Archive for the ‘Loops and Samples’ Category

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Optiks is a producer who has worked with a nice roster of lyricist that are well known. His beats are full of all types of intruments ranging from flutes to horns, then samples and strings etc. When I listen to Optiks production style, it gives me a feel good vibe, almost like everyday is a celebration. I was pleased to be contacted by Optiks, who reached out to me via twitter and was interested in the requirements of my blog.
After doing my research on Optiks, I was amazed by his sound and wanted to interview him immediately. Optiks is the type of producer that make other producers go back in the lab and try to out do what he has done. Thanks Optiks for allowing me to interview you. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing out Producer Spotlight of the week, Optiks!
INST: Let the world know who you are and where you’re from?
Opt: I’m Optiks,  producer/engineer for Jon Connor, Blitz the Ambassador, Psalm One, and Kap Kallous.  I’m born and raised in Cincinnati, a product of the Ozone (Orlando, FL), and settled in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.  I’ve been in a lot of places and it all helped make me the artist that I am today.
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INST: Who have you worked with & how long have been beat making or producing?
Opt: Man, I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years.  The main ones are Jon Connor, Blitz the Ambassador, Kap Kallous, and Psalm One, who I have an album on the way with.  It’s crazy!  I’ve also worked with Talib Kweli, Maffew Ragazino, Freeway, Styles P, Heltah Skeltah, Saigon, Les Nubians, and a bunch more.  You can hear some of those at http://www.soundcloud.com/optiks and if its not there its probably at http://optiks.bandcamp.com.
I’ve been making beats about 12+ years now, since 16, and really producing since then as well.  I used to come up with the song concepts and write some of the rhymes for my homie that I was in a group with, and we would sell the cd’s in our high school.  We got a lot of love and sold every copy we pressed up so I felt encouraged to keep doing it.
INST: How did you get started beatmaking-producing?op scribble live beatmaking[1]
Opt: When I was younger I took piano lessons and I convinced my mom to put me in an electronic music class.  It was me and one other kid in it and I learned how to arrange my own songs and a little bit about synthesizers and how midi worked.  Shoutout Mr. Jolley!  I don’t think anybody else ever took that class, haha, but it was my first exposure to writing my own music.  When I went to college at Kent State in Ohio is when I started to get more serious because I met Blitz the Ambassador and produced for songs on his album, Double Consciousness, when he just went by Blitz and was one of the dopest and most critically heralded artists coming out of the Cleveland/NE Ohio area.  I got a little bit of local recognition for that and that was it for me, I knew that I wanted to pursue music full-time.
INST: Of all of the artist that you’ve worked with, do you have a favorite artist that you work well with?
Opt: Aaaaah, this is tough.  I don’t know if I can give a straight answer, haha.  I’ve had special, magical moments, with every artist that I work closely with.  Blitz the Ambassador really pushes me to create a vibe with every beat.  We work really closely together and co-produce almost all our records.  If I come with a beat, he’ll come with a hornline, or I might come with some ill drums for something that he makes.
I feel like me and Psalm One’s album is some of my best work.  We have some really dope records, like, gritty, pop/dance type joints…not sure how to describe it but our album’s crazy.  Not a lot of samples, its more of a collage of sounds influenced by every genre from prog-rock to funk, to bass music.  I can’t wait to put that shit out!
Last time I was in the studio with Kap Kallous was dope, too, we made some ridiculous, big, trunk rattling, 808 heavy type joints, but incorporated a musical element that a lot of that type of shit doesn’t have.  And Jon Connor is just a beast, so I’m always excited when we do records because he’ll take the simplest shit and make a classic out of it.  I’m also doing a project with my homie, cRitical, from Critical Madness, and that’s been a really fun project.  The dope thing about working with him is he’s a serious movie buff so we’re always pulling these crazy pieces of dialogue and creating a cinematic vibe from the samples.
INST: What equipment and or software are you using?
Opt: My setup is super minimal.  I have a turntable, Microkorg keyboard, Fruity Loops (an old-ass version), and Pro Tools.  Got a bunch of records, too, and a mic setup in a storage closet.  I’ll be up in there with jars of rice and couscous, or banging on pots & pans, laying down live percussion haha.
INST: Do you use or prefer sampling over playing live instruments?
Opt: I got into hip-hop because of sampling.  I’ve built by name up by always finding ill samples that other producers don’t touch.  But…right now, I’m more interested in working with live musicians.  I do my little thing on the keyboard, but I’m no real player.  Fortunately I’ve been blessed to know some great musicians.  I can pretty much get any instrument I want from working with Blitz the Ambassador, and I co-produce a lot of material with my homies Seandammit from Orlando, and Boatlaunch from Flint, MI.   I’m always gonna sample, though, I’m just enjoying the live aspect more right now.
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INST: Who influenced your style?
Opt: Everybody.  I was really into electronic music and trip-hop as well as hip-hop when I was younger, so groups like The Prodigy, Morcheeba, and Portishead have always been a big influence on me.  I could list producers for ever but some favorites are: Dilla, Dr. Dre, Hi-Tek, Q-Tip, Earthtone III (Outkast), DJ Quik, Mike Dean, and El-P.
INST: Do you ever see yourself quitting or retiring from beat making?
Opt: Naw.  If I ever stopped feeling inspired I would hang it up, but I’ve been thru a lot that would’ve led others to quit and I’m still going strong and feel happy about making music.
INST: Do you feel that there a difference between being a producer and being a beat maker?
Opt: Yes.  A beat maker just sends out beats and hopes someone will rap to it.  They don’t wanna work with an artist and let a record grow organically.  Or maybe they just don’t know how.  I just know I always hear about “producers” not wanting to make changes to beats for an artist and that shit bugs me out because the beat is just the start.  Its just a demo or idea.  I can’t even finish most beats until I hear a song over it, then I’ll come in and add new parts, drops, additional instruments, etc.
INST: Any tips, tricks, or advice that you’d like to share?
Opt: Listen to as much music as you can, and study as many other artists and producers as you can.  I learn more from other genres than anything else.  A lot of people get stuck because they fall in love with their own sound and only listen to themselves and people they know.  You need to keep an open mind to keep yourself fresh and inspired.
Also, don’t use other producers drumkits.  That shit is wack.  Over the years I’ve had people ask me whose drums I use, and they’ll offer to trade Timbaland and Just Blaze kits for whatever kits I have.  I HAVE NEVER USED ANOTHER PRODUCERS DRUMKIT FOLDER OFF THE INTERNET.  That shit defeats the purpose.  Be original.  Put in work and find sounds the same way your favorite producers did.
INST: Where can we hear your work?
You can also hear my work if you pick up any Jon Connor, Kap Kallous, or Blitz the Ambassador albums.  You might hear me if you turn on your tv and tune in to MTV or ESPN.  I’m under the radar, but I’m everywhere.
  
