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365 Beats, 365 Days. 1 Beat a Day for a Whole Year!

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, and I’m trying to get back into it.  I’m a little older, a little wiser (arguably), and lots of things have changed since I last wrote.  However, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that the music is still very much alive, and we’ve released and will continue to release material regularly. =]  I’m still working on my Phase 4 – Take the Lead album, which has four (and a bonus) songs done currently, and Trifecta has four songs towards that album as well.

My birthday had just passed on September 7, and I made the decision earlier that week (those who follow me on Twitter @moon_shyne already knew) to make a beat a day, every day, for 365 days.  I am also doing 1 song a month.  Now these numbers are minimums, and if i can churn out more than 1 beat a day, and more than 1 song a month, all the power to me. =]

I’m five days in so far, and I’ve done five beats.  Every Saturday, I will release a quick mix of all seven beats from that week, and I want the public to let me know which of the seven they feel was the best for the week.  Now since this isn’t my usual “I’ll make the music when I’m inspired” style, I’m a little worried about how great everything will be.  However, after five days so far, the beats I’ve designated as the beats for those days have all been good.  Are any of them great?  Maybe.  You all can be the judges for that.

Interestingly enough, there’s almost a commentary for the day embedded in each of these beats.  I’m starting to draw inspiration more frequently and using any event or atypical object or person for inspiration.  I’ll give you mini-commentaries for each of the first 5 beats:

  1. Simple Technique (2013.09.07): There’s a song called Binibini, a Filipino song by a group called the Rainmakers.  I’m Filipino myself, and I’ve used Filipino samples in the past (queue Miss Universe by HotDog).  While driving, my wife had played this song, and from there, I drew the inspiration from the intro.  This became the sample that is the core of this beat.
  2. Double Blitz (2013.09.08): While at home, my wife and I flipped through the channels and watched a portion of Step Up: Revolution.  I wanted to convey a battle type of energy, and I drew from that.
  3. In Style (2013.09.09) : Not much to this one, I started from scratch and this is what came out.
  4. Storyteller (2013.09.10): A portion of this can be attributed to Holy Grail with the pianos.  I was always fascinated with progressions with pianos where chords are played with the right hand and only the left hand changes for the bass notes.  I’m playing a constant Bm the whole way, with only bass drops using my left.  I liked the sounds of using 3rds of the chords for the violins, and the rest is history.
  5. Looking Back (2013.09.11): Being what day it was, I wanted to make something a little bit more reflective.  I tried to go more for an older R&B vibe, going with a 2-5-1 in Bbm with an electric piano.  I’ve never used an electric piano in a beat, so I felt good about that.  Same as the day before, I was feeling the usage of the 3rds and 5ths as the basis for the melodies of the violin and organ, so I kept it going.

On Saturday, you’ll get to know these beats a little bit better.  To make 365 beats in a year to me almost sounds impossible.  I’ll take my chances though.  So far so good!

More coming soon!   Stay with us!

-mnshyn

Welcoming Doc L Back to Music

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

This here is a personal post, so there really isn’t much you might get out of this, aside from some advice I guess if you have a group and are suffering from that “creative differences” bug that groups tend to get that cause them to split. Read on if you’re on that boat, or if you just want to know more about me. =]

Back in 2000, right before I finished high school, I figured out how to make beats. I always wanted to rhyme, and two of my best friends, Doc and K, wanted in. And so, the group D.i.c.K. (lol at that name, horrible choice, and that was mostly my fault) was born. The name was an acronym built on our rap pseudonyms, Doc L, iLL cHrome (MooN ShynE), and K-Dogg (K-Maculate).

After two years of that, we disbanded over creative differences, or more specifically, I was just too dicator-like. After a few years, I understood that, and it was only then I started to really value what a true collaboration was like. I did collaborate with them a few times, but on separate projects and never together like before.

Years later, after some time apart (though we never truly lost touch, just weren’t seeing each other nearly as often), we all ended up hanging out again and staying connected. Eventually, K and I started Black and Blue Ink. with two albums recorded so far, and now Doc is back.

To say that I’m happy he’s back is an understatement. I feel now that my musical life is complete again because I have my two original brothers with me. The only thing to truly seal the deal is for us to record a track again. Three solid verses from three solid emcees on a beat. If we record an album, I’d be ecstatic, and this time we’d all enjoy it, and we’d all get as creative as possible. It’d be amazing, I’m sure. The BBI albums were great projects, and I’m sure these next projects with Doc will be just as awesome.

