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Madlib & J Dilla beat mystery techniques?


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#1 Zeenix

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 07:45 AM

Hi y'all


It's been a while i'm listening and studying the techniques of beat wizards Madlib & J Dilla.

I'm analysing what i hear and it seams like a lot of times the beat plays and out of nowhere you hear samples coming in but quickly switching off.

Example 1: in Beat Konducta Vol 5-6 the beat "So Much", at 0:40 you can hear what i'm saying. And also at 1:00 it does it again.

Example 2: in Beat Konducta Vol 1-2 the beat "Two Timer", at 0:30 you can even hear a "tick" from when you turn on a switch when the sample chops.....

Example 3: in J Dilla's Donuts album the beat "Don't Cry", at 0:59 a voice sample suddenly comes in for half a second then goes out....

At this point your asking yourself what the hell this guy is trying to tell us....

My question is, do they really chop those beats only using samplers (MPCs, SP12...)??

Because the way i hear those examples i've cited above it sounds like they hit a switch on & off or a mute switch....a bit like when a DJ does the "transformer" technique. Using his mixer switch.

I've been trying to decode the method they use because i find it so crazy original.

I've come to another theory. Maybe they record the beat on a 8 track recorder.
Let's say the main beat on track 1-2 and then the original song on track 3-4.

The beat plays then they hit the switch to track 3-4 for a sec then switch back to track 1-2. Also they could have the same beat playing on track 5-6 and 7-8 but couple sequences later so when they switch to those tracks for a few secs it gives the impression as if they chopped it on the MPC but really is another technique.


Am i the only one thinking those chops are not only made with samplers?

Please share your opinion and really what you think. Sometimes we think too much beats are made only with samplers but maybe other secret techniques exist.

The last example where i think you really can understand what i mean is the track "Airworks" on Donuts. The all song is filled with crazy unexpected chops...especialy at the end you can hear at 1:42 switch from Airworks to Lightworks.

#2 WDPK webzine

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:19 AM

As far as I know Madlib is not really into Protools or virtual samplers. For most of his beats he is using the SP 303 if I remember well his interviews.

I think Dilla knew more about all those music softwares than Madlib.

#3 anotherbagofbomb

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 08:57 AM

Anyone can do that... they sampled the voice and plopped it in right in the certain section of the song.
The rest of there technique lies in the samples they choose and there drumming patterns...

Madlib chooses cooler samples but sometimes it just sounds like he puts looped samples over more looped samples... not much attention paided to the drums

Dilla has perfect, original drum patterns and he EQ's them shits to a T but at times you want more then some ambient background noise (he usually comes correct with both though)

When it comes down to it Dilla is a more impressive producer to me

#4 WDPK webzine

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:27 AM

When it comes down to it Dilla is a more impressive producer to me


I agree.

Personally, I even say he is the most versatile hip hop producer ever, because he is :

-"One-of-a-kind" producer in a great way, master of the MPC and dedicated to music like no one
-Very good MC, just listen to "Make'em NV" and "Fuck The Police".
-Good DJ
-Good singer
-Good bassist
-Good drummer

And last but not least : very humble man.

#5 Zeenix

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:31 AM

Yeah but those Quasimoto albums are crazy ill!

I think Madlin is more "psycadelik" in his beats.

But to me they are both Geniuses.

Peace to them!

#6 anotherbagofbomb

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 09:53 AM

I agree.

Personally, I even say he is the most versatile hip hop producer ever, because he is :

-"One-of-a-kind" producer in a great way, master of the MPC and dedicated to music like no one
-Very good MC, just listen to "Make'em NV" and "Fuck The Police".
-Good DJ
-Good singer
-Good bassist
-Good drummer

And last but not least : very humble man.