Pri The Honeydark is a Producer, Lyricist from Queens NY.  I’ve first discovered Pri some years back when myspace was the premier social networking website for artist, promoters, and making new friends and fanbase. Always humble, Pri would respond to my messages whenever I contacted her. Her style is Dark at times and her voice is lyrically dope when she’s rapping. Pri’s subject matter is always meaningful and complimentary to her production. I was excited to hear that Pri accepted this interview with me, as I am a fan of her music. If you were not familiar with Pri The Honeydark before this interview, now is the time for you to get familiar. So without anymore delay, I bring you Pri The Honeydark, Our Producer Spotlight of the week.
INST: Let the world know who you are and where you’re from?
Pri: My name is Pri the Honeydark  (Pri is pronounced Pree) and I am from Queens, NY.   I am an M.C. and  music producer.  I am the Vibe magazine, Blaze magazine and Everlast Boxing Corp M.C. Battle Champion and I am also the 1st runner up competitor in both the Istandard Producers and MTP beat battle competitions.  I am 1/5 of the all female hip hop collective, The Anomolies and I am the founder of The Female Producers Association, which is a networking organization for creative women worldwide.  Outside of music I wear many hats, including interior designer, photographer, carpenter, artist (muralist), cook and MOTHER!  🙂  I am a creative flower, with a hard edge.  🙂
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INST: Who have you worked with & how long have been beat making or producing?

Pri: I started learning how to produce back in early 2000.  My current production focus is on film and television, which include licensing placements with MTV & Viacom.