The one thing I appreciate about being a solo artist is that you have no boundaries. Since I have the freedom to be both in a group and a solo artist at the same time, I can just divide up my ideas between my solo self or group self, whichever is more appropriate. When I’m in group mode, we make the best of the sum of our parts. Any ideas that I don’t use with the group I can use on my own, and I wouldn’t have any reservations about that.

My goal now is to see how creative my boys can get. I want to see Doc rhyme the breaks off a beat like I know he can do, K hit the track off with some off the wall stuff, and I want to get a couple of moments where we all listen to a mix and go crazy because the illness we are listening to was a product of all of our ideas. High-fives, pounds, and cheering all around. That kind of experience. I’ve been there with everyone I’ve worked with, except the two of them at the same time, at least recently.

Here’s hoping to that! =] And here’s the first track we’ve done in 10 years, called “Our Times.” Hopefully, it’ll be the first of many. =]

More to come from us. 2012 is shaping up to be a great year for MsP, after a fairly quiet 2011. =]

-mnshyn

Let the beat roll…

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Just a few notes from me re: my perception of dynamics.

You may or may not relate to this in the genre sense but you should be able to understand the “feeling” of it.

Without going into specifics and without thinking about it too much, think of any song that at one time or another made you feel euphoric. Take that to mean what you want – elated, energized, relaxed and happy, high… whatever. It also shouldn’t matter what song it was, what genre, how old it was, or how old were. Have you picked a song yet? Don’t try to zero in on any specific song that makes you feel good, try to focus on a time you felt good because of a song. Hope you have a song in mind because now the thinking begins.

For the next part try to separate any emotional attachment your song may have stirred up in you. This isn’t about how a song makes you feel, but rather that a song makes you feel good because of the essence of the song and not because XYZ happened while that song was playing. Understand? What was it about the song that made you feel the way you did? Was it the drum beat? Or perhaps it was some guitar riff? To some people it may be (more…)

Music Scene Spotlight: Aaliyah Was One In a Million

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I remember walking into the Virgin Megastore that was on Union Square on August 25, 2001.  It was my first day at my dorm at NYU for my sophomore year.  It was a small tradition that I made for myself that each year I go back to New York I would buy a CD at that store.  The first year it was Dilated Peoples “The Platform,” and that year it was Canibus’s “2000 B.C.”

I walked up to the counter and while ringing up the CD, he asks me, “Did you hear about Aaliyah?”

I said, “No, what happened?”

He replied, “She was in a plane crash and passed away.”

My jaw dropped.

I admired Aaliyah, because her “One in a Million” album was a classic to me.  The combination of Aaliyah on top of Timbaland beats were a match made in heaven, and I had bumped the songs from that album consistently for a number of years, most especially “If Your Girl Only Knew,” “One in a Million,” “Four Page Letter,” and the remix to “Hot Like Fire.”  Her voice was just right; she wasn’t a flashy singer, but on point with emotion and delivery with that correct amount of soul.  Her harmonies always sounded great.

Most people usually use the word “angel” to describe her, and I’d have to say that description is pretty accurate especially when it came to her voice.  There was a smooth feel there that just made you feel, “this girl’s definitely got it.”

And you have to admit, the hair over the eye, shades, and the baggy jeans/pants and tank tops were a good look without sluttiness giving a touch of not-so-feminine but sexy.

She had great versatility too.  On that album alone you had ballads like “Four Page Letter” and “How Could the One I Gave My Heart To,” more funky songs like “If Your Girl Only Knew” and “Hot Like Fire” (remix was RIDICULOUS), and sensual sounding songs like “One in a Million,” and she handled her business properly on each.

Couple that with Timbaland’s ingenuity, and you had the perfect combination.  Sorry Keri Hilson (even as great a songwriter as you are), but Keri doesn’t match nearly as well with Timbo as Aaliyah did.

Even her later works, like “More than a Woman,” “We Need a Resolution,” “Rock the Boat,” “Try Again,” and “Miss you,” were all really good songs, and I thought Aaliyah opening up “Up Jumps the Boogie” with Timbo, Missy and Magoo was just epic; there was just a feel to it that made you feel something was about to happen.

When I think of female R&B artists now, there’s a void where Aaliyah should be.  No disrespect to the Beyonce’s and Alicia Keys’s of the world (both great artists, mind you), but there was something about Aaliyah that was different.  The right amount of soul and sweet melody with no gimmicks, no overdone sexiness, and a good amount of versatility.

