This Is What Your New Elvis Looks Like

Science dropped by Martini & Jopparelli. Mar-13-2009

This video has been circulating across blogs and web sites recently… and it’s great, watch:

Kutiman-Thru-you – 01 – Mother of All Funk Chords

Now, read and interesting commentary about the phenomenon HERE.

The point is: this thing here is more HipHop than 50 Cent or Kanye, because the artist used the technology in an unusual way to create something new, which is essentially the heart of Hip Hop (with the capital letter). To save Hip Hop, I think we need to go back to the roots and find new ways of making music.

Today’s rappers are only building standard songs with standard equipment, following over and over the standard “rap song” clichè, repetitive and uninteresting after 30 years of listening.  They make beats with AKAI 5000s or whatever, they’re using machines designed specifically for rap songs! How could you be more predictable? Sure, they can still make dope songs, but they’re only repeating the same creative process over and over, which is the exact opposite of art.

Hip hop was born from tweaking the existing technology, and using it in NEW ways to express yourself. That’s what it’s all about. Like the article says, this is your next Elvis (or Kool Herc), baby.










32 Responses to “This Is What Your New Elvis Looks Like”

  1. And the funny thing is that this is still old blues/funk sound, so is not necessary to sound Techno to be innovative…

    If Afrika Bambataa and Kool Herc would have been boring as most recent hip hop producers are, they would have bought a guitar instead of 2 turntables…

  2. Another funny thing is when so called Hip Hop lovers blame 808 for being boring, and then they listen all day to old (should I say mid-school ;) ) hip hop songs, all sampling the same 2 breaks…
    Ok guys we got it: Funky Drummer and Nautilus were great, now let’s move on !!!

  3. djmp45 says:

    interesting thing, the tune is actually quite good, but the all thing about creating non hip hop music completely from samples is nothing new (i.e dj shadow -endtroducing), is just a matter of the source you take from to be honest (video or records) , t’s still sampling at the end.
    @mago: producer now are boring becuse they dont sample anymore. nobody buy records anymore and they made little money from downloads so they cant afford to pay for samples.
    the records they sampled so much (i.e funky drummer and nautilus) are so great that anything that come from them has to be great.
    the ubb are the ubb for a reason, which is that they moved people 30 years ago and they still do (when herc and bambaata choose those records they knew what they were doing).
    and there are some 808 records that are milestones (i.e. suckers mc’s).
    if you wanna move on go to listen kanye latest autotune crap.

  4. Hamza 21 says:

    Hip Hop =different
    Different=good

    Not So! This is definitely foreign and even american white suburbia mentality. Hip Hop in it’s essence is/was about expressing yourself not necessary creating something new. In early days of Hip Hop in 70′s to late 80′s those of us in Hip hop culture spent our time expressing ourselves with tools we had (turntables,paint can, our voice,our bodies,etc) and we drew inspiration,admiration and encouragement from others within the culture. Being different and new wasn’t even in the equation it was about being better not necessary “new” or “different”. If you develop a “new” scratch and it didn’t sound good nobody cared but if you develop a “new” scratch and it sounded good then people picked up on what you were doing. It was improvement and creativity not about being different for the sake of being different. Which may mean more to those in suburban America and in other countries but doesn’t mean so much to people of color in Hip Hop home,America’s ghettos.

  5. “if you develop a “new” scratch and it sounded good then people picked up on what you were doing”

    That sums up exactly the meaning of my post. Another example: if Kool Herc played records in the traditional way, playing tunes from start to end, instead of cutting the breaks and repeating them, hip hop would not exist now.

    And please, don’t put it in terms of black vs. white or American vs. foreign, we’re only interested in good music here, not categories.

    Peace

  6. “producer now are boring becuse they dont sample anymore. nobody buy records anymore and they made little money from downloads so they cant afford to pay for samples”

    are you sure?
    Hip Hop is still selling millions each week, and maybe THAT’s exactly the problem.
    A lot of mainstream/underground producers are still sampling (since Kanye brought back sampling…) unfortunately originality is what they lack.

    It’s a matter of attitude: hh producers right now don’t have the attitude the originators had. I’ve already said that, I can’t explain it better.
    9th Wonder is my favourite hh producer right now, but with his attitude Bambataa would have played a guitar instead of jugglin vinyls.
    “Since it became a lucrative profession there’s a misconception in the movement in every direction”

    UBB are great, albums made all sampling the same 3-4 songs are boring, and there are a lot… that’s why my personal golden age are the 90′s.

