MrOneHundred's Muzic Corner

CHECKOUT MY INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF HIP-HOP'S DOPEST PRODUCERS KEITH SCIENCE


MR 100: Wow you’ve been making beats for 22 years.  That’s impressive.  I know you have plenty of studio stories.  Which rapper do you love hearing on your beats the most?
 
KS: That’s a tough question because it really depends on the track.  Sometimes a rapper will hit a beat just right, and other times it doesn’t work out as well as planned.  You can have the greatest emcee and the greatest beat, but if there isn’t chemistry and synergy between the two, the song isn’t going to be anything special.  These days I have a pretty good idea of what will work and what won’t ahead of time, so I try to avoid those situations as much as possible.  The rappers that I like hearing on my beats the most are the ones who are able to properly interpret the beat and hit it with just the right flow, rhythm and delivery.  That “magic” that can happen between producer and vocalist is an incredible feeling and it’s a big part of what keeps me going after all these years.
Having said that, I recently produced a single for Krumb Snatcha (from Gang Starr Foundation) called “I Never Fail” and I am really pleased with the musical chemistry we had.  I think it’s a great single, and I’m hoping to do some more work with him.  Krumb is a true professional and he’s really easy to work with.  I’d say he’s my current favorite.
I’ve also been working with a young and talented emcee from Philly named KiD SEAN, who I really like.  He always surprises me with the crazy shit he comes up with.  He really knows how to write a song, and he’s not scared to go-in on some adventurous beats.  I produced 2 tracks on his new 2014 mixtape, “Bona Fide”.
 
MR 100: I love your sound, that underground grimy boom bap sound.  I was raised on that sound in hip-hop.  I'm glad you’re keeping it alive.  What made you remain true to your craft?
 
KS: Thanks very much.  Back before hip-hop went pop, it was much more of an intelligent, creative and rebellious art form.  You had to be clever and unique back then or you’d get dissed real quick.  I still think it should be like that now.  Even though the scene has changed drastically over the years, I never used that as an excuse to get lazy with my production.  As time has passed, I’ve gone deeper and deeper into the exploration of grimy and organic underground sounds while most other producers have gone in the opposite direction.  Too many producers sound the same to me these days, with that sparkly-clean pop sound.  Producers used to have signature sounds, but I don’t hear that as much anymore and it’s a shame. 
I try to put as much pressure on myself as possible to come up with unique and organic sounds at all times.  I take my time with my craft and I never take shortcuts.  I enjoy the fact that my music is quite rebellious when you compare it to some of the other stuff out there.  While some of these other dudes are busy chasing money, I’m busy creating real art.  My fans appreciate that they can trust me, and they know that I’ll never let them down by releasing some commercial bullshit.
Also, the art of sampling is dying and I can’t just sit back and let it happen.  I’ve always felt compelled to do my part to help while I still can.
 
MR100: Who are your favorite producers?
 
KS: The producers that have influenced me the most are Pete Rock, Large Professor, DJ Premier, Showbiz, Havoc, Alchemist, Diamond D, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, RZA, Easy Mo Bee, Beatminerz, Madlib and Buckwild.  Every single one of those dudes has their own signature sound, and they each did it their own way.  Those are real artists that made significant contributions to hip-hop and elevated the craft, in my opinion.
 
MR 100: With the release of your album "Hypothalamus" full of dope instrumentals, if rappers want to use a beat off the album, how do you go about that situation?
 
KS: Well, because Hypothalamus is an album, it wouldn’t really work that way.  There are plenty of rappers that have gone ahead and used beats from my instrumental albums for their mixtapes and stuff, which is cool… But they could not officially release any of those tracks legally.  I’d really prefer if they see me to get new exclusive beats.  I love hearing rappers over my beats, but I wouldn’t allow someone to officially use a beat from one of my instrumental albums because I feel like it would be redundant, you know?  The tracks from Hypothalamus, as well as my other instrumental album, Vessels of Thought Volume II, have already been released, so I feel like I’d be cheating fans out by re-releasing the same tracks.
I’m very flattered when emcees want to use one of the beats from my albums, but please contact me or my management directly to get an exclusive beat if you’re interested in working with me.  Every beat is hand-made!
 
MR 100: What do you think about the state of hip-hop nowadays?
 
KS: I don’t know man.  I don’t want to insult anyone, but I’m not sure I can answer this question without sounding like a jerkoff.  Maybe I’m just too nostalgic or something, but I remember a time when hip-hop was overflowing with creativity, rebellion and a sense of urgency.  Hip-hop had purpose.  Those ingredients always kept it interesting.  These days, I think most shit just sounds boring.
However, I have noticed that the new generation coming up is showing a lot of interest in the boom bap sound.  A lot of them that I meet seem less than impressed with the current lazy-ass pop styles and would rather listen to Biggie.  Hopefully we are on the verge of a new golden age.  And if that shit happens, I’ll be there.
 
MR 100: Who would you love to do a full-length album with? 
 
KS: I would love to do a full album with Nas.  I realize that this is not an original answer, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  To me, Nas is the best, period, and it’s not even debatable.  But he’s the best for so many reasons.  One of the greatest things about Nas, that I don’t really hear people bring up much, is his voice.  There’s just something so special about his voice.  It is so unique, deep, compelling and captivating that there’s no escape once you hear it.  And that one-in-a-trillion voice is the vehicle to deliver the most legendary rhymes ever assembled?  Yeah man, that’s the dude I want to work with.
 
MR 100: Do you see yourself making beats for another 22 years?
 
KS: Definitely. There’s absolutely no reason for me to stop.  I’m probably more excited about making beats than I ever have been and that’s what it’s about.  Hopefully you can hear that excitement in my music, because it’s in there…
 
MR 100: I hope to hear nothing but successful things about your work, thanks!!
 
KS:
Thanks very much!  Shout out to KiD SEAN and my man Bobby Nelson!  Also, please check out my Pandora station if you get a chance!  Peace.

