March 4, 2020

Tricknotic Debuts Make A Move EP During The Beast To Blessed Tour

Rhode Island-based producer/emcee, Tricknotic releases his highly anticipated debut project titled Make A Move. The 8-track EP is now available for streaming, with a selection of tracks to be performed during The Beast To Blessed Tour (which kicked off in Brooklyn, NY last night and hits Valley Stream, NY tonight).

Tricknotic comes from the school of self-teachings and mastering, which is evident throughout this project. He displays a polished niche for putting words together over distinct arrangements of cadences brimming with knocking bass, piano keys, clapping drums, and kaleidoscopes of pulsating tones. He also entices listeners by delivering diverse hip-hop tracks that exude a classic vibe mixed with modern twists that will take head-nodding to another level.

Spaceship sets the EP off and paints a vivid picture of Tricknotic’s takeoff from the basement to the spaceship. He shares about his progress as an artist and his mental debate of not knowing if fans will press play or side snare with raised noses. However, that debate slowly comes to rest as Tricknotic is determined to take off without putting a price on his soul.

Tricknotic switches up the rhythm in My Time. Over suspenseful sounds of piano keys and thumping bass, he declares his confidence to make it in the industry. The slightly hypnotic catchy hook, suggests Tricknotic will be one of the top ten’s illest!  Game Changer intensifies the vibe with blends of eerie, trappy beats that heighten Tricknotic’s intricate wordplay. His intangible and animalistic being spews bars that will either have crowds applauding or pushing Tricknotic off the stage. Either way, he’s an undeniable force. 

The intense bass in Feeling It is the heart of the track that Tricknotic uses to drop fierce bars about his confidence as an artist and living out his fantasies in a survival of the fittest industry.  Make A Move piggybacks on that theme with Tricknotic claiming his stance and reign with no turning back. He’s pushing through sideline rappers and naysayers making it known that you can either be part of his breakthrough or become thoroughly broken.

Now It’s Over takes listeners into a period of Tricknotic’s life when he lost his brother. His captivating storytelling is reminiscent of childhood vacations, playful army jousts, and grown-up nightmares and wishes to converse just one last time. Once again, Tricknotic speeds up the tempo in One Day and flows about re-writing history. Honest about his hesitation but firm in the climb and path to becoming a musical boss.

Tricknotic concludes his debut project with Dream and depicts the true definitions of motivation, achievements, and the drive to face the man in the mirror to believe. Like the other tracks, Tricknotic provides production that embodies gripping bass and drums, chilling tones, and trippy vibrations that is sure to have hip-hop heads across the globe listening on repeat.  Stream Make A Move and connect with @Tricknotic on Instagram. 

March 3, 2020

BeanieDon - Not The Usual Album Review and Upcoming Tour

Our other headlining act for the Beast To Blessed Tour (which kicks off TONIGHT in Brooklyn, NY!) is the multi-faceted and soulful hip-hop artist, BeanieDon!

Hailing from Stratford, Connecticut, BeanieDon is currently on tour in support of his few upcoming singles as well as his last LP, Not The Usual, which was released in May of 2019. For any listeners who are just getting to know him, it's important to understand just how deep, spiritual, and forward-thinking Beanie is. Available on all streaming platforms, Not The Usual is an example of passion and art coalesced and manifested into one singular vision.

Opening with an inspirational song that uses an elevator music mood and a robotic female guide who advises listeners to turn their devices to the highest volume, BeanieDon's Dream Reality rises to an awakening of fluttering flutes and clarity, as he opens his album. "It took sleepless nights, trying to make this right, people wonder how I came up, I was right beside em," he raps, and later "those sleepless nights turned my dreams to real life." His humble beginnings are documented here and serve as an inspiration to all those who have dreams they want to turn into reality. "Nobody gonna do this for me, gotta do it for me!" Beanie repeats with bravado and sets the stage for a hip-hop LP that truly lives up to its name.

Ain't Got Much, the second track off the album, swerves into familiar and darker hip-hop and trap undertones, and his strength and conviction are on display when he raps about how he "ain't got much to lose" and how he will "forever go so hard" for his family who is deserving of it. It's a tough reality that is relatable to most and goes to show why BeanieDon won't ever give up. Blessingz, the follow-up track, takes the reality of life and looks at it from a different perspective, as Beanie pulls out the praise for his blessings. It's another strategic swerve within its own style and with its spiritual message, it carries an addicting, almost Kendrick Lamar-like flow and sound to it. BeanieDon is humbled by where his journey has taken him thus far and takes this moment to give his thanks.

Max-Beanie is a short detour where Beanie reminisces over a girl who wronged him. It's a track that pulls from his pain, and with his saxophone, its heart and soul is on his sleeve. Kanye, an obvious Kanye reference, is Beanie's tribute to a man who no doubt has made a huge impact on the genre and the lifestyle of hip-hop. Get A Check! is the energizing anthem that Beanie gets in the album, as he raps about the neverending grind to make money and get paid. It's a song where while he raps that he goes super hard to get a check, he acknowledges that his energy is endless and he knows his worth.

Brown Boy Bluez is a super chill, laid-back and semi-philosophical mediation as Beanie reflects on his life and the notion of freedom in this country. Reality 2 Dreamz opens with a chilling telling of a police shooting of an innocent citizen, while Beanie raps over smooth piano melodies about how his life is worth living despite the hard reality that can sometimes be discouraging for him. It closes with another disturbing tale of a police officer's abuse of power using a chokehold on a citizen who was suffocated to death. E Z Fienin' gets a little darker once again while Beanie shows his strength and powers up his wordplay.

Shake! begins the final trio of songs on Not The Usual, which speeds up the verses for a quick minute and a half runtime, while On The Move softens the blow as it illuminates Beanie's passion for making art and music. Finally, Love Talk-Soul Talk focuses on the only thing that matters to all people at the end of the day, and BeanieDon's message reaches for that soul connection in the listener with an electrifying set of loops and carefully regarded lyrics that show his true purpose and unfaltering greatness.

Not The Usual possesses a bit of something for everyone. Its harder and nitty-gritty songs, such as Ain't Got Much and E Z Fienin', showcase Beanie's tough realness, while songs like Blessingz and On The Move contain a bright and burning flame that burns in Beanie's soul. The manifestation of his many blessings in Not The Usual makes it a widely appealing tour of expression and a necessary lesson in beats, lyrics, and heart.

Not The Usual is also available in a special deluxe edition, which comes with a fully conceptualized digital album booklet that dives deeper into each song, an exclusive t-shirt, and four additional bonus tracks.

Not The Usual can be heard on all major streaming platforms! If you like what you hear, please consider supporting with a purchase of his Not The Usual Deluxe Edition! Check out BeanieDon on the Beast To Blessed Tour with Full Blast Booking kicking off TONIGHT in Brooklyn, NY and proceeding with the specific East and West coast dates on the official tour poster.

Not The Usual

Recommended Tracks: Ain't Got Much, E Z Fienin', On The Move

February 28, 2020

Beyond Top Secret Interview & Last Train To Hollywood Review

Allll aboard!!! 

New England hip-hop group Beyond Top Secret release their latest full-length album, Last Train To Hollywood, in concert with their East and West coast headlining tour!!

Dropping March 6 and currently up for preorder, New England hip-hop group Beyond Top Secret are in their prime with their third full-length release, Last Train To Hollywood, a super mix of multi-genre beats and strong-as-steel lyrics that will put a chokehold on any haters who get in the way.