Yeah, you gotta think about it for a minute. If Madlib didn't have all those crazy samples what would his music be? nothing much...
I'm pretty sure if you gave Dilla some Seal and Hall And Oates he could make a dope beat out of it

#7 CertafiedBluntHead

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 10:54 AM

so they have vocal chops from a song (maybe the one sampled, maybe just some random sample, not necessarily vocal i guess) and they gate em in, or just have an incredibly small chop that they place in (just sayin it doesn't have to be gated), thats about it, they just give it alot of thought an have ears for what they think will sound ill, which coincidently we all find just as ill

#8 Zeenix

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:07 AM

so they have vocal chops from a song (maybe the one sampled, maybe just some random sample, not necessarily vocal i guess) and they gate em in, or just have an incredibly small chop that they place in (just sayin it doesn't have to be gated), thats about it, they just give it alot of thought an have ears for what they think will sound ill, which coincidently we all find just as ill



I think a lot of those small snippets of sampled voices we hear here and there are improvisation.

#9 Stonethrower10

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 11:58 AM

How is it possible to improvise when using samples, he has to chop them up first?

#10 thethiefstheme

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 12:18 PM

you can resample one sample a couple times then start them at different points, then use the gate function that stops the sample when you take your finger off the button.

#11 Zeenix

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 12:56 PM

How is it possible to improvise when using samples, he has to chop them up first?



Well, let's say your beat consists of 8 different sequences.

Record each looping sequence on different tracks for let's say 2 minutes.

Then you Play track 1 in solo mode being sequence 1.

When you feel like it (this is where you improvise), solo other tracks just a few seconds here and there and comeback to track 1.

It should give a similar "switch chop effect". Well...that's just hypothesis.

#12 OKG

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 01:07 PM

Well, let's say your beat consists of 8 different sequences.

Record each looping sequence on different tracks for let's say 2 minutes.

Then you Play track 1 in solo mode being sequence 1.

When you feel like it (this is where you improvise), solo other tracks just a few seconds here and there and comeback to track 1.

It should give a similar "switch chop effect". Well...that's just hypothesis.


i think you're reading into this way too much, but as long as you're learning something it's all good...

#13 Trenchant

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 02:19 PM

this thread here........ :mellow:

your overthinking. do you make beats yourself? i would recommend spending some time with your sampler or wahtever is taht you use, cus what your talking about isn't complex.

#14 sugoisounds

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 02:40 PM

Example 1: in Beat Konducta Vol 5-6 the beat "So Much", at 0:40 you can hear what i'm saying. And also at 1:00 it does it again.

Here's my forensic analysis
a BAR of 4 beats
-----1-------/-----2-------/-----3-------/-----4-------/
Soooo.. /Much......etc
HORNS /Much......etc
What Madlib is doing is he's cut the 'loop' onto 4 pads and going 1/2/3/4 on the pads
on a fifth pad are those horns

Look at about 1:50, might help you understand

like others are saying, i doubt this is anything worth getting excited about

#15 Zeenix

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:11 AM

Here's my forensic analysis
a BAR of 4 beats
-----1-------/-----2-------/-----3-------/-----4-------/
Soooo.. /Much......etc
HORNS /Much......etc
What Madlib is doing is he's cut the 'loop' onto 4 pads and going 1/2/3/4 on the pads
on a fifth pad are those horns

Look at about 1:50, might help you understand

like others are saying, i doubt this is anything worth getting excited about



Thanks for the great video.

Well, i understood the principle of chopping a sample and assigning the samples to different pads and play them in different ways and stuff.

But that's actually what i'm not talkin about. Those chops i hear in their beats seems very random and often you hear a click when the come in and out. Looks like they hit a switch.

Anyway, i guess it's not that important but at the same time, when i compare their beats to other producers, i find that Madlib & J Dilla beats have more that "human spontaneous live effect".

It's like i listen to the beat 20 times and i hear different things every time.

Instead if i listen to DJ premier or Pete Rock's beats, i usually understand quick how they did the beats (the usual way) sample chop assign to pads, play a pattern and loop that shit!

Madlib has a lot more happening in his beats and that's what i'm trying to figure out how does he prepare his chops and all.

