“Mann Up”

Written by DJ Enki on March 30, 2012 – 5:56 pm -

One from the hard-drive archives: This cut from 2008 was originally meant to be the follow up to “Kung Fu Kwaku,” but somewhere along the line, it got lost in the sauce, and I pretty much forgot about it, except that it occasionally pops up on my iPod. I also made this track in order to take on two technical challenges:

1. Simulate stereo sampling with the SP-1200
2. See if I could freak a bass line to make it do things the original record doesn’t do at all

It was kinda cool to figure those things out as I went along. Hell, I’m not even sure if I could do that bass line again–I’d have to go back to the Pro Tools session and see if I can figure out what I did.

Friday Flips #6: “Build and Destroy”

Written by DJ Enki on March 23, 2012 – 9:31 pm -

The song: “Build and Destroy'”
The producer: Kenny Parker
The science: For a crew with the word “productions” right there in its name, Boogie Down Productions doesn’t get talked about too much when we get to listing the best producers or the best beats or what have you. That’s understandable when the real driving force of BDP is arguable the greatest rapper of all time, KRS-One, but still, the beats on those BDP albums don’t get talked about too much (save Criminal Minded because of the whole Ced-Gee-jacking-Marley-Marl’s-reel-of-drum-sounds business), which is kind of a shame.
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The Commute of Sisyphus

Written by DJ Enki on February 2, 2012 – 3:40 am -

So here’s a really cool project: My good friend Tara Zanzig–now located in Chicago, but who I first met back in my college days in Greensboro, NC–is a very talented artist. Comics, sculpture, all kinds of good stuff. She contacted me about an interesting collaboration: She’s part of a group that makes 3-minute movies based on various themes, and she asked if I wanted to do the music for her next movie.

Hell yeah, I’m down for that!

The theme for this round was “release,” so I mentioned a few ideas for the track, she refined one of those ideas, and I sat down and started working on a beat–one with a different feel from what I usually make. She shot some footage based on the concept we worked out, and then we went back and forth, tweaking the beat and her filming ideas until I finished off the track, and she was able to edit her footage to fit it. It was a really great creative collaboration with lots of good ideas and feedback flowing in both directions, and the final result is, I think, really cool (she did a great editing job on it). Check it out and see for yourself.

The Commute of Sisyphus from Tararchy on Vimeo.

Friday Flips #5: “Shadowboxin'”

Written by DJ Enki on December 16, 2011 – 10:15 pm -

The song: “Shadowboxin'”
The producer: The RZA
The science: It’s one of the most timeless and fun-to-discuss, never-to-be-resolved hip-hop debates out there: “Which Wu-tang solo album is the best?” People will argue all day about it, and based on the many, many conversations I’ve had about it, Only Built for Cuban Linx… gets the most nods. But my choice is GZA’s Liquid Swords, not just for GZA’s rhyming (which is top notch), but for RZA’s production.
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Friday Flips #4: “Down-Ass Zaggin”

Written by DJ Enki on November 11, 2011 – 9:10 pm -

The song: “Down-Ass Zaggin”
The producer: 5th Ward Boyz/John Bido
The science: The art of loop-stacking is taken for granted these days. For starters, that style of production has been phased out by drum-machine minimalism, but even when people do stack loops, it’s a really easy process thanks to Pro Tools and other software. You can get loops locked in with the utmost precision — even zooming in on the waveforms to make sure the snare attacks are lined up exactly — in mere minutes, and it you need to, you can do pitch adjustment to make sure everything is in perfect key with everything else.
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Friday Flips #3: “Check Yo Self”

Written by DJ Enki on November 4, 2011 – 7:41 pm -

The Song: “Check Yo Self” by Ice Cube
The Producer: DJ Muggs
The Science: Let me just state this up front: I am a HUGE fan of DJ Muggs’ work, particularly what he was doing in the early to mid-1990s. If I ever got a chance to chop it up with that dude, it’d probably turn into my own version of The Chris Farley Show. “Do you…uh…d’you remember when you, uh…when you made ‘How I Could Just Kill a Man’?” That…that was awesome.” He had a signature sound, a tremendous knack for picking out and matching up samples, fantastic SP1200 programming skills (don’t overlook this–his technical prowess is integral to his sound), and a great ear for composition. That first Cypress Hill album (which I’m sure will turn up quite a bit in this column) is a veritable master class in sample-based production.

But for this post, I’m not talking about a Cypress record, I’m talking about a record he did with Ice Cube for Cube’s The Predator album: “Check Yo Self.”
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Friday Flips #2: “Nut”

Written by DJ Enki on October 14, 2011 – 8:53 pm -

The song: “Nut” by Tuff Crew
The producer: Tuff Crew (DJ Too Tuff)
The science: Tuff Crew’s 1989 LP, Back to Wreck Shop, is one of those best-kept-secret albums. Most hip-hop heads from that era know it, and most who know it really like it, but it still rarely turns up on many Top 10/20/50 lists, in part because, well, a lot of great albums were coming out at that time, so it kinda gets lost in the shuffle. So while it’s not an album whose name is on everybody’s list, it’s an album people would do well to give plenty of bump to. The rhyming on Back to Wreck Shop is solid, but it often gets overshadowed by DJ Too Tuff’s fantastic scratching (he tears it up on pretty much every track) and the top-notch production.
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Friday Flips #1: “King Sun with the Sword”

Written by DJ Enki on October 7, 2011 – 7:54 pm -

If you’ve been checking out the ego trip website (and if you haven’t, that’s when ya lost!), then you’ve probably noticed a semi-regular feature they do about “[fill in producer here]’s favorite sample flips.” It’s a really cool feature for beat heads, and reading the takes of people like DJ Spinna, Prince Paul, and Da Beatminerz is definitely interesting stuff. The posts always get me wound up to talk about sample flips, breakbeat/sampling nerd that I am, so I figured I may as well do my own series about sample flips here. So it is with that in mind that I present to you the inaugural post in the Friday Flips series, a (hopefully) weekly feature about the beats that make me say “daaaaamn!” like Tha Alkaholiks. First up: An amazing piece of work Tony D did for King Sun.
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“Mythical Raer” funk 45 mix by Forty-Fivan

Written by DJ Enki on September 1, 2011 – 4:20 am -

So my dude Forty-Fivan just released his latest mix, and this thing is fantastic. His record collection is no joke, and while he’s been going heavy on the Brazilian and psych tip of late, don’t get it twisted: He’s a heavyweight with the funk. I mean, OG Scorpio and his People 45? Daaaaaaamn! So anyway, you should head over to his website and listen to the mix and check the tracklist. You will be happy you did.

45 Sessions f/ Hot Peas & Butta (Sat. Aug. 20)

Written by DJ Enki on August 17, 2011 – 5:15 am -

45 Sessions August 2011

The best party in East Bay is keeping it going in a major way this month.

Our special guests this month come from the legendary Hot Peas and Butta funk 45 parties that have taken over Philly, New York, LA, Seattle, Japan, Germany…everywhere! That’s right, it’s the great Skeme Richards and the legendary Supreme La Rock. On top of that, we’ve got an opening set from Billy Jam, a record release party for Raashan Ahmad, and of course, your resident big dudes Platurn, E Da Boss, and Enki spinning great tunes strictly on 45s.

Saturday, August 20

Disco Volante (347 14th St., Oakland)
Skeme Richards, Supreme La Rock, Billy Jam, DJ Platurn, E Da Boss, and DJ Enki spin funk, disco, hip-hop, rock, breaks, boogie, and all sorts of great tunes on nothing but 45s