How did you get started beatmaking-producing?

My son’s father, Afrobluu, was a DJ and producer (We started as a hip hop group and well…..you know…lol…a child was born).  We had a home filled with crates and equipment.  One day I asked him to teach me how to DJ (I’m not a DJ now, so obviously that didn’t work…lol), then he purchased a Tascam Porta One and that became the very first piece of equipment I learned to use.  Back then you had to double up on tracks in that machine like a motha’ to create a song!  However, I stuck it out and then moved on to chopping samples in the ASR and EPS keyboards with a Protools set-up.  By that time I had found my own style, which tends to be very dark…hence the name “Pri the Honeydark”, and it was on from there!

Of all of the artist that you’ve worked with, do you have a favorite artist that you work well with?

I like working with my crew The Anomolies, which includes Invincible, Helixx C, Big Tara and DJ Kuttin’ Kandi.  We are an all female Hip Hop collective.  Each individual has a unique style that challenges me to work in various genres.

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INST: What equipment and or software are you using?

Pri: After the ASR and EPS, I moved on to Propellerhead Reason.  I found out about it by accident after bumping into someone who used it while I was shopping for new equipment at Rogues Music Store in NYC.  At that time the Reason software was kind of low key. I had never heard of it, but once I used it for the first time, I knew I found what I had been seeking to go further and I have been using it ever since.  My keyboard trigger is an M-Audio 61 Key.  I also have Logic, but rarely use it.  I tried the  drum machine set up, but I just feel more comfortable playing keys.  I  also use loaded midi keys to play keyboard drums, which I use a lot to  make certain tracks sound more live.  I hope ONE day, I will have a  large enough space to store, learn and play on a real drum set….sigh.

INST: Do you use or prefer sampling over playing live instruments?
Pri: I love both sampling and live instruments. I like to play out sounds.   I generally play a lot of my sounds on my keyboard, but I also love to chop up samples and use loops as well.  Both mediums work, as long as the music is good to me.
Who influenced your style?
Afrobluu taught me, so he is the first influence.  The next individuals that influenced me the most were from our past.  A few of those influences would be Jimi Hendrix (I would have been a Hendrix groupie in my past life), Etta James, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin and Bob Marley.  Those are some of the individuals I listen to mostly for an inspirational story within my music.  Nina Simone as well.  As far as hip hop is concerned, I have been inspired by producers such as, Dr Dre, DJ Premier, J Dilla, Rick Rubin, Diamond D, Da Beatminerz Just Blaze, Large Professor, Buckwild, Prince Paul, RZA, Pete Rock, Easy Mo bee, Denaun Porter, Freddie Foxxx, Alchemist etc…..etc…..the list goes on and on.  My style is Hard and Dark (sounds like a really interesting movie…lol).  I am mostly influenced by people who create that dark emotion within their tracks, but aren’t limited to them.
INST: Do you ever see yourself quitting or retiring from beat making?
Pri: NOPE…fingers from the grave….lol
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INST: Do you feel that there a difference between being a producer and being a beat maker?
Pri: Yes there is .  A beat maker does just that, makes beats.  A producer deals with the entire span of the song from concept to completion.  The producer not only creates the beat, he/she must also marry the right artist to the track, be able to coach the artist to get the best out of him/her, sometimes write songs and/or sheet music, hire outside musicians and coach them if need be, pay for studio sessions, make sure the track is properly mixed down and mastered and usually the producer also has his/her hand in the contractual business and marketing of the project as well.  A beatmaker can chill in a room and make a beat, but a producer will take that same beat and turn it into a “song”.
INST: Any tips, tricks, or advice that you’d like to share?
Pri: Just do what you feel sounds right, but keep it crisp. Take a few music classes if needed to learn more about music theory.  Also, remember,  what you use is not important, but how you use it is, so don’t spend your entire paycheck on equipment, because your favorite producer uses it.  Save that money for business cards, a web site and marketing yourself.    Lastly…KNOW YOUR BUSINESS & BRAND!  This industry is 10% music 90% business and if you do not know your business, you will get nowhere!
INST: Where can we hear your work?
Pri: All of my connects are:




ELPresLive

WE are back with the BOOM BAP! Sorry for the breif absence of Instrumology.com. I know that a lot of you were wondering what happened to the articles and interviews? Well, for the past few months, I have been promoting my Instrumology 2 album (Available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and EMusic). Also WU:Mixed  (Available at VerseAll.com) which took up a lot of my time. But now WE are back with more interviews, insightful information, tips & tricks, and Good music!!!!!