Opening with horror movie vibes, alien buzzing, and a chest-knocking 808, Famous sets the tone and the style of the LP, as the trio rap about the ungrateful and the rich and the real-life struggles that plague the remainder of humanity. It's only fitting that DJ Docta Damnage, Freeze Martian, and DNaz rather be not of this world. Depths takes another stab at showing those who have not been introduced yet to their raw abilities, and altogether, with their intro All Aboard, listeners can get a very strong sense of what Beyond Top Secret is all about.

Another sign of Beyond Top Secret's greatness is the level of eclecticism in their proceeding tracks, such as Non Compliant, which features a racing rock synth to solidify their sci-fi influence, or America, which pulls out a heavy rock riff for the martians to rap over. The horror-cinema theremin that stands out brings a classic dread to this already intense track. Feed The Machine has another very cool guitar loop that Damnage crafts into an unforgettable hip-hop beat. Omerda, featuring Bukshot, is one of just a couple of songs that have guest emcees. The other, 333, has previous Beyond Top Secret member Xplizt on the verse.

We R takes a cathedral-like choral singer and mixes her into a deadly trap and 808 beat as they chant their own mantra, "I'm a-I'm a-I'm a martian," and then "we are-we are-we are martians." Chop A Body, the first single to get the music video treatment in the coming months, is a dark and menacing tune that executes their horrorcore vibe with razor-sharp precision, while 333, as mentioned earlier, brings the original member Xplizt back for a celestial and cosmic rap exercise; its a treat to hear the original members firing on all cylinders as they trade verses back and forth here.

Modern Angels dives into heavy metal riffs and mixes the nu-metal style with Beyond Top Secret's flow, complete with DJ Docta Damnage's cuts and scratches. The final track, Baddest In The Room, fills the air once more with the venom that Beyond Top Secret is known to spit, for a lurid, ominous, and strong finish.

Last Train To Hollywood is full of tracks that can completely wreck weak-minded emcees, but we also have the opportunity to hear it from the group themselves in our exclusive interview!

Let's hear a bit of what the Martians have to say...

AirdriftSignals: Hey guys, how's it going?

DNaz: Awsome man Things have never been looking better for Beyond Top Secret than right now.

AirSig: 2020 is a new year, a new decade, and you guys seem to be hitting it off right with a new tour this Spring, is that right? 

Freeze Martian: Yes sir. We kicked off our string of shows on February 22nd in Jewett City, CT with Apathy of (AOTP) & (Demi Godz). Then we pick back up the following week on The Beast To Blessed Tour.

DNaz: Maaan I can't tell you how exciting it is to be starting off the new year with a tour through the East coast. It sets the tone for the mission were on. We are more than ready to come full force.

AirSig: That's awesome! And from what I understand, you also have a new lineup change as well. Who’s in this time around, and could you give us an introduction for the uninitiated?

Freeze Martian: We released 2 full-length albums in 2014 & 2019 with Xplizt, a female emcee from Connecticut, as well. Now we are back and re-vamped the group into a much more solid force and cohesive unit. That's no disrespect to Xplizt at all. The fact is, if all members of a group don't share the same passion & drive as the others then the whole ship fails. It was a mutual decision and we decided the best direction for the group would be to continue on with DNaz alongside me for future releases and performances. We wish her the best of luck in everything she does in her life and career.

AirSig: Your drop on New Year's Eve, the introductory song “From The Depths”, is off a brand new album coming out that you’re touring for in support of. Can you guys tell us a little bit about your marketing philosophy for taking your group to a higher level?

Freeze Martian: I released my first 2 solo albums of my career with Detroit based Hip-Hop label Long Range Distribution. Since then, I've released multiple albums and group projects on my own independent label Mercy Counts Records. As a national touring artist, it's a little easier for me as opposed to a local artist, but the struggles are all the same. We push music videos and market our music to an underground audience. I feel the music we are making has potential to reach millions and that's something we continue to strive towards daily. Our merchandise does very well, to the point where people purchase our shirts and hoodies even if they are not familiar with the group. They just love the Martian logo. But, in all honesty, the strategies and business tools we are implementing for this release are more thorough than ever before. That I can say as fact!

DNaz: During the making of Last Train To Hollywood, we have come across many new ideas and potential ways of promoting music. There is nothing but opportunity in the future. The only thing we need to make an impact is hunger, and that's exactly what we are, hungry. We are crawling "From The Depths" to prove a point in this business. There is a lot of magic brewing in the cauldron after the release of this album.

AirSig: Nice! And your new album Last Train To Hollywood... How is this release different from your last, Destroy and Rebuild, besides the obvious?

Freeze Martian: All of our albums are concept albums. So each album represents a different perspective of life or theme. Our first release "Cut The Power" was about abuse of power. Obviously being related to world issues, corruption and also the abusiveness and injustices of the music business. The last album "Destroy & Rebuild" was like a double edge sword. It was about the after effects of the themes represented on the first release. A system becomes corrupt... Now it must be destroyed in order to build something better. The songs dive into the occult and had a very dark theme a lot of the time. The whole momentum of the album as a whole is very slow. It has it's strong points and I love it for what it is completely. But, coming into this next album, I can say that not only has the story in this Beyond Top Secret universe evolved, its story is becoming more interesting. Almost naturally lol. This is the ultimate journey on the path to what everybody strives for in their own lives... Personal success. Last Train To Hollywood says it all. It's the last dance, last chance... Last Hoorah! For us music will never die. But this is where this particular story comes to an end. So I guess we'll have to wait to see what's next in the book of life for Beyond Top Secret.

AirSig: As for DJ Docta Damnage and Freeze, is there anything new that you two took to the table when was time to produce the music of this LP?

Freeze Martian: We always try to be better than we were before and I think we do that very well. Every record we do sounds completely different than the one before it and they always evolve. We tapped into so many different influences and genres while making this latest record. There's a lot of rock influence on some of the songs we brought to the table on this and I don't think our approach was unauthentic or corny at all lol. But we also upped our game when it comes to the delivery on some of the more hip-hop tracks. There's something for everyone here for sure!

AirSig: Yeah, I heard the rock influences. Very well-done! As a hip-hop group, you will all get that larger combined following, talent, and opportunities. What’s it like pulling off these feats as a team?

Freeze Martian: It's actually easier to operate as a group when everyone is on the same page. 2 minds are always better than one.

DNaz: There is so much motivation in the group. There's no room for slack at Mercy Counts. With all the talent and determination at hand, it feels there is nothing that can stand in our way.

AirSig: Are there any hip-hop groups or artists that specifically come to mind that have influenced you through your formation and evolution?

Freeze Martian: Good songwriting as a whole inspires me. But, I've been making music so long that I can't really say any specific artist had inspired me more than any other. I use real life experiences and feelings to express myself in my music. It's not really something I can achieve trying to imitate anybody else specifically.

DNaz: We all make music coming from the experiences that make us. We have a chemistry that influences each other and that will keep us growing as a group.

AirSig: Stylistically, you have a hardcore rap vibe going for you, but are there any other stylistic hip-hop elements or choices that you made for this release as opposed to previous releases?

Freeze Martian: Like I said before, we definitely blended a lot of styles on this album. There's rock, obviously a strong hip-hop influence, but we also tapped into certain punk rock elements and even new age alternative. It's definitely the most diverse album I have ever been a part of.

