It’s double trouble this month with two original beats on the menu for you! I had to stop by Zulu Records on 1972 West 4th ave for a few pieces to sample. As one of the finest record shops in the city there is always quality vinyl in a large quantity. Felt like I entered in Willie Wonka’s vinyl factory, from left to right and from the ground up. I was digging for about 3 hours or so and finally picked up a Carly Simon LP and sampled ‘You Belong to Me’. Enjoy the two-beat special!
Recently we had the opportunity to play catch up with DJ So Super Sam and in just a few minutes we managed to learn a little of everything from her. The title might only say DJ, but be sure to know, her credibility doesn’t only pile up in one place. She is currently residing in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, after previously moving back from NYC, gaining precious and valuable experience out east. Aside from telling us what she’d do with a barrel-load full of hard earned twerk money, she was also willing to hand out her secret double-take recipe which comes with a 100% success rate. As a result, don’t be surprised after reading this if you find yourself checking if you smell like clean laundry every time.
Samantha Duenas | Eagle Rock, Los Angeles | DJ/Brand Ambassador
Start off by throwing us a childhood memory that one way or another foreshadows So Super Sam in present day.
Small memory but my favorite toy was this Sony tape player with a microphone that I would carry around everywhere and play Paul Abdul and Mariah Carey tapes on, then make up dances and sing.
Talk about what you should’ve, could’ve or would’ve done back when you were still in grade school.
SHOULD’ve.. watched more movies. There are so many cult films I missed out on and can’t reference.
COULD’ve.. skipped 6th grade, but I wanted to be “normal” so I stayed with my class.
WOULD’ve.. saved myself from a lot of ridicule if I didn’t have tinted eyeglasses. Why did i have to get the tint? Ugh.
How’re you finding the lifestyle of DJing full-time?
I really like the DJ lifestyle! It’s definitely a full time grind. Outside of a live set, you’re preparing playlists, staying on top of new music releases, working on your own music, maybe planning parties of your own and promoting them. I get to travel a lot which is my favorite part about the job. The only thing that I have yet to get used to is that I wake up later in the mornings after I DJ. I’m naturally a morning person, so it feels weird waking up so late.
So then what does a weekend mean to you?
On the weekends I am usually lurking around a farmer’s market for artisanal goods, then at home binge-watching tv shows on Netflix and shoving said artisanal goods into my face. My favorite thing from the farmer’s market right now are these honey and toasted coconut covered almonds. I buy two bags every chance I get and I bring them with me when I travel too.
Every new relationship is about gaining trust so I gain the crowd’s trust by playing a couple of familiar tunes before leading them into new sonic territory.”
Back to the job description…the relationship with the crowd is crucial and seemingly fragile. How do you balance between giving the crowd what they want and dropping something new?
It’s definitely fragile and I get nervous about it all the time! But, a friend once advised me that every new relationship is about gaining trust so I gain the crowd’s trust by playing a couple of familiar tunes before leading them into new sonic territory.
Speaking of sonic territories, let’s say Miley just offered to pay you 2-million dollars to be on the twerk team. Would you accept this offer? Secondly, how would you spend the loot?
I absolutely accept. Secret: I was on miley’s original twerk team and I have some “Hannah Montana” footage to prove it. Secondly, I will use my 1.3 million of my twerk loot to pay off all of my student loans. I’m pretty sure that’s how much I owe. I will use the rest to donate to Juicy J’s Twerk Scholarship Program.
Twerk twerk twerk twerk, but what YOU workin’ with?
So you’re a DJ that also might know a thing or two about fashion. Can you share what you like to see the fellas sporting? Better yet, what does it take for a double-take from So Super Sam?
I have a very easy double take recipe: A well-fitting, worn-in white or grey tee, a pair of well-fitting pants, good sneakers, good hygiene, smell like clean laundry. Very classic look. That works Every. Single. Time.
Thank you, duly noted. Being the foodie that you are, now let’s map out your ultimate neighborhood. Name all the restaurants in your city that you’d love to have conveniently placed on the same block you live on.
I would first like a halal cart, and a fruit cart. This is the best of LA and NY in my opinion. And a Proof Bakery, a Sushi Gen, and Juice Bar on my block. And then on the next block, I would like a Doughnut Plant, and Santouka Ramen, and a Free Range LA Chicken Sandwich Stand (to die for chicken sandwich only available on sundays at the Melrose Place Farmers Market), and a Handsome Dan’s Candy Shop (my neighborhood candy shop when I lived in Brooklyn). We’re putting all the guilty pleasures on the next block so I can at least burn a few calories waddling my fat ass over.
Let’s put together the soundtrack to your life. What songs are playing ominously in the background of these scenarios?
Cooking Breakfast: Etta James “Sunday Kind of Love”
Rigorous Cardio: Currently the M.O.D. mixtape they made for Noisey
Hotboxing with Snoop Lion: Flying Lotus “Until the Quiet Comes” album
Dancing like a moron: Whatever songs my friend Dan Oh plays when he DJ’s, he plays like non-descript techno future bass or something. I always find myself doing interpretive dances in the club.
Put you to sleep: Amel Larrieux “Lovely Standards” album
Something we ask each person we interview, could you share with us any mottos or quotes that you are currently living by?
“The only chances we get are the ones we give ourselves.”
This mix is infused with the mood of a humid night toward the end of the summer months, when the rain has just started to creep in, but the air is still warm. I used an amalgamation of sounds from the people who influence me the most; including Mr. Fingers, Classixx, Thievery Corporation, NY*AK and Jean Michel Basquiat’s band- Gray. As always, this mix incorporates sounds from the past and the present, for a unique balance of two opposing eras, harmoniously blended into one another.
1. Lebanese Blonde- Thievery Corporation
2. Strawberry Skies- Games feat. Laurel Halo
3. It’s Only Love Doing It’s Thing- Joseph Terruel
4. The Mysterious Ashley Bickerton- Gray
5. Is This How You Feel (CLASSIXX remix)- The Preatures
6. Do You Believe (Cosmic Kids remix)- Poolside
7. You’re Never Gonna Reach Me (Hot Toddy remix)- Crazy P
8. No More Music- NY*AK
9. Mingus Kyle Monday blues- Section 31 remix
10. Can You Feel It?- Mr. FIngers
11. Feeling You Feeling Me (Houze Arrest remix)- Alicia Keys
12. Superficial- Bougie Soliterre
13. Flying Funk (02 Version)- Fish Go Deep
14. Higher Ground (Original Mix)- Toni Lionni
15. Sweet Sensation- Acumen
16. Coração pt.2- Ian Pooley
Good Morning everyone, another sun-filled Monday in August only means one thing. Time for a new W&BM! Decided to walk down to one of Vancouver’s finest record stores in Downtown. The Beat Street Records on 439 W Hastings St has such a perfect environment for people like me. I found a worthy record sifting through their always impeccable vinyl stacks and this week on W&BM, a contemporary rock god meets 90s rhythm & blues soul sisters. Tell me what you think in the cut.
Brick walls adorned with vinyl, t-shirts pinned and all the graffiti tools you’d ever need. They also have a great listening centre consisting of 4 tables and 4 headphones. The records are well categorized and conditioned and it’s a place I’ve been digging for a lengthy amount of time. Do your research!
I was going thru their contemporary rock section and I happened to find Leon Russell again! This time around I found his album . “Shadow and Me” is a wild track to sample. It has the right strings and hits on the sample. So after looping it a couple of times, I started humming this loop. Then from there I found the chords using Gladiator VST – Synth Ecellio BN. Let the tempo go down to 49.6 BPM and let the beat ride. From my impression of the beat, I feel like it would work as an R&B track or something electronic to vibe to.
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It’s difficult to go a day without having at least some type of indirect contact with Jay Z in one way or another. Music, commercials, wife, record label, athletes – it’s all his and it’s all affecting our daily lives whether we are enthused by it or not. For over a decade, a Jay album is as dependable as sun and barbeques in the summertime, this year is no different. But it has become much more than that for the “business, man” – since he has penetrated almost every major avenue of popular culture, one is sufficed to say that we could very well be living in a world according to Jay Z.
1. Music “You in the presence of a king/Scratch that, you in the presence of a God”
It’s as if Jay listened to Ye’s album about 3 months ago, knew what he had on deck, and calmly decided he doesn’t need a single and would release the album two weeks after his Throne counterpart. Yeezus was the best thing to happen for MCHG, for every loyal fan that West’s project alienated; they reverted to Jay’s reliability to take a break from Kanye being Kanye. And that’s the underlying part to all of this, no matter the breakdown of the album, disappointed or not – he’s always ahead of the curve but remains in a pocket that is familiar enough to his previous works that we feel comfortable as steadfast Jay fans. Consistency is the key to longevity – and the root of a successful business, maaan.
Magna Carta Holy Grail on its own will never stand out as transcending, I would be surprised if it even cracks your top five Jay albums. The more I listen to it, the more it becomes transparent that it doesn’t need to be. In entertainment and sports, there is always a five year peak in a “superstar’s” career; Jay hit his from ’98 – ’03, where he had the number one album for five straight summers. Think about how the Heat looked after winning game seven this past June, now imagine them doing it three more times, damn near impossible. That’s what makes the run of Jay’s catalogue so unprecedented. My perception is that Jay doesn’t necessarily feel he needs to stray too far from the formula that got him here, bringing back the band of producers who have all contributed despite how irrelevant to hip-hop they may be (Timbo). As a fan for over a decade, I’m okay with that. I’d prefer having him play subpar in games two to five of the Finals and come through in game six/seven rather than trying to make the playoffs and tearing his Achilles to hang on, if you catch my drift (Kobe jab!).
2. Sports “Scott Boras, you over baby/Robinson Cano, you coming with me/These n***as like rotary phones/It’s a new day, hit up KD”
Hardest diss on the record goes to the one above ^ – directed at high profile sports agent rather than against star-studded rapper. Segue, Roc Nation Sports. It’s as smooth of a transition as a basketball star getting onto the cover of NBA 2K13. Every rapper writes about sports, their Jordan collection etc. Jay Z lives it. It all started from seeing him in all the throwback jerseys, then courtside at Knicks games, endorsing Lebron from the get-go, setting up their annual Two Kings event at All Star weekend, owning a piece of the Nets and the list goes on. Jay by no means is going to be an actual agent, no more than he was an owner of the Nets. He just adds the jazz to an otherwise basic beat. He was the main one initiating the all-black and white uniforms for the Nets, now he will use his “urban” edge and recruited agents from the top surrounding competitors to sign the likes of Durant and Cano. Up and comers like Andrew Wiggins will have a choice between regular ol’ Agent “X” or affiliating themselves with a legend they’ve probably been idolizing since they were six years old. You tell me who wins that battle.
3. Business “Shout out to old Jews and old rules/New Blacks with new stacks”
Jay re-wrote the playbook after striking the deal with Samsung, forcing the RIAA to change their policies and officially enabling the album to go platinum even before its release date. Some have noted the element of “selling out”, but in ways only Jay can do, he rose to the gauntlet unmarked and prosperous. The difference in “old money” and “new money” is constant throughout the album; hold up … he went platinum before what? The 2013 Finals for me will be remembered for the Lebron block, Ray Allen three, game seven and the three minute commercial heading into half time of game five. Watching the game live, realizing what was happening as it was happening; you couldn’t help but get excited about a new Jay project. No stone is left unturned in his world, nothing is by accident. Every photo, every interview, leaked story, even down to his recent twitter spree replying to fans for about an hour the week of his album release. He plans his time out of the spotlight as well as he does while he’s in it. His marketing strategies are calculated enough to look rebellious as if he’s implementing #newrules to the game.
4. Family “Blue told me to remind you n***as”
Jay’s first word on the album rings as a resounding reminder where he is in life, from nursing a new born to still needing a vacation from his new life. Until the potential next one, Blue Ivy will be the main focus of his albums. Post “Black Album”, he’s always needed a reason to make an album. “American Gangster” put him in another man’s shoe. “Blueprint 3” to round out his fascination with trilogies. “Watch The Throne” was the most he’s been pushed since the Nas days, and had to prove he could still do it. The natural progression is family. The biggest world tour of the summer headlines his name without headlining him, soak that in. Mrs. Carter used to go by one name and one name only, now she can’t help but be recognized for her new one.
5. The Unmarked Path “FuckwithmeyouknowIgotit”
One thing is for sure, Jay doesn’t think outside the box, he creates the space that the box is viewed upon. It’s been a long time since Jay has been the voice of “us”, we may be able to relate in doses, but not to the extent of the dream he carries every day. We have to trust he will lead us to new territory and to those who follow, you can flourish and he won’t be jealous. All of this isn’t meant to glorify Jay Z, it’s just stating facts. Everyone has a success story, it can feel watered down, but he did come from nothing to become the apex where young, old, black, white, music, sports, business and life meet.
Jay Z has left his imprint over all five continents around the world, and for all the things we may adore and hate about Mr. Carter, one thing is certain, this is apparently his world and it seem we’re just living in it.
Ahhh, how ya feeling out there? It’s been long minute but the first W&B spread of the month has landed! Another summer and another beat. For the new look on W&B, I’ll be visiting and posting different vinyl record locations in Vancouver. Oftentimes purchasing one of their vinyls and crafting a beat out of it.
This month, I made a trip down to Neptoon Records on 3561 Main St. The vinyls are displayed from wall to wall, always well organized and cleanly stacked. The staff is friendly and truly know their stuff. Aside from records, they also sell CD’s, music memorabilia and some nice vintage concert posters.
I picked up this vinyl called POWER / Rock… “Direct-To-Disc”. Didn’t know what the hell it was but the cover looked cool. Had that old school angle art design. Didn’t like track 1 so skipped to track 2 “Superstar” by Leon Russell. An incredible, overlooked gem. You hear this trippy synth at the start and then when the beat drops – so good. I discovered that this was the instrumental for “Superstar” by the Carpenters. Some say that this track was actually called “Groupie/Superstar”. Should’ve stayed with “Groupie” in my opinion. I believe Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton are responsible for this track. Have a listen to the original and my version of the beat.
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Though only passing through town, Quadron is most definitely here to stay. If you still aren’t yet familiar, the band is made of two essential ingredients – Robin Hannibal, the producer-extraordinaire & melodic-heaven-sent vocalist Coco O – both hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark. The Danish pair offer a unique brand of music, one they like calling ‘electro-soul’. It’s actually not difficult to notice their appeal. Coming off their sophomore LP release of Avalanche, they are currently touring around America and Fortune Sound Club (Vancouver, BC) was lucky enough to be along that pathway.
First things first. Nina Mendoza on the decks dropping some tasteful soul, successfully warming up the crowd while the band sets up.
And there she was. The truth that front-woman Coco O. ‘had quite a voice’ was surely not in question Wednesday night, as the crowd went dead silent, speaking her first couple words on the mic. Avalanche’s “LFT” was the opening song of choice for the evening. This was an all-around showcase for Coco’s vocal elasticity. Displaying Adele-esque contralto lows, Amel Larrieux-type highs & maintaining a sultry-effortlessness reminiscent of Amy Winehouse, albeit on a playful party-starter for the ladies. The night continued on that same note, dropping more irresistible grooves, seemingly their theme for the new album.
Coco was engaging the crowd with ease. No script, no choreo.
At my very first listen, it was undoubtedly the female half of the group, who initially caught my ear’s attention. If you’ve ever heard her take on the classic Michael Jackson track “Baby Be Mine”, I think I can speak on behalf of both of us that it was possibly the best cover we’ve ever heard of any song. I mean, it’s not that often you’d come across an MJ cover and actually love it as much as its original. Not only did she pay it due-justice, but successfully flipped it from boogie to ballad. And you bet this one was a hundred times more magnificent live. Coco’s foreseeable future for one, is definitely looking good, as she’s already rubbed elbows with some big name artists in studio this past year.
Robin and Coco discovered their union through each other’s heritage. “QUADRON” – according to the Danish culture, is used to describe a person who is exactly 1/4 African – a rarity in their part of the world.
But even if it boils down to the frontwoman for most of their fans, you sure cannot count out Robin Hannibal and his marvelous production. For instance, if you listen to their 2nd single “Better Off”, you’d notice this isn’t your ordinary love ballad – or at least it isn’t structured like one. His arrangements prove that Hannibal doesn’t like to follow the format – which might just explain my addiction.
And sometimes, you might catch band members enjoying themselves..the most!
Now give the drummer some.
Kendrick’s lone feature on the album was simply ‘payback’ to what he ‘borrowed’ from when Quadron were previously known as part of the “Boom Clap Bachelors”. More so payback to Robin Hannibal. You’ve obviously heard Kendrick’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” off his debut album right? So now look up “Tyden Flyver” by the Boom clap Bachelors and you just might notice something. If anything though, to see two very deserving soul and rap artists aide the success of each other’s releases like that is a wonderful thing.
Coming to a close? Don’t let my high come down. Encore.
Pushing your album’s release date one week forward, to go head to head with Kanye West is a bold and risky move by Jermaine Cole. But when you really think about, and begin to dissect the reasoning behind it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Cole is not yet on the same level as a Kanye West (although his ego may be inching closer to him), but coming out the same day gets the people putting him in the same conversation as one of the biggest and most innovative artists, not just in rap but in music period. Which means more exposure and hype behind the release of Cole’s second solo album, Born Sinner.
The first taste off Born Sinner was from the Miguel assisted single ‘Power Trip’. I’ll admit I was sleeping on this track at first until I saw the video. Now I’m at a point where this could make my top 5 tracks of the year list. Jermaine really did his thing on this record, specifically on the superbly layered production. These are the type of beats I know and expect J. Cole to produce and you can never really go wrong nowadays with Miguel singing on the hook. Lest we forget, Miguel first stepped into the universal spotlight via J. Cole’s very first debut single, “All I Want Is You”. Which seems like light years ago.
Another highlight to me is the Kendrick Lamar/A Tribe Called Quest assisted cut ‘Forbidden Fruit’. If you’re going to use that specific Tribe/Ronnie Foster sample (Electric Relaxation/Mystic Brew), then you better murk it and overall Jermaine delivers some of his best verses on the record. Kendrick is only featured on the hook but it makes me wonder if Cole decided on not letting Kendrick spit so he wouldn’t get shadowed on his own track, a la ‘Renegade’ style with Roc-Nation head honcho Jay-Z and some rapper named Eminem. Again, it’s Kendrick we’re talking about, so I’m not mad at Cole for taking both slots. The track ‘Runaway’ is another stand out for me as Cole gets personal and goes in depth into the pros and cons of having a relationship while being a rap star. Something that relates back to the good/evil, tug of war theme of the LP.
Backtrack to the production for a second, I really wish the rest of the album was on the same level as the single ‘Power Trip’. I mean, I know J. Cole is about his lyrics but to me, the production has to hit equally as hard as the words. And if you’re producing the majority of your record, I would think you would try to supply yourself with more upper-echelon instrumentals OR whittle down your 16-song tracklist. For example, the hard-hitting Hii-Power’d beat he produced for Kendrick. Another note is that the track ‘Cole Summer’, which was released on the Your’s Truly Pt. 2 project could have fit perfectly on Born Sinner. It’s too bad he couldn’t clear the classic Lauryn Hill sample but oh well. In fact, Truly Yours parts 1 and 2, the two mixtapes that served as a prelude to Born Sinner were formidable projects in and of themselves. Cole always seems at his finest and most creative when in a space of pressure-less, free-flowing content.
Prior to the release of the album, there was alot of hype surrounding the track ‘Let Nas Down’. On the record, Cole tells the story of how Chicago producer and Kanye West mentor, No I.D. gave him a call after the release of the single ‘Work Out’ and goes on to tell him how the one and only Nas was let down by the lyrical simplicity of the song. Which is ironic because ‘Work Out’ happens to be Cole’s most commercially successful single. What makes this a more signifacant moment in rap history is that Nas released a response to this record entitled ‘Made Nas Proud’, where the legend gives the young MC praise for his artistry and body of work. Mutual respect from an elder statesman and a young prodigy can be a rarity at times, but it’s not hard to see how both of these artists can mirror each other in some regards.
Altogether, I’m not mad at this album at all, because it’s better than good. And kudos to the young sophomore for amassing more record sales for Born Sinner to date than its release date rival in Yeezus. I can almost appreciate that Cole leaves himself this gap in where he has clear cut room for improvement on any subsequent projects. Feels like he’s doing a reverse-Illmatic to his career, where fans are left anticipating a certified “5-mic” classic album from the young rapper/producer. Credit is due in that regard when you think of all the factors J. Cole has to consider – the trials and tribulations of fully producing your own record seems like more than half the battle in putting out a studio album. There is a certain growth you can hear from the Sideline Story Jermaine and the Born Sinner Jermaine. The rhymes are more thorough and complex and the beats are solid enough to get the job done. As a full length project, Born Sinner will definitely please his core fans and show the rest of the world why Jay-Z signed him and why Nas won’t be let down this time around.
Wake up people, it’s a good morning. Wake & Beats is here for no.116. I sampled Deborah Cox’s All Over Me. The beat reminds of some R&B, hip-hop mash-up. Anyway, enjoy it and enjoy the rest of the week. Peace be with ya.