Below is the link to the new release Hypothalamus by Keith Science

http://keithscience.bandcamp.com/album/hypothalamus
Posted by 
Underground Hip Hop Blog

Honestly one of the best BEAT TAPES we have heard till date.  ”Hypothalamus” by Keith Science in our opinion has set the bar for all producers in this Indie Hip Hop game when it comes to premier Hip Hop production.  Any listener would be able to listen closely and hear the many sounds, beats, snares & high hats Keith Science uses and how he mixes it all together to pretty much give the listener the FULL EXPERIENCE.  A MC’s best friend we have to say, Keith Science has developed himself as a nationally recognized Hip Hop producer by being able to masterfully use samples unknown to other producers and create a sound that is Highly in demand in this over saturated Hip Hop producing scene…..

We appreciate Keith Science for reaching out to www.UndergroundHipHopBLOG.com, which showed us that he really takes this Art Form serious……This 12 track Beat Tape is a true classic in our book and Honestly!!, for any MC out there that is looking to move up in the game you should hit up Keith Science (New Jersey) for those beats………………www.UndergroundHipHopBLOG.com

Praverb.Net

Keith Science Reveals 5 Artists That He Would Collaborate With


First and foremost your bio states that you are a lifetime musician. Would you mind sharing what a lifetime musician is?

Well, I was born into a family of musicians. As early as I can remember, there were various musical instruments around the house such as guitars, amps, drums, etc. My Dad was a blues guitar player and my uncle John was a rock guitarist. I was majorly inspired by them both, and started playing guitar at an extremely early age. I was never really interested in learning how to play other people’s music much; I always wanted to create my own sounds. I knew all the way back then that I would dedicate my life to being a musician in one form or another.

I spent the better part of my early youth either playing music with other musicians, or sitting in my room practicing by myself. At around 8 or 9 years old, I began to learn about the recording/mixing process when my uncle John had acquired a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and a couple of drum machines. I was instantly fascinated by the engineering and mixing aspect of music. At this young age, I learned how to program drum machines and how to operate a small mixing console. I was hooked!

As I had gotten older, I started to learn about underground/alternative music styles that I hadn’t been exposed to as a kid. Learning about alternative music was a major turning point in my life as a young artist. I started to realize that most of the commercial music that I had been listening to growing up really didn’t have much substance. It was then that I realized that art has no boundaries and doesn’t have to fit into a mold. I really started to look down on commercial music and decided to immerse my brain into underground musical forms. Around this time I played in bands for years as a guitarist or bassist, performing live, writing songs and recording.

Somewhere around 1992, I started hearing some hip-hop music that was breaking through at the time such as Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Showbiz & AG, Lord Finesse, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, etc. I fell in love with hip-hop instantly. Although I had been exposed to, and involved with various musical genres in the past, nothing hit me harder than that early 90’s New York sound. I loved it so much that I couldn’t really listen to anything else for years. I remember being in a band (playing a different style of music) at the time and starting to lose interest because hip-hop made me feel so much more inspired and motivated to create.

I was so inspired that it was a natural progression for me to attempt to produce hip-hop music. I already had experience with composing, recording, layering, engineering and producing. I also had been programming drum machines for almost a decade prior to making my first hip-hop beat. I already knew how to use all of the equipment from my prior experiences, so I dove in head-first.

Hip-hop production instantly felt as natural to me as taking up guitar as a young kid. However, this style of music allowed me to incorporate all of the skills that I had learned over the years, and combine all of my musical passions into one. All of the things that I had learned such as song writing, playing various musical instruments, recording, engineering and mixing could now be combined and used to produce hip-hop music. I knew this was the right path for me.

To this day, hip-hop production is my primary focus and I still incorporate my diverse musical background into everything I do. It’s not uncommon for me to use real instruments to create samples for my tracks. I’m really grateful that I was exposed to many musical genres growing up because it really helped to make me the well-rounded producer that I am today.

You have been making beats since 1992. What inspires you to continue to make beats today?

When executed properly, hip-hop is very exciting and artistic. That excitement and artistry is what had drawn me in over 2 decades ago. And you know what? I still feel that same excitement right now!

But I am also motivated by the fact that the art of sampling is really suffering and/or dying right now and the world needs a producer like me. My stuff doesn’t sound much like what most people are calling “hip-hop” these days, and that motivates me more than anything. I’m here to bring an alternative to the commercial sound, and I’m here to help bring the artistry back. I make music for the hip-hop purists that still want to hear that street vibe mixed with clever use of samples and artistic substance; the kind of intelligent hip-hop that sparks your imagination…

Also, I make all of my beats with vintage gear and try to keep computers out of the beat-making process as much as possible. My music is always grimy and organic. You’ll never hear a Keith Science production that sounds like some sparkly-clean computer sh*t. I’ve always strived to be different and I do now more than ever.

You released an album called Hypothalamus and the press clipping states that it is a "demonstration of sampling excellence." How does Keith Science attack a sample?

“Attack” is a great word to use because in most cases, I manhandle samples. My tracks usually consist of many layers of unfamiliar samples, cleverly placed rhythmically to produce an exciting reaction in the listener’s brain. I’ll take a sample from anywhere. But more often than not, I’ll edit and manipulate samples to the point where they are unrecognizable from their original form. Creating original sounds through sampling is what I am all about, and I feel like I really accomplished that goal on Hypothalamus

There are so many different ways to edit and manipulate samples, but I think that a lot of producers have gotten lazy over the years. Many fans of real hip-hop live in a constant state of disappointment due to the lack of creativity these days and I’m here to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

A while back, I read a post on Twitter from some dude complaining that hip-hop producers no longer have any “sample game”. I never like to brag but... You want to hear sample game? Listen to Keith Science. I’m not the only one doing it, but I’m one of the dudes doing it right.



The latest song that you produced is called "I Never Fail" by Krumb Snatcha. Describe your relationship with Krumb, and detail what you look for in a collaborator.

Well first of all, I’ve been a fan of Krumb Snatcha’s music for years and years. I’m very familiar with his style and I always wanted to work with him. But, I never really felt like I had the right beat. One day, I made the beat for “I Never Fail” and realized that it was perfect for Krumb. I wasn’t sure if he’d be into it or not, so I contacted his manager and we began the process. Lucky for me, Krumb loved the beat and everything just went smooth from there. He wrote all of the lyrics, recorded them and then sent me all of the vocal files. I mixed the track at my studio and we had it mastered by David Torrey. I’m so proud of that single. I really feel like we generated an exciting vibe on that one and that’s what I was looking for. Evil Dee played it a couple of weeks ago on DJ Premier’s Live From HeadQCourterz Sirius/XM radio show and he cut the sh*t out of it! Shout out to Evil Dee!