Here’s just some of my favorites from YouTube so you can enjoy the greatness that was Aaliyah:

If Your Girl Only Knew:

One in a Million:

Four Page Letter:

Hot Like Fire [remix]:

Rest in Peace Aaliyah.  We all miss you.

-mnshyn

Phase 4 and The Intrigue of Hidden Messages and Symbols, like Paul McCartney Supposedly Being Dead

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Most, if not all, people love puzzles to a certain extent.  People like the challenge and being able to boast that they had figured it all out when people couldn’t have.  Give somebody a riddle, and they would dare not walk away without an answer, whether they figured it out or whether they ask the person giving the riddle for the answer.

Looking back in the history of music, there have been a number of instances where people have put symbols and hidden messages behind people’s music whether it was the intention of the artist or not.  How many stories have you heard where if you play a certain record backwards at a certain point in a track you will hear some hidden message? People love it, the speculation, the guessing, just for the privilege of saying “I told you that’s what it was!”

One of the biggest hidden message stories had to do with the biggest band to date, “The Beatles.”

Is Paul McCartney dead?  That was the question.  Was he replaced with a body double by the name of William Campbell who won a Paul look-alike contest?  Fans and conspiracy-theorists alike have speculated over this for years, and have given the following as some of the “evidence:”

  1. On “Strawberry Fields Forever,” John supposedly says “I buried Paul” near the end of the song.  (John says he said “Cranberry Sauce,” not “I buried Paul”)
  2. Play “I’m So Tired” backwards, and you’ll hear John say “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him, miss him.”
  3. Play “Revolution 9” backwards, and the droning number 9’s, turn to “Turn me on dead man.”
  4. The order in which The Beatles are walking in Abbey Road put Paul in position to be the one in the casket during funeral proceedings.  John, dressed in white is the preacher, Ringo is the pallbearer, Paul (who is smoking, barefoot, and out of step with everyone else) would be the corpse, and George is dressed like a grave digger.
  5. A walrus is symbol of death in certain cultures, and coincidentally, Paul is the Walrus on the Magical Mystery Tour cover.  He’s also wearing a black rose instead of a red rose as the other three are wearing.

Now are these coincidences?  Or was it planned by The Beatles?  These are just a few of the many instances on music and on pictures and album covers that people have found and speculate that the Paul we have heard over the years since roughly around 1965 is the not the original Paul.

If this “Paul is Dead Hoax” stuff interests you, click here for a more detailed rundown of all the “hints.”

Of course, backmasking (the real term for using reverse-playing sounds on a forward playing track) has been the subject of notoriety when it comes to hidden messages.  Stuff by Ozzy Osbourne, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, and others have been said to have evil messages when played backwards, though they have denied any evil doing.  More modern bands such as Slayer and Cradle of Filth have had their share of admittedly backmasking messages.  There have been good messages also, such as by the Christian band Petra, who asks why people look for the devil instead of seeking the Lord, and others who have made parodies by placing funny messages backwards just for people to play it and have a good laugh.

And with that, I embark on my fourth solo album, with all of that in mind.

Phase 4 – symboLYRICism

More to come soon!

-mnshyn

Lyricist Manifesto = k-maculate’s thoughts

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Sup ya’ll,

I’m using this upcoming album, “Lyricist Manifesto”, to demonstrate my lyrical prowess. I feel the 1st Black and Blue Ink. self-titled album was our best yet, showing our skills in word play, punch-lines and imagery. Through rational thought, I’m trying to challenge myself to make the Lyricist Manifesto a piece of lyrical art that would supply mainstream hip-hop listeners a more enjoyable experience than what they are subjected to on the radio and in clubs.

I try to listen to what’s playing out there…like kanye, 50, the cash money crew, Dipset,Jay-Z ….what have you…… but nothing catches my attention like a powerful verse supplied by those rippers that I do listen to……. Canibus, jedi mind tricks, rakim, and some lesser known cats. I can put together a good verse that can show I can rhyme in my sleep. But what Moon Shyne and I are trying to do in this next album will be a real treat to the hip-hop fan. I often have lyrical bars coming to me throughout the course of the day. What I do is harness that power till I hit the booth and lyrical magic then occurs. What I ask is from ya’ll is to take your ear-muffs off and pay attention to the power of the Lyricist Manifesto!

God Bless, K-maculate

==

For more on Black and Blue Ink. and the upcoming “The Lyricist Manifesto” album, make sure to go to http://www.blackandblueink.net for the latest updates.

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