Also i've heard in a interview that madlib did the Lootpack and the 1st Quasimoto album in a day.

So if that's the case, then there is obviously some kind of intuitive impro.

I think J and Lib approaches things more intuitively and less robotic. And it reflects in their chopping techniques.

Then again, that's what happens to me when i put the albums in repeat mode all day, i get brain cramps from trying to understand too much.

If you listen to Q-Tip's joint "Move", he wants to replicate the same vocal chop style but i just don't feel it as much as J Lib.

It's to repetitive.

#16 00Genesis

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:42 AM

i didn't fully read this, just saw what sugoi put up

all i have to say is that "complexity" and "intricacies" come by layering...like painting, all beatmakers start with the same bare essentials, and most lay drums down first, after that use your ears and layer....if it get's boring, then switch it up or keep it short...


and patience

#17 Josh G

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:57 AM

this is thread is so much longer than it needs to be

#18 OKG

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 05:54 AM

Well, i understood the principle of chopping a sample and assigning the samples to different pads and play them in different ways and stuff.

But that's actually what i'm not talkin about. Those chops i hear in their beats seems very random and often you hear a click when the come in and out. Looks like they hit a switch.

Anyway, i guess it's not that important but at the same time, when i compare their beats to other producers, i find that Madlib & J Dilla beats have more that "human spontaneous live effect".

So if that's the case, then there is obviously some kind of intuitive impro.


it doesn't LOOK like anything, it SOUNDS like they played a sample on the downbeat or "placed" a sample in another unorthodox spot within the loop or sequence, ie. a sample played a third of the way between 16th notes.you see a switch on the sp303 or mpc3000 anywhere?

their beats sound human because they often worked with the quantize and metronome off.

anyone who plays samples live is improvising, it can't NOT be improvisation.

#19 Theodore

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 08:25 AM

Yeah, you gotta think about it for a minute. If Madlib didn't have all those crazy samples what would his music be? nothing much...


YNQ? :mellow:

#20 Zeenix

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 10:06 AM

Actually the word Ad Lib means spoken or performed without previous preparation or in an improvised manner with freedom to vary tempo and instrumentation.

Add the Letter M at the beginning and it all makes sense.

#21 Liv

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:35 AM

Also i've heard in a interview that madlib did the Lootpack and the 1st Quasimoto album in a day.

you heard wrong.

#22 Trenchant

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:35 AM

oh, now that's deep

#23 TKurata

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:01 PM

you heard wrong.

sayin.

that would have been impossible for one man...has dude heard the album? there are lots of mysterious places where, um, van peebles and madlib are somehow mysteriously talking to each other...that is a Beat Mystery.

this thread is fun LOLz...

#24 imaGeniusemcee

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 01:58 PM

well how i see it...

i think dilla uses different parts of the song that have the same melody notes and plays them sometimes...and sometimes not...cuz whenever i chop sometimes i have to have some of the vocals on the sample on the sample...so it sorta sounds like what they do...

dilla has so much emotion in his music...i love how his samples are never really choppy sounding...it all flows so well...

even if he throws in a random vocal chop...the background music still flows and it creates that balance...

he has/had perfect balance...

#25 Friies

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 02:47 PM

YNQ? :blink:

thats exactly what i was going to say.
madlib plays keys better...
but who cares
overall i think madlib is a better musician

#26 SanCarlos

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 03:46 PM

its called creativity , something that is a must in sampling.

stop thinking and start enjoying.

#27 fredfades

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:03 AM

DUDE! its just some random chopping, get over it...

#28 Zeenix

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 07:26 AM

Hey i'm just trying to be friendly!

#29 Mr Teeth

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 08:27 AM

Interesting topic nonetheless.

#30 BleeHLH

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:29 PM

Just practice for yourself. Madlib and Dilla have 15 years+ experience making beats and have developed their own style and techniques ON THEIR OWN. Stop tryin to bite their techniques!




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