I have to say that Krumb Snatcha is one of the nicest dudes that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He is a true professional, and working with him was a breeze. Those are traits that I look for in a collaborator. I like working with people that are focused on what they are trying to achieve and don’t need much help or direction to get things done and be productive. True emcees like Krumb can grab a microphone and make a miracle happen right on the spot. Those are the kind of people that I prefer to work with, if possible.

You have worked with a ton of artists during your lengthy career. What 5 artists would you love to collaborate with?

In no particular order:

1. Nas
2. Joell Ortiz
3. Alchemist
4. Roc Marciano
5. Prodigy (from Mobb Deep)

Thanks for the interview, and don’t forget to create a “Keith Science” station on Pandora! Peace.

- See more at: http://www.praverb.net/2014/07/keith-science-sample-based-producer.html?m=1

ilovehiphop.jux.com

Producer Keith Science 'Beats' Hiphop 90s Style | by James Choy | January 19, 2014

Keith Science's contribution to music will be appreciated by fans/purists of hiphop during its golden age (1986-1998).

Originally known as Keith Dittmar, the 38-year-old New Jersey native has been making beats and instrumentals since 1992, inspired from the jazz melodies of the late 60s, and the funk-laden tunes of the 70s.

During our discussion, I was listening to two of his albums, “Vessels of Thought Volume II” and “Hypothalamus” skimming through each track.

Immediately, I was taken in to each song with its jazzy melody and 95 BPM tempo. To me, those two elements are basic but significant makeups of a true 90s hiphop sound and were noticed in each of the tracks.

I began vibin’ on his first album, ‘Vessels…’ and was not expecting too much from his debut project. To my appreciation, I discovered that most of the LP was in the range of 95 BPM. This allowed me to focus more on his use of instruments/sounds for layering, how it was inputted and arranged and what added elements were done on post-production.

LISTEN TO ‘VESSELS PART II’ HERE:

http://keithscience.bandcamp.com/album/vessels-of-thought-volume-ii

The second album ‘Hypothalamus’ brought a more mature sound and was provided with the underground boom-bap noise, a more purified hiphop flavor. The tracks were provided with numerous sampling excerpts and unique sounds assimilated to producers like Ali-Shaheed Muhammad from a Tribe Called Quest, Buckwild and 9th Wonder.

LISTEN TO ‘HYPOTHALAMUS’ HERE:

http://keithscience.bandcamp.com/album/hypothalamus

NOTE: The ‘Vessels Part I’ album never saw completion and was broken up and distributed out to rappers for mixtape purposes, according to Science.

The one thing that impressed me firsthand was his adding extra layers to a song. Many producers today have no concept or understanding of making a separation from a verse to a chorus/hook. Science utilizes this and shows his multi-dimensional mind in making music.

“I like to use layers,” he said. “I wanted to make sure each song has substance.”

With the use of electronic and computerized music in today’s sound, Science grew up learning and playing ‘vintage’ instruments and applying that while making his beats.

“I've been a musician since birth,’ Science said. “Both my uncle and my dad were musicians. I picked up playing it almost immediately and used it as my form of musical expression for the first 16-17 years of my life.”

Science’s dad was a blues guitar player while his two uncles were heavily involved in rock and 70s progressive rock. Science grew up influenced by his family’s music but also with other genres including funk and straight-edge hardcore.

“I really tried to expose myself to many different forms of music as possible,” he said.

Ironically, it was the uncles who played a heavy part in Science’s musical upbringing. His parents divorced when he was 9 leaving his mom raising him and his three siblings. Science's dad moved to Florida to start a new family of his own.

Despite the separation, the music kept the family close together. For Science, it was a life-changing experience.

At 8, Science’s uncle bought a Tascam Portastudio 4-track cassette machine along with a drum machine and experimented in layering sounds to create music. Science’s love for working on music soon became a passion—a passion so tremendous he would dedicate his life to exploring.

Along with playing guitar, Science also played drums, keyboards, bass and other instruments.

Years after learning to play instruments, a friend of Science introduced him to hiphop and instantly he fell in love and began hearing and ‘learning’ the music. Science was already familiar with the sound and often watched Yo! MTV Raps growing up, he said.

It was at this time (1992) that he began making beats.

“I started to learn how to ‘listen’ to hiphop properly,” he said. “I was listening for all of the layers and nuances … I would just study, study, study—but I was familiar already with recording and creating music so it was a natural progression for me to get into producing beats.”

I spoke to Keith about his beginnings and everything surrounding hiphop in the 90s and beyond:

James: The culture was rich in the 90s for hiphop. Did you take time to backtrack the music learning its history and growth?

Keith: Of course! The first thing I did when I got into hip-hop was study as much about it as possible. It was clear to anyone at the time that you weren't going to be accepted into this hip-hop thing without knowing your history and paying homage. You HAD to know your shit back then. I knew that I had to pay dues like anyone else. Besides, you can't really understand what hip-hop is without studying the birth. You probably can't be a positive contributor to this art form without studying before you just jump right into it. I feel like this music deserves and commands that kind of respect.

James: Hiphop in 1992 was blowing up in a major way. What rappers/groups were you jumpin on when you first got into the music?

Keith: The first one that I can think of was a Tribe Called Quest (the Low End Theory album). I was listening to Showbiz & AG, Lord Finesse, Fat Joe, Diamond D, Big L, KRS-ONE, Kane, The Main Source, etc. But the hip-hop album that really changed my life was Daily Operation by Gang Starr.

James: What is your take on hiphop today and the gradual change from what the 90s was - do you accept it? do you hate it? is it OK? Or is it wrong?

Keith: I really feel that hip-hop has gone in a commercial direction that has brought us very far from the original intent. It seems like once people found out that they could make big money on it, all of the artistic requirements and ideals went right out the window. I never really thought that hip-hop should have went that direction, but it is what it is. Having said that, there is still some GREAT stuff out there right now. I'm a big fan of Roc Marciano and Joell Ortiz. I also love what Alchemist has been doing with Prodigy.

