Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top 20 Premo Beats

I feel it's time to get back on my hip-hop tip. Today, I wanted to discuss the greatest beats by one of the greatest producers of all time: DJ Premier. There are so many dope beats by him, I made it a top 20, but still the chances are your favourite is not on this list. I put some links there to some tracks...some are mp3s I uploaded, others are youtube links. I also tried to keep it only one beat per artist just so we can see dude's variety. Let's get this shit cracking...

20. Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man
Don't hate...if this were a beat for a rapper you'd say it's one of Premo's best. Christina comes nice on this anyway. This is just another notch in his belt: Premo can make hits. I even liked that beat he did for Limp Bizkit with Method Man - "N 2 Gether Now" you can't front that shit is ill!

19. Termanology - Watch How it Go Down
Love this shit. Termanology GOES TO WORK on this. Just keeps rapping for the whole track: and the soundscape Premo provides is fucking sick. I love it at the end how he scratches in Jay-Z's "Shit is wicked on these mean streets" from Premo's own "D'Evils". It's a great final touch on a dope track.

18. Crooklyn Dodgers - Crooklyn Dodgers
That bell that comes in after the mad jazz band sample is insane. Chubb Rock is too.

17. Royce Da 5'9 - Hip Hop
Nice strings in here...and then some cool little bell riff. This track is appropriately named cos this beat is straight up hip-hop.

16. Buckshot LeFonque - Music Evolution
Mad jazz shit.

15. Rawkotics - Hard Core Hip-Hop
Some rare older shit...nonetheless take a listen: that is a mad beat.

14. Common - 6th Sense
Premo provides Common with a type of beat you rarely hear Common spit over. That more straight up hip-hop, less soulful cut. And it sounds great. Common + Premo would be a great partnership I reckon. Although they'll probably never collab again...after all Common already "found the new Premo" (Kanye).

13. Mos Def - Mathematics
It's an ill bassline on this one. Premo has some fun here, with an ill breakdown before Mos' second verse. The hook he scratches out is also sick: "Mighty Mos Def" / Fat Joe: "It's simple mathematics" Lady of Rage: "(check it out)" / Ghostface: "I revolve around science" / Ghostbusters sample: "What are we talking about here?" and then Erykah Badu sample "Do Your Math" leading into the breakdown.

12. The Lox - Recognize
Straight up banger.

11. Gangstarr - Above the Clouds
My fav Gangstarr beat. Inspectah Deck rips this up too. I think "Moment of Truth" was Premo's best production with Gangstarr...every beat on there is solid as fuck.

10. Biggie - Ten Crack Commandments
This has Premo all over it. The way he chops shit up, you can easily tell its dude: especially on this joint. This beat here seems impossible to play without nodding your head.

9. Dilated Peoples - Clockwork
Unlike Ten Crack Commandments, this one isn't as obvious Premo. I dunno it just sounds a bit different to his usual style, with just a phat clean bassline being pumped out rather than a dusty old piano sample or whatever. The hit at the end of each loop, is vintage Premo though. However, it is an insane beat, really gets me going. And the intro and outro to the track are awesome too.

8. Capone N Noreaga - Invincible
That's some ill up-tempo shit. Does exactly what a good hip-hop beat should do...create a platform for MCs to reach their full potential. It would be hard to spit anything on this and sound wack.

7. Blaq Poet - Voices
This is not as well known as some of these other joints. Check the link then if you haven't heard it. This is one bad record. Dark. Haunting. Fucking sick...just take a listen.

6. Nas - N.Y. State of Mind
So yeah he is handy with the MPC, chopping shit up. We all know that. But this track showcases just how important your drums are. This track is all about the drums...some of the best I've ever heard on a hip-hop track. Big, dirty, hard hitting joints. This track is pivotal in setting up the album - one that is regarded by many as the greatest hip-hop album ever made. I think it is therefore safe to say it achieved its goal.

5. Fat Joe - The Shit Is Real (Remix)
This is another one of them positive sounding Premo beats with a mad nostalgic type melody looped over his trademark head-nodding drums.

4. Jeru the Damaja - Come Clean
Premo has a distinctive sound, yet still manages to be one of the most creative cats out there. And it's all about the sample: any sound can be flipped and chopped up into a mad beat. Here it is water drops. But I just love the drums on this one. They contrast with the sample perfectly creating an awesome head-nodding rythmn that Jeru rips up. I also give a shout out here to the joint "Supastar" by another Gangstarr affiliate Group Home which is mad, but I haven't found room for on this list.

3. Jaz O and the Immobiliare - Love Is Gone
This is one slept on beat. He uses this mad electronic sounding sample and then incorporates some breath noise sample in there as well, with some guitar stabs. The result is a track that you can just play over and over, cos its so pleasing to the ears. Jaz O fills the track nicely, don't really know who that other cat is though.

2. Jay-Z - D'Evils/Bring It On
I'll give props to two instrumentals here, both from the classic Reasonable Doubt album. D'Evils is some crazy shit. Premo don't give a shit about no west coast/east coast beef shit...he samples Snoop and layers this mad piano riff over the top, setting an incredible mood on the track. Jay-Z absolutely murders the track, spitting some of greatest verses ever spat. Bring it On features a beautiful melancholy orchestral progression. Once Premo gets an ill sample, you know the track is gonna be dope, cos he's always gonna bring those drums.