  7. djmp45 says:

    “albums made all sampling the same 3-4 songs are boring” which one?

  8. I wrote it wrong, I meant songs all sampling the same 3-4 breaks

    FUNKY DRUMMER: 186 SONGS
    http://www.the-breaks.com/search.php?term=funky+drummer&type=4

    FUNKY PRESIDENT: 105 SONGS
    http://www.the-breaks.com/search.php?term=funky+president&type=4

    SING A SIMPLE SONG: 127 SONGS

    But you know this better than me…
    and you know The Breaks site is not complete, expecially for “mid school”.

  9. djmp45 says:

    all i see is list of amazing songs (lyrics of fury, pe stuff, etc) …if you look at nautilus is the same thing, ghostface, tribe, pete rock, jeru,rakim,king sun,run dmc, ultra,epmd, etc…do you call them boring?i call them classics!every artist use it in a different way and that’s what’s good about it….
    plus funky drummer is probably the best break ever..you cant front on clyde stubbefield drums…drums which is what laking in todays hip hop….9th wonderr might take really good loops but his drum are weak…all this clap stuff ruined hip hop to me…give me some hard drums any day and i’ll be happy.
    and if there wasnt any james brown there wont be any hip hop today…
    the first time i heard funky president was flex beat jugglinn’ it and it blew my mind away..it was always the highlight of the tapes i had…and it still is….
    no wonder why j rocc did so many tributes to james brown…
    last good song that nas did?get down sampling james brown ….
    there’s no one more relevant than james brown in black history music…probably in the all history of music

  10. djmp45 says:

    and yes, the breaks site is shit

  11. “there’s no one more relevant than james brown in black history music…probably in the all history of music.”

    That is an exaggeration…He is so relevant for Hip Hop heads.

    I don’t see him that relevant for people who listen to jazz or classical music or metal etc… Maybe they would find relevant John Coltrane or Mozart or Ozzy Osburne. Don’t you think?

    Plus, the breaks site is not that bad, camon’

  12. djmp45 says:

    that’s why i said probably..obviously he couldnt influence classical artist as they were from centuries before…surely he had the best musician in the soul/funk scene with him and he’s the godfather of soul and funk.
    it’s relevant not just to hip hop heads…the all “new funk” scene is based on him…early house and techno always sampled him, baltimore club music is based on lyn collins “think”, and for metal /rock it’s probably not so relevant but red hot chilli peppers were touring with him years ago as they choose him as a support act….need more?
    i tell you why the breaks site is shit: i know lots of people who send submissions to the moderators of the site and the didnt put the entries in…if you want to do something like that , then do it properly and take people helps…it’s not the site itself , it’s the attitude.

  13. Hamza 21 says:

    “That sums up exactly the meaning of my post. Another example: if Kool Herc played records in the traditional way, playing tunes from start to end, instead of cutting the breaks and repeating them, hip hop would not exist now.

    And please, don’t put it in terms of black vs. white or American vs. foreign, we’re only interested in good music here, not categories.”

    You still not getting it. You seem to think Kool Herc played the breaks because he wanted to be different which actually he played the breaks because he liked that part of record plain and simple. He wasn’t trying to be different. He just played the best part of record in his opinion. You seem to saying Hip Hop is it’s essence abut being different for different’s stake which it isn’t.

    Everybody is wearing baggy jeans so I wear skinny jeans just to be different. That mentality is not present within people of color in Hip Hop but very present in foreign countries and surburban american which why I pointed that out.

    I’ve been involved with Hip Hop since 1982 and didn’t know anybody who’s attitude was let’s do this just to be different. People did whatever they thought was good. If it was the same as the next guy or if it was new and different nobody really cared. It only mattered if it was good or not.

    • Hamza, you got a point.

      I got it, you’re in the culture from day one, you’ve had dinner with Kool Herc and he told you why he played records that way. Ok, i’m fine with that.

      But let’s watch it from the point of view of the simple and plain music listener. Herc did things his way, right? He did it the way he liked it, and he did something nobody did before, so he did something new, whether he wanted it or not. Before him, there was Funk and Disco. After him, there was something new (and dope). From a musical point of view, hip hop was deeply different from the music before, otherwise we’d had called it post-funk or new-disco or i don’t know. It’s different, and it was NEW respect to the music before, that’s a fact.

      So what I’m triyng to say is: Hip Hop came from new ideas, from a great culture of creativity. All the good seasons in hip hop (80′s and 90′s) developed from NEW ideas and techniques, right? I’m saying that Hip Hop and music in general need to find a new season of creativity, because what I see now is only OLD concepts and standard clichès. Period.

      I’m not interested in the motivations and thoughts of people being in the culture, wearing baggy jeans or not and stuff like that. I’m interested in good music as i said. And I never said music should be different just for the sake of being different. Or course if something’s different but it sucks, it sucks.

      But when DJ premier comes out in 2009 with the same instrumental structure, the same drum loop he used for a million times, I’m not following him anymore. And i don’t call that hip hop, i call that photocopy. And he is not “expressing himself”, he is only doing it for the money of the kids who still buy his records.

      I still listen Al Green, and i love it, but if a guy comes out in 2009 singing exactly like Al Green, I’m saying him hey guy, you need some new ideas, do you agree?

  14. eric says:

    I also appreciate something new and innovative, but if it isn’t compelling then I probably won’t give it repeat listens and I won’t consider it a classic.

    At the end of the day, popular music has some general truths about it. A classic song needs to have a nice beat and a catchy melody, and a chorus/verse structure, if possible. Those are the fundamental components. If you get tired of conventional songs… that’s on you. Personally, I still dig a lot of Premier beats. I don’t mind if he does endless variations on his formula. As long as it stays compelling.

    I do seek out new stuff, like dubstep. But I rarely revisit a dubstep song I’ve heard before. It’s like candy. And over the long run, my interest in dubstep isn’t 1% of my interest in other genres.

    Put me in the camp of those who feel the problem with music today is not a lack of innovation, but simply an inability of today’s youth to make good music. Even if we consider today’s big urban radio hits to be “good music”, they are still far a few between.

    In 1994, classic ALBUMS were coming out every month. That’s beyond opinion, it’s just a fact. People made classic ALBUMS. Now, an urban artist is lucky to have ONE good song.

  15. Antonio says:

    Very interesting discussion.
    A lot of very good points were made, and I feel there is an element of truth in what most posters said, although I feel Hamza and Eric made the most relevant comments.
    I tend to agree that “experimentation” is not exactly a driving force in hip hop, but obviously that does not mean that “creativity” isn’t either.
    In fact, what I feel is lacking today in hip hop is the ability to put out an album which will stand the test of time. Nowadays rappers and producers are mostly looking for a hit song, rather than a well-rounded album. In this respect, the blueprint for radio-friendly hip hop has been written and most commercial acts just follow it. You can call Preemo tired or lazy, but not a sell-out: the money is somewhere else. If you want to make money, you need to look at keyboard-driven beats, not chopped up samples. In other words, if he wanted to make money just for the sake of it, I think Premier should look at what Pharrell and Timbo do.
    And as for the “straight hip hop machines”, my vision is slightly different. There is no problem with AKAIs and shit, the problem is that not many people are trying to push the AKAIs to the limit, as they are happy to just follow “commercial” song formats.

    As for James Brown, it’s tough, but I would say that he influenced people in other musical genres of music (other than black music and hip hop) more than other musicians outside of black music influenced hip hop.
    For example, I see JB’s influence on the Chili Peppers and on indie rock icon Ian Svenonius, but I cannot really see anyone in hip hop that has a Ozzy Osbourne influence. I might be wrong, of course.

    • As Antonio said, i believe too that everybody in this discussion gave an element of truth.

      I think if we substitute the term “experimentation” i used, which is maybe too strong, with “doin your thing” or “try to be original” we all agree on pretty much everything.

      ” There is no problem with AKAIs and shit, the problem is that not many people are trying to push the AKAIs to the limit, as they are happy to just follow “commercial” song formats.”
      This sentence is perfect, I was tring to express exactly the same concept: the “pushing technology to the limit” element seems to be missing nowadays (that’s wat I meant with tweaking). It happened with turntables, then with samplers, but now this approach seems to be simply gone.

      (I agree on Premier too, he is probably only tired or lazy… even the late James Brown did put out crap like “Living In America”… compared to that song, Premo is still on fire!)

  16. Actually I don’t know about James Brown…maybe you guys are right.

    Anyway, talking about the most relevant artists in music (let’s say modern music) I would not put him in my top 5, not even top 10

    I would rather choose some Jazz artists of the ’30, ’40, ’50, some from Stax, some from roots reggae, early blues, and so on…

  17. Antonio says:

    I would rather choose some Jazz artists of the ‘30, ‘40, ‘50, some from Stax, some from roots reggae, early blues, and so on…
    That just shows your good taste (it’s a serious compliment).
    As for relevance, instead, I find it difficult to think about someone more influential than him in black music, really.
    Difficult does not mean impossible, obviously.

  18. I started listening Hip Hop in 1981.
    In 1982 Hip Hop became too commercial.
    Now I listen only to my cousin beat boxin at the corner bodega, anybody who listen to something else is a nazi.

  19. DJMP vs claps, the neverending battle

  20. Seriously, about the James Brown thing: It’s true that nobody influenced Hip Hop more than him, but that is due also to a sort of lazyness by producers in Hip Hop history. For example: is not that Funky Drummer is boring, how could one think that… everybody here likes that c’mon DjMP… but there are billionz of other good drum breaks, you know that.

    As far as modern black (and white) music is concerned, I’ll say John Coltrane and Charlie Parker created it, sure not James Brown.

    About The Breaks site: is not that bad c’mon Djmp, it’s the best of this kind I think. But I agree with you that with a more “wikipedia” attitude it could be just perfect. Let’s start our own, I’m in.

    About the claps: I really don’t understand your problems with them.

    About Hamza: I think Joppa meant that originality is necessary to be a relevant artist. NECESSARY, not SUFFICIENT. I think you agree with this c’mon… Kool Herc was probably not trying to be different, but he WAS.
    That’s why 30 years later we are talking about him, not because “he did what he liked.”
    Pete Rock in his prime was different, Premier was, Q tip was, Timbo was.
    Necessary condition, not sufficient.

  21. Antonio says:

    Pete Rock in his prime was different, Premier was, Q tip was, Timbo was.
    I would use the word “dope”, not “different”. That’s it.

    As for James Brown, saying John Coltrane and Charlie Parker created black music surely sounds intellectual, but as far as widespread influence on the world of popular music, the two jazzmen are not comparable to JB, sorry.
    As I said, JB’s relevance is something difficult to top.

  22. As far as modern black (and white) music is concerned, I’ll say John Coltrane and Charlie Parker created it, sure not James Brown

    Agree. That was exactly my point!!!

    If you ask to any musician, somebody who knows how play an instrument, how to read a staff (pentagram), who knows what a musical scale is (not me, i am just a listener), he would confirm that!

    Maybe not just Parker and Coltrane, I would also add some others…but that’s the point!

  23. To Antonio:

    It’s not about being intellectual, I am 33 years old and I honestly don’t feel confortable anymore with today’s Hip Hop and probably with Hip Hop in general.

    That is why I listen to a lot of Soul, Jazz etc…

    Not to act like an intellectual snob but because I really feel that.

    When I talk about Coltrane or Parker (my next draft is about him but is a coincidence :) ) is because I am approching (passively) them. It’s not a pose, it’s a need.

  24. “Pete Rock in his prime was different, Premier was, Q tip was, Timbo was.
    I would use the word “dope”, not “different”. That’s it.”

    please don’t try to manipulate my words, I said different and that’s what I meant. That’s the key concept of the discussion. If you can’t hear how “new” they sounded in the early 90′s, and how “old” they sound now (on they recent LPs and productions), I am sorry for you.

    “As for James Brown, saying John Coltrane and Charlie Parker created black music surely sounds intellectual, but as far as widespread influence on the world of popular music, the two jazzmen are not comparable to JB, sorry.”

    First of all I don’t see the problem in being intellectual and maybe snob. I am and proud of it. Thats why we all write on this blog the way we do.
    Then, as marty said, anybody who understand something about music can confirm you that Coltrane and Parker influenced modern music way more thab JB. Google them, buy some books, listen to some music. Don’t take it personal because is not an opinion, we are not talking about dipset vs kaos one ;)
    The concept of “song” as we know it, the concept of “refrain”, the concept of “freestyle”, the concept of “Jam session”, the concept of “remixing”, were all pioneered by the Free Jazz movement in the 40′s, that’s not “sounding intellectual” that’s how it is.
    If that’s not enough, the 99% of the chords, melodies and rhytmic pattern of any black song were created by the Free Jazz movement.
    No “freestyle”, no “song”, no “refrain”, no “remix”, no “jam session” = no James Brown and no Hip Hop.

    Also, I’ll use the word “genius” for Coltrane and Parker, instead of wasting it for some backpakerish hip hop producers as it happens daily on wack blogs. They REALLY are the Mozart and Bach of modern music.

  25. Antonio says:

    please don’t try to manipulate my words, I said different and that’s what I meant.
    I was not manipulating your words, mainly stating (as Eric and Hamza did before me) that for us “dopeness” is more important than being “different” (as you think).

    First of all I don’t see the problem in being intellectual and maybe snob. I am and proud of it.
    Did I say that there is any problem? No. Are you taking it personal?
    The thing is that it’s certainly easier and “cooler” to talk about Charlie Parker and Coltrane than it is to talk about popular music. That is a fact.

    Then, as marty said, anybody who understand something about music can confirm you that Coltrane and Parker influenced modern music way more thab JB.
    Anybody is a wide concept, especially if you do not give any example.
    I gave you examples of people directly influenced by JB, inside and outside black music, such as Nation of Ulysses, Chili Peppers, Parliament, Make-Up, Rage Against the Machine, Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion. (also notice how I purposedly left out all the hip hop acts that JB directly influenced)
    I bet you cannot give me any name of rock groups in which you can hear the resonance of Parker and Coltrane.
    Or is modern music just jazz music, for you?
    And what about all the groups that take their chords, song structure and generally sound straight from the Delta Blues (which, as it happens, is probably the majority of rock’n'roll groups)? Was that stuff also invented by jazz musicians?

    Don’t take it personal because is not an opinion, we are not talking about dipset vs kaos one ;)
    This one I did not understand. Nevermind…

    @ Marty:
    It’s not about being intellectual, I am 33 years old and I honestly don’t feel confortable anymore with today’s Hip Hop and probably with Hip Hop in general.
    Fair enough. There is no problem in liking soul and not liking hip hop.
    Just out of curiosity, how many hip hop albums did you listen to last year? More or less than 10? Can you name any hip hop album you listened to last year which you did not feel confortable and any you felt confortable with?

  26. Hip Hop albums (both new and old) from the beginning to the end: 0

    Maybe Illmatic few months ago.

    Once every 2 months I listen to an album from the past but I always skip tracks.

    I do not listen to stuff like kool g rap anymore, and i used to love him, don’t get me wrong. I still respect his works, but it’s not my cup of tea anymore.

    I still feel comfortable with ATCQ, De La and stuff like that.

    I definitely listen to mixtapes, especially when the DJ plays a little bit of everything like Hip Hop/Breaks/Funk/Soul (like J rocc for example) but I don’t listen to “strictly hip hop mixtapes”

    That’s it!

  27. djmp45 says:

    i wont call it lazyness, but just a tribute to the originators who were playing the breaks in the park jams…on the same note if you talk about nautilus, you have people like pete rock, atcq, large pro , premier , ced gee that all use it, do you think they are lazy people?not digging enough?these people dig for their all life….

    and on the all jazz thing going on here, people wouldnt listen to jack bruce if it wasnt for showbiz (myself included)…nuff said

  28. …about Kool Herc “not trying to be different”, watch this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ym5GKZ3Gew&feature=related

    as you see, maybe I’m not totally wrong when I’m saying the pioneers of hip hop were proud of being different!

  29. djmp45 says:

    i agree with that..i ‘ll probably use the word original, but at the end is the same thing…it all goes to the competitive spirit of hip hop (to have the records that other djs dont have, to have the trainers nobody have, to do a break dance move that nobody do, etc..)….and these people were very competitive compared to today’s djs.
    apparently they werent the first, watch this documentary if you havent yet:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGhLBiMjMIw

    • … Grandmaster Flash said that too:

      “that is what hip-hop has always been about: Taking things that aren’t, and making them be. ”

      ” For example, when I was coming up I tried my hand at learning an instrument, and there were lots of frustrating moments. But then I started cutting music class, and got my ass kicked for it. So I turned the turntable into an instrument, changing the way it is normally used. Once I started playing it like a guitar, it became an instrument. ”

      (from a recent interview on wired.com)

      09ITV2DRMB10233