Volume 4: Cookies From the Cookie Jar of Brother Soul
August 20, 1999

It's Just A White Bar

        What the deal is, peoples. No interviews this time around, just a whole lot of hot air from Unkle Phill aka The Soulman. I'm all over the place on this one, so let us get up, get into it and get involved, shall we?

THE ART OF FLIPPIN' BEATS
        In the rap world 2000, simple loops just ain't gettin' it no more. You've got to be a master at flippin' those beats- chopping the hell out of that dope loop and replaying it until you've created your own composition. It's definitely an artform, and since everybody's doing it now, from Primo to Clark Kent to even the Trackmasters, I thought I'd try to come up with a little list of my fave flipped beats of all time. The rules were simple- for a flipped beat to make the list, I had to know what record the original sample came from. That said, there's probably gonna be a ton of joints that don't make it simply because yours truly didn't know what the source material was. Secondly, the beat had to be flipped in a way that either a) I never in a million years would've thought to flip it, or b) I can't see how the hell the producer did it. Most importantly, the track has to be just crazy.

        Of course, if we're debating who's the king of flippin' beats, the title has to go to Mr. Works Of Mart himself, DJ Premier. Yes, without a doubt those chopped up, minimalist tracks of his are the illest. But there's no way you can totally appreciate what the man does unless you know what records he's deconstructing and then reassembling like a hip hop Dr. Frankenstein.

        For example, the shit he used for "Royalty" from the last Gangstarr album. My man Ryan at Jump Jump music played the original joint for me over the phone, and I'm like, "Huh???" "Trust me, that's what it is", he assured me. Okay. So I finally get the record he used, and I try to recreate what Primo did. I'm listening and listening and LISTENING to this shit- I hear the sounds in there, but I can't figure out how the hell he put this shit together, or how he could've even concieved this shit! It's got to be the after effect of mad Garcia Vega smoke up in D&D or somethin', it's beyond me. But anyway I finally get it (pretty close, anyway) after hours of work on the MPC, and I put the results on my Soulman World Of Beats Vol. 3 along with the original sample, so heads could see how it was flipped. Mad people talked to me after hearing my tape, and said they STILL couldn't see how it was done.

        Primo's work on "Royalty" is an example of a sample being chopped up and reconstructed in a totally different way, but another style of flipping a beat is by looping it in an unorthodox manner. Prime examples of this would be joints like Biggie Smalls' "Kick In The Door" as done by Primo, and Easy Mo Bee's work on "Pink Cookies In A Plastic Bag" by Ladies Love Cool James (LL to y'all). In these cases you're dealing with samples that aren't your typical 4/4 hip hop beats, but are looped in a way that make them sound as though they are. For musical purists who argue that looping someone else's music isn't original or creative, I challenge them to study records such as these. It takes an incredible ear for music to be able to listen to Screamin' Jay Hawkins' fright classic "I Put A Spell On You" and come up with the"Kick In The Door" track (arguably one of Primo's best), and without doing much more than looping it! Puff Daddy takin' hits from the '80's this is not.

        The "Pink Cookies" joint is really 2 pieces put together, but it might as well be just a loop- it ain't much more. The thing is, how do you get a phat ass track like that from a slow, sad Esther Phillips ballad? The shit was so hot that Q-Tip and Premier himself even bit the way Easy Mo rocked that shit (on tracks for Mobb Deep and Jeru respectively).

        A variation of the ill loop would be the way Brand Nubian looped James Brown's "Can Mind" for their hip hop exemplar "All For One". This time, instead of looping from the beginning of a bar to the end, the looping point is somewhere in the middle of the bar. So you wind up with a mellowish loop with a little beeping sound in the middle, the result of the ending of an organ riff being chopped off . Totally insane, and truly ahead of it's time.

        A-ight, so here's my list. I would like to name the sample sources for all of these, but as you all well know, that would be a violation and I'm trying real hard not to do too much violatin' with this New World O' Beats shit. My apologies for those that I forgot to include- there's probably a lot of ill underground jammies on the indy tip that I just ain't up on. Whatever. Let the debates begin!