1. J-Live - The Best Part
This is number one for me. Again, it all comes down to an ill sample. Here we have a mad pan flute type sound. Add some banging drums, an orchestra fill and some incredible scratching in the hook and you have an absolute classic.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Brand off to Sixers; Maggette joins Warriors

Brand (career high of 25 PPG) and Maggette (career high of 22 PPG): both gone. All I know is this...Al Thornton's fantasy value just went up.

Damn. I guess this just goes to show...never predict a team's future before free-agent season has finished. Everything I wrote about the Clippers the other day is bogus. Without Brand, I don't think they are going anywhere. Baron is great...Brand is greater in my mind. But if I've learned anything today, its as I just said: do not judge before free-agent season has finished. Perhaps in the next couple of days they can manage to lure another big name player their way. Let's not judge them yet...

Scratch that...it's the Clippers. If you think about it, this is the way things were meant to pan out. After a history of being one of the least winningest franchises in sports history, the Clippers make the play-offs in '06, push Phoenix to 7 games, and give the fans some hope for the future. This is followed up with two lack-lustre, injury-riddled seasons, where it seems as if they are neither challenging nor rebuilding. This all makes perfect sense: the Clippers simply aren't meant to have prolonged success.

But after the Clippers agreed to sign Baron Davis last week, it all seemed perhaps times were indeed changing. "Brand and Davis, with some decent talent to build around? Yes please...Maggette? We aren't concerning ourselves with him anymore!" My whole post below sums up the feelings in Clipperland post-Baron, pre-today's horrible news. Now? Of course, it all makes perfect sense.

So that is twice Clippers fans have been treated with a cause to be optimistic, only to have it taken away. The first time was a longer gruelling process, the second short and sharp. Perhaps third time lucky? Don't count on it...it's the Clippers.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Here come the Clippstars!

Boom Dizzle: Bringing some style to the Clippers

So it's that time of year again. The championship has been decided. The draft is over. The new season doesn't start for a good 4 months.

Remarkably, there is still plenty to talk about: for one, Baron Davis is a Clipper. I've already made this transaction in NBA 2K8, and, presuming Elton Brand stays, the Clippers are now an incredibly fun team to play with. One can only assume they will be as fun to watch. But will they get anywhere out west? Most people are saying they'll make the play-offs, but probably not achieve much else.

Me? I'm more positive on their potential. I believe they can certainly make some noise in the play-offs. The inside-outside duo of EB and Boom Dizzle will cause many headaches: most people agree this much. However, after finishing 23-59 last year, many do not rate the rest of the Clippers roster. This puzzles me. How short is their memory? The squad is not much different to that which pushed Pheonix to 7 games in the classic Western Conference Semis in 05/06. Sam Cassell and Vladimir Radmanovic are gone, and Maggette looks likely to leave, but otherwise you have Brand, Chris Kaman, Cat Mobley, Shaun Livingston and Quinton Ross who all have experience playing high-intensity play-off games together. Throw in Al Thornton, who looks like atleast a solid starter in this league, Eric Gordon (who could be hit or miss for my money) and Davis and how can you say they won't make any noise in the play-offs? (I should probably mention Tim Thomas is there too...although this is deservedly an afterthought)

40 wins in 06/07 and 23 last season. OK...let's not judge these win totals fully. In 06/07 the Clippers admittedly could have played better. But they were also hit by some injuries. Often they were essentially without a point guard, with Cassell and Livingston injured. And last season? Calling out the Clippers for that win total last year is incredibly harsh in my opinion. Injury-wise, it was a nightmare. Their franchise player (Brand) was out for the whole year. Their other big man, just-turned-German Chris Kaman, showed great improvement until he too missed most of the second half of the season due to injury. Let's also not forget that Livingston missed the whole season too. The Clippers just could not develop a reliable rotation thanks to the horrible run of injuries. Only one player started more than 60 games for the franchise...that was Maggette, and even he only started 65. The player who appeared in the most games for Clips was Thornton, their rookie. With all this in mind, how can you judge that season? Quite simply you cannot.

So how will their roster look next year? Assuming DeAndre Jordan plays in the D-League, Maggette leaves and noting that Dan Dickau, Paul Davis and Smush Parker have not been offered new contracts, it will look something like this (a "u" indicates the player is an unrestricted free agent, and "r" indicates he is a restricted free agent, so all this may obviously change rendering this article pointless):

PG - Baron Davis
SG - Cat Mobley
SF - Al Thornton
PF - Elton Brand (u)
C - Chris Kaman
Bench - Quinton Ross (u), Shaun Livingston (u), Eric Gordon, Tim Thomas, Nick Fazekas (r), Brevin Knight, Josh Powell, Marcus Williams (r)

The Clippers should perhaps look for a veteran wing or big on the free agent market to complete their roster.

Look at that team...not bad at all. Consider these guys a threat in 2009 play-offs!