 

 

Setting off the the producers spotlight list is El PresBeats! El Pres Beats has a hip-hop with a rock edge, complimented by adding dope scratch phrases and super lyricist such as Nutso, Creature (Rebelmatic), etc. to make the cipher complete! El Pres shares his story with us about the artist he has worked with, the equipment he owns, and his favorite producers.  BMP’s (Beat Maker-Producers), I introduce you to El Pres Beats.

INST: Let the world know who you are and where you’re from?

EPB: I am ELPresBeats. I am a beatmaker / producer from Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Right now I am living in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

INST: Who have you worked with & how long have you been beat making or producing?

EPB: I have worked with Nutso (Poor Pocket Music), Jak Danielz (Cold Heat), Starvin B, Marvalous, Creature (Rebelmatic), DJ Irie, DJ Friss & DJ Milton on my Glenwood Hostel EP.
I have been making beats since 1998.

INST: What equipment and or software are you using?

EPB: I make my beats in Renoise and on the MPC 1000. For making tracks I use Cubase SX. ELPresMPC

INST: What made you want to create beats?

EPB: Growing up in the nineties and listening to all the great hiphop music that came out then, made me eager to give it a try myself. I didn’t know what samplers looked like and when I went to the musical instruments store in the city I grew up in, all they had was some crappy drum computers with some presets in it. I had obviously heard about the MPC’s and the SP 1200 but never saw one in real life. I knew they were real expensive too, at least for a 14 / 15 year old boy they were. In ’98 my mother got her first PC with a Soundblaster, so I was able to run Fasttracker 2, a free software tracker that was extremely suitable for making sample based beats. I learned how to work the program from a classmate of mine that was already making beats. From that moment on I started to plunder my parents’ record collections and second hand vinyl shops for vinyl I could sample from.

INST: Do you use or prefer sampling over playing live instruments?

EPB: I use sampling. It is the backbone of my style. 99% of the samples I use come from vinyl though. No sample packs or anything. Every sound you hear on my beats was found by me listening to the actual vinyl. I hold the art of diggin’ in the crates for samples up high.

INST: Who influenced your style?

EPB: Sample based producers that came up in the 90’s like Premo, RZA, Tru Master, 4th Disciple, Pete Rock, K-Def, Large Pro, Buckwild, Showbiz, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Prince Paul, Muggs, Easy Mo Bee, Beatnuts, Beatminerz, Erick Sermon, Shawn J. Period, Alchemist, Hi Tek, Nottz, Madlib, Jay Dee, Havoc, DJ Spinna, Ski, Clark Kent, No I.D., DJ Honda, EL-P, DR Period, SD-50’s and many more influenced me a lot when I started making beats. Also the Blue Monks production team – they used to do production for a crew called the Proov from my hometown Leeuwarden – influenced me, because they were coming from my town and were making some noise nationally.

ELPresBeats

INST: Do you ever see yourself quitting or retiring from beat making?

EPB: Never.

INST: Is there a difference between being a producer and being a beat maker?

EPB: I guess a beatmaker is somebody who just makes beats (only loops) and doesn’t make arranged tracks with for example vocalists or instrumentalists. A producer is someone that makes a whole track and not just the beat. You become a producer when you start making arrangements on your tracks and think about the track as a whole more. Also soundwise a producer thinks more about the mixing and mastering of the track. Most beatmakers are producers too though, in my opinion. There’s a thin line between a beatmaker and a producer. Where do you stop being just a beatmaker and start being a producer as well? I think every beatmaker has to be at least a tiny bit a producer to be a good beatmaker.

INST: Any tips, tricks, or advice that you’d like to share?

EPB: Be original.

INST: Where can we hear your work?