SOUL'S FAVE FLIPPED BEATS OF ALL TIME (In no particular order):
  1. Biggie Smalls (Primo): KICK IN THE DOOR
  2. Gangstarr (Primo): ROYALTY
  3. LL Cool J (Easy Mo Bee): PINK COOKIES IN A PLASTIC BAG
  4. Gangstarr (Primo): YOU KNOW MY STEEZ
  5. The Lox (Ron Lawrence): MONEY POWER RESPECT
  6. Blackstar (J-Rawls): BROWN SKIN LADY
  7. Pete Rock: TRU MASTER
  8. Brand Nubian: ALL FOR ONE
  9. A Tribe Called Quest: GET A HOLD
  10. Rahzel (Pete Rock): ALL I KNOW
  11. Jay Z (Primo): A MILLION & ONE QUESTIONS / RHYME NO MORE (especially Rhyme No More)
        If you know of something that I should've included on this list, let a brotha know and if I agree with your choice I'll print it in the new "E-Mail Must Go Through" section (see below). Be sure to name the original record that the beat was sampled from.


THE EMAIL MUST GO THROUGH
        A new regular feature for the World Of Beats! When I did the column for Rap Sheet I got tons of letters but due to lack of space I really couldn't print any of them in the magazine. Now we're online and we do what the f@#% we want!! Advanced record collectors will recognize the title as a take off on the ultra rare classic funk lp by The Cult, "The Mail Must Go Through". I've been getting mad electronic kites filling up my mailbox since the website was launched, and here's some of what y'all have been sendin' the kid:

  •     Peace, I go by the name Tha Architect. I'm a producer/beat head from South Philly. I just was on your website and I just wanna say thanks for your ill contribution. Imma check back often. I'll also send you a tape of some beats I put together so be on the look. BIG UP ONCE AGAIN DOG! HOLLA BACK.
    jude@media-methods.com

  •     Damn, first let me say congrats on the new site, I never read a copy of RapSheet but I'm glad I got this second chance to check out WOB and yourself. I read every thing on your site in one sitting. You don't know me but a tape with Spoonie Gee and Masterdon Committee on it sits in my ride today. When I saw your excerpt from the Kool Moe Dee / Busy Bee battle I knew I didn't know you personally but I knew you from a place a lotta younger heads will never be able to relate to. Thanks and Good luck. You got a friend in Texas.
    ENYorker

  • Hey SM
        Wondered what happened to you since the RapSheet dissappeared. Good to see you back.
    marlon@mguildford.freeserve.co.uk

  • What's going on?
        Thanks for the great site and articles! I actually have a reason now to get on the internet (yes, i am seeing that there a lot of things to check out). I never read most of your old stuff for Rap Sheet so its definitely inspiring to look over. I appreciate that you mention Allen Illy to the people. I'm a die hard Sixers fan and its a relief, for the first time in forever, to not be anxiously awaiting the NBA draft. I think we are going to see Allen develop into a national presence in the next few years...not just on the court. Jordan was/is an international merchandise icon, but I can't see Allen pimping his name as bad as Michael does! The kid just speaks his mind too much. In the coming years that will be a good thing...he'll make people see some of the seedy, shady shit in the NBA.
        Of course, thanks for putting me up on several things and thanks for raising this whole art/obsession to such a high level.
        2nd. Do you know Ben Velez who used to write a beat article for "on the go?" Good kid.
        3rd. I haven't heard one of your tapes yet. (besides the Archaeologists tape with the Whole Darn Family cover....heard it once and wasn't feeling it...but thats one listen for you) but I'd like to check one out soon. Ken Sport and Muro.....oh my god!!! These japanese cats are ridiculous.
        4th. You have an extra copy of the 2nd s.o.u.l. lp for me? Hahahahaha. Damn, I really hate having to give up and buy reissues (like Patrice put it: "giving it up (the loot) is giving up!")
        Alright, here's something for you: the Melton Brothers Band- do you know this? Pick it up, there's a true gem on it.
        All right for now. I don't know if you have time to read and write but I'd love to hear from you.
    Peace,
    Tony L.

  • Soulman,
        Just happened onto your site today for the first time!! What can I say...... FRESH!!!! I'm a fledgling beat collector who lost ALL of his goodies in a fire last summer, but I'm now back on track after moving.... I just came across a really dope new spot to unearth hot buttery biscuits.....so...... I wanted to touch base and check in- on the check in!!
        Nothing compares to dropping the needle on a blazing intro or a stupid funky break!!! (it's so hard to explain to girlfriends)
        Thanks for the site and keep up the good work!!!
    Your brother in beats,
    J.Murph

  • What up Soulman!
        First off I like to give you mad props on World of Beats vol.'s 1-3... Crazy hot...my name's Chris; I've been diggin for about 6 ears. There's nothing in the world I like more than vinyl and originals...I started getting into originals around 92-93 when DJ Riz used to play them on WBAU with wild man Steve...ever since then I've been addicted to originals. The first original tape I bought was back in 94, it was called "Travel Through Sample Land", spun by the Vinyl Reanimators. World of Beats #3 has been in heavy rotation in my world along with track #3 for the last month.
    Peace...
    "zuerkillz"@cyburban.com


MY LITTLE GIRL
        Many of y'all already know this, but on April 8th 1999 my wife Tracie gave birth to our firstborn, a 6lb 14oz baby girl, Akilah Niara Stroman (yep, I actually convinced wifey to name our girl after not one, but two records- Melvin Sparks' "Akilah" and Doug Lucas' "Niara"! Akilah is a swahili name meaning "intelligent, one who reasons", and Niara is, I believe, West African and it means "female with a purpose". I couldn't find any names that meant "born to dig in crates for ill beats", but hey, you can't have everything.

        As of this writing little Akilah (or KiKi as we call her) is now almost 3 months old and rapidly approaching 13 pounds, trying to crawl, trying to talk and still doing a whole lot of peeing, shitting and vomiting. Isn't that cute???? Seriously, she has been the joy of our lives and we're now gearing up for preproduction on our next joint. Tentative release date: spring 2001.

        Special thanks to all the people who e-mailed their congratulations to us on the birth of our daughter, it was truly appreciated.


This Month's Beats To Catch:
(Yeah, I know what y'all really read this site for!
So here you go... good luck catchin' em!)
1."Leaving This Time" - Sandra Feva
2."Star Gazer" - Network
3."Thundermama" - Thundermama
4."Supershine #9" - Sister Goose & The Ducklings
5."Street Rondo" - Thijs Van Leer
6."Mellow" - Jimmy Stewart
7."If It Itches, Scratch It" - Funk Band, Inc.
8."Waitin' For The Welfare" - Middlebrooks Musical Ensemble
9."180 Degree Turn" - Tony Davillo
10."Billy Jack" - The Kid Stuff Repertory Co.


"RECORD BREAKIN'" OR BROKEN RECORD?
        I'm sure by now most of you have seen the article on beatdiggin' by Riggs Morales in the September issue of The Source. Some of you might've even checked it and said "Hey!! Soulman's not in this shit??? I want my damn money back!!" Well, Eothan Alpatt, who helped this Riggs guy with the article, actually did try to page me at the last minute to get a quote (which probably would've ended up on the cutting room floor anyway) but, alas, too late.

        I was highly pissed off, though, that my tapes weren't included in the sidebar (which had the line "from the world of breakbeats"...damn that sounds familiar!). It's not like these cats didn't know about me or my tapes- a lot of the article took place at A-1 Records in New York, where my tapes are the biggest sellers. Plus I left Riggs a message on his voicemail months ago when I first got wind that he was gonna do the piece. Can you say "intentional dis"?

