Saturday 22 November 2008

Danny Dan the Beatman

The heavy beat-diggers out there amongst you will know the name DANNY DAN THE BEATMAN. Either from his brief appearance in the short movie THE FUNK HUNT (where he takes a headbutt for his records!), or simply for being a legendary bronx veteran with an incredible arsenal of dope ass breakbeats - there's no denying this cat's qualifications.
DANNY DAN grew up in the early days of Hip Hop and had already begun to DJ Funk, Soul and R&B from the age of 13, but was later influenced by the legendary KOOL DJ HERC to become a drum break junkie. He was fascinated by watching him spin two copies of the same record mixed seamlessly back-to-back.
He hailed from the Bronx 183rd street, and in this area DAN and his crew would rule the streets from 1975 to 1984 involved in organising and spinning at street jams, block parties, school yards etc.. This is where he earned his reputation as a master of drum breaks. DANNY tells us...
"THE TWO TUFF BROS, TBB CREW...we had some good times, we had it all - real B-Boys & B-Girls just havin' fun..... JOJO, MONGO, SPY, TRAC 2, WHITE BOY TRACE, BOM 5, RIP 7, BATCH, ABBY, WEBBLES, JIMMY DEE, JIMMY LEE, MR FREEZE, FROSTY FREEZE, LEFTY, MIKE MIKE, BIG LEE, LEON, 2TUFF FRED, EDDIE ED, KIN 1, SHICK SALSA, SLICK2, WASP 1, OZ 109, TRACY 168, KING 2, CHI CHI 133, P.NUT 2, CLIFF 159 and many other they all came to rock the house including DJ DESTINY, DJ BUCK O, DJ ECSTASY, DJ JONNY JOHN, DJ MIKE MIKE, DJ PILL 170, and the one and only MIX MASTER SUPREME, not forgetting FUNK MASTER J..."

But DANNY DAN is also known for creating dope beats for artists including Biz Markie's "You Got What I Need", Doo Wop and The Bounce Squad's "Hit em in the Head" and many more. He was also the man responsible for the hugely popular DUSTY FINGERS break comp series and has now compiled a treasure of the rarest break beats in the Dusty Fingers collection and now presents his first CD release, DUSTY FINGERS - THE MIX CD. THE BEATMAN has returned to his dusty archival collection only to discover over 50 more rare tracks including more rare international break beats from far afield including Europe. DUSTY FINGERS - THE MIX CD contains over 50 rare break beats that are almost impossible to find. You can preview & purchase DUSTY FINGERS - THE MIX CD at ROCKNSOULRECORDS.
It can be argued that DUSTY FINGERS was the first breakbeat comp to continually go beyond the well-travelled world of LENNY ROBERTS's much revered Ultimate Breaks and Beats series. I'm sure many of you will remember how DUSTY FINGERS was very much shrouded in mystery (is it Diamond D?). DAN made a quantum leap in the digging world, introducing many to euro-breaks, badder than the original cover versions, and also that elusive genre known as library records.

"For the first time DANNY DAN THE BEATMAN has been commissioned to create a mix from the series. With such incredible source material, it'd be hard to fuck this up, but Dann does an excellent job playing guide through the now massive catalogue. There's 57 tracks in total, with just enough editing (tracks average about 1:30 in length) and nicely timed doubles. Well over an hour of music." - Turntable Lab

Here's a little snippet from DUSTY FINGERS THE MIX CD....
DUSTY FINGERS MIX - Danny Dan the Beatman

and also one of DANNY DAN's productions from 1994 on NOO TRYBE Records...

We caught up with DANNY DAN THE BEATMAN for a hot minute and threw a few beat diggin' questions at him...

DD: Wassup DAN, props on the new DUSTY FINGERS mix, that shit is hellafresh! First of all, what's ya favourite kinda drums??
DAN: open hard drums make me happy

DD: Our boy DJ LEACY (RIP) used to keep his break records secret until he had doubles. Do you do the same??
DAN: yes but when i get doubles it over i play them for a good 6 mouths then i will give out the name. I met DJ LEACY once, he was a cool cat may he rest in beats.

DD: What's your most memorable dig?
DAN: i had many but one time in the 1980 i found a box of soul by soul lps in a warehouse in new Jersey for only one dollar a record.