James: The thing that becomes difficult for 90s rappers who release albums today is that some are far away from their original sounds. Others are changing their music assimilated to what it sounds like today and I think that most of us hiphop junkies loved our rappers from how they did it then. Do you find more disappointment in hearing 90s rappers change their music as they progress?

Keith: One possible perspective is that some 90's rappers feel that they want to progress and break new ground. They don't feel that it's necessary to go back to that "old" sound.

If you listen to "Stuck In The Past," a single that I produced for Kool Keith, you'll understand that perspective if you listen to the lyrics. But here's another possible take on it: I don't really hear those kind of beats coming out of most producers at all. So if those sounds don't exist, then rappers don't have those beats to choose from. These days everyone is using computers to make beats and it really reflects in the sound. The magic art of sampling is really suffering and dying right now. I feel that a lot of what I hear these days lacks imagination. Back in the early 90s, almost everything had imagination. Shit was clever, and it HAD to be or you wouldn't be accepted. It was almost like the artists were also the protectors and judges of the art. I think people challenged themselves more back then. I would personally rather hear my favorite rappers over beats that are at least a little more in alignment with golden era hip-hop, but maybe I'm just too nostalgic or something.

James: How did you and Kool Keith hook up?

Keith: It all happened through Kool Keith's manager, Erik Perry. He's a great guy and he set it up for us. I actually pursued the collaboration and set it up with Erik. Kool Keith was feeling this one beat that I sent him, which is the one he used for ‘Stuck In The Past’ so he wrote a song to the beat and we recorded it and made a song out of it. It's an honor to be able to work with Kool Keith. He's a pioneer and an innovator. Shout out to Erik for making it happen!

James: Did you get paid for the hookup?

Keith: No, I donated the beat... I wasn't interested in making money off it... I just wanted to work with Kool Keith.

James: What future projects/venues do u have coming up

Keith: To be honest, I'm not sure yet. I try not to pre-plan things too much. This year I would like to put out a 6-song EP, probably all instrumental. But I also would like to work with any emcees that might be interested in working with me.

I do have another song coming out soon with Kool Keith.

James: Changing gears, give me 5 of your favorite rappers ever:

Keith: In no particular order:

1. GURU

2. Nas

3. KRS-1

4. Biggie

5. KRS-1 (he loves KRS-1)

James: Give me 5 of your favorite producers now:

Keith: Again in no particular order:

1. DJ Premier

2. Pete Rock

3. Alchemist

4. Large Professor

5. Showbiz

James: Im gonna go to short answers with you now. I give you a word, you give me brief or 1-2 word answers.

James: The greatest rapper of all time is ____

Keith: Nas

James: The greatest hiphop group of all time is ____

Keith: Gang Starr

James: Name 3 rappers/hiphop group u would love to produce

Keith: Nas, Jeru and Roc Marciano

James: Name 3 cities you would love to migrate to for better living/music producing

Keith: I am fine where I am... NJ

James: What is name of any woman you wanna have as your wife

Keith: My girlfriend, Denise Wilson.

James: What is the best 'love' hiphop song __________________ (ie: Electric Relaxation by Tribe Called Quest)

Keith: Method and Mary J, You're all I need to get by.

++++++++

For more 411, you can log on to Keith Science’s website at:

keithscience.com

Old To The New

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2012 (Part One) – Roc Marciano / Mystro / House Shoes etc.

Posted on December 29, 2012 | Leave a comment

vinyl rack pic

With 2012 almost out the door, it’s about that time for magazines, websites and blogs to take the customary look back over the last twelve months to highlight those releases most worthy of recognition for really hitting the sonic bullseye during the course of the year.

Whilst the usual debates concerning the state of Hip-Hop have continued to rage on street corners, social media sites and everywhere else music fans may congregate, inbetween the vast amount of mediocre and downright terrible music that’s come from the mainstream / underground rap worlds during 2012, there’s also been a decent number of impressive album and EP releases from various corners of Planet Rock which have all delivered in terms of quality, creativity and overall dopeness.

As I always say when putting a list like this together, the projects and artists included in this 2012 round-up aren’t the only names and releases that were worth checking over the last year, but they are the ones that spent the most time booming out of my headphones and speakers.

So, in no particular order…

Roc Marciano – “Reloaded” (Decon) – With the release of 2010′s “Marcberg” album transforming Strong Island’s Roc Marciano from respected underground emcee to Hip-Hop cult hero, the former UN member refined his Rotten Apple sound even further on this sophomore solo shot, delivering a relentless barrage of vivid wordplay over melodic, minimalist production.

roc marci cover

Nas – “Life Is Good” (Def Jam) - Arguably Queensbridge’s favourite son’s most cohesive and consistent body of work since 1994′s timeless “Illmatic”. Nas might not have chalked-up another universal classic with his latest album, but he did sound more comfortable in his own skin on this project than he has done in a long time, as he reminisced about 90s New York, dealt with parental responsibility and reflected on his recent marriage problems.

nas cover 1

Mystro – “Mystrogen” (Don’t Bizznizz) – Having started 2012 amidst rumours of retirement, veteran London emcee MysDiggi laid any such talk to rest with the release of his long-awaited debut full-length, lacing a varied selection of up-beat production from the likes of Mr. Thing and Black Einstein with his witty verses, leftfield life observations and sharp humour.

mystro pic 3

DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles – “Kolexxxion” (Gracie Productions / Works Of Mart) – The infamous Freddie Foxxx teaming-up with hardcore composer DJ Premier for a full-length project was always going to result in something memorable and “Kolexxxion” definitely lived up to expectations. Bumpy proudly displayed his OG stripes, schooling upcoming artists on the rules of the game and giving his opinion on the state of the culture, whilst Premier crafted an impeccable selection of thoroughbred bangers tough enough to crack concrete.

kolexxxion cover

Keith Science – “Vessels Of Thought Volume II” (Central Wax Records) – A polished collection of instrumentals from the New Jersey-based producer, this album encompassed a number of different musical vibes and emotions, ranging from jazzy optimism to aggressive boom-bap, with each track maintaining its own unique sonic personality thanks to Science’s mastery of true-school Hip-Hop production.