EPB: Stream / download EL Pres – Glenwood Hostel EP :
http://elpresbeats.bandcamp.com/
More beats:

Follow:
https://twitter.com/ELPresBeats
Like:
http://www.facebook.com/ELPresBeats

 

Peep “15 Cents” Video, Performed By Creature (Reblematic), Produced By El PresBeats:

 

DJ Prince Paul is a true legend in the world of beatmaking. A founding member of the 80’s rap group Stetsasonic and producer to artist such as De La Soul, Gravediggaz, 3rd Bass, Queen Latifah, Big Daddy Kane, and Chris Rock to name a few shows his wide range of  versatility.

Prince Paul sits down with Mark 45 King for an interview in the video below.

Beatmaker-Producer Verse All has finally released :Instrumology 2: iTwo, available on iTunes today. :Instrumology 2: iTwo is an 18 track instrumental LP and the follow up to Verse All’s  first full-length album entitled :Instrumology: The Science Of Beat Making. Each track has it’s own unique vibe, full of soulful samples, and gives you that good ol’ Boom Bap street feeling at times. If you do not have an iTunes account, not a problem! You can purchase iTwo from Amazon.com, Rhapsody.com, Emusic.com, and many more digital retail stores where available (Coming soon to Bandcamp.com). Below is a link to iTunes music store, where you can preview and purchase the full album or individual songs. Show your support to a veteran beat maker. Enjoy!


:Instrumology2: iTwo by Verse All

Free Download Now Available!

Free Download Now Available!

 VerseAll does again with the remixtapes. This time VerseAll visits the 36 Chambers favorite rap group, the Wu-Tang Clan. This 14 track and one hidden track is full of remixed tracks, all produced by VerseAll. Free Download immediately from the link below. Enjoy!

Multi-Platinum Artist and Producer Pharell Williams in the Studio w/ J. Cole

Multi-Platinum Artist and Producer Pharell Williams in the Studio w/ J. Cole

Check out this Video of Pharell making a beat, singing, enjoying his work!

Always remember to Beat Inspired!

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WE ARE BACK: With another installment of producer’s spotlight. Today’s Producer’s Spotlight Shine’s on J57! I first met J57 at the famous Fat Beat Records Store, once located at west 4th street, New York, NY. Any  time I’d visit Fat Beats, I’d make sure to catch J57 for a little hip-hop talk plus to find out what new albums dropped.  J57’s crew BBAS also known as the Brown Bag All Stars also consist of Soul Khan, KonCept, and Audible Doctor. Without further due, I bring to you, J57! 

INST: Let the world know who you are and where you’re from?

J57: I’m J57. I’m an emcee & producer from a group called Brown Bag AllStars. I was born and raised in Long Island, NY and have lived in Brooklyn for the past 6 1/2 years. I was lucky enough to work at the legendary record store, Fat Beats for 6 years before it closed in late 2010 and I’ve been a part of DJ Eclipse’s show ”Rap Is Outta Control” on SIRIUS/XM (Channel 44 – Hip Hop Nation – Every Sunday night 10pm EST) for the past 3 years.

INST: Who have you worked with & how long have been beat making or producing?

J57: My credits so far consist of Brown Bag AllStars(groupwise & solo), Homeboy Sandman, Sene, Action Bronson, Meyhem Lauren, AG da Coroner, Nitty Scott MC, Rasheed Chappell, Denitia Odigie, Charlie Smarts, Von Pea of Tanya Morgan, Jefferson Price, Tenacity, F.Virtue, Booda French, Sabac Red of Non Phixion, ILL Bill (Not released yet), Reks & Termanology (Not released yet), Nutso, Blame One, Exile (Not released yet) and like a million other incredible artists – too many to list. Very blessed to work with everyone I’ve worked with/work with on a regular basis.

I’ve been making beats since December 2002, so that’s 10 years of blood, sweat and tears.

INST: What equipment and or software are you using?
J57: I use Propellorhead Reason 3.0, a 32 key midi-controller keyboard, the Akai MPD 32 and work closely with a bunch of talented musicians like PJ Katz, Akie Bermiss, Recess, Mike13, and more.

INST: What made you want to create beats?
J57: I started out being the main beatboxer in ciphers back in high school and my good friend/very talented emcee & producer; Hi-Q, was like, ”You really need to start making beats. I have a feeling you’re going to be dope.” So, he and our good friend, producer, EQ then taught me how to make beats on Reason and the rest is history.

INST: Do you use or prefer sampling over playing live instruments?

J57: I like both equally. It just really depends on my mood. If I’m in the mood to sample records, then nothing in the world can stop me from digging through the endless supply of records that I’ve been saving for the past ten years. But, if I’m in the mood to make huge sounding sample-free stuff, then I bring in my ‘go to’ musicians and orchestrate some big, big production. That’s NOT saying you can’t make big sounding beats with samples, ofcourse. I’m just talking about the vibe/style.

INST: Who influenced your style?

J57: My main influences are: DJ Premier, RZA, Marco Polo, DJ Khalil, Exile, Jake One, S1, Alex da Kid, J Dilla, Madlib, Dr. Dre and Moby.

INST: Do you ever see yourself quitting or retiring from beat making?

J57: Never ever. Not even when I’m old and hard of hearing or crippled and can’t pound on the MPD – I’ll pay someone to do that part for me and I’ll just mutter the ideas of what’s going on in my head haha. As long as I have my hearing and can verbalize or write down what I’m hearing in my head, I’ll be good.

INST: Is there a difference between being a producer and being a beat maker?

J57: Absolutely. A song to a producer is always a work in progress, where they’re constantly adding to the track. Where as a beat maker, makes the beat, sends it to the artist and let’s the rapper or singer have their way with the beat. A producer just really oversee’s the song and constantly builds the track around the vocalist, sometimes brings in live instruments to spice the track up, etc.

INST: Any tips, tricks, or advice that you’d like to share?

J57: Yes; put in your 10,000 of work. Once you hit 10,000 hours you can do anything you want. Once you’ve worked on beats for exactly 10,000, you’ll be an unstoppable force that the world will embrace. Or, you could just be dope from the start like my man DeeJay Element. He’s been DJ’ing for 10+ years and was immediately incredible at making beats because of his knowledge from DJ’ing, mixed with raw talent. But the other 99% of people, like myself, this stuff takes a lot of time, so work hard and never ever give up.

INST: Where can we hear your work?

J57: The best places to check my stuff out would be;

J57music.com and BrownBagAllStars.com

A ton of good, free music on both sites – check it out!

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Various Brands Of Headphones.

Various Brands Of Headphones.

Whether you are a beat maker-producer, DJ, or a sound engineer, we are all in search of the same thing, “a perfect pair of headphones”. A good quality pair of headphones can do a lot for the final outcome of your musical project. How do you know what a good pair of headphones sound like? Well the answer to that question is that it’s all in your ears! You’ll know when you have a good pair of headphones from the difference in quality and sound coming from out of your headphones.

Beats By Dre Headphones are one of the leading brands for quality sound.

Beats By Dre Headphones are one of the leading brands for quality sound.

In a perfect pair of headphones, bass, hi-Fi, and lo-fi would be heard with more clarity and better built for a longer life span plus will cost more than your typical or average pair of headphones.

Red Wave DJ Headphones By Numark

Red Wave DJ Headphones By Numark

An average pair of headphones are usually less expensive and if you’re lucky enough , you’ll get close to the same quality of the more expensive headphones. However, you will usually get a good sounding bass but lose either your hi’s or lo’s and sometimes both.

Skullcandy Headphones

Skullcandy Headphones

If you are looking to purchase an in-expensive pair of headphones, it will be more than likely that you will get an in-expensive sound. Although you might get a really cool looking pair of headphones for less money, you will get just that, “a really cool looking pair of headphones”. Cheaper headphones are not built to last and definitely will not give you that quality sound that you’re looking for, when trying to mixdown your projects. Bass, hi’s, and lo’s will all give you a muffled sound because the frequencies are all fighting to be the dominant sound in your headphones.

So if you’re a student of music engineering, a newly inspired beatmaker-producer, or a dj, I would suggest staying away from wasting your money on the less expensive headphones and just save up to purchase a pair of headphones that will give you exactly what you need to get started on that road to becoming the best in your profession, and that would be a good quality pair of headphones.

Producer/ Recording 9th Wonder Schooling You!

Producer/ Recording 9th Wonder Schooling You!

Checkout this clip of 9th Wonder dropping gems about the art of sampling.