DNaz: This album brings a lot of genres of music into play, with our own twist of course. There's a new sound coming that cannot be generalized with other music, and we can't wait to bring it.

AirSig: Besides the Beast to Blessed Tour, are there any other shows, music videos, or projects you have planned for 2020? 

Freeze Martian: We will be releasing a music video for the song Chop A Body off the new release. Anybody that has watched one of my videos in the past knows that we always aim to please visually lol. A lot are horror themed or science fiction related and that always makes for a fun watch. We're bringing our A-Game on this next one coming out in April.

Check out Beyond Top Secret on the Beast to Blessed Tour with Full Blast Booking this March! Listen to Last Train To Hollywood by preordering or streaming on March 6!

Last Train To Hollywood

Recommended Tracks: Non Compliant, We R, 333

February 22, 2020

Interview: DJ Nihilist

Our artist spotlight interview series this time takes a deep dive with talented, Connecticut dubstep artist, DJ Nihilist!

AirdriftSignals: Hi DJ Nihilist? How are you doing today?

DJ Nihilist: I’m alright, just chilling... it’s been a long weekend haha.

AirSig: It’s a new year but more notably a new decade. How do you envision this turn of time for yourself creatively, or do you have any resolutions or goals in mind?

Nihilist: Musically the only real goal I have this year is to write my second EP, but I’m sure there will be other singles and what not that pop up. Personally my goal this year is to be more focused on my health, both physical and mental. I find that if I’m in a good space it’s easier to write more music too so it’s a win-win situation.

AirSig: Those are great resolutions! Just balancing the body and mind healthily could lead to more creative clarity. How do you feel your area of Newtown and more broadly Connecticut has contributed to the music scene and your overall molding as an artist?

Nihilist: I love the Connecticut music scene more than words can express; I’ve been in it for close to a decade now, which kind of bends my mind sometimes haha. There has and continues to be so much amazing talent coming out of the state that inspires me every day, and the tight knit nature of the scene we have creates some of the best energy at shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing . There have been a lot of shifts and changes over the 8 years, and keeping the scene alive can sometimes be a challenge... but I’d say it’s in a really good place right now and only getting stronger.

AirSig: Could you tell us what the inciting incident was that gave you the electronic music bug?

Nihilist: Really just going to my first show at the Dome at Oakdale in Wallingford. It was Kill the Noise and Figure with a bunch of other killer acts in 2012, and it was honestly one of the most freeing experiences of my life. I had been messing around with loops and such in garage band for years, but learning how these producers I admired made their stuff inspired me to get Ableton and start going in that direction.

AirSig: Who are some of your biggest influences in electronic music or just music in general?

Nihilist: As far as major artists go I’d say my longest running influences would be Liquid Stranger, Psymbionic, and Dirt Monkey. I’m also incredibly influenced just by music in general, like traditional music is beautiful and anything that makes you feel something can be learned from. But more than anything in the last few years I’ve been influenced by all the amazing producers in my community who inspire me to go my absolute hardest. Honestly too many to list but Tsimba, Second Nature, Ickis, Abomnabl, and Shiver Me Timbers would be just a few I could mention.

AirSig: I can tell from your recent singles and previous releases that you are a specialist in dubstep music. Dubstep is an interesting genre in that it originated from a much more mellow genre of dub, which in turn came from reggae. It has since morphed into an amalgam of side genres such as brostep and EDM. Where do you see your sound falling on the spectrum and where would you like to go with it?

Nihilist: Yeah, dubstep has definitely gone through a lot of changes since I got into the genre. I think that more melodic and wonky sound is coming back around though, and that’s definitely where I’d place my music these days. I’m not against harder stuff though, once my sound design gets super rough you can definitely expect bangers haha. I wouldn’t say I really specialize in dubstep though. In fact, I don’t think I specialize in anything. I have influences all over the place, and I find music for me is just very much about how I’m feeling at the time. But as a DJ I like to play around in all the BPM ranges, so I want to make music for every tempo.

AirSig: What equipment do you use when you produce? And mix?

Nihilist: I use Ableton Live with the Serum VST primarily (just like everyone else haha). I use Splice and a few other things sometimes, but I think you can do a lot with a little in Ableton. As far as mixing goes I’ve been trying to find gigs where I can use CDJs to get more comfortable with that. I really like the accessibility of just being able to have a flash drive with tunes on it for gigs, but at home I practice on a Pioneer DDJ-SR.

AirSig: Do you find it necessary to add any additional hardware or software in the future?

Nihilist: Not really, I mean like I said you can do a lot with just ableton and a flash drive haha. I mean I don’t know where I’d be without my midi keyboard cause I hate using the piano roll, but the only thing I’d really like in the somewhat distant future would be a nice MPC or other pad trigger controller.

AirSig: Tell us about your experiences playing live. You have a number of tracks that would do amazingly on a dance floor. What is it like to DJ a set with others and your own tunes?
At Christy's Irish Pub, New Haven, CT

Nihilist: I actually don’t play out as much as I’d like, but DJing is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life. And getting my tracks to a level of quality where they sound good being played out has been incredibly rewarding. But honestly my favorite thing about DJing is playing songs from my friends and finding cool ways to fit my own stuff in there.

AirSig: Are there any recent shows or mixes that you’re especially proud of or upcoming ones you’d like to talk about?

Nihilist: Last night (2/9) at Christy’s Irish Pub in New Haven was one of the most fun sets I’ve played because they had reinforced sound in that place, and it was knockinnnn. The promoters like it enough they wanted me back on February 25th for a house and bass night. I also had a lot of fun recently doing a set on Bridgeport’s radio WPKN, which I used to play on occasionally a few years ago. I forgot I wasn’t supposed to swear on air though, so I have to work on that for next time haha.

AirSig: In a genre that’s already full of so many players, what do you think it takes to rise above the sea of producers and DJs?

Nihilist: Honestly just individuality, long term dedication, and work ethic I think (I hope). And also a well founded and honest relationship with your fans and community. I will say as I approach 25 years old I’m starting to grow out of a desire to “rise above” other producers or “make it big”. I just want to be happy and healthy and able to make the music that speaks to me. And if that music connects with anyone then I’m just appreciative.

A very humble viewpoint indeed. 

DJ Nihilist's latest single, Outer World Bounce, can be heard on most major streaming platforms now! His previous singles can also be heard on most platforms. You can also read our full-length article of his production work here!

February 21, 2020

DJ Nihilist - Outer World Bounce and Dubstep Singles Galore

From our interview with DJ Nihilist, it's no question that he is going to have great things lying in wait for him. The first and most notable of those is his most recent release, Outer World Bounce! 

Outer World Bounce is the first of DJ Nihilist's 2020 arsenal, and it's a worthy successor to his previous electronic and dubstep jams. Opening with an alien buzz, spaceship synth, and old sci-fi sample of a scientist on an unprecedented journey, Nihilist's grime-y beat kicks in and breathes and reverberates; its purpose to transport listeners into the deep recesses of our imaginations. Its vocal sample is heady, and the sound design boggles the mind when the bass makes waves and crawls and feels very much alive. Pulling out from this fuzzy and wobbly drawl and into a spontaneous groove, it makes its final syncopated motion playful before its pulse cuts out. The journey ends as it plays up the psychedelic sample that speaks alongside a buzzing machine that ultimately fades. 

Voyager Lost, the second most recent single, follows close by for its August 2019 release. Opening with a spine-tingling set of computer bleeps and vocalized memories that echo from a dark and mysterious void, this track pulls listeners into a slow unfurling of electronic dance music that has become popularized in the EDM scene with its atmosphere of sensual waves and a steady approaching bass that washes over the listener. It doesn't take long for Nihilist's primal bass to wake up and flutter its grime-y form, sounding almost like a monstrous beast that is waking and stretching its limbs.

After the unforgettable bass creeps through this first movement, Nihilist morphs its shape on the spot as radio signals beep and bloop, on a long and distant voyage to anyone who can hear them. The automation at play here swings like a pendulum and displays Nihilist's adept ability at crisp production and sound design. It's amalgam of almost-living bass effects, nostalgic piano chords, echoing synths and moaning female vocalizations make Voyager Lost the linchpin of modern dubstep.

Finally, Existential is a ground-pounding and head-banging piece of music. If there was only one way to describe its killer mixture of aggression and sonic assault, it would be full-blown, but we have an opportunity to dive deep into this track that poses a very existential threat to every DJ who spins it and listener who thrashes to it. Opening with just the right amount of eerie synths and horror atmosphere, its opening is short and sweet, as the man in the track delivers a warning to the wary, "better watch out!" The track pulls out from there into a lane all its own and full horrorcore dubstep burns up the track, littered with all the dark and foreboding effects that any fan would expect or want to hear. There's sinister laughs, reminders that you "cannot outrun death," and that if not careful you'll be taken out. Its a single that is the makings a producer on the search for perfection in song composition and design.

Nihilist's final preceding releases pull from other diverse backgrounds of music. Night Terrors takes a melodic horror spin that almost verges into the style of hip or trip-hop before the super imposing bass tears the track up. His Space Highway EP show off his humble beginnings and yet more styles that Nihilist is willing to explore in his musical career, including that of reggae and danceable electronic goodness (Space Highway), a mix-up of big band/reggae/dubstep styles (Good Vibrations), and mind altering and reverb-soaked dub (Time).

From each of these releases even dating back to his debut Space Highway EP, DJ Nihilist shows a magnitude of promise and focus, both in his willingness to veer into multiple grooves within a single track and to show his song structures and designs as they evolve over time. His upcoming DJ set at New Haven's Christ'y Pub on Tuesday, February 25 is a house set, which will be another avenue Nihilist is intent on exploring. Check out his singles, support local music, and check out his night this Tuesday!

February 10, 2020

Interview: B. Dvine

Our artist spotlight interview series this time takes a closer look at B. Dvine, who is promoting his brand new, self-produced EP, Times Have Changed!

AirdriftSignals: How long have you been producing/emceeing?

B. Dvine: I have been producing for 16 years and emceeing for the past 9.

AirSig: You are a Long Island native. How has location informed you musically, either in influence or output?

B. Dvine: Long Island is very diverse so you get to see both sides of the fence in almost every sense of that term, and I've seen the ups, downs, lefts, and rights so when I go in two different lanes it comes natural.

AirSig: Is there a specific set of equipment that you prefer to use when producing hip-hop beats?

B. Dvine: Right now I've been heavy on the maschine and you can use keyboards and live instrumentation. I've been using Sony Acid Pro since the beginning but lately it's been about elevation and growth.

AirSig: Speaking of live instruments, are there any that you’ve been interested in learning to incorporate more into your sound?

I want to pick up whatever possible. Violins, trumpets, guitar, bass. Why not learn everything?

AirSig: You have been granted the opportunity to work with a number of prominent artists, such as Tragedy Khadafi, Kinetic 9, Solomon Childs, Young Dirty Bastard, and now Erick Sermon. What has this experience been like?

B. Dvine: It has been both lessons and blessings. I've learned a lot from being around some of these people and it helped me get a better understanding of the business and how to move in this industry so for that I'm grateful.

AirSig: Does the Times Have Changed EP mark the beginning of a new chapter in your artistic career?

B. Dvine: Of course, I'll always stick to my true style but growth is necessary and so is change.

AirSig: The new EP has been a distinct departure in style from your familiar boom bap hip-hop beats. Were you comfortable venturing into this new region of electronic hip-hop styled music?

B. Dvine: I'm a say yes or no. I had to learn to adapt to certain styles but I had fun doing it so that's what's important.

AirSig: Not only does the release stylistically diverge from previous efforts, but the lyrical content of your songs, specifically the opener and closer, have a deeply personal way about them. Did your life’s events and also time working in this genre inform your overall message of Times Have Changed?

B. Dvine: I would say so. Because I see the growth in myself but I also understand that we're in a new age and you don't have to hate on that and still be true to you.

AirSig: Your final track, Mr. Dreams, features a female singer by the name of Xavia. What was it like to add this new type of collaboration to your music? Do you plan on doing more of it in the future?

B. Dvine: I wouldn't say it's a new type of collaboration because I've worked with singers in the past but yeah I like working with singers so I plan on working with more.

AirSig: I hear you have even more exciting developments in your upcoming releases. Do you have anything about your future projects you would like to share?

B. Dvine: Not yet. Let the people soak this in now and when it's time to talk about the future it'll be presented by then.

AirSig: What advice would you like to give newcomer artists who look up to you?

B. Dvine: Stay focused, stay motivated, stay blessed. You're in control of your life path at the end of the day so go your hardest to make it count.

Times Have Changed can be heard on multiple streaming services now! Our full review can also be read here.

B. Dvine - Times Have Changed EP Review

As our interview with B. Dvine makes light of a lot of things going on in this Long Island producer/emcee's life, so too does his latest release, the self-produced, ever-changing, and forever-growing Times Have Changed EP.

Contained herein are five original tracks that are both different from one other, and also different from the rest of B. Dvine's expansive catalogue of rhymes and beats. As a prolific producer and emcee, B. Dvine has already been featured with a number of prominent artists, and found himself on a wide array of releases. It's no wonder the first track of this release, Selfless Pride, opens up with a mental note of gratitude and an essence like Dvine's been to the other side and back, with his struggles and losses over the past few years. He raps, "it's a new age, a new dawn, a new B. Dvine, grow with me" and "like the smiling Robin Williams, for years masking pain, watching my family dismantle made me feel insane, but my sister's health inspired me to diet and train." It's a tough pill to swallow for Dvine, but overall his empowered state of mind, winning attitude, and invitation to grow with him sets the stage for the themes and lessons of Times Have Changed.

Hush Now, the first single of the five, is the only song to feature guest rappers, and it's a first for B. Dvine to invite celebrated artist, EPMD's Erick Sermon, to the stage, while Cuban Pete and D-Rage make the necessary rounds on hook and verse. Sermon raps, "unbelievable, we not equal, E and Dvine, we do it for the people, Cuban Pete and D-Rage, we on stage, every time we step out, we front page." Cuban Pete follows up, "closed mouths get nothing inside 'em, so you know how my people ridin', hush now!" Don't Mean Nuttin' is a necessary follow-up, with its wavy synth beat and Dvine's cutting lyrics as he breaks it down "to the core". The realness of B. Dvine's message pulls the facade off of fake hardcore, gangster rappers in this one, as he raps, "actions louder than words, that's why it's not serious when it comes to you birds, talkin' all like gang gang, nothing ever occurs."

