At right around the 1:32 mark of the latest episode of MASS APPEAL’s “Rhythm Roulette,” featuring the magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff, you can see the legendary artist and actor pensively place his chin in his hands as he carefully listens to one of the three records he dug out of the crates at random, figuring out which portion of it he’ll use just minutes later as he crafts his instrumental. At that moment, it becomes clear that this isn’t just a bit of press for Jazz. This is life. The act of making music is home for him, as he alluded during the introduction of the segment.
So much so, that the records were brought to him. Jazz, who regularly tours internationally, didn’t have time to hit the record store after returning home from a recent trip, so his friend and vinyl enthusiast Gene Brown brought the crate digging to Jazz in the back of a van. And dig he did. After the DJ swiped off the traditional blindfold, Gene revealed that Jazz had come up with ‘Back for More’ by Al Johnson—“classic”— ‘Say No More’ by rock act Les Dudek, and the 1973 self-titled album by funk act Reuben Howell.
“You know what that is?” exclaims Jazzy as he listens to one of the records, turning around to check for incredulous looks on the faces of his comrades. “That’s scratching! That’s scratching with someone singing on it! That’s why I was tripping!” Despite being at the forefront of DJ culture for the last 30 years, he still gets giddy when he hears it being done right.
What happens next is part of the reason why Jazzy won rap one its first Grammy. Enjoy the latest episode of “Rhythm Roulette” below.
Jazz got the chance to work with a brand new Serato software plug-in called Sample that integrates with Serato’s O.G. production software, Pitch ‘n Time. As the name suggests, Sample allows users to chop samples and manipulate them freely. BPMs can be adjusted to the utmost extreme without any loss of audio quality. A highly intuitive interface allowed Jazz to quickly find, chop, key-shift, and time-stretch samples. Read more
For this episode of Rhythm Roulette, MASS APPEAL met up with one of Atlanta’s most influential producers, London On Da Track. As a mainstay of the Atlanta production world, London has played an instrumental role in the development of Young Thug’s career, crafting some of the greatest hits in the enigmatic Atlien’s catalogue. His time with Thugger has blessed the world with standouts such as ‘Lifestyle,’ ‘About Da Money’ and ‘Check.’ Let’s also not forget London’s work with other Atlanta heavyweights, as he was the mastermind behind 21 Savage and Drake’s collab ‘Sneakin” as well as countless bangers with artists like French Montana, Gucci Mane, Birdman, 2 Chainz and many others.
Helping to define the soundscape coming out of Atlanta, who knows what the sound of trap music would be without London? True to his discography, London decided to bring the trap to Rhythm Roulette. In that spirit, he took his chances, pulling three records from A1 Records in New York.
London ended up with Phyllis Hyman’s ‘Living All Alone,’ Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s ‘Blacknuss’ and a house record from Jesse Saunders. Making quick decisions, London ends up sampling Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s cover of Marvin Gaye’s classic ‘What’s Going On.’ Read more
For this episode of Rhythm Roulette, MASS APPEAL met up with one of Detroit’s illest, Denaun Porter. As an original member of D12, Mr. Porter has played an instrumental role in Eminem’s career and the history of Shady Records. His time with Em goes all the way back to the MC’s 1996 debut, ‘Infinite,’ and Porter has handled many tracks over the years for the MC and his crew, D12. Let’s also not forget Porter’s work for G-Unit, because he was behind the beats for such classics as 50 Cent’s ‘P.I.M.P.’ and the group’s ‘Stunt 101.’ Other collaborators over the years include Busta Rhymes, Xzibit and Jadakiss.
Who knows where Em would be without Mr. Porter? As his trusted hypeman on tour, Porter truly knows how to turn it up a notch. And that is exactly what he did for this episode of Rhythm Roulette.
Making a daring leap in the history of RR, Porter remembers that when he was coming up, he only enough money for one record. So in that spirit, he took his chances and only pulled one piece of vinyl from Amoeba Music in Los Angeles.
He ended up with some soulful disco from 1977, a sound that most producers stay away from, but you’ll be surprised to see how he flipped it…into three different beats! Watch the full video below. Read more
For the latest episode of Rhythm Roulette, Mass Appeal met up with DJ Khalil. Khalil is behind some major tracks for superstars like 50 Cent (‘I’ll Still Kill’) and Eminem (‘Survival’), plus he has a long list of Billboard Hot 100-charting singles. His full discography stretches back almost two decades through his deep roots in the LA hip hop underground, and he’s spent lots of time at to the console alongside Dr. Dre. And he’s still putting out heat. Recently, Khalil produced the A$AP Ferg banger ‘East Coast,’ he has multiple credits on Joey Bada$$’ All Amerikkkan Badass, he also did two tracks on Anderson.Paak’s breakout Malibu.
With that proven track record, we had to see what Khalil could do with the Rhythm Roulette challenge. At Artform Studios in Los Angeles, he picked out some dark side flower power with a Doors album, a Congregation record from the early ’70s and a soul selection from Charles Wright to balance it all out. Because Khalil frequently works with rock samples, it seems like dude got the perfect ingredients.
Check out the full video below to hear the head banging instrumental that Khalil chopped up. Read more
Chase N. Cashe has been producing since the age of 17, but fell in love with music even earlier. Though he is well known in the hip hop game as a producer—working with artists like Drake, Lil Wayne, and R Kelly—and rapper he finds himself to be an overall business man (hence the name), not limiting himself to any one category. Expanding beyond music, he’s even gotten into streetwear. Some of sport’s and music’s biggest names have been seen rocking Chase N. Cashe’s “Can’t Buy Respect” brand.
On Mass Appeal’s latest episode of Rhythm Roulette, they caught up with the New Orleans producer to see what heat he had in store for us. After blindly selecting vinyls from The Section, Steppenwolf, and Steve Winwood, the different varieties of artists didn’t seem to phase him at all. Chopping up smooth yet diverse sounds, Chase N. Cashe did what he does best while still including elements that complement his Southern roots. Catch the action up top.
You can also check out his latest self-produced single, ‘Major Priority’ here. Read more
DJ Dahi does his thing on another level, crafting beats for such giants as Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and Dr. Dre. So it’s appropriate that Dahi’s second appearance on Rhythm Roulette be anything but ordinary. This time around Mass Appeal made two important innovations to their standard operating procedure.
First of all, instead of a regular old record store, the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles-based producer came out to NYC and went digging through cardboard boxes in the back of a van stuffed full of treats by rare groove vendor Gene Brown. In case you were unaware, Brown is a North Carolina-based MC/producer who specializes in serving up sample fodder to production gods like Pete Rock and the aforementioned Mr. West. Digging in his crates is like looking for gold at Fort Knox.
In this case, Dahi slipped on a blindfold and came up with a gospel record by the Midwestern District Choir, Greg Perry’s 1977 funk/soul classic Smokin‘, and what Mr. Brown described as an “extremely rare Brazilian joint.”
“Let’s go make some beats!” said Dahi, clutching the vinyl in his hands. Read more
Fresh off dropping his new album, More Than Anything, Bay area producer-slash-rapper P-Lo pulled up to A1 Records in New York for Mass Appeal’s latest episode of “Rhythm Roulette.” He submitted to their tradition of blindfold record digging and sample-based beat making with good humor, ending up with some Imperials, some Aretha Franklin, and some Iranian music.
After passing on the Iranian stuff as “too zeeky,” P settled with thoughtful head-nodding on Aretha’s powerful ‘Song For You.’ He threw the sample in reverse, pitched it up and went in. With hollow drums and skittering snares, a couple vocal percussive chops, and some bouncy ratchet keys, he flips the tune into true “collar popping music.” Read more
For this episode of Rhythm Roulette, Mass Appeal linked with Philly’s own Jahlil Beats.
Just like Zaytoven, Mike Will, and other prolific producers, Jahlil Beats has a very memorable drop at the beginning of his beats. But it’s much more than just a drop that has kept Jahlil in high demand for several years with some of the hottest rappers: Meek Mill, Jay Z, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Rick Ross, and more. He’s had a knack to incorporate unusual samples for melodies with window-shattering drums that keep rappers coming back for more.
Jahlil flips a track off of Roxy Music’s Country Life. Watch him add his flavor to it above and then OT The Real spit some bars on top of the finished product. Read more
For this week of Rhythm Roulette, Mass Appeal went to Atlanta to link with Mr. DJ.
Mr. DJ is a producer’s producer. An Atlanta legend, he’s a member of the Dungeon Family, the unsung hero responsible for creating some of Outkast’s greatest tracks. Credited individually for classics like “Elevators,” and “Da Art of Storytellin,'” he eventually linked with Big Boi and Andre 3000, forming like Voltron to make up the production team Earthtone III. Besides Outkast, he’s also produced music for acts as varied as Lenny Kravitz, Bubba Sparxxx, Goodie Mob, Killer Mike and 8Ball & MJG.
On their trip to Atlanta, they stopped by the record shop where Mr. DJ selected Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall,” J Dilla’s “Donuts,” and a Stones Throw compilation “The Buzz.” Two modern day hip hop records is definitely not something he was expecting to cop, out of the norm compared to previous pickings during Rhythm Roulettes. From there, we headed to the legendary Stankonia Studios to see what he chopped up. Read more
For the last Rhythm Roulette of 2016, Mass Appeal linked with the man responsible for some of this year’s biggest tracks: Charlie Heat.
The Grammy-nominated Charlie Heat is a name you’ll be seeing a lot more of in 2017. Since working with Lil Uzi Vert early on, the Jersey artist Charlie Heat caught the ear of Kanye and has been on a tear ever since.
Mass Appeal headed to Philly to see how Charlie comes up with this stuff. After hitting up a record shop, he walks out with The Best Of Fabienne Delsol & The Bristols, Mutabaruka’s The Mystery Unfolds, and a Lou Reed record. After he finds his first golden sample, he slowly adds layer after layer for a certified banger. He continues hunting within the records and ends up making a whopping four beats in total. But for the final beat, he decides to work from the ground up, building it from scratch. Read more
For this edition of Rhythm Roulette, Mass Appeal linked up with Salaam Remi.
Getting his first taste of studio work with Kurtis Blowe, Salaam Remi was destined to work with some of the greats like Nas, Amy Winehouse, Fugees (The Score), Ini Kamoze (“Here Comes The Hotstepper”), Jurassic 5, and more. He’s also worked on soundtracks for films like Office Space, Zoolander, The Departed, and Blood Diamond. He’s most recently been working with Bodega Bamz, Joell Ortiz, and Nitty Scott as No Panty. Read more