DD:You have 10 bucks in your pocket - do you hit Burger King or go hungry and buy some flea market bargains?
DAN: go hungry many times records are more important to get now because you leave it its gone.

DAN: yes i have them all...that OPUS 7 is some raw BRONX shit!

DD: What's the biggest one that got away?? (i.e. left it in the shop)
DAN: the biggest one was 2 copies of willie dynomite back in 81. I need fresh copies but they got away, only 10 bucks too damm!

DD: Describe a perfect drumbreak?
DAN: The perfect beat to me is Niagara drums - its just has everything in it funky.

DD: Can you play the drums? If so how funky can you get?
DAN: No I do not play the drums but I can rock funky drums on the MPC!

DD: Is there a DUSTY FINGERS Volume 2 in the pipeline??
DAN: I don't know yet but its something I might do soon.

DD: Many thanks Dan you are an inspiration. Please would you hit us off with your top ten drum breaks of all time?
DAN: Sure...

1 niagara
2 black heat
3 bretheren
4 funkadelic
5 bob james
6 new birth
7 james brown get in to it
8 joe farrell
9 kpm music drum sound lp
10 catch a groove 12 inch

For DJ bookings, interviews etc.. you can contact DANNY DAN at theBeatMann at yahoo dot com or through MYSPACE.


THE FUNK HUNT pt2 (immediately you see DANNY DAN cutting up 2 copies the way it should be done!!


Thursday 20 November 2008

More Breaks on 45

I just can't get enough breaks on 45. Those that know me will confirm this obsession I'm sure (thanks Oxygen for the recent funk batch from across the pond!) Some of the pressings are so chunky on 45rpm that they sound better anyway compared to the quality of LP versions played at 33 and a third RPM. Hence a better sample to rip for my own productions. A great example of this is RUFUS THOMAS's classic drums on THE PENGUIN PT2. - every LP version I own sounds flat, even muffled. But the 45rpm 7" is crispy and the drums are so loud!! You can certainly notice the difference when sucking this into your AKAI or SP1200 or whatever. More BOOM BAP than boom bap.

So to wet your appetites, here's a random selection of funky 45s from the DAILY DIGGERS crates.

When you listen to this clip I'm sure you will find this track instantly familiar. If you can't guess it straight away I'm sure the answer will come eventually, if you know your Hip Hop! This dope little record on the TANGERINE RECORD CORP label is a nice find, but unfortunately not dated. The mood is mellow at first, with some cute little guitar licks and mellow bluesy piano scales, but the bassline deep in the background is damn funky and so hypnotic throughout! But my favourite bit starts when the sleazy horns come in. RAY CHARLES is showing his bad self on this track, but the sax player is the star of the show with his expressive rasps! Later there is a nice guitar solo too, and some whoops and howls thrown in for good measure. Get on down!
I've also added a clip of the much loved Hip Hop track that uses the piano and guitar licks.
Booty Butt

and if it's driving you nuts where you've heard it before click here

Nice white label promo copy of this RAMPART release (same label as FRISCO DISCO). These are some hectic live drums here, and a joint used by, amongst others, CYPRESS HILL on the track "The Funky Cypress Hill Shit". I love the sporadic drum intro, and the crowd noise and laughing in the background (this was recorded live at the Plush Bunny club in Pico Rivera, California). The drum break is kinda noisy because it's live, and after four beats of bongos the guitar licks come in and subsequently the hammond organ takes off. But it is the sinister horns that make this joint a winner. A dancefloor killer, and essential jam for any funk party.
From memory, DE LA SOUL also used "the HECTOR break" as it is known, as did ICE CUBE on "Jackin' For Beats". If you don't believe me, go and give it a spin.

Funky Cypress Hill Shit

I have to be honest I only copped this 45 recently, after finding several battered copies in the past which I left in the shop. Not so much a pure drum break, but some dope drums and a bassline that anyone into Hip Hop will recognise.
hint: the track that used it is from the late 80's and was by an icon on the mic.
Here JOHN HAMILTON claims to be lying in the rain with Buffalo Bill. They call him "BIG BAD JOHN" and he "don't care a hell if they do!". No wonder the MC in question used this funk gem for a hip hop backbone, as the mood of this joint is definitely braggadocious (have I spelt that right??)
Also if you listen on into the track you will also notice a horn squeal that was also used to lace over the original beat. Dope stuff! But can you tell me who it was?? I have took a moment to loop the beat and add the horn. Have a listen for yourself...
Big Bad John

name that tune

Kid Dyno

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Just Messin' With Beats pt.8

It's about that time once again to re-visit a rap classic, and seeing as the DAILY DIGGERS beat machine has been working overtime lately, you should expect more of the same coming soon! Especially as the nights have now become colder and darker - this is the time of the year when we lock oursleves in the beat dungeon and crank the volume "way past ten" as COOL J would say!
Today's beat features the legendary RHYME INSPECTOR PERCEE P, and underground cat SICK LYRICAL DAMAGER. Courtesy of the 1996 release "RESPECT COSTS MORE THAN MONEY" on VMAX records.
PERCEE P has undoubtedly been a legend since the days of the Patterson Project battles with LORD FINESSE. His most noticable release to date is PERCEE P & EKIM - "Now They Wanna See Me" on BIG BEAT from 92 - a seriously dope record by anyone's standards, with all tracks scoring near maximum points. He also guest appears on LORD FINESSE's "RETURN OF THE FUNKYMAN" LP, and also MAESTRO FRESH WES's "NAAH DIS KID CAN'T BE FROM CANADA" album.
Unfortunately, despite the Bronx MC's rhyme style still being tight to this day, I feel the beats he has been laced with on his recent 12"s and LP are seriously sub-standard for someone who is capable of some shit-hot verbals (sorry Madlib!). Please lemme know what YOU think!
Anyhow...some of you will already have heard BEAT DETECTIVE's REMIX of this joint from a few years back....well, we're back to drop the KID DYNO REMIX of PERCEE & SLD....check it out!!


...and here's our original REMIX

Monday 10 November 2008

Still Messin' With Beats.

Like I have said many times before...making beats is like breathing air to us at the DAILY DIGGERS HQ - it's something we HAVE to do.
After seeing DJ LEACY making beats on his S950 back in '89, I made it my mission to buy my first sampler. Despite messing around with Commodore 64 based software and hardware to make beats, I had no technical knowhow or experience of musical equipment, and nothing has changed there. Maybe this was obvious from my first purchase, an AKAI S01 sampler with a mere 15 seconds sampling time and no sequencing facility. At the time the units to buy were the S1000, but my budget didn't stretch to that.
I blundered my way through the first year of experimenting with beats, teaching myself how to use the unit - the damn manual may as well have been written in Chinese! One thing I realised fast is that other beatheads do not give away their secrets! And in a way I am glad they didn't as it taught me to practice hard and to get used to my machine and what it's capabilites were. By this method I also learnt my own capabilities, and how to improve those too. I will never be an equipment freak, but I know how I want my shit to sound, and I spend time before sampling the records to ensure volume levels are nice and the bass/treble levels are just where I want them to be in the mix. I guess that's my top tip! (and only one).

Here's a couple of vintage DAILY DIGGERS beats...

Beat 269

BST Beat

Saturday 8 November 2008

In Debt - Harry Kane

IN DEBT - a short film by Harry Kane featuring John Hines & inspired by the blaxploitation movies of the 70s. Great soundtrack too.

Monday 3 November 2008

Primo Rockin' Beats

PRIMO, PREMO, DJ PREMIER, or one half of the group GANG STARR - however you know him, there's no denying this is one producer who has contributed HUGELY to hip hop music over the last twenty years.
Not only do most other Hip Hop artists wanna work with him, but he has also inspired a million and one other beatmakers to pick up a SP1200 or MPC2000 (or other weapon of choice) and rock their own shit. I'm sure most artists would admit to being a fan of GANG STARR's beatman, and would give their right arms to emulate that wall of sound that he creates so well. Without doubt, that DJ PREMIER sound is so tight, and using some well-picked samples and his clever formulae he creates one banger after another...even when lazily using the same drum noises for a whole album (and his new trick is to leave out the hats as I'm sure you have noticed!)
But you cannot dispute the fact the man has got serious talent where beats are concerned. And why would you want to? Go and count how many GANG STARR or PRIMO-produced records you have in your crates - the list is endless trust me!
So to celebrate all things P-P-P-P-PREMIER P-P-P-P-PREMIER ... here's just a few of our favourite PRIMO beats.
(note: been having problems with Divshare files playing slowly, so I'm afraid its back to Zshare)