keith science cover

Apollo Brown & OC – “Trophies” (Mello Music Group) – Having built himself a solid reputation as the go-to man for drum-heavy underground production, Detroit’s Apollo Brown tested his talents to the limit by joining forces with legendary D.I.T.C. emcee OC, resulting in a quality concept-driven album full of head-nodding beats and lyrical jewels that contained enough creative chemistry to make the uninitiated think the pair had been recording together for years.

trophies cover

Timeless Truth – “Brugal & Presidentes” (Timeless Truth) – Steeped in Rotten Apple heritage, Queens, NY brothers Solace and Oprime39 paid homage to their city’s traditional boom-bap sound on this EP unleashed at the top of 2012 without sounding like they were simply chasing the musical ghosts of a lost era. The duo’s intense, sample-heavy style and ferocious verbal artillery kept heads salivating all year for the release of their recent full-length “Rock-It Science”.

timeless truth ep

Del The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought – “Attractive Sin” (Parallel Thought Ltd) – Ice Cube’s cousin has faced criticism in recent times for being just a little too off-the wall on some of his solo material, but whether it was a conscious decision or just natural creativity, on this Parallel Thought-produced project the Hiero emcee sounded more focused than he has in a long time. Backed by beats ranging from anthemic West Coast funk (“On Momma’s House”) to breakbeat-driven old-school flavour (“1520 Sedgewick”), Del delivered a potent lession in lyrical excellence that recalled the brilliance of his early critically-acclaimed work.

del album cover

DJ Format – “Statement Of Intent” (Project Blue Book) – A rejuvenated Format returned to burn on his third album, pulling together musical influences that ranged from old-school New York block parties and 80s electro to golden-era greatness, creating a diverse but ultimately-satisfying musical mosaic featuring the likes of Edan, Mr. Lif and Phill Most Chill holding down microphone duties. An entertaining sonic journey back to the future.

dj format cover

House Shoes – “Let It Go” (Tres Records) – A close friend of the late, great Dilla and a talented producer in his own right, Detroit’s House Shoes pulled together an impressive line-up of Motown talent such as Black Milk and Guilty Simpson plus a few out-of-towners (Roc Marciano, The Alchemist etc) to ensure his official debut album was something to remember. Clearly feeling he had something to prove to the non-believers out there, “Let It Go” wasn’t just the sound of a producer putting together a typical compilation-style album, this was the sound of a man on a musical mission.

house shoes album cover

Ryan Proctor

Part Two coming soon.

Underground Hip Hop Blog

Keith Science (New Jersey) – Q&A Interview

Keith Science Photo

Tell us a little about yourself.  Where you are from?  How long have you been making Hip Hop?

Hi, my name is Keith Science and I’m an experimental/underground hip-hop producer from New Jersey.  I’ve been making hip-hop music for over 2 decades now.  Although I’ve been doing this for the love of it for many years, it wasn’t until the last few years that I started to formally release my work.  I really fell in love with hip-hop back in 1992.  Prior to getting into hip-hop, I was a musician and audio engineer for years, playing various instruments and even performing live.  So as soon as I started to be majorly inspired by hip-hop, it was a natural progression for me to want to create beats.  Early on, I connected with a couple of emcees from Dover, NJ and we recorded constantly for years.  That’s how it all began for me… just making beats for my friends and having fun recording and making tracks.  We were big fans and we wanted to be a part of it.  These days I have a fully equipped studio and I take it much more seriously.

What influences you in making Hip Hop?

I still feel that love for hip-hop that I felt when I was initially exposed to it and that’s what drives me to continue.  I don’t think I could stop even if I tried.  I love to explore various sampling techniques and experimental sounds.  I’m also really into vintage studio equipment and traditional recording techniques.  I like to combine all of those passions into my hip-hop productions to produce a unique sound.

Describe your music, and what separates you from other producers?

I would probably describe my sound as Atmospheric Boom Bap.  I was heavily influenced by the golden age of hip-hop, and I try to take a purist approach.  I use an old Akai S2000 rack sampler to make all of my beats and I try to keep computers out of the beat-making process as much as possible.  It isn’t uncommon for me to create my own samples with real instruments.  I spend a lot of time on each individual sound due to the nature of the gear that I use and how I record.  I also do all of my mixing on an old analog recording console with two large racks full of new and vintage rack gear.  Because of my influences and the traditional methods that I use, many people associate my music with the early 90’s New York sound.  My music tends to sound dirtier and grittier than many of today’s hip-hop recordings.

Who have you collaborated with?  Who would you like to collab with in the near future?

In the last couple of years I have collaborated with Kool Keith, Rampage (Flipmode Squad), Punchline (eMC) and Mista Spyce from the UK.  Right now I am working on a single with Krumb Snatcha from the Gang Starr Foundation.  I’d love to collab with Roc Marciano, Joell Ortiz or Prodigy from Mobb Deep.

Your definition of “Underground Hip Hop”?

This is a tough question.  To me, underground hip-hop is a unique sound that is not made for commercial purposes.  It is a creative street art form with participants who respect the craft and the culture by making positive contributions.  Real underground hip-hop stays in alignment with the original concepts developed by its pioneers.  Underground hip-hop is where it’s all about having skills.

Production wise, who are your influences?  Who does your production?

I do all of my own production and mixing.  I like to work alone.  It really allows me to focus on opening creative channels in my mind.  My biggest influences are Pete Rock, DJ Premier, The Large Professor, Showbiz, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, J Dilla, RZA, Easy Mo Bee, Erick Sermon, Havoc, Da Beatminerz, Alchemist & DJ Muggs.

Any current or future projects you are promoting?

The current project that I am promoting is my new instrumental album, Hypothalamus, which is available on 12” vinyl, CD or digital download.  You can buy it almost anywhere, including iTunes, Amazon and UGHH.com.  Later this year, I plan to release a 6-song EP, featuring various emcees.  The entire EP will be produced and mixed by myself.  My last two albums have been all instrumental, so now I want to show people what I can do with vocals over my tracks.

 

Can you give us a brief description of the creative process of Hypothalamus?  Also/ what was the idea or concept description about your Album Art Cover.

