broadway. The album was put on repeat, and everyone browsing couldn't help but bob their heads and groove to the sounds. I'd bet they sold hundreds of copies that day.

Put on the cut Jingling Baby referenced in that video and turn it up. Listen to the samples, the bass, everything. That song was fresh as hell when it came out and is still fresh as hell 23 years (!) later. Dare you not to dance.
posted by jeremias at 7:10 PM on July 22, 2012


Favorited this so hard that hologram Tupac forgave hologram Biggie Smalls live on stage aboard the ghost ship Coachella flotilla.
posted by vozworth at 7:24 PM on July 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Awesome. Doubly awesome for the fact that Marley Marl pronounces it "Aipelton."
posted by googly at 7:29 PM on July 22, 2012


Ha. "Very, very robust." This is great, thanks, can't wait to see what's next.

Needs more classic examples of Marley Marl's pre-LL 80's production genius, though, and a link to the sharp beats he created for Intelligent Hoodlum's 1990 debut, Big Daddy Kane's debut, and...well shit, he was all over interesting hip-hop during the golden age.

(Also worth noting that the Sly and the Family Stone debut LP that "Trip To Your Heart" comes from deserves all the love it gets. That whole debut album is amazing, a little-known gem of 60s psychedelic soul, only made more interesting by the knowledge that the next few albums would be even more mind-blowingly better.)
posted by mediareport at 7:29 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


When he rubs his palms together it makes a whicka-whicka-whicka sound.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:54 PM on July 22, 2012


Holy shit, this made my fucking day. Week. YEAR.
posted by elizardbits at 7:58 PM on July 22, 2012


When I was maybe 12, my mom bought the single of Mama Said Knock You Out. Sunday mornings, she'd crank it up to eleven, come into our room and start rapping DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK, I'VE BEEN HERE FOR YEARS at the top of her lungs complete with dorky-white-mom arm gestures (think Bulworth) until she essentially embarassed us out of bed.

Marley Marl: creating beats so cool even yo mamma feels 'em.

to be fair, my mom also discovered Nirvana before anyone in my class did. Thanks, KCRW!
posted by gusandrews at 8:15 PM on July 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


p.s. also
posted by gusandrews at 8:18 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just yesterday, walking back to my car from MoMA PS1 (Warm up - very cool - shout out to Mike Q) in Long Island City, my friends and I were admiring 5pointz and saw hand painted signs for a free party. Walking into the old loading dock/bay of the building, following the sound, we were already dancing - Marly Marl was DJing. He continues to keep history alive.
posted by con_text at 8:23 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


of course, I could check my spelling. Marley Marl.
posted by con_text at 8:27 PM on July 22, 2012


Awesome.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:33 PM on July 22, 2012


LL wasn't too shabby with this unplugged either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 PM on July 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a professional musician who loves hip-hop, it nonetheless pisses me off when I see the producers who are behind this stuff. Any idiot savvy enough to take some of their favorite records, rip them off, process them a bit and combine them together and throw some rap over it and you have million dollar records. Crazy.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:04 PM on July 22, 2012


Huh? I mean -- there're some manipulative sampled hip-hop records, sure, and some crap hip-hop producers, yes, but no more than in any other genre. And if it were so easy ... they why isn't every hip-hop record totally amazing and a massive hit? If it takes no talent ... then why don't you do it?
posted by incessant at 9:22 PM on July 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do it, do it.
posted by cashman at 9:39 PM on July 22, 2012


Any idiot savvy enough...

Just for some context, this was 1990. 2Pac was working as a roadie-- for Digital Underground. RZA was a year away from his debut-- as Prince Rakeem. Illmatic was 3 years away. Kanye was 13.
posted by gwint at 10:08 PM on July 22, 2012


"Any idiot savvy enough..."

I'm pretty sure that savviness and idiocy are mutually exclusive.

Think about all of your favorite records. Now, figure out the best bits from each record. Now, put two together, then three, then four, then five until they become something that's greater than the sum of their parts. Sure, software makes it easier for everything to be in time, but there's alchemy that happens around a good beat. It's a craft that not everyone can do, as can be proven when you just hop around the internet and listen to the various beats people have constructed that they hope rappers will buy. For every guy that could be the next Kanye or Prince Paul or what have you, there are hundreds of Robert Van Winkles.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 10:16 PM on July 22, 2012


The bit about the 30Hz hum was new to me. I know from idle messing around that simply-mixed samples are missing something crucial, and I didn’t realize it was the addition of a low hum that lifts the record off the floor. I love hearing about collaborative art like this get made; reminds me of this video of Jay-Z and Timbaland putting Dirt Off Your Shoulder together for the first time.
posted by migurski at 12:41 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy fuck, this is cool. Time to go dig through my dad's LPs.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:00 AM on July 23, 2012


See also, discovering the shook ones sample source.
posted by cashman at 7:40 AM on July 23, 2012


Think about all of your favorite records. Now, figure out the best bits from each record. Now, put two together, then three, then four, then five until they become something that's greater than the sum of their parts.

Your record is now DIAMONDS!
posted by elizardbits at 10:22 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The bit about the 30Hz hum was new to me."

I learned that trick from a Ronnie James Dio interview in the mid-80s.
posted by Ardiril at 10:39 AM on July 23, 2012


But of course I am not alone in loving cool James.

Who? Who else loves cool James?


Ladies.
posted by NedKoppel at 11:27 AM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Any idiot savvy enough to take some of their favorite records, rip them off, process them a bit and combine them together and throw some rap over it and you have million dollar records.

Like all those fuckers ripping off Pachelbel ?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:42 AM on July 23, 2012


I need to read more about that special spice 40hz tone...I googled it but I'm not finding much...
posted by mike_bling at 1:00 PM on July 23, 2012


that special spice 40hz tone...

Well, as he says in the video, he's creating his own 808, meaning the 808 kick drum. In this case, he just has a solid 40hz tone, with a gate sidechained to a drum sound that plays once per bar. So, on the one, the gate will open, and the 40hz tone will sound for whatever duration he's configured the gate. It's just gonna add a low rumble that you'd really only hear on a sound system in a club.

Here: 40hz test tone

It's basically the same thing as the sub bass from an 808 kick drum.
posted by chrchr at 1:25 PM on July 23, 2012


Because MTV always faded from one video to the other back in the day, I always thought the "Mama Said Knock You Out" video ended with L.L. throwing his shirt at the camera. It wasn't until I played through Def Jam Rapstar (shut up! that game was great!) that I finally saw the actual last shot of the video, which redefines the whole song in a way that's genuinely awesome, and yet another reminder of why hip-hop was better in the 90s.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:46 PM on July 23, 2012


« Older Mayim Bialik - once Blossom, now balancing acting ...  |  In case you needed another rea... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments