The EMU SP1200 drum machine is without doubt synonymous with the golden era sound of hip hop music from back in the late 80's early 90's. An SP-1200 and AKAI S950 as a combination were the weapons of choice for most hip hop producers - the SP taking care of the sequencing and gritty drum sounds with the longer samples being triggered off the AKAI. Many of your favourite records from this period were made on this combo, and the SP provided the raw sound that hip hop artists wanted.
Developed in 1985 as the improved version of the EMU SP12, the SP1200 soon became a favourite with producers like PAUL C, CED GEE, JAZZY JEFF, PETE ROCK, LORD FINESSE, EASY MO BEE and others. In fact if youn watch the FRESHCO & MIZ video in the post below you will hear DJ MIZ describing how KURTIS MANTRONIK first used an SP at the FRESH FEST and inspired other DJs such as JAