Final Post

The experience I had using social media to create content and promote myself was generally positive. I found that the Twitter widget and the Text widget came in handy quite often. These are the two tools that I found the most helpful when it came to promoting my blog page about hip hop and jazz. Another tool that I found effective was the hashtag tool on Twitter because it made it easy to locate similar tweets and helped me with the promotion of the blog itself. Using the hyperlink tool was also effective because it easily allowed me to link sources and important videos related to the content.

Some of the tools that I didn’t find effective were things such as the calendar widget and navigation widget because my blog really had no need for either of these specific functions. If I could improve WordPress in some way I would probably focus on making it easier to link with other users with similar content. WordPress could do something like Twitter/Facebook and give suggestions on who to follow based on your interests. This experience definitely benefited me because I got to practice my writing, photography, coding and social skills. When it comes to the future I Definitely want to keep up with social media and be able to implement it for promotion. Even if I find myself unemployed promoting myself or an idea I have on social media can help open doors for me in the future.

My most popular post was the very first week, I had eight views, I think this post was the most popular because the title was a good attention grabber. I also believe the first post was the simplest to write because I had wide area of content to cover on jazz/hip hop still and as I continued to add more posts I started to run out of content. I still find it funny that my first post has the most views, I was kind of hoping the last post would have more because it would prove that progress was made and I had gained more viewers. I did surprisingly gain a few followers on twitter by using it when promoting my blog which was nice bonus as well.

Favorite hip hop albums

In this post I’ll be discussing my favorite favorite hip hop albums that I own in no particular order. I’ll give information about the artist/group in general and then talk about some of the samples that were used to create the album.

Bizarre Ride II is a studio album released on November 24, 1992 by the hip hop group the Pharcyde. The Pharcyde consists of four emcees including “SlimKid3”(Tre Hardson), “Imani”(Emandu Wilcox), “Bootie Brown”(Romye Robinson) and “Fatlip”(Derrick Stewart). The album was produced by a former group member called J-Swift; in the years after its release Bizarre Ride II has been hailed by music critics and has appeared in numerous publications’ “best albums” lists.  J-Swift relied on a large number of samples, by jazz artists including Donald Byrd, John Coltrane and Grover Washington Jr. J-Swift also samples artists that include Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Ayers and Marvin Gaye. The Wonder Years is a studio album released on September 27, 2011 produced entirely by the producer 9th Wonder. It includes appearances from hip hop artists Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, Talib Kweli, Blu and more. The album received an 87/100 on Metacritic but personally I think it was at least a 90/100. 9th wonder sampled multiple artists including Tyron Davis, Jerry Butler, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, The Sylvers, and even a Joe Namath Monday night football interview.

Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is the debut studio album by the hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan released on November 9, 1993. Wu-Tang Clan includes a good amount of members including Ol’ Dirty Bastard, GZA, Raekwon, U-God, Method Man, Ghostface Killah and RZA who produced most of the album with help from Method man and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. RZA samples multiple artists including jazz artist Thelonious Monk, The Jackson 5, Daryl Hall & John Oates, LL Cool J, Barbra Streisand and RZA also samples a scene from the movie Shaolin and Wu Tang. Paid In Full is the debut album released on July 7, 1987 by American hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim. Paid in Full is produced entirely by Eric B. & Rakim and is credited as a benchmark album of golden age hip hop. This album features heavy sampling by Eric B. which became influential in hip hop production and the album was ranked number 228 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Black Star is the only studio album by Black Star, a hip hop dup consisting of emcees Talib Kweli and Mos Def released on September 29, 1998 to critical acclaim. There was multiple producers for this album including Shawn J. Period, Hi-Tek, Ge-ology, 88-Keys, J. Rawls and Da Beatminerz. Some of the samples on Black Star include Gil-Scott Heron, Brian Jackson, Slick Rick, Don Randi, A Tribe Called Quest, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye.

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Jazz influence

The influence of jazz is truly astounding, whether it is directly or indirectly. Hip Hop has been influenced by jazz since its birth. Jazz artists Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets are often credited as some of the first rappers, they were mixing funky rhythms with political spoken words during the 1970s. The Last Poets released “When the Revolution Comes,” a spoken-word poem accompanied by conga drums calling for the rejection of white supremacist ideology. That same year, Gil Scott Heron recorded “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” a rapped poem accompanied by a pulsing baseline and jazzy flute that criticized mass media for ignoring the civil rights movement. Both artists had a profound impact on the following generation of hip hop artists, and have been referenced by hip hop artists throughout hip hops history.

Some of the artists who carried on the messages and music of Gil-Scott Heron and the Last Poets included Public Enemy, KRS-One, Rakim, Native Tongues, the Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah and A Tribe Called Quest. A Tribe Called Quest’s 1991 album The Low End Theory set the group apart from others with its positive, Afrocentric message, clever wordplay, and jazz-sampling production. This album was predominantly mellow, minimalist and bass heavy, contrasting with the upbeat tempos of the time such as Ice cube’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. Tribe was one of the first hip hop groups to directly collaborate with jazz musicians, hiring the jazz bassist Ron Carter to play on “Verses of the Abstract.” Tribe also samples The Last Poets preaching “Time is running out on the black power!” between bursts of saxophone sampled from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Today, jazz in hip hop is alive as it’s ever been. Knwxledge-collaborator Anderson .Paak is drawing upon his years of experience playing the drum kit to bridge jazz influences with hip hop, soul and funk, much like the Soulquarians did in their day. The Canadian band BadBadNotGood adopting their training in jazz to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar, Ghostface Killah and MF Doom. Chicago Artists Chance the Rapper, Noname Gypsy, Smino, Ravyn Lenae, Saba, Jamila Woods and Mick Jenkins have developed their own type of style incorporating jazz and hip hop together with strong gospel influences. It is almost impossible to label “jazz-rap” as one specific genre anymore. Especially as Jazz and hip hop continues to spread and diversify.

The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest

Breaking Through the Threshold

Kamasi Washington, Thundercat and Flying lotus do an amazing job of blending their craft with just the right amount of hip hop flavor. These three artists are all from Los Angeles, California and have collaborated on multiple albums including: Heaven and Earth, by Kamasi Washington; To Pimp a Butterfly, by Kendrick Lamar; The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam, by Thundercat, Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington. Washington is known for playing the tenor saxophone, while Thundercat is recognized for playing the bass guitar and Flying Lotus is an experimental multi-genre music producer. This is crucial because these three artists are bringing jazz to people who don’t normally listen to the genre at all. They are building the bridge between hip hop and jazz fans everywhere by mending the two genres together without even trying.

Washington was tutored by jazz masters around Los Angles including his father Rickey Washington. Kamasi has become a go-to-collaborator for hip hop artists including Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels, Terrace Martin and more. “It feels like people are becoming more open” is how Kamasi Washington replied to an interview. If fans open up to genre melding, it will help artists make the creation process smoother and help eliminate the backlash that is received while performing experimental songs. Washington claims that when you open yourself up to jazz music and people it can have a very high success rate.

Flying Lotus or Steven Ellison is a multi-genre music producer, electronic musician, DJ, rapper and filmmaker. FlyLo has performed with hip hop artist including Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller MF Doom and more. Ellison saw an advertisement on Adult Swim/Cartoon Network asking for music submissions, he sent some in under his current name Flying Lotus and the rest is history. Thundercat or Stephen Lee Bruner is a multi-genre bass guitarist, producer, singer and songwriter. Thundercat has performed with multiple hip hop artist as well including Kendrick Lamar, Kirk Knight, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa and a few others. Thundercat is a major contributor for the critically acclaimed album To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar. Thundercat and FlyLo draw most of their inspiration from jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock.

Flying Lotus Album: Pattern/Grid World

Beat Tapes

Lofi Hip Hop refers to the genre of music that mixes up traditional hip hop and jazz elements to create an atmospheric, instrumental soundscape. A beat tape is typically a Lofi instrumental music mix compiled into an album or tape by an underground producer. Beat tapes tend to have more imperfections and lower sound quality compared to the contemporary standard that is expected. Originally beat tapes were used to serve two main purposes. First they were a producer’s calling card, sort of like a rough draft of their skills that could be improved with the right studio equipment. The second purpose was that the tapes served as a measure of skill, as well as a format for practice and rehearsal.

The origin of the beat tape is kind of a mystery. Some producers believe that the 12” record Windy Style, an instrumental, can be considered the first proto-beat tape, but other producers argue that demo tapes can be seen as the influence for what would later become the beat tape. Technology would then change the way that beat tapes are exchanged, consumed and thought of entirely. A major tipping point for the beat tape was in 2006, when producers started releasing beat tapes using zip files, Myspace and other music sharing websites. As technology progressed beat tapes started getting more exposure and saw more mainstream success. An example of this mainstream success is the tape Donuts, produced by Jay Dee, which was issued days before his passing on February 10, 2006. Some other notable beat tapes with mainstream success include: Flying Lotus, July Heat; Paul White, Untitled; Madlib, Shades of Blue.

Beat tapes are usually made using lofi hip hop instrumentals that are good for activities such as studying, relaxing and gaming. Producers also attempt to make experimental beats, but they usually have a tougher time gaining mainstream success that way. STEZZYASFUCK is a YouTube channel that has a nice variety of beat tapes that are produced by multiple hip hop producers. There is also similar channels on YouTube that have a live chat with a small community, that play a live mix of lofi hip hop daily on YouTube. Beat tapes have even more exposure now that technology has continued to progress. Now if you want to share or find a beat tape, you can use applications such as YouTube, Sound cloud, Apple Music, Spotify and more.

Jay Dee’s beat tape Donuts

 

Intersection

Chris Robinson’s post “Karriem Riggins and the Intersection between Jazz and Hip-Hop” is well written and informative. Robinson discusses the negative feedback left by jazz critics in regard to jazz artists working with hip-hop and rap producers. Chris explains how musician who are talented in multiple styles of music such as Riggins, get unfair feedback because critics don’t typically associate their music styles with jazz. The album Alone Together was clearly influenced by jazz and meshes well with Riggins natural talent for hip-hop production. Robinson shows how artists like Riggins are intersecting hip-hop with jazz, because it comes natural to them and they can separate genres entirely; as well as bring genres together.

I enjoy how Robinson incorporates a story of him listening to a DJ on the radio talk about Riggins multiple music styles. He uses this story to explain how he was introduced to Riggins music and to describe how Riggins music actually sounded. Robinson’s descriptions of the instruments and samples in the post are very well written. “It begins with a spacey, held synth cord that gives way to a call and response between a vibraphone and flute.” His description of the music is spot on and it makes me wonder if he can play any instruments. He also included an interview he heard with Riggins on the radio that was tied in nicely. The interview was Riggins talking about how he only feels progress when creating new sounds and music, not focusing on just one genre.

I share a lot of the same opinions as Robinson in this post, we both think that meshing and pushing the musical boundaries can be a positive thing. Musicians shouldn’t have to be confined to one specific genre of music especially if him or her is capable of different music styles. The jazz and hip-hop intersection doesn’t exist in artist’s music, it exists in the way that the listener decides to conceptualize the music. If a genre or style comes natural to a musician than why should he or she care if a critic thinks that the two genres should stay separated; let it come naturally. It’s cool to see that another user on WordPress is interested in jazz and hip-hop connections as well.

Chris Robinson: link to post

 

BadBadNotGood

“Hip-hop is like one of the children of jazz music.” This quote is by the New York rapper Nas, who released the critically acclaimed hip-hop album “Illmatic” in 1994. Some people see hip-hop and jazz as an unholy alliance; believing that hip-hop is an insult to the great American art form of jazz. Musicians who share the same bloodlines often see the genre-melding as a positive transformation though. An example of this is the jazz artist Quincy Jones and his son QJIII, a rap producer.

BadBadNotGood is not your typical group of jazz musicians. Right now BBNG is the jazz group that the hip-hop & rap world is running with. The band layer jazz, soul and funk with improvisation; then finish it off with a bit of hip-hop flavor. BBNG has recorded with performers like Ghostface Killah and Frank Ocean’s backing band at Coachella. The members include keyboardist Matthew A. Tavares, bassist Chester Hansen, saxophonist Leland Whitty and drummer Alexander Sowinski.

In my opinion, BBNG is an example of genre-melding heading in a positive direction. The founding members of BBNG met through a jazz program at Toronto’s Humber College in 2010, their tutors did not appreciate their contemporary take on the genre. Undeterred by their tutors’ criticism, the following day BBNG recorded a video in two parts. BBNG re-created tracks originally produced by odd future and titled it “Odd Future Sessions.” After the video their success skyrocketed, they also continue to create new music with hip-hop artists and producers. I’m glad that the band is sticking it to the critics, BBNG is making genre-melding a positive thing and there doing it while staying true to the roots of jazz music.

Hip Hop is Dead album by Nas