Hypothalamus was intended to be an artistic exploration of boom bap beats, created using unique sampling techniques and sounds.  It is basically a formally-released beat tape that is intended to be listened to from start to finish.  I spent more time on this album than any other before and I am extremely pleased with the outcome.  I hope everyone enjoys it because I really poured my heart into it.

That’s actually my own brain on the Hypothalamus album cover!  A while back I had to get an MRI of my head and when it was finished, they gave me a disc that contained all of the pictures from it.  I ended up creating the album cover artwork with my own MRI photo.  It’s pretty wild!

Where can we find your music and info?

I’m very pleased to announce that you can now create a “Keith Science” station on Pandora!  In addition, here are my links:

Homepage: www.keithscience.com

Facebook [1]: https://www.facebook.com/keith.dittmar.77

Facebook [2]: www.facebook.com/keithsciencebeats

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Keith_Science

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/keith-science/id586856633

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s?_encoding=UTF8&field-artist=Keith%20Science&search-alias=music

CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/keithscience3

Bandcamp: http://keithscience.bandcamp.com/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/keithscience

Any shout outs?

Yes, I’d like to give a shout out to DJ Uncut Raw, Nasty Newman, Kid Sean, Krumb Snatcha, Bobby Nelson, Luis Feliciano, Karen Noe, Ken Dittmar, Denise Wilson, Mr. Mackie, Korey Costa , Ryan Proctor and C-Red.  Thanks!

Old To The New

Old To The New Q&A – Keith Science

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Although he’s been making beats since the 90s, New Jersey-based producer Keith Science might not be a familiar name to many. Keeping his talents under the radar from everyone other than his closest friends and family, Science has only been making his unique brand of sample-based boom-bap production available to the masses for the last couple of years.

Aside from dropping his debut instrumental project “Vessels Of Thought Volume II” in 2012, the NJ beat junkie has also worked with Kool Keith and the UK’s very own Mista Spyce of The Brotherhood fame.

Keith’s latest release, the hypnotic “Hypothalamus”, finds the talented music man once again putting his own spin on the traditional sounds of East Coast Hip-Hop with sublime results.

Here, Science discusses his passion for 90s Hip-Hop, the art of sampling and his personal approach to making music.

How were you initially introduced to Hip-Hop?

“Okay, well I’ve been a musician my entire life, y’know. When I was growing-up my dad was a blues guitarist and my uncle, who was real close with the family, he was a rock guitarist. So I grew-up primarily as a guitarist, playing different styles of music, and I really always wanted to keep the range of music that I listened to as diverse as possible. As a musician, I was constantly looking for something to inspire me. I was definitely listening to rap music as I was growing-up in the 80s and you had “Yo! MTV Raps” on all the time and I would watch that. But then when I heard what was happening in Hip-Hop in the early-90s, it hit me like a ton of bricks. That early-90s East Coast feel is just such a magical sound and I’d never really heard anything like that before. It was just so captivating and so creative. The music I was hearing gave me this unbelievable feeling compared to anything that I’d ever listened to before. Now, this was probably when I was about eighteen-years-old. That’s when I really fell head over heels in love with Hip-Hop. I mean, before that I’d been playing the guitar, writing my own music, and that really seemed like it was the direction I was going to go in. But then when I really got into Hip-Hop, it just changed everything.”

Can you remember some of those first early-90s albums you heard that really gave you that feeling you mentioned?

“Absolutely. The first album that comes to mind is “The Low End Theory” by A Tribe Called Quest. I was just glued to that one instantly. But the album that really did it for me and made me a Hip-Hop fan for life was Gang Starr’s “Daily Operation”. When I heard that it just changed everything. I can’t even really explain it. I mean, first of all, it just sounded so different to the other Hip-Hop records that I was listening to at the time. It was Premier, y’know (laughs). He’s the greatest ever. But there’s something about that “Daily Operation” album, even to this day, that just reminds me of why I love this music and why I want to be involved with it.”

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For me, “Daily Operation” is the album that bridged the gap between the straight jazz loops Premier had been using on the first two Gang Starr albums and the boom-bap sound that became his trademark…

“Absolutely. I think you’re right on that. Also, that album is deceptively simple. It’s so simple but also so rich in terms of the creativity heard on it. “Daily Operation” is an album that literally gives me chills. I mean, if you listen to something off it like “Soliloquy Of Chaos”, that track in particular just puts you in such a trance the second it comes on and you don’t want it stop, y’know (laughs). It’s amazing.”

So as you were really starting to immerse yourself in Hip-Hop, was it a journey you were making on your own or did you also have friends at the time who were listening to the music?

“It was actually my friends who helped me get into it. A friend of mine had moved from our town to another town in New Jersey and over there they were listening to a lot of Hip-Hop. So he would come back with a lot of tapes and we would be listening to this stuff and were just being blown away by it. Some of the guys in this group of friends had already been listening to Hip-Hop and really studying it. I mean, I would see my friends all huddling around the stereo listening to a new Hip-Hop track and they would really be speaking in-depth about each different sound and the way the samples had been layered, all this kinda stuff. It really just blew my mind because before then I’d never really seen anyone sit there and really analyse music like that. So it taught me a lot about how to approach the music when I did start making beats. Plus, with the musical experience I already had and being able to play various instruments, it was just a real natural progression to me.”

So is that where the Science part of your name comes from, seeing your friends really studying the music and then doing that yourself?

“Exactly. The name was definitely born out of that original group of friends I had back in the early-90s. It just came from me studying Hip-Hop and I really feel the stuff I learned from being around those guys at that time are lessons that I still apply when I’m making music today. Unfortunately, I don’t know if many people still listen to music and study it in that same way today. I think a lot of people now jump into this style of music without even attempting to study the history which I think is a huge mistake. But I definitely think there seems to be more of an interest in that old sound now among the newer generation that are coming up which is pretty amazing.”

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Speaking of studying the history, when you first started really listening to Hip-Hop in the early-90s were you aware of the rich heritage that New Jersey already had with the whole Flavor Unit movement, YZ, Poor Righteous Teachers etc?

“I kinda learnt about it as I went along. I mean, when I first got into the music I used to just study it all the time. I was so into it that I wanted to know everything about it. At one point, I was almost like a walking encyclopedia. Unfortunately, it’s not like that anymore as I can barely remember what I did yesterday (laughs). But there was a time when I was very dedicated to learning about the music and culture of Hip-Hop and making sure that anything I did didn’t violate the original principles.”