Come Alive thumps with 808s and a club vibe, as Dvine hollers "keep your hands in the sky, make the dance come alive!" It's an easily head-bobbing beat, while Dvine takes his music into a more adventurous and fun detour. His vox fx, 808s and beat syncopation all come together nicely and are signs of more stylized hybrid hip-hop tracks in the future. Chocolate Syrup combines trap hi-hats and women's vocals for a sensual and hypnotic flow. It's another logical follow-up to Come Alive and it's a full-on love song that Dvine executes with lyrical bliss. Mr. Dreams, featuring singer Xavia, brings Times Have Changed back to the beginning of what started it all. What did B. Dvine do with a dream that awoke in him at a young age? He not only chases that dream, he gets it, as he raps, "around that time school couldn't get me to focus, all of my teachers thought I was just hopeless, daydreaming over music they took notice, enrolled me in trade school so I could grow this, dream to reality then I hit the streets, got tired of waiting started rhyming on my beats, sharpened my sword by doing a bunch of feats, then dreams turned reality rocking with elites." As a closer, Mr. Dreams is hard-hitting and inspiring and it ignites the fire that burns in the hearts and minds of those who have also nurtured big dreams.

What B. Dvine shows us with Times Have Changed is a hip-hop release that honors living life to its fullest potential. It does everyone involved, whether it's artist or listener, a favor in its celebration of a life worth living, and stands out amongst a genre saturated with hardcore rappers who honor just the opposite. B. Dvine's got some major stories to tell and lessons to teach within the walls of this EP, and it's all a part of a journey he wants us all to take with him, to grow and evolve together.

Times Have Changed - 9/10

Recommended Tracks: Selfless Pride, Hush Now, Mr. Dreams

January 20, 2020

The Professionals - The Professionals Review

As far as collaborations go, it was only a matter of time before the world heard of The Professionals, the new duo formulated by prolific and eclectic hip-hop producer Madlib and his brother, producer/emcee Oh No.

Released on short notice, The Professionals is a funky and swaggering swerve through hip-hop, which is less aggressive and more chill than the Eminem album Music To Be Murdered By released the same day. Keeping Madlib in this project ensures that it will maintain a cult following. Brother Oh No, rather, has maintained a lower profile, working with The Alchemist in their collaborative duo, Gangrene, and releasing sparse instrumental and lyrical hip-hop albums when compared to his brother Madlib. As Oh No has achieved relative success with hip-hop label Stones Throw, Madlib has become a legend in his own right, collaborating with the likes of MF DOOM (forming Madvillain) on their classic comic-book inspired album Madvillainy, releasing his own cartoon-y hip-hop swine character, Quasimoto, for several albums, produced with late hip-hop producer legend J Dilla, and releasing albums as a producer and even DJ with many more other artists. This album is the latest from the family and it feels great to hear the two of them come together.

The first thing to note about The Professionals debut album is the inclusion of multiple vocal snippets and the wild and busy production work that is signature to Madlib's many styles and influences. In the intro track My House, for example, there is no actual songwriting; instead it is a reggae-styled horn section and a brief and vulgar monologue to get listeners into the world of black music. It gets loud and intense and morphs into the high-synth church-like opening The Pros. Oh No makes his entrance and sounds confident with his brother on the beat. By the second half toward the end, Madlib treats listeners to other sounds and producer table scraps that are always a treat to hear. His overwhelming output creates this finesse, with multiple sounds in just a single track. Payday has a fascinating drumbeat and a choir of voices as Oh No raps about the hustle. The funky and soulful stabs that come in and out are just an example of how much Madlib's own productions are their own character in any given album.

Give N Take is a super feel-good cut with beautiful keys and a female pop group that are sampled throughout. Oh No knows how to take care of business, as he raps in the chorus, "If you can take it, I'll give it as soon as I make it girl!" Superhumans features several other rappers as well (Elzhi and Chino XL) and it has wicked DJ scratches by Madlib. Buggin is a spaced-out cut, and CDP Smackdown and Timeless Treasure bring the intensity before it slows way down for I Jus Wanna, which works as a much-needed break from the busy production and loud rapping. It feels almost like a Flying Lotus vibe, as Oh No just goes through everything he wants to do to unwind from a crazy day. Away Too Long takes the soulful route and features a beat that was previously featured on Madlib's own Beat Konducta Vol. 5 & 6, which was an instrumental hip-hop album dedicated to J Dilla (James Yancey), who died in 2006 at the young age of 32 from a long and rare illness. This one feels nostalgic personally for me, as I felt brought back to my years of playing Beat Konducta's and J Dilla's Donuts album over and over again, and for that reason, it gets extra points for feeling so special. The final trio of tracks all feature the usual melodic, soulful, and jazz-fused production that Madlib is known for while Oh No does all the beats plenty of justice.

As a full experience, The Professionals is eponymously named for obvious reasons. Production-wise, it is stellar and exemplary and it shows Madlib is at the top of his game and probably still climbing, even if it might sound a little too busy at times. Oh No takes this collaboration opportunity with his brother to the next level, and it makes it exciting to see how much further they will go with everything they've accomplished here. Casual hip-hop heads might feel a little turned off, but for any Madlib or Oh No fan, it is a must-listen.

The Professionals - 7.75/10

Recommended Tracks: Payday, Give N Take, Buggin

January 18, 2020

Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By Review

Marshall Mathers is in the unique position of reaching legendary status at a young age over 20 years ago. Since then, he has faced a tougher uphill battle to stay relevant and top himself more than any other artist today, and subsequently, receives more criticism for any release that is anything less than brilliant or extraordinary. His anger hasn't changed, and his subject matter might feel stale, but his fire wit, lyrical spit, and storytelling remain as jaw-dropping, and arguably, sharper than ever before with his second surprise album in two years, Music To Be Murdered By.

As a title (borrowed directly from a previous 1958 album), Eminem does not leave anything free from double meanings, as this relentless diss record is a satisfying listen as it murders all the Nick Cannons of the world. Slim's traumas from his childhood (in Stepdad) come back to haunt him, and his current troubles are still on the surface as he testifies his rage for the critics who want to bring him down. According to Mathers, that struggle is real, and is documented in his opening track, Premonition, "They said I'm lyrically amazing but I have nothing to say, But then when I put out Revival and I had something to say, They said that they hated the awake me, I lose the rage, I'm too tame, I get it back, they say I'm too angry," as he pulls the curtains back on the critics who can't be pleased by his two preceding offerings, Revival and Kamikaze. As an artist, his latest output has been pretty incredible, releasing the former in 2017, and the latter as a direct response to Revival's criticism, as a surprise album only a year later. The hook in Premonition burns and the heavy and dark beat rides out, but it hardly is the hardest track of the album. Unaccommodating, featuring Young M.A., is the first track to hit home Em's unapologetic wordplay, and it is displayed at a hyper-speed that only rewards with multiple spins. You Gon' Learn, featuring Royce da 5'9" and White Gold, has a fazed-out R&B soaked hook, and its glitchy staccato production is standout here.

