Tag Archives: Editorial

Kanye West continuing to mix “The Life Of Pablo” is a significant step for all artists, producers and engineers

3056803-poster-p-1-the-life-of-the-life-of-pablo.jpgTired of hearing about Kanye? Well as a music producer myself, I’m not. Yes I’m a fan and yes I might be one of those kids who will sit there and try to defend Kanye to anyone who completely bashes him but so what? From a musical standpoint, what he is doing with his latest album The Life Of Pablo and “Wolves” especially, is amazing.

Yesterday, Kanye updated one of the most talked about songs, before it’s release, on Tidal. He changed quite a bit actually. The original “final mix” consisted of a song structure that went from; Kanye’s auto-tune intro/chorus,  first and only long verse, vocal interlude that slides into Frank Ocean’s outro. Ye dropped both Vic Mensa and Sia’s part from the live performances they did late last year. That is a significant amount of heard content that Kanye excluded.

Kanye West, Vic Mensa & Sia live performing “Wolves”

As an aspiring music producer and audio engineer, the fact that Kanye and only Kanye is in complete control of the final product that is being streamed on Tidal, is so amazing creatively but also a big deal for the music industry and other artists. Yes, Kanye works with a lot of people to put out this final project in the studio, but just the fact that he has the final say on how something sounds and how it is being broadcasted sonically is a huge step forward for any artist. This is something that music hubs like soundcloud and audiomack have been offering for year. But Kanye, a major label artist, is doing this through Tidal, one of three major market streaming services beside Apple Music and Spotify.

For “Wolves 2.0,” Ye adds some more drum layers, adds Vic Mensa and Sia’s part, changes a ton of vocal effects and adds some ad libs on his ending sequence. What else is crazy is that he pushed Frank Ocean’s little vocal ditty to it’s own song. This is so much music to re-engineer, mix, master, edit and manipulate three weeks after the official release.

What this means for artists, producers and engineers is this, why settle for something that you already released to the public if you still believe you could do better. A lot of people that I have worked in music with before have all expressed how musicianship is full of constant changes. Hell, this is half the reason I can’t hardly finish a song because I’m never satisfied with final mixes and song structures. I always want more and more change. If you ever have preformed live in any matter, you’ll know that no performance is the same. You are constantly adjusting almost every small detail in your sound. That is why they say music is a gift that keeps on giving.

By Kanye West continuing to change a major label release such as The Life Of Pablo, it is helping pushing the boundaries of contemporary artistry and musicianship and challenges the idea that the music that he is making is in his complete control and not in the hands of these major labels. Artists, producers and engineers keeping making music, keep updating it and never be satisfied. Because that next edit or change you want to make to a mix could be what ends up getting noticed. Who really knows?

“Wolves” is one hell of a song though no matter how many times Kanye changes it. I hope he continues to mix and changes his stuff. Who really knows what could come next??

Written by Erik Lindberg

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Performances of New Music Live Is Saving Hip-Hop

022515-music-kanye-west-brit-awards.jpgWith all the hype that surrounds new releases and internet drops of new music, it seems like a lot of it gets lost in the crowd. How did it feel to see Kanye perform “All Day” for the very first time at The BRIT Music Awards? It was absolutely amazing. No one had heard the final version of the song except for a handful of people. Yes, people had an idea that there was a song Ye’ had been working on called “All Day” and their had been some rough leaks, but no one expected him to perform the song live before it’s CD quality release. Pharrell and Snoop Dogg had done it a a Grammy pre-party as well with “Peaches N’ Cream”. And look at all the hype that song had with just a 15 second clip from the crowd. I get even more excited when I hear stuff for the first time live. It means the artist is so confident in his work to premiere it to a live audience, with no such feedback before. Drake did the same thing a few years ago during the MTV Video Music awards with “Hold On, We’re Going Home”. That was an awesome moment as well. With all the leaks and anticipation with these releases, this is the way to go for every hip-hop artist coming up. So much of the music is getting better and better, so why not build up the hype by performing your work live? Kanye was so successful during his performance and release of “All Day” and “Wolves” that they became the official music videos for the songs. I can’t imagine I’m the only one  who gets little kid excited to hear new music for the first time live. It builds hype and anticipation for not just the song to be released on the internet, but the artists’ whole projects. If artists follow these trends, it will save not just hip-hop, but the music industry as a whole.

Written by E.L.

Beats Music Is The Best Streaming Service Out There

o-BEATS-MUSICI get it. The recent news from Apple that they will be pre-loading the Beats Music streaming app on every iPhone did not make a lot of people happy. It is probably a move to try and bump up the amount of subscribers to compete with the giant that Spotify is. However, let me explain why Beats Music is a better streaming service than either of the two aforementioned, and why this move is actually better for you.