        I know, I know... I'm soundin' all bitter and everything. Well, that's because I AM bitter!! I'm ready to get out the ski mask and go see those Source muhfukkas! Y'all know my credentials... the Rapsheet column, over 73 ill ass tapes on the market, sellin' beats to all the top producers at the world famous Roosevelt show, the website... the list goes on and on! And they couldn't even include my tape in the sidebar??? Nah, I gots to ride on somebody over this shit!!

        Of course, I'm just playing... somewhat. At least my friend Bob Gibson, who is one of the few good guys in this beat game, got a mention and his photo up in there. So for that reason alone I'm not gonna give Riggsy's article a thumbs down. The other tapes that were mentioned all deserved to be in there- it's just that mine deserved it, too. So here's what I want y'all to do: SEND HATE MAIL TO THE SOURCE OVER THAT SHIT!!! No letter bombs, though, just hate mail. Let em know that they fucked up by excluding The Soulman, okay? Hit them fools up at: The Source, Letters, 215 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor, NY, NY 10003. Revenge will be MINE!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!


"I WOULDN'T PAY MORE THAN FIFTY CENTS FOR RAMP!"
        I had planned on starting a new section on this website featuring records that I have for sale. After seeing one too many posts on various mail lists and newsgroups in which people griped a little too much about so-called "ridiculous" record prices (anything over a buck or two, it seems) I've decided to scrap that idea. I'm sure that a lot of cats would see my prices and start dry heaving, even though I do my best to be as fair as possible with my pricing. But I am NOT gonna sell my joints, which I put in mad time and dough trying to dig up, for five bucks each. People just do not consider things like traveling time & expenses, mail order costs, haggling with dealers, hours sifting through thousands of boxes in some smelly, dusty ass spot just to find a handful of decent beats, not to mention all the times you go out and spend a day diggin' and come home with nada. When you buy shit from a dealer who specializes in breaks or rare soul, jazz, etc., you aren't just paying for that record- you're paying for a service. That has to be clearly understood. Sure, maybe you can find that record for cheaper if you're willing to wait for it to pop up somewhere, or if you're willing to go out like a bounty hunter and track it down. But if a guy does the work of digging it up for you, you've got to pay for that service, simple as that.

        The main things that bother me when folks complain about record prices are:

  1. They have absolutely no idea how rare or in demand a record is. They just see a hundred dollar price tag and say, "oh, that's crazy". If it's The Isley Brothers' "Harvest For The World" with a $100 sticker on it, of course that IS crazy- that's a pretty common record. But something like Skull Snaps or Ramp or Don Blackman? Not really- you don't see these records popping up everyday, and they're in high demand by collectors worldwide.

  2. Just because you see somebody selling a record for $50 then you see somebody else selling it for $5 doesn't mean that the guy selling it for $50 is trying to rip people off. It could be that the guy with the $5 price sticker just doesn't know the worth of that record. You have to become an experienced digger to know what's rare and what's not, and what a record should be going for.

  3. People should understand that prices will be different in New York than they are in Idaho or someplace in Middle America. Of course, Bleeker Bob is off the charts with his shit (even though he has the right to price his records however he wants just like I have the right not to set foot in his shop) but it must be understood that there's more demand for beats and ill soul and jazz in NYC or Tokyo or London than there is West Bubblesuck, Indiana, so the prices will be higher.

  4. A guy might whine about, say, a copy of Hell's Belles selling for $100 or so. Complains that the price is totally outrageous, he wouldn't pay more than ten bucks for it. Then let's say he gets real lucky and finds a sealed copy for $10 somewhere. He buys it and then decides to offer it for trade to another collector. Is he gonna want $10 in trade value for that copy? Hell no! Nine times outta ten, I guarantee you, he's gonna expect you to give up closer to $100 in trade value. I've seen this on numerous occasions. Kids in this record game can be mad hypocritical, I'm tellin' you.