So did you start making beats almost immediately?

“Pretty much. What happened was, my uncle, who I mentioned earlier, had some old studio equipment. So back in the day he got hold of an old Tascam four-track cassette machine and he also got a couple of drum machines and a keyboard. So there was equipment around and I already knew how to work the stuff because I’d been using it for years. So when I started hanging-out with my group of friends who helped get me into Hip-Hop, one dude was an emcee and he wanted to make a beat. So he was asking me about it because he knew I had access to equipment. So I said I’d call my uncle up and see if he’d let us borrow some of the stuff. So my uncle let me borrow the four-track and the drum machines and my friend, who went by the name Swift Wisdom , he had a really cheap sampler. So we just started messing around and the first thing we did, I helped him make his beat because he already knew what he wanted to do and I knew how to use the equipment. So once that first beat was made, I was like, ‘You know what? I could learn how to do this and really go crazy with it.’”

Were you trying to shop beats at this point or were you really just keeping what you were doing within your own circle?

“Yeah, I was just keeping my beats within the crew. To be honest, I really didn’t feel like I was that good back then. I needed to learn and grow. I was still experimenting and it wasn’t really my time yet. Furthermore, on top of that, I really had bulls**t equipment (laughs). So it would have been really difficult for me to approach a big name emcee or something when I didn’t feel my beats were good enough. Or even if it was a good beat, it would have been made on crappy equipment so you wouldn’t have been able to record with it.”

Who would you say were some of your earliest influences when you started making beats?

“I’ve obviously gotta say DJ Premier as he was such a huge influence on me and there’s no way I’d even be able to do what I do today without what he did first. I was a huge Pete Rock fan, then there was Diamond D, Showbiz, Buckwild, all that D.I.T.C. stuff. Plus, all the Tribe stuff was a huge influence on me.”

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Those influences can still definitely be heard in your music today because you’re very much about drums but there’s often a lot of melody in there as well…

“No doubt. I can’t tell you’re listening, man. That really is my thing so I’m glad you noticed that. The type of beats that I really liked the most back in the 90s were the ones where the drums were really hard but there was a nice semi-friendly melody going on over that with the samples and everything. There’s just something about the marriage of those two things together that I really like. I mean, one beat that immediately comes to mind when I think about that is DJ Premier’s remix of Fat Joe’s “The S**t Is Real”. That beat is hard as hell but it’s got a nice melody behind it as well. So that’s something I always try to do. I mean, not all of my beats are melodic, but that is a huge part of what I do. I think being a musician by nature, I always try to make things sound as musical and as organic as possible.”

I think that’s always the challenge with instrumental Hip-Hop, for a producer to take it beyond just being a good beat for someone to rhyme over and to make music that stands on its own, keeps your interest and doesn’t make you think, ‘I wish there was an emcee on this…’

“Right, absolutely. You’re exactly right. You’ve got to have some substance in there. That’s one of the mistakes I think I made as a young producer, I didn’t have enough layers or changes in the music I was making. Now, I’ve come up with a formula that works for me and I really try to make a song out of every track I do, even though there are no vocals. That’s something that’s especially evident to me on this new project “Hypothalamus” compared to the previous album, “Vessels Of Thought Volume II”.”

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So were you producing consistently throughout the 90s? Is there any particular reason why you didn’t release any material during that time?

“That’s a good question and, to be honest with you, I did actually stop making beats for awhile. When Hip-Hop started to decline towards the end of the late-90s, I really started to get frustrated. I wasn’t happy about the direction the music was moving in and it made me lose interest. Also, around that time, I’d been doing a lot of music projects that included some stuff outside of Hip-Hop and I just felt burnt out. I felt like I didn’t even want to mess with music for awhile. Then my brother, who goes by the name DJ Uncut Raw, he and I got hold of some equipment at some point and we started making beats together. I mean, he’d got into it a little bit through being the younger brother watching me as we were growing-up. So we started working together and that was the first time I got an actual sampling drum machine. We built a studio in a friend’s house and were over there all the time. We had local emcees just coming through and we were just having fun with it. This was around the early-to-mid 2000s. Then I got to a point a couple of years ago where I decided that I wanted to try and formally release my music. So “Vessels Of Thought Volume II” kind of just started off with me making a beat-tape for me and my friends to listen to and a lot of people liked it, so I just ended-up formally pressing it up. I mean, I’m a pretty private guy. I’m not that person who’s trying to be all up in the cameras and everything. I’m just doing this because I love this music and I can’t sit back and just watch the art of sampling die.”

What is it about the actual act of sampling that really draws you in and keeps you feeling so passionate about it?

“The thing is, I use a really old style sampler and I do that for a reason. It’s because it has a certain, beautiful organic sound to it and that’s what really excites me about sampling. That sound is the sound of Hip-Hop. But it’s that whole process of sampling and achieving that sound that you’re hearing in your head that really excites me as well. I mean, a lot of people wouldn’t even want to touch the equipment I make my music on because that old equipment is hard to use (laughs). I mean, my new album “Hypothalamus” only has twelve tracks on it, but that album took me a whole year to make. I can’t be one of those people who pump out ten beats a day. I can’t do that. I’ll start a beat and maybe won’t go back to it until a month later when I’m really inspired by something or a particular idea grabs me. But to really answer your question, you can just do so many things when you’re sampling. The most exciting thing for me is to take sounds and try to make them sound completely different. I mean, the samples that I took from vinyl and used on the new album, you’ll never be able to figure out where I got them from (laughs). I don’t want to give away any tricks, but there’s so many things you can do with sampling and I really wish people would try to challenge themselves more and see what they can come up with. I think anyone doing this just needs to at least try and elevate themselves above what they’ve already heard being done. That’s how you end-up doing something creative. I mean, I love Hip-Hop more than other style of music but I’m open to listening to anything and I can be inspired by anything as long as it’s something that’s pure and great. Music speaks to you in general and if you want to be a good, well-rounded artist I think it’s important for you to listen to other genres and really study how different types of music are put together.”

What equipment do you use?

