Monday, November 24, 2008

Small Metal Objects: Has-Lo's Critical Breakdown I

My man Travis from WYDU is one of my favorite people in the world to discuss hip-hop with, and we are always making recommendations to each other based on our unique tastes in the genre. At some point a while back, Travis bridged a connection between myself and one of my absolute favorite MC/producers on the rise, Has-Lo. Since then, Lo and I have kept in contact, and ultimately decided to bring something more original than simply discussing his work (if you remember, I already did that here). Realizing that there are many crate diggers and aspiring producers who pass through here, we came up with the idea for him to shed some light on the sample sources and production methods he utilized on his Small Metal Objects EP.

Going all the way back to Afrika Bambaataa steaming the labels off of his records so that no one would know what he was playing, DJs and producers have generally been apt to conceal the weapons of their trade behind a veil of secrecy. Consequently, I consider it a great honor that Lo was willing to bless us with this critical breakdown. Hopefully you crazy kids will enjoy the ride.

At some point there will be a sequel covering the remainder of the tracks on the Small Metal Objects EP, as well as some remixes and videos. Meanwhile, check for Lo on MySpace, where you can download both of his projects and a remix of Fuck Has Day by Small Professor. As Moms always says, the best things in life are free.

Keep diggin', snitches...Scholar

I was actually supposed to do this when my first EP came out. I couldn't really do it the way I'd have liked to. However, it's a new day...and I have a new EP. And I'm back for round 2. The EP is called Small Metal Objects. The title (if you're wondering) comes from the title cut's opening line: "I'm the small metal object that enters your brain/ after being shot screaming out a tunnel of flames". I think we all know what that means...heat rocks beeyooootch!

Anyway, I got at Scholar again and he was gracious enough to give me some space to show my wares. I thought you guys may be interested in going behind the scenes with me: taking a look at some of the source material that I drew from to produce this EP. If you didn't know I produced all of it sans "The Commentary" which was produced by my good friend, DeeJay Tone. In that way, you might enjoy the EP on a deeper level, or if you don't have it, you may be more excited about downloading it.

Let's get to it!

"I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know"---Donny Hathaway(LimeLinx)
"I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know"---Donny Hathaway (savefile)

"Ain't Got It In Ya"---Has-Lo (LimeLinx)
"Ain't Got It In Ya"---Has-Lo (savefile)

The first actual song on the EP is "Ain't Got It In Ya". This is a pretty easy one for all you music lovers out there. The sample comes from my man and yours, the great Donny Hathaway. The inspiration for the way I chopped it was another great, J Dilla. I believe I had been listening to Donuts. It intrigued me that he'd lace these beats and some of them wouldn't even really have drums. He'd let the drums in the sample drive the entire beat. I wanted to do something like that...with my own twist. I picked out "More Than You'll Ever Know" mostly for the feeling, and added some 808s for the win. I had the ill intro into the first verse, but I wanted an interesting breakdown in between the verses. DeeJay Tone came with the idea of kinda blending into the original. This EP was about having fun and just trying things. We did it and it's a bit strange but I think it's fresh.

"Synthetic Substitution"---Melvin Bliss (LimeLinx)
"Synthetic Substitution"---Melvin Bliss (savefile)

"Small Metal Objects"---Has-Lo (LimeLinx)
"Small Metal Objects"---Has-Lo (savefile)

I can't say much about the title cut "Small Metal Objects" because a brother like me can't give away ALL his secrets. There are, however, one or two elements to this experiment in sound that are classic and easy to identify. The Melvin Bliss break? Let me tell you guys something: I'm a big Ghostface fan. I am positive I listened to Supreme Clientele at some point during the making of this EP (for the fifty-millionth time). After hearing "Mighty Healthy", how could I not use this break at least once? It's almost a right of producer passage, like flipping "Nautilus".

"Love Me Like The Rain"---The Chambers Brothers (LimeLinx)
"Love Me like The Rain"---The Chambers Brothers (savefile)

"Inhuman Interlude"---Has-Lo (LimeLinx)
"Inhuman Interlude"---Has-Lo (savefile)

"Inhuman Interlude". The halfway marker on the EP. The title doesn't really have anything to do with what's going on vocally in the interlude. The title of the beat is "Inhuman"...I just went with it. This sample comes from the same Chambers Brothers album as the frequently sampled gem "So Tired". The LP is called Time Has Come Today. If you haven't heard it, I recommend it. Anyway, the song I tapped was "Love Me Like The Rain". The guitar piece is mad soulful with the tamborines and all. I added the heavy drums, some synths and a touch of bass. It came out pretty dope if you ask me. I originally had the idea to make this a posse cut. That idea didn't pan out. Instead I took some funny voice-mails I had and laced it a la "Aight Chill". A nice head nod moment.

"Night Bird"---Basil Poledouris (LimeLinx)
"Night Bird"---Basil Poledouris (savefile)

"Dogma"---Has-Lo ft. Awar (LimeLinx)
"Dogma"---Has-Lo ft. Awar (savefile)

The "Dogma" joint wasn't originally planned for the EP. It just kinda came together. In between games of GTA4 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, we somehow found time to actually get in the studio. That day, I was in there about to work on a beat for a different song I was thinking about putting on the project. A few guys were over the crib. We were all just laughing and talking trash. I was going through the "Conan the Destroyer" soundtrack looking for a certain sample I had in mind. I came across this eerie string piece on my way to it. I sampled it on a whim and started messing around with it. About 15 minutes later I had a serious contender. It was also dope because I don't usually make beats that fast. I added some bass, some bells in the hook, and some vocal parts from a story on vinyl...something about a war I believe. Funny how a beat like this can knock so hard. Sometimes basic is beautiful. Keep it simple stupid.

So there you have it. We were going to do this in one shot at first, but you know what? Go on 'head and keep the party going: 2 parts.

I'll get back at you guys with the next half on the flip.


Direct link to download the entire Small Metal Objects EP here.

Word From Has-Lo's Moms:

"There is no real excellence in all this world which can be separated from right living"---David Starr Jordan

"The machine don't rest. Love, hell or right...or love hell in death"---Has-Lo (from the song "Dogma")


snaps said...

Great post. That Melvin Bliss break never stops giving. I've flipped 10 or 11 beats with that single song.

dennis b said...

Think I might have to air 'You Ain't Got It In Ya' at the club Sat. nite.

Any chance I can get a 320 rip?

Custamato said...

just download the ep. all the songs are 320.

Anonymous said...

I've been listening to this EP for the past few days and it just keeps getting better the more I play it.



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Badverbs said...

Small metal objects... very Wu-esque. That's a compliment and high praise. Real nice EP Lo. #1 Soul Daddy brings us the very best of the best; always.

Travis said...

Who is this Has-Lo cat you have on your pages? Damn, just when I thought this site was among the best, you put this dude up here...

hehehe....Hassy Davis!

20 Cent said...

Hi Fam,

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I thought you might be interested in this new free release from the French beatmaking duo, Fratello Beatz :

Download link : (Tribute to Mr Isaac Hayes with a hip-hop taste and some special guests).

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melomano said...

Brother...this is a first class blog!
thanks for the groove!

greetz from germany

polk said...

big ups for the has-lo, scholar. always a pleasure visting this site...

Styler said...

Nice selection of samples. If you can get some creepy music from Conan the Destroyer onto your record then you deserve all the success in the world my good man!

Graz said...

great post Scholar! it's nice to see this focus on Has-Lo's works!

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