First off, I’m not a paid spokesman for Apple, and in no way am I trying to promote this service. I am here to explain the incredibly pleasant experience I’ve had thus far with Beats Music on my iPhone.

Apple made the 3.2 billion dollar purchase of Beats earlier this year to try and reach out to a younger audience, utilizing their headphones and streaming service. At first, I was skeptical and I wasn’t sure what was to become of both the headphones and streaming service. I liked the idea of their headphones; it gave many more music listeners a better quality listening experience (especially with their studio or pro lines of gear). But many audiophiles put down the headphones for being a bit unbalanced and bass heavy. But as a hip-hop head, that is exactly what I want. These headphones were not made for use in a studio–they were made for you to sit back, relax and enjoy the music. So, in my mind, Apple made an incredible move to put this company underneath their umbrella. Now, onto the music service.

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At the moment, Beats Music is available to download by all on the app store, or through whatever web browser you use. You get a free two week trial from the get-go, and you can start personalizing the listening experience however you want.

You start off by adding different artists and genres that interest your ear, and from there, Beats curates an insane amount of playlists based on those preferences just for you. I was so impressed by the shear amount of music that Beats Music was able to compile together for me so quickly, and it was almost scary how precisely it interpreted my taste in music. It was almost like Beats Music knew exactly what I already had on my iPod and expanded on it. It is something that all streaming services pride themselves  in doing, but Beats just does it BETTER.

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On top of that, they have another type of playlist curator called “The Sentence”. This allows the listener to put in 4 words, mad-libs style, to cater to specific listening wants and needs in that moment. It asks where you are, what you are doing, who you are with and what genre you want to listen to. I’ve fooled around with “The Sentence” quite a bit recently with my road trip to New York, and I COULD NOT BELIEVE how well this works. Regardless of my mood, whom I was with, or where I was, it made playlists just how I would want to hear them. I hardly ever skipped a song because of how accurate it was to what my listening habits are, and it rarely repeated itself. This feature is truly impressive to someone like me, who listens to music constantly throughout the day. It allows me to to think about making a playlist for a certain situation, with certain people, or whatever the case may be. It feels incredibly interactive and personal, almost to the point that it is aware of exactly who each individual listener is.

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As the music industry continues to move to these streaming services, Beats Music has made the best impression on me in just a short two week period. I’ve used Spotify, Grooveshark, Pandora, and even iTunes Radio. None of them work as well or as accurate as Beats Music. My two week trial period is over, but I will absolutely pay the 10 bucks a month to have this service. My only complaint is that there is yet to be a desktop client that runs the application. You can, however, access it through a web browser. This can be slightly inconvenient, but that is my only gripe. Apple made an extremely wise decision in purchasing this company and I will continue to support whatever comes next from these two music technology juggernauts. For anyone who loves music as much as I do, then Beats Music is for you. Don’t hesitate to at least try this service for the two week trial period. You will not be disappointed, I promise.

Editorial written by E.L.

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What Kendrick Lamar’s latest song “i” means for hip-hop

BxvzsTmIIAAw_F3Everyone is talking about it, Kendrick Lamar recently put out a brand new single from his highly anticipated upcoming album and it is absolutely nothing like what you were expecting.

“i”, is produced by Los Angeles based producer Rahki and samples The Isley Brothers’ “Who’s That Lady”. The track itself actually relies heavily on the sample.

Not much is done over the loop other than enhancements to sound balancing and maybe a couple drum fixes were added to go with Kendrick’s rhyming. BUT THIS IS WHAT HIP-HOP NEEDS! “i” doesn’t even sound like anything that has ever been rapped over before. The only artists that even remotely comes to mind is OutKast. Yes, the soul sample is there, but there is no overbearing, hard bass line  and there is no incredibly fast high hat ride. This is a lyricist rhyming over music, not a rapper going in over a beat.

Kendrick addresses his true love  for himself throughout the record. He talks about never giving up even though his situation back home wasn’t so hot growing up. This was a statement record, Kendrick set out to make sure that everyone knows that he won’t let anyone else change his music or his vision. It is something that has been absent from Hip-Hop for a long time.

While we wait patiently for one of the most anticipated albums of  the past two years, scroll below and actually listen to “i”. Listen to the message, listen to the introduction, listen to the music around it that ties all of Kendrick’s lyrics together and think to yourself “What other Hip-Hop artist has the guts to put out a song like this?” Kendrick Lamar, with the release of ONE song,  has already, single handedly, changed the game.

Written by DJ Sleezy E