By the time we get to the first of only a couple of interludes, we are introduced to the overarching idea that ties this album together, in concept, title, and artwork, in Alfred (Interlude). Citing the 1958 album of the same name (Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Music To Be Murdered By), this direct successor comments on the violence that persists in our culture and our nation. Before we get to Darkness though, we have the party track Those Kinda Nights and the unrequited love song In Too Deep. Godzilla works as another speed-running lyrical feat; it feels like Shady has never sounded faster at the mic than in this one, even by Kamikaze standards. Darkness now, is the most thought-provoking work Eminem has released in a while. Still interweaving-in thoughts of violence and anger, this track wasn't meant to make you feel safe. Some might get shocked, some might get triggered, but no matter whether you fall on the left or the right or somewhere in between, everyone should agree that the persistence of mass shootings in our world must come to an end. Eminem does this track from inside the mind of the Las Vegas massacre shooter. While this effort essentially immortalizes the suspect, its case is one of the most disturbing, as a man with no prior convictions and no history of mental illness just didn't want to "feel alone in the darkness anymore,” which makes this crisis even more difficult to address. In a sense, this song is about reconnecting with loved ones, and the need to feel more together and connected, but it is executed in horrific fashion as one of the consequences of the crushing loneliness in this world. Ultimately, Eminem's conviction for these acts of violence to end is a standout moment and commendable if listeners can get past the shock value, something he has ingrained throughout his entire career.

Beyond this single there are a number of other sharp, brutal, and tongue-in-cheek songs that you would expect, such as Stepdad, about Marshall’s experience growing up with an abusive father figure, Marsh, an amusing moment of feeling not of this world, and Never Love Again, a double meaning of a past love and getting clean off of prescription pills. Little Engine brings in Mr. Hitchcock once again as he reminds us that we should enjoy the music while we’re being “done in” by Shady’s lyrical lacerations. It’s a spiffy, classical horror sounding track, and Shady shows off as a speed demon who refuses to slow down. Lock It Up, Farewell, No Regrets, and I Will construct the album’s coda, and it’s a give-or-take acceptable ending in an album full of great moments interspersed throughout familiar territory.

Music To Be Murdered By is full of double meanings, interesting wordplay, and familiar, but well-executed themes. Eminem, Shady, or Marshall, either alter ego or persona delivers, and this latest rendition should probably go down as the best of the trio of LPs that have been released thus far. Eminem is ultimately right, as he states in his opening track, "Instead of us being credited for longevity, And being able to keep it up for this long at this level, we, Get told we'll never be what we were, B*tch, if I was as half as good as I was, I'm still twice as good as you'll ever be." Whether Eminem decides to take up tougher subjects in this new decade remains to be seen, but until then, he’s released a worthy follow-up that should go down as a pin in the cultural zeitgeist of where we are today.

Music To Be Murdered By - 8.5/10

Recommended Tracks: You Gon' Learn, Darkness, Lock It Up

January 7, 2020

Cuban Pete - 5 Pointz EP Review

Cuban Pete, our resident U.K. emcee, is back with Wu affiliated producer, Falling Down, with the graffiti-themed 5 Pointz EP! 

As we've come to know Cuban Pete from our interview last year, his passions include graffiti art, since he is also a visual artist with his company C75 Live. It's no wonder that 5 Pointz (named after the now torn down New York mural space) would feature 5 specifically designed tracks tailored and named after 5 different legends in the world of graffiti art.

The street artist INSA, who specializes in trippy and almost optical pieces (can you say painted, animated street GIFs??) that could make any passersby's eyes pop out of their skull, takes the first track of the EP. Falling Down's
‘c’est la vie’
opening sample of a female vocalist singing "never, never die" works as a note on the legacy of artists, while INSA himself opens with a comment on how the big idea of street art is making it outside as opposed to making art on a computer, making its creation an entirely human (not digital) effort. His life is mostly private since he wants his art to speak for itself, and Cuban Pete pulls out the big guns with Falling Down to commemorate the work that this man has done thus far. Pete raps "blessing them with pieces created from my fingertips, I'm Hanz On like Method Man affiliates, perfectionism is a schism in my psyche, admirable at times, but can turn around and bite me, the latter most likely" and then "everything on hold until I throw it out my system, a gift and a curse, my work greatly received, but at times it suffocates, I'm barely able to breathe." The track is then processed with cuts and scratches by the talented DJ Erex, aimed to put more fuel in the tank, with such cuts like "never give up" and "perfecting the craft." In the second verse, Pete questions it all, his life's purpose, and what all this art is worth, but admits it's his relentless drive to take his craft ever higher.

DONDI, the second graffiti legend to grace the 5 Pointz EP, is also the first single of the EP.

Tellin About Anno Domini (trad.2) - 1986
His rise to prominence resulted in many of the graffiti styles we see today, and his techniques still inspire generations of younger artists. His signature style included readable lettering and even some more stylistic and abstract pieces, and he was known to hit up train cars, as featured in Pete's single artwork. Sadly, he passed away in 1998 from AIDS. The track opens with DONDI's own words as he comments on his search for a safe space to work without having his work erased and how he settled on the subway yard to paint his pieces. He states that his work naturally evolved from this need, and that he never had to compromise his artistic vision. Falling Down's triumphant beat kicks it into high gear as DONDI finishes his thought, and Pete gets it in with his perspective in life ("smile, you got it, flaunt it") and his observance of others who got it wrong ("too worried about their likes and their cash flow"). Cuban Pete's lyrical hammer comes down on social media fakes and phonies in this one.

Crazy Legs & Mr. Freeze at Common Ground, Manhattan
Henry Chalfont is the iconic photographer and videographer who rose to fame from his documentation of graffiti, breakdance, and hip-hop that took the world by storm. Starting out as a sculptor in the 1970s, Chalfont soon switched to the camera as a storytelling device and began his decades-long study of the hip-hop and graffiti culture. His track opens with his own learned wisdom of the movement, "it was only years later when I actually started to meet graffiti writers, and after I have taken a lot of pictures of it, did I understand from their point of view, that it was a voice, and more than just fun." The beat then steps into the fold, as a murderous track about the camera and surveillance system as it's being turned against us nowadays. Graveyard Shifter and Cuban Pete remind listeners that we are on the cusp of humanity's greatest fight, for our privacy and for our lives. Pete's chilling verse is all too real today as he raps "watch, people stop and stare, film the victim," and "Alexa the snitch can't save you, f*ck that b*tch!" Graveyard Shifter gets down and dirty with his verse as well, as he raps about end-times, war, secret bunkers, and what the elite have planned for the masses.

Futura, the fourth track on this record, got his start in the '70s tagging the New York City subways. Through the years, he has shown his work in galleries, and even collaborated painting live backdrops on stage for European punk-rock band The Clash, and even ventured into graphic design and album artwork. His signature graffiti style is abstract works, as can be seen here with him, and sometimes even futuristic looking art, which is fitting for his name. He states in his track his feeling of the world wide web and how after being well-received in Japan, the Internet made the world start to feel smaller and tighter knit with international communications. This track is the final Cuban Pete solo cut, and the beat is blessed yet again by Falling Down with an Eastern musical vibe baked into the synths. "Catch me mixing paintbrush with the pixels," Pete raps as he comments on his passions. "Me and the day job in showdown, guns drawn, never-ending battle, from dusk till dawn." Pete's resilience and perseverance shine brightest on Futura, and his end product is inspiring to say the least. DJ Erex takes Pete's vox and spins and scratches them to a satisfying conclusion.

