Hip-Hop Soundtracks from the ’90s to Now

Thursday January 17, 2019 / Behind the Scenes

Back in the '90s Jamie was living in New York City and working at Tony Bongiovi's Power Station studio, which was primarily focused on adult contemporary music production. Famous rock icons like Bruce Springsteen, Ozzy Osbourne and Tony's famous cousin Jon Bon Jovi were recording and remixing music at Power Station, but there was also a golden era of hip-hop going on and New York City was at the epicenter of it. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Jamie was moonlighting music production with rap artists out of his own Greenwich Village NYC studio.

1993 has been discussed as perhaps the peak of the hip-hop era with 2Pac becoming a household name, Salt 'n' Pepa releasing their fourth studio album, A Tribe Called Quest counterpunching gangsta rap with a more sophisticated, socially conscious style, Biz Markie fighting sample lawsuits and Wu-Tang Clan releasing 36 Chambers which is widely regarded as the blueprint for hardcore hip-hop.

Back in Jamie's studio he was producing music for rap artists that were coming into the genre in the wake of NWA's explosion in the late '80s. Rappers with colorful names like MC Reality and I.G. Off (Intelligent Genius Others Face Facts) were enlisting Jamie's help in creating beats to match their raps, a style that Dr. Dre was continuing to make famous in the post-NWA '90s.

"They would come over to the studio and I would say, 'show me your rap', and then as they were rapping I would be counting the number of timing bars to figure out what time I needed for the beat to match their rap," said Jamie. "I.G. would come over from Queens at night and I really respected him because his wordsmithing and improvisational ability was just on another level from what I would typically hear. He could just go on rapping for as long as I needed to put a beat together around it. I would bring in the drum kit, bass and a synthesizer and we would keep playing around until he was happy with it."

I.G. Off later teamed up with Hazadous to form an iconic duo that performed hits such as "This Ain't Livin".

Now that we (Jamie & Eli) are in the soundtrack business, we still love the hip-hop genre and Eli is often treating the studio to beats from Dr. Dre, Eminem and the 'Ice' boys (Cube and T). The animated clip we've produced above spoke to a hip-hop beat and so we revisited Jamie's '90s process but with our state-of-the-art studio technology.

We applied a drum kit called '909 kit' that gives that particular hip-hop drum sound. It's sort of like someone put a towel inside the drum that muffles and compresses the sound. It gives off a higher and sharper pitch that is easily recognizable as a staple of hip-hop sound.

Then we apply the bass guitar and again we use a particular bass that has a synthesized sound to it. It holds notes for a long time and has a slide effect.

We hope you like our soundtrack clip and thanks for spending time with us here on the SoundSuite site. We would love to hear from you - one of our points of difference is that we are a single production team and we respond personally to requests for stock track recommendations, and of course we love to talk about custom music that we could produce just for you and your project.

Keep Creating,

Jamie & Eli

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