Despite the fact that DJ PREMIER was not there at GANG STARR's early days, it wasn't long before the 45 KING gave over the reigns to PREMIER and the group went on to bigger success. The LP "No More Mr Nice Guy" was well received but wasn't strong enough to make the group blow the hell up. The time for this would eventually come with PRIMO's trademark sound, and the 2nd effort, STEP IN THE ARENA, established them as hip hop icons. The HUNTER MIX is taken from the POSITIVITY 12" release on the German BELLAPHON label, with different mixes of this track and also the Whole World Mix of "Positivity". Not PRIMO's best work I agree, but I just love to hear his different mixes of the old joints, especially this one using JAMES BROWN's Give It Up Or Turn It Loose drums.
Gotch U

LORD FINESSE - "Strictly For The Ladies"
Yep PRIMO provided lots of early beats for the FUNKYMAN, as well as being the backbone for GANG STARR. It seems as though even then in the early days the PRIMO BEAT MACHINE was churning overtime back at the lab.
Strictly For The Ladies

GANG STARR - "Now You're Mine"
I'm not sure why I love this beat so much, but suffice to say it's been my mobile phone ringtone for 3 or 4 years. To listen to it briefly sounds like a quick horn loop, double bass slap, and some well placed drums. But listen closer and this beat illustrates perfectly how DJ PREMIER gets his shit sounding so nice in the mix. The drum pattern is funky and inconspicuous, while the (Ahmad Jamal??) horns hypnotise with repetitive synchronisity, only to be broken with teasing fades and pauses for Guru to drop his punchlines. Plus some added white noise during bars to break up the horns. CLASSIC!
Now You're Mine

BIG DADDY KANE - "Show & Prove"
We all know PRIMO has made beats for a multitiude of emcees, but check the list of appearances just on this track....Kane himself, Jay-Z, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Scoob Lover, Sauce, and Shyhiem. This beat is tough, and has always been a play out favourite of ours. Bouncy and uptempo.....just how we like it. Scoob's verse on this joint is off the wall! Crazy English accent too!
Here's the INSTRUMENTAL version.
Show & Prove

JAY-Z - "Friend or Foe"
Again DJ PREMIER helping elevate an emcee to another level. It would take days to total up how many artists have had a helping hand from a PRIMO produced beat or two. But none more so than JAY-Z. Back in '96 his "Reasonable Doubt" LP was a huge yet calculated risk by the Jiggaman, both in going it solo but also by starting his fledgling Roc-a-Fella label with his own money. But to have some solid production skills from PRIMO ensured street sales and wide appeal. The rest is history.
Friend or Foe

MOP - "Handle Ur Bizness" PREMIER REMIX
I wasn't always an MOP fan because of all the shouting, but over the years the PRIMO beats have won me over, and here is a classic late 90's banger remixed by the man himself. Billy Danze and Lil Fame's dark past is echoed by the sinister beat here, and PRIMO creates the usual tension for them to spit over.
Handle Ur Bizness

LITTLE VIC - "The Exorcist"
A fairly recent production but one of his most catchy since the turn of the millenium. Features his trademark little cut & paste scratches...but hey that's the PRIMO we know and love! Little Vic drops some ill lyrics on this typical head nodder, and the twelve inch wide graffiti sticker on the cover makes this the perfect PRIMO purchase. On PROJECT / ORENA RECORDS from 2005.
The Exorcist

SPECIAL TEAMZ - "The Main Event"
This time providing the beats for EDO. G, SLAINE, and JAYSAUN, and a familiar drum pattern from the boom bap king. Once again it's easy to spot his sparse use of hats or cymbals throughout, leaving the samples and soundbites to do the talking. You could describe this one as his typical, simple, yet effective beats. If the formula ain't broke....don't fix it!
Main Event

Kid Dyno