The final song on 5 Pointz features the "Godfather of Graffiti", as SEEN is known. His fame is credited to his use of bright lettering, cartoon characters, and bringing the movement to the doors of commercial art galleries. He has since opened a wildly successful tattoo studio in New York, and still to this day creates brilliant mixed media (paintings, sculptures, etc.). He describes the adrenaline rush of painting and the therapeutic effect of creating art, something that we covered in our Essay #3 last week. We get a trio of hip-hop legends in this one: Karnage Ca$hman and B. Dvine join Cuban Pete in this final number, and they rap about what they've seen in their years in the hip-hop game. Pete reminds that there's No Wannabeez Allowed. DJ Erex makes some final scratches, "I seen the gimmicks, the wack lyrics." Karnage delivers a verse about the disgusting wack emcees who should quit before it's too late or else receive the 5 Pointz in the form of his fist. B. Dvine repeatedly hits hard with all the weak rappers and the life's struggles he's seen.

Cuban Pete's latest release works on multiple levels, and the sum of its parts takes it onto a higher plain than most hip-hop releases today. Together, with Falling Down, DJ Erex, and his guest emcees, Cuban Pete crafts the ultimate love letter to graffiti artists everywhere and successfully combines his two life's passions.

5 Pointz EP - 9/10

Recommended Tracks: Henry Chalfont, Futura, Seen

December 31, 2019

Essay #3: The cerebral and therapeutic value of art

Our first essay in our newly serialized selection of op-ed pieces focused on the special attributes of music, film, and art in the context of time, legacy, and user experiences. Our third essay will be focused now on the third characteristic, and how it forms this basis for self-reflection and its physiological, therapeutic value.

What is the cerebral and therapeutic value of art?

To get started, it should be noted that the core concept of art’s value as a therapeutic device is its ability to tap into the wide range of human experience. When people absorb or create art, several factors come into play. These are time, place, and the artists’ life experience, outlook, and intention in creation. Depending on the level of practice and ability to tap into subconscious levels, all of these characteristics come together to create a wholly unique serving of expression. Whether it is highly regarded or forgotten, the artists themselves are “in the zone” of creativity, and exercising their brain with a therapeutic and meditative exercise. Others consuming art, too, have the same ability to become immersed by and pulled into the world of the artist’s imagination with each film viewing, music listening, or visual experience. Each of these paintings, compositions, sculptures, or films, leave viewers with a degree of understanding and an experience to take away. Whatever that experience may be could be abstract and up to interpretation, or it could be simplistic in its execution and effect, but even what might appear simple could have even deeper levels of meaning that come out of either intentional or subconscious creation. No matter what the medium or the message is, art in all its forms has a therapeutic value for all to benefit from.

To try and not sound too preachy, this idea should largely be known or recognized already when it comes to the arts and the humanities. What some people in life might not realize though is the importance of the arts to maintain a healthy and balanced mind state and how it directly supports problem-solving and creative thinking in many of life’s struggles and situations. How exactly does AirdriftSignals support this? Through the past couple of decades, there have been mounds of research on the subject, which will be detailed below in several examples.

As a young music listener, I have had the joy of discovering many musicians in different genres. Also, as a movie lover, I have enjoyed watching many classic and current science fiction and horror films growing up. There is an argument to be said for different genres of music and art. When the Columbine High School massacre took place in '99, the mainstream media needed to put the blame on something, or someone. At the time, the main culprit was shock jock metal frontman Marilyn Manson, while other "dark" or heavy metal music became the main scapegoat for future shootings or violent incidents involving adolescents. Now, nearly 20 years later, society has come to the realization that mentally disturbed individuals with prescriptions could cause harm with or without the "help" of metal music, meanwhile multiple studies on the genre suggest the opposite that was proposed 2 decades ago. The documented results that metal music can calm aggression in listeners may be a shock for some people, but for those who understand the power of art as a vehicle of escapism, it isn't that hard to comprehend. 

The heavy metal genre of music specifically maintains documented mental health benefits, and other interests of my own, including science fiction and horror movies have stirred my imagination growing up and built up my fascination with the macabre and fear of the unknown. Little did I know growing up that these films too, have a positive impact on viewers' brains. Most people who know no better when asked, may dismiss horror films as something negative and ridiculous. Of course, there are no shortages of bad films that leave viewers in their seats screaming at the main characters what they should be doing to survive. This practice in worst-case-scenarios is in actuality our fight-or-flight response, learning from the mistakes of those who meet untimely ends on screen. The studies done suggest that scary movies also counter-balance the stresses of life, bolster our immune systems, and even lead to positive mental health benefits.

After tackling these two most controversial genres of art, it is easy to see how most other genres fall into categories of therapeutic effects. Classical music has already been studied to death, with the many calming benefits aplenty that don't need to be referenced here. A good film or just very good storytelling gives viewers an escape from the daily stressors of life. Even beautiful architecture or paintings fill people with a sense of wonder as they ruminate on the time and place of its creation. Hip-hop, one of the primary genres covered by AirdriftSignals, has been found to be a "strong source of self and community empowerment." Video games (which I will argue is an art medium), is the newest scapegoat for teen aggression, but has since been proven to not be a link to violence. While there are those who suffer from gaming addiction, The Psychological Bulletin recently revealed that the activity hosts a wide range of benefits, including cognitive improvement, boosted creativity, motivation, and emotional and social well-being. With no stone left unturned, it's clear to say that all mediums of art carry variations of the same positive mental health benefits. Besides all of these positive results, how does this carry over into our daily life?

From some of the articles that have been referenced, there are clear indications that consuming these different forms of art bleed into our daily life. From the reduced stress levels from heavy metal listeners or horror movie fans, to the empowerment felt from hip-hop, to the boosted cognitive functions and creativity of gamers, to the increased intelect of avid book readers, all who enjoy their choice of art benefit greatly. And while the arts can seem abstract, the benefits can absolutely be measured. In another report, the benefits of arts education in schools far outweigh the cost of funding it, such as academic improvement, increased self-esteem, less interest in drugs, and reduced criminal activity, among many others. The National Institute of Health even admits that engagement in the creative arts results in positive health outcomes, and improves overall public health. What does this mean for us? 

As a fan of many forms of art, I cannot stress enough how important it is to support independent artists. I have had the privilege of meeting so many talented individuals through the years, and it is a great honor to have great minds collaborate on something special. Overall, the support and spread of art is one of the most important indicators of our excellence as a human species, and a way to improve our communities from the ground up, which always start from within our minds' eyes. Artists always receive great benefits from being a creator, and the critical thinking and problem-solving skills involved when making something out of nothing helps them in their daily life as well. Still, even if you are a person who thinks they aren't that "good" at art, there's even a study that supports that you should participate anyways! Working on something, whether it is just sketching with a pad and pencil, painting, or even the act of knitting could significantly reduce stress levels in the body from just 45 minutes of activity! The studies are numerous, and the results are in, so what are you waiting for?! Make some art today! 

December 14, 2019

Interview: Nary Da Producer

Our featured interview this holiday season is seasoned Pittsburgh producer extraordinaire, Nary Da Producer!

AirdriftSignals: How long have you been focused on producing hip-hop beats?

Nary Da Producer: I started seriously producing music around 2007 when I briefly relocated to Green Level, North Carolina, so we can say 12 years... I was making beats for my cousins and some artist around the area... I always knew I would do something with music even before then... But I ended up signing to two different indie labels during my stay in North Carolina that showed me a lot about the business aspect of the music industry and I took what I learned from that and started my journey into this music thing!

AirSig: As a producer based in Pennsylvania, how has your home base and local scene informed your creativity? Are there any local spots that have given you inspiration?