“I use an old Akai S2000 rack sampler for everything. If you look at the whole history of Akai, it’s probably the cheapest sampler they ever put out (laughs). But the reason I chose this machine is mainly because I didn’t know of anyone that was using it. Premier has the S950, Pete Rock did the SP12oo thing, but I wanted to use something that nobody else was using. So I decided to give this particular machine a shot. When I first started using it, the learning curve was definitely huge (laughs). It wasn’t pretty when I first started with that machine but I think I’ve got it now. I mean, I don’t use Pro-Tools or anything. This whole “Hypothalamus” album was mixed on my old analog recording console. If I could record to tape I would, but it’s just way too expensive at this point. But a lot of the equipment I use today is the stuff that was being used in studios back in the 90s. For me, it’s more fun sitting in front of a recording console than it is sitting in front of a computer screen with a mouse. I just think that all of this computer software used today makes it harder for people to differentiate themselves and really put their own character into their music. I mean, the way I work, it takes forever, but I run every single individual track in at its own time. So if I get the foundation of a beat down, before I go and record it I might sit there and mess with the sound of the bass drum for an hour or something (laughs). Then I’ll record just that track, then I’ll run in another track like the snare and layer it like that. So every single sound on my tracks gets attention. It takes forever and a lot of people wouldn’t want to do it like that, but that’s when you can have full control and really make what you’re doing musical.”

So do you think relying too heavily on computers whilst making music takes away from the creative process?

“It’s too easy to sound like everyone else when you’re involving computers too much in the recording process. I mean, I try to keep computers totally out of music if possible. Now, like I said, these days it’s too expensive to record on tape, so you have to stick with digital, but there are so many things that you can do to mess with samples and get a more organic sound than just relying on a computer. As I said, I don’t want to give away any secrets as it’s taken me twenty years to develop some of the techniques I use, but I just think producers out there should challenge themselves more and explore the other things that can be done with samples rather than just doing the obvious stuff. There are a lot of great rappers out there and I think that when it comes to a lot of people who have complaints about Hip-Hop today, it’s really the production that’s ruining it for them. I just think that a lot of the computer-based production being heard today sounds very sterile and stiff and doesn’t have that loose, organic bounce to it like it should. Those are the kind of things I try to focus on specifically when I’m making my records.”

You definitely have a real talent for creating particular moods in your music and really taking the listener somewhere on each track…

“When I make my music I just try and take my brain to another universe or something (laughs). I don’t even really know how to explain it. But it really feels good to hear people say that because it means they’re really listening and getting what I’m doing. I mean, my music is designed that way and it is made to tap into certain moods and hopefully take you somewhere as you’re listening to it. That is the ultimate goal, to create some type of emotion that really sticks with you after you’ve listened to the music.”

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It was actually the work you did in 2012 with the UK’s Mista Spyce that put me on to you. How did you hook-up with him?

“First of all, big shout to Mista Spyce! To be honest with you, he’s really part of the reason that “Vessels Of Thought Volume II” even happened in the first place. I started posting some beats online, some of which would actually end up on “Vessels…”, and Spyce was one of the first guys to really listen and give me the nod of approval. He immediately wanted to work together, which we did and we made a couple of great tracks. Spyce was really encouraging and it kinda helped give me the confidence to formally release something and he continues to be supportive.”

If you could choose one emcee to work with, is there anyone in particular who immediately comes to mind?

“Now, this is a totally unoriginal answer and probably every producer will say the same thing, but I would definitely like to work with Nas. As far as I’m concerned he’s the greatest and there’s nothing else really to talk about (laughs). Nas is the type of emcee who can really light up any type of track. Someone else I’d like to work with is Jeru The Damaja. I’d really like to do something with him. But in terms of working with different emcees, we’ll see what happens in the future as a lot of people really still don’t know that I’m even out there yet. I hope I do get to work with more emcees but it’s tough to find the right people to work with. I mean, I’m not an emcee, but the one thing I will say about my beats is that I can see how some of them might not be considered easy to rap on (laughs). But as much as I enjoy making instrumentals, when you put vocals on a track it just takes it somewhere else and opens up a whole new level of creativity.”

And when it comes to other producers, is there anyone who you really think is setting the standard today?

“Hell yeah, The Alchemist. I really love what he’s doing and he really seems to always think outside the box. He’s just a true original in my opinion. I mean, I loved that s**t that he did with Prodigy on their “Albert Einstein” album. That album is really creative to me. The first two tracks on that album are just so good and you really get pulled in quick. That s**t is just hard! But musically Alchemist is just so unpredictable and I’m always excited to hear what he’s going to do next. Alchemist is definitely someone who, to me, is elevating the art of sampling and really showing what you can do with it.”

Now that “Hypothalamus” is out, do you have any goals for the next twelve months?

“All I can really hope for is that this album lets people know that I’m out there and if people want to work together then come and see me (laughs). I mean, after getting “Hypothalamus” out there, I haven’t even really made a beat in the last few months. I’ve been having to take care of a lot of business stuff with getting the vinyl finished and everything. But my girlfriend always tells me that the creative process needs a rest sometimes and I’m kinda in that rest period right now (laughs). I can’t wait to get back in that studio but I just have to wait until that inspiration hits me. I mean, sometimes it’s like that and you just have to wait until it’s the right time. For many years I felt like I was just making music for myself, so it’s great to have reached a point where people are receiving the music in the way it was intended to be received. It just makes me want to work harder.”

Ryan Proctor

Follow Keith Science on Twitter – @KeithScience 

Check “Vessels Of Thought Volume II” and “Hypothalamus” on BandCamp.

TheL00kingGlass.com

First and foremost I want to send a HUGE shout out to the homie Keith Science.  This was an amazingly DOPE project.  The music reminds me of times when folks put time and passion into their craft.  This joint really had me zoning especially on tracks like Tropic and Coleco (which I automatically started writing to when I first heard it) that were just smooth compositions that took you on a journey.  This tape is full of tracks like that but offers some variety with tracks like Soilders II and Century that offer much more grimey feels.  All in all this is definitely something you need to check out.  You can listen to the stream below and you can purchase the Beat Tape for only $8.99 dollars here.  Hope you enjoy this experience as much as I did!