  5. I don't know anybody who's gotten rich from selling records. Most dealers I know are struggling to stay above water. Sure, there's a cheddar to be made, but there's a lot being spent, too. In my experience as a dealer, the overall profits have been minimal once you factor in all the various expenses. For every record sold there might be 5 to 10 that sit in the crates forever, so how much money is really being made?

        Besides, a high price on a record can be a good thing, actually. If somebody's selling Stark Reality for $2, it'll be gone before it even hits the racks and you'll probably never see it. If the price is $200, it's more than likely gonna be in the store for at least a minute. It may be out of your price range, but if you really REALLY want that record at least you might have a chance of getting it (you still better act fast, though).

        Always remember the number one rule in record pricing, kids- it's only too high if nobody's buying it. If it sells, the price ain't too high. And the number one rule of record buying- if you don't like the price, just don't buy it. I've been on both sides of the table so I understand the buyer and the dealer's points of views. But KNOW the deal on a record before you start screaming bloody murder about the prices- yo, $100 is a bargain for a lot of records!


SHIT I'M FEELIN'

  • JAMES MASON: "Sweet Power Your Embrace"
            Doesn't everyone have a song (or songs) that they just never get tired of??? I was just dubbing up a copy of Archaeologists Classics #31 and this came on- DAMN I love this shit!! Sounds just as good to me now as it did when I first heard it years ago. I'm not all that big into dance music per se, but I can't help but start moving when I hear this lost classic.

  • DR. JECKYL & MR. HYDE: live old school tape
            Hard to believe but Andre Harrell was actually a fairly nice mc back in the days, although you might not be able to tell by listening to Jeckyl & Hyde's old Profile 12 inches like "Genius Rap" and "Fast Life". This tape predates those recordings, going back to 1979. Featuring DJ Ronnie Green cutting up the fresh stuff like "Mardi Gras" & Patrice Rushen's "Hang It Up" break, Hyde and his cohort trade the mic back and forth with that consummate old school approach and come off quite nicely. Sounds a lot better to me than a lot of the current shit you hear nowadays passing for hip hop (but you'd probably have to be over 30 to feel me on this one).

  • EPMD: "Symphony 2000"
            For one last time (or so they say- don't believe it, though), Eric and Parrish are makin' dollars and handlin' their b.i.... same formula, surprisingly still fresh, although some may disagree. On their "Symphony" remake (which thankfully doesn't incorporate the overused "Hard To Handle" sample), Redman, Mr. Meth & Lady Luck drop in to blaze a horny Eric Sermon track with some of their typically flammable material.

  • SOUNDBOMBING PT.2
            Just the whole feel of it is dope, with The Beat Junkies mixing the tracks in a way that Funkmaster and Clue? can only dream about- no dis intended, just stating the obvious. My top draft picks outta this bunch are the Beatminerz-produced "Any Man" by Eminem (some say this is a substandard performance by Mr. Shady... that may even be true, but it's STILL a phenomenal piece of emceeing), Reflection Eternal's "On Mission" (yo, this beat is the craziest- DJ Hi-Tek is becoming one of the top beatmakers in this game, for real), "Every Rhyme I Write" by Shabaam Sahdeeq f/ The Cocoa Brothers, Common & Sadat's "1-9-9-9" and "When It Pours It Rains" by Diamond (nice beat, but you still owe me $10 for that Sonny & Cher record, Diamond- I ain't forget that shit!)

  • DUSTY FINGERS VOL. 5: "Soundbwoy Super Status Reggae Breaks & Beats"
            Y'all read a little bit about the Dusty Fingers comps last time (in what was probably one of my most controversial interviews to date- lots of mixed opinions about both "The Dusty Kid" and how I handled the interview). Volume 5 in what is an excellent series is one of the best, in my opinion. Standouts: the atmospheric "Solstice" by Brian Bennett (used on yet another unreleased Nas joint that better wind up on his next lp), Shoche's zany "Algebrique" and the sexed out "Love Sounds" by Intimate Strangers (also available on a brand spankin' new 45 put out by Jazzman Records from the UK). My other favorite comp of the month is Soundbwoy Super Status Reggae Breaks And Beats. The idea of compiling a bunch of breaks from Reggae records is just so ill in itself, but these are actually some great beats and good listening music as well. Especially feeling the Reflection Eternal- jacked "Tom Drunk" by U-Roy, Marcia Griffith's super-soulful "Here I Am Baby" and Deadly Headly's Barry White-inspired (ripped off?) "35 Years From Alpha". Fuck finding the originals, just get these comps and be happy you did.

