I run a blog called CUTTINGPRACTICE, and when Marinate Media asked me to contribute a list of my favorite producers to contribute to their blog, I immediately accepted. Since I respect their content and methods of delivering information, I jumped at the opportunity. I expanded on the original project, though, and decided to include artists who are not strictly producers. I then broke these down into three categories : Instrumentalists, Atmosphereists, and Producers (duh). ”Atmosphereists”, is a category that I chose to include because there are Instrumentalists and Producers whose efforts result in a spatial experience that accompanies the acoustic ones. Those are artists whose abilities range on another (not necessarily better) level of artistry, in my book.
In all honesty, any of these artists could and do overlap into the other categories. Not only do they do this on a consistent basis throughout their work, but they do this, in some cases, in these sample tracks. I differentiated in this was in order to show the basis from which I was explaining and experiencing their work. I wanted to give overarching reasons for why I admire these artists in general.
With each one, I give a quick reason for why I admire their work as a whole. I put together a special SOUNDCLOUDSOUNDMOUND mix for this, putting the tracks in the same order that I write about the artists below. Hit play and read through while the mix plays. I chose some of my favorites, but I’ve obviously left out some important artists who I apologize to ahead of time.
***Enjoy The Mix And Please Check Out All Of Their Work***
Tommy Kruise is a champion of intensity. If I had more room I’d post the video for “WAR HAMMERS”, too. TOMMY chops n screws a fair amount, retaining a track’s original force, but injecting his own doses of hurt and depth. Every piece becomes entirely his own through careful manipulations.
Sa’eed can transport you with sounds. I wouldn’t say that he strictly gives space to his beats, but he definitely gives motion to them. You may not know where you are, but by the end of his work, you’ll feel like you went somewhere. Your job is to figure where that is, Sa’eed already did the heavy-lifting. He got you there, the least you could do is take a look around.
Alf Alpha makes instrumental tracks that contain enough character to feel like he’s created personalities. His ability to explore a certain genre and break it down give his work distinction. He transports listeners to very specific genres, unlike many of his contemporaries.
Dayggs does a phenomenal job remixing works by retaining key elements of original tracks, highlighting their importance to the original track. Retroactively, we become aware not only of the current version’s force, but also the past one’s driving components.
Stacy explores a huge variety. Just the other week he released a collaboration track that was an industrial rap nightmare (in a good way). In a good way. Stacy blends the intensity of rap’s thumps with the carnage of a factory. His work is a comment on the emotionless turn that music has taken.
Nanosaur runs the gamut for sure. Whether he’s remixing, or laying production down, Nano comes with hard-hitting, steadily (high) paced tracks. His ability to infuse a host of sounds from a variety of sources is his biggest draw, for me.
Sucideyear does a lot of remixes, but he’s focused, so far, on re-imagining the energy of a track by messing with the instrumental alone. And although Suicide is able to re-explore a track’s atmosphere, he doesn’t ignore the importance of matching key elements of the original with those of the new.
Keyboard Kid will take you on an adventure. Just strap yourself to your chair, and let your ears move you around. Whether he’s making glitchy instrumentals or producing vaporous tones for a sensational rapper, his work is conceptually complete. KBK builds a landscape for listeners.
Audate has many forms. He used to be known under the name “Rick Flame”, a producer for Lil B. He has a grasp on the infinite, able to push sounds beyond the brinks set up by speakers, and our common experience of sound. He communicates the infinite with every note and pairing.
BanksOnTheBeat has a distinguishable dark intensity. His work creeps around, looming over his listeners, feeding their darkest fears. He doesn’t oversaturate beats with inexplicable samples, each sound fits together to build off of the last, introducing the next, tying them to a common goal.
.L.W.H. is not afraid to challenge his artists. Forcing artists into unusual tonal situations, .l.w.h. is able to rattle artists’ cages, forcing them to explore new heights in their art. I included an extended tape/mix that he did, to give you an idea of the range he himself explores.
Uptown Greg has a knack for digging into the essentials of a rap beat, what I call “foundation production”. He builds tracks from basic elements of rap production in conjunction with lighter instruments to raise the spirits of a track.
FRIENDZONE, time and again, are/is able to tap into the experience of sound. Their work doesn’t reflect the trends of sound, their work displays the importance of sound as a vehicle for feelings. The track I included is a perfect example. It doesn’t sound like a love song, it sounds like how we feel when we’re already in love.
SXMPLELIFE is one that I had trouble placing in one of these three categories. I put him here because I’ve heard him primarily as a cohort with some of my favorite rappers. What he does, for those artists, is create a sonic atmosphere for them to explore. They are able to open up their own capacities and play with any elements of sound they choose.
DK all DAY will make you go insane. His tweets are often about wanting to turn up, and ALL of his beats will make you want to. I rarely use superlatives, but I truly believe that “Rollin” was one of the best beats of 2012. DK harnesses listeners’ excitement in a unique way.
Tree produces primarily for himself, and is able to fit his acoustic needs in a personalized way. The inventor of #SoulTrap doesn’t need to fit any specific mold, he just needs to be able to fit whatever gusto he will embody on a given track. His forté is in his ability to perfectly match his (and others’) lyrical needs.
Joe Wax is developing a distinctly Bay area sound. From his work with Green Ova, and his recent work on the 100s tape Ice Cold Perm, Wax has been able to open the Bay to its wide synth capacities. Whether he uses drums or an organ, Wax perpetually creates riding music for heartfelt rap fans.
SmuggsDeVorzon takes on many forms, but consistently captures the persona of a system of sounds. Each note agrees with the others, each working together towards a common end. He is able to give his work a personality by developing within the range(s) of a certain presence or genre.
Froskees, the nature boy, the Shadowrunner, has worked with some of my favorite artists. He is highly capable when it comes to making reference-heavy works that adapt to the artists he works with. He works closely with Himself the Majestic and has developed a distinct sound, run on (falsely categorized) fantasy themes.
Chidish Major has explained that he does not want to be put in any one particular box. This beat, for Rome Fortune’s “Balcony” demonstrates precisely that. By venturing into a host of styles, tone, textures, you name it, Major has been able to develop a transient persona. Every time you think you’ve got him boxed away, he surprises you with a new twist.
Snub Nose Frank translates an authentic experience into sound. I included one of my favorite tracks into the mix, because it displays exactly that. Frank goes by many names, and can call on many sounds, but his work consistently sets a distinct tone that tells a story through sounds.
***As A Final Word, I Would Like To Reiterate That This List Is Not Comprehensive. Just Because I Didn’t Put Someone Down Doesn’t Mean That I Don’t Appreciate Your Work, I Probably Just Don’t Know It Well Enough To Speak On It***
GO CHECK OUT CUTTING PRACTICE, IT WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED.
FORMERLY KNOWN AS : FRANKLIN WEATHERFIELD AKA DENZEL SPLASHINGTON AKA PATOIS VUITTON AKA CHUCKDEGAULLE