Nary Da Producer: ... I love my city! Shout out to everybody that's grinding and doing their thing! I haven’t worked with too many in my city... really just because I didn’t start out producing in Pittsburgh... But what I will say is... the thing that inspires me about the city is... just the grind... there’s a lot of go getters, dope artists and producers that came from here! Mel Man, Sam Sneed, Johnny Juliano, I mean even legends like Ahmad Jamal!! Pittsburgh is definitely a musical city man! As far as local spots that inspire me... I would have to say “Jerry’s Records” located in a section of the city called “Squirrel Hill” because that's where I go digging for vinyl!

AirSig: Oh, so you dig for your loops then? 

Nary Da Producer: Oh most definitely!!! I feel like digging is one of the biggest fundamentals of hip-hop and more! Most of the things I find rather it’s old classic records or even some random drum loop I like to find new ways to make it into something fresh! I know there’s sites like splice that give you a source to find loops and things of that nature too... It’s just crazy to see how much you can do as far as creating music in today's era!

AirSig: What events in your life made you want to make music and who are your biggest producer influences?

Nary Da Producer: I honestly can say every minute of my 24 hours inspires me to create! My heart and soul is making music... SOULFUL music! Every time I turn on my MPC, I just feel the moment! My biggest music influences are Pete Rock, Chad Hamilton, Just Blaze, Bink, Manny Fresh, Dj Premier, Hi-Tek, J-Dilla, Marley Marl, Trackmasters, Scram Jones, My Bro J.Dova from Atlantic City! And SO many more!

AirSig: One of our previous articles covered a hip-hop single by Cuban Pete which you produced, called Nothin’s Gonna Stop Me. It features a classic sounding female singer crooning the hook and it recalls a golden era of music. It also has a certain Dilla vibe as you mentioned him being a big influence for you just previously... Is there any style or era of music that calls out to you when making beats? 

Nary Da Producer: J-Dilla is forever man! His legendary work and the things he’s done with that MPC are incredible! I feel like there’s J-Dilla influence all over the hip-hop culture! He’s definitely one of my biggest influences. Also shout out to Cuban Pete and the UK! We have an EP coming real soon!! My favorite era is the golden era of hip-hop! That era influenced my style a lot! Just the sound and the feel of that time! 80s R&B is another era that calls out to me! I like some of the new stuff that's coming out too!

AirSig: While listening to that single, it’s amazing to think about how the Internet allows people from all walks of life to connect, and nowadays even allow those who are separated by thousands of miles to create some amazing music! It gained a lot of traction internationally following its release and even got airtime on a French radio station. Does this added international element to your music give you added desire to see how many other international artists you could work with?

Nary Da Producer: I think it’s dope how the Internet links all us musicians together from all across the globe! When I first sent Cuban Pete that beat (Nothin's Gonna Stop Me), he sat on it for a few... And then he finally messaged me like “Nary I think this is it!" He sent everything over and I mixed and mastered it and the rest is history! I think it’s really cool that it spent almost a month in rotation on the radio in France and the UK!

AirSig: Are you more interested in expanding your producer portfolio across multiple emcees and keeping yourself a free agent or eventually joining forces into a hip-hop duo or creative team? 

Nary Da Producer: I recently been working with Solomon Childs, affiliated with the Wu Tang Clan... I got some work with Cuban Pete of course lol. I’ve been working with a lot of rising artists from PA and all over the globe! Also there’s a few big COLLABS in the works! I’m working on my beat catalog and collaborating with a lot of different artists! As far as joining forces with another producer or team, I wouldn’t rule it out but right now I’m just focusing on my own craft.

AirSig: Is the MPC and Pro Tools your sole production tools? 

Nary Da Producer: The MPC and Pro Tools are definitely my go-to's! That swing and just the feel when you’re producing on the MPC is something special! BUT! I also use FL Studio too! That software is dope! Sometimes it annoys me with all the extra layering I like to do to get that fuller sound I’ve grown accustomed to using the MPC but all around it’s dope! So yeah the MPC Touch/MPC 2000, Pro Tools, FL Studio, and mad vinyl records and other sounds are my go-to's!

AirSig: Do you find creating on the MPC a smooth and effective process? 

Nary Da Producer: Most of the time... If I’m going for something with a classic feel... The MPC is my go-to! The process of creating those kind of moods but if I’m going for a more modern feel I would incorporate my FL Studio with the MPC and get really busy!

AirSig: How do you follow your instincts with your creative flow to make captivating and engaging beats? 

Nary Da Producer: If it feels right I just go with it! Most of the time my ear doesn’t steer me wrong lol! Like I said though it’s all about the mood when it’s time to create!

AirSig: Your newest release, a full-length beat tape titled The Chill Out Volume I, is designed to introduce the world to your atmosphere of sounds, and is designated as an instrumental hip-hop album. Is there anything you’d like to see accomplished with the release of this first volume of this series? 

Nary Da Producer: I would like people to just enjoy the project! Also, I would like the world to know HIPHOP IS FOREVER!! I feel like it's something a little different than the usual 808s and robotic sounding Hi-Hats that’s in a lot of today’s music... I feel like this is a project you can turn on and just chill lol... If you don’t rap or sing you just might after you take a listen!

AirSig: I've also noticed that hi-hats have had a bit of a renaissance in the last ten years with so much hip-hop/trap music. Do you think it's just a fad that will fade in another ten years or will the polyrhythms always have a place going forward? 

Nary Da Producer: A lot of the music is being created with D.A.W. aka Digital Audio Workstation and a lot of the software is so digital sounding along with the heavy quantization they're using in a lot of these new era records that it begins to sound robotic... I feel like trap is here to stay because it has its own place... I wouldn’t call it hip-hop at all but it’s something of its own genre.

AirSig: I, myself, very much enjoy the music of hip-hop. Usually you can hear so many other influences and genres blending into the work of certain producers, such as classical, oldies, and even electronic music. Are there any other genres you might be interested in exploring more, or exclusively, as you continue your musical career? 

Nary Da Producer: I’ve definitely been exploring R&B... some trap/mainstream. I would like to venture into creating jazz music too! There’s a lot of music man! I get inspired by a lot of the elements!

AirSig: Who have you been listening to lately outside of hip-hop? You mentioned you're a fan of jazz music.

Nary Da Producer: Lately, it’s been Ahmad Jamal, a lot of classic R&B, and a lot of instrumental music!

AirSig: What does it mean to you to stand out in a genre that is so diverse and full of talent?

Nary Da Producer: I feel like being yourself and staying true to yourself is everything! It’s so easy to get caught up with following trends because whatever’s the new popular thing is what a lot of people tend to flock to I feel like.

AirSig: Are there any other upcoming projects that you are excited to be working on or planning on releasing soon?

Nary Da Producer: Look out for my first all trap music instrumental project “Nary’s Trap” coming soon! I got a project coming with my bro Prynce who’s also from Pittsburgh! Definitely good music! Also go get Solomon Childs project “Wu Tang BBQ” I got a few records on there! Cuban Pete’s upcoming EP produced entirely by me is on the way! And just follow my social media to stay updated! Also I just wanna just finally shout out a few artists I work with In my city....Prynce and Gotti Boi!!

AirSig: You can follow and listen to Nary Da Producer on his SoundCloud page, which already has over 20,000 streams or follow him on social media (Twitter, Facebook)! You can listen to The Chill Out Volume I on any streaming platforms, and you can also read our full review here