  • AMP BOOGIE: "Broke Niggas" (demo tape)
            My man Fusion, the beat game's best kept secret out of Baltimore, sent me a tape with some joints on it the other day. Most of the tape was unreleased Slum Village (who I just am not able to get into for some reason, try as I might). Also thrown on the Maxell was an unreleased Madskillz cut that Fusion himself produced (kinda hot but obviously unfinished). But the bombshell shit on this tape to me was another Fusion co-produced sureshot by the group Amp Boogie titled "Broke Niggas". The beat is, in a word, nuts. A Reuben Wilson organ chopped to bits and merged with an assault of tumultuous kicks and snares sets the backdrop as these cats drop hard edged rhymes about dealing with typically ignorant neighborhood types- "Broke niggas / hold you back niggas / if it wasn't money would you still be my niggas?" Right now unsigned and until now unhyped, let's hope this'll be one that slips through the cracks. (More on Fusion to come in a future World Of Beats.)

  • DESCO RECORDS
            As Adam Sandler would say it, "massive props" to Phillipe Lehman and Gabriel Roth for putting out 1970's-style music in the 1990's, even though they must know that the odds on them having any kind of large financial success with their label in this day and age are miniscule at best. Here's hoping I'm wrong about that because great music should, in a perfect world, make a lot of money. And Desco Records is all about great music.
            Or should i say great FUNK, which is what Desco specializes in. Lee Fields, Nino Nardini, The Soul Providers, etc.- all exquisite slices of vintage funky soul recorded just like they used to do it back in the day. And the "Revenge Of Mister Mopoji" soundtrack (gee, I can't wait to see the movie- hahaha!) is one of my all time favorite albums. Be it the limited edition 45s, the full length vinyl lps or even the dreaded CDs, get up on some of that Desco shit. Now.

  • WILLARD SMITH
            No, I'm not feeling Willy's rhyme skills or his latest flick "Mild Mild Mess". But I am certainly feeling the way he went back and grabbed up Kool Moe Dee to guest on his hit single. He didn't have to do that, but he did. A lot of bad shit is said about Will in hip hop circles but the cat seems to be a sincerely good guy.
            Let's hope this starts a trend where currently hot rappers (and singers and bands as well) invite some of hip hop's pioneers to record or perform with them. Or at least cover some of their songs. Mase doing Spoonie Gee's "Love Rap", Grandmaster Caz's "Yvette" flipped by Redman... oh yeah, that could work! Hey, the old school cats created a billion dollar industry and most haven't seen shit monetarily. It's the least that this new generation of financially secure rappers can do.
            And is Kid Rock giving Busy Bee anything for that "Bawitdaba" shit?


    SHIT I'M NOT UNDERSTANDING
            Just heard the great King Puffy Comb's take on PE's "Public Enemy No. 1". I'm assuming this is part of the settlement in Chuck D's lawsuit against Bad Boy for the unauthorized use of Chuck's voice on Biggie's "Ten Crack Commandments". Okay. But my question: will anyone who's ever heard the original version actually go out and buy the Puffmeister's interpretation? And if so, what type of chemicals are these people dependent on?? "We're wack... we're wack, we're wack, we're wack..." (sung to the tune of Mase Murda's "Get Ready")


            A-ight, that's enough cookies for now, kids... don't wanna spoil your appetite before dinner and e'ything. We'll do this again next time, hopefully with the legendary Galt MacDermot along for the ride! Don't miss it.


    e-mail the Soulman