I am pretty much anti illegal downloading of music. I do think it’s stealing. I think it’s wrong. While I think the net can help the music industry, illegal downloading is just making the industry worse.
That said; I used to download every night when I got home from work. I was addicted. I’d get online, start up Kazaa and go searching for songs that I desperately wanted.
Let me clarify; Instrumentals I desperately wanted.
I didn’t download songs that I could actually purchase, only rarities. I’d snag the occasional live or acoustic version of a song or maybe an ironic cover. But devoted most of my downloading to hunting down instrumentals that would haunt my mind all hours of the day.
(Instrumentals are one of the cooler aspects of being a Hip Hop fan. Whereas fans of other genres of music often have to ponder “what if Singer X fronted Y Band” or “Man, I bet Singer J would do an amazing cover of Song R”, Hip Hop fans have a better than 50% shot of hearing someone else rhyme over a beat that they’re enjoying. Want to hear Jay-Z freestyle over N*E*R*D’s “Rockstar?” No problem. Wish Talib and Fab rhymed over GangStarr’s “Take is Personal?” We’ve got that too.)
While some of the instrumentals could technically be purchased on vinyl, I don’t have a turntable and digital is my preferred medium for music. Thus I rationalized that I wasn’t really “stealing” music, since I didn’t have the ability to pay for it, because it wasn’t always released. Plus I do do my part for the music industry, by purchasing albums and singles.
Anyway, after my downloading days were done, I had amassed around 20 CDs full of instrumentals. Sometimes I’ll take tracks from the individual CDs to make on disc of instrumentals that I really want to listen to at that particular moment in time.
Which brings me to the focus of the column;
Instrumentals I’m Feelin’ At This Particular Moment.
Pump It Up – When I first hear this Just Blaze beat I was slayed! Just made a banging beat by incorporating one of the signature elements of a Hip Hop classic (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, shame on you.) This is a certifiable club banger, and just hearing the beat gets me hype.
Get By – Remember when Kanye wasn’t annoying and you actually couldn’t get enough of him? This song was club banger on the low, I didn’t expect it to get the crowd hype. But when this song was played people went bananas. It was kind of an odd expirence, Talib getting played in the club and causing the dance floor to fill up. I threw this on just for that memory.
Passin’ Me By – This is another Hip Hop classic. J-Swift’s beat is kind of odd, not normal, just like the Pharcyde. The cracks and pops of the record really add to the overall effect. This beat will always remind me of a simpler time.
My Minds Playing Tricks on Me – I love this beat. It’s haunting, yet you can nod your head to it. Even without the emotional lyrics the beat still packs a punch. Seriously, this is on a beat you want to be listening to as you walk through Baltimore’s Inner Harbor after midnight. But I still love the beat.
Pull It This song was never released, which sucked because it would have been my favorite song on either DMX or Cam’ron’s debuts. Digga’s beat has a sense of urgency that is almost frantic. This is one beat that was stuck in my head for years before I finally got a hold of it. And it so lived up the expectations.
Wrong Side of da Tracks – T-Ray’s mellow beat is something that you could really nod off to. It’s chill, and it sets my mind at ease. I often find myself zoning off while this beat plays.
Brooklyn Kids – Yet another song that wasn’t officially released. This beat will always remind me of a friendship that I grew away from. So this beat has real sentimental value. But it also knocks.
We Gonna Make It – This may be my favorite Alchemist beat of all time and it’s a contender of my favorite beat of all time period. There is something about this beat that I find very uplifting. I can’t explain it, but it makes me optimistic. If I had a TV show, this beat would be the theme.
85 – Back before the YoungBloodz were Lil’ Jon cronies, they were tolerable. This beat, by P.A., just hits me. I think it’s the guitar sample and the heavy bass. Ah, to recall a time when The South held promise.
100 % – The first time I heard this track I lost it. This beat is sick. Sean Cane perfectly captured the “latin sound” with this beat. It makes me want to dance, and I’ve got no rhythm. At least not vertically.
Focus – Obviously I’m feelin’ Joe Budden. This White Boy beat does it for me. It may be the way it’s layered. Maybe it’s how the components come in. I don’t know, but this is one beat that I can’t get enough of.
None of Y’all Betta – Premier is a master at sampling, especially when he samples the artists he’s providing the beat for. He takes a toss away line from Jadakiss and makes it the foundation of a beat. The man is genius. Plus the beat is gritty to match the group. I was pumped when I found this beat.
It Ain’t Hard To Tell – Larger Professor doesn’t get enough props. This was the first song I heard from Illmatic and I was blown away by the Michael Jackson sample. This is another head nodder.
The World Is Yours – To me this was one of Peter Rock’s masterpieces. The haunted piano really gave this beat emotion. When this beat plays, if I try hard enough I can close my eyes and I’m back to when Hip Hop was an art.
Memory Lane Proof that Hip Hop had “soul” before Kanye. This is one of the most soulful beats I can think of. It’s also one of my favorite beats. It’s no surprise the Primo created this beat. It might be corny, but this beat does take me down Memory Lane.
One More Chance – This was the song that really opened my eyes to B.I.G. and made me a believer. This beat will always mellow me out, it’s so smooth. But it’s also bittersweet because it reminds me that B.I.G. won’t be blessing anymore remixes. You should see people flock to the dance floor when this beat comes on, that’s what I try to focus on when I’m grooving to this beat.
Unbelievable – Back in ’94 you couldn’t really imagine a R. Kelly sample sounding street, but Primo pulled it off. This was one of my favorite tracks of B.I.G.’s debut. It’s a simple beat, but it’s got a powerful impact.
Ten Crack Commandments – Chuck D sampled for a song about drug dealing has to be the definition of irony. Again Primo’s clever samples make this beat stand on it’s own.
Bad Intentions – It’s no secret that I hate Dr. Dre. This really makes the list because Jay-Z made this beat his own, when he took off the gloves for his battle with Nas. Whenever I hear this beat, I just think of someone talking greasy about another guy’s girl.
Spottieottiedopaliscious ET3 produced this ultimate chill out track. It’s a banging way to end the disc, with over seven minutes of mellow funk. I still remember the first time I heard this song; my roommates and I sat in silence and just absorbed the whole experience. It was a dope time. Man, those trumpets are sick.
Well, that’s it for another week. I hope you enjoyed my rambling. If not read these folks;
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5. Ol’ Dirty Bastard