The Founding Fathers [1hr25min] "unsung DJ's who contributed to the foundational principals of the music known today as Hip Hop. This documentary transports you to a journey back to the early underground disco days of the streets and parks throughout New York City." Narrated by Chuck D, with plenty of primary interviews and slammin' beats.
From the rather common "skate punk into alternative music" origins to a bedroom producer who signed with Ninja Tune, Bonobo, the stage name for Simon Green, has continued to change musically. From the lone musician who made sample-based music, he has expanded into working with field recordings, studio musicians, and live shows where the band took a four bar drum break transformed it into a seven minute epic drum-sax solo battle, to which the crowd tried to clap along. You can see him live tomorrow at the Alexandra Palace in London in a special Boiler Room session, but until then, there's plenty more to see, hear and read. [more inside]
Keepintime started as a simple idea, to bring some of the most revered and notable L.A. session drummers together for a photo shoot, then have them talk about the recordings that were famous to hip-hop DJs and producers, with some top LA beat jugglers. From that effort in 2002 came the short film, Keepintime: Talking Drums and Whispering Vinyl (2 parts on YouTube). The short documentary toured around, and in 2002, along with the screening, some of the drummers and DJs put on a live improvised show in Los Angeles. From that 2 hour show, a 45 minute film was made: Keepintime - A Live Recording. Later that year, after screening the short film in England, the Keepintime crew were invited to Brasil, to team up with Brasilian percussionists of renown, and make a beat record. They also put on an epic live show. That whole enterprise was made into an almost two-hour long documentary, Brasilintime. More information on the artists inside. [more inside]
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..."
Legendary hip hop producer DJ Premier interviewed in the XXL Icon Interview and The Smoking Section. Remarkably candid conversations about his life in East Coast hip hop, with interesting stories about his work with Jay-Z, Biggie, Puff, Nas, Jeru the Damaga, Group Home, Suge Knight, Christina Aguilera and of course, Guru. On finding records to sample: "Well, there’s still diggin’ spots. If you’re in that world like I am, you know the spots, you see everybody—Just Blaze, Alchemist, Large Professor, Pete Rock—we still pop up in those spots. You got Big City records, you got Turntable Lab, you still have A1, you got Academy, you know. I’m not gonna tell you all the digging spots."
Mark Skillz, hip hop historian of a sort and an occasional writer for Wax Poetics, represents the old school of hip hop and lets others tell their stories on Hip Hop 101A. From Eddie Cheba recalling his time as a top DJ in the small world of hip hop in 1977, to the life of Sparky D, who took up the good fight for UTFO and started the Roxanne Wars, one of hip hop's first rap battles. Read up on the fall of funk and the rise of Planet Rock, and reminisce with Reggie Wells about the birth of hip hop from black club deejays in Manhattan who were refining a slick style of talk over disco records to open hip hop jams in the park. As a bonus, Wells throws out a playlist straight from Club 371 (videos after the break). [more inside]
WaxDJ.com - an excellent source for free downloads and streams of original electronic music mixes of all sorts, from seasoned pros to beginning bedroom amatuers, all told numbering in the hundreds or thousands. My current brand new favorite is the very diverse and well-versed Detriot/Chicago techno stylings of DJ Rubsilent. Recomended mix: Future Funk 23: (Direct MP3 link) (Streaming mp3 link) But don't let me divert you - search for your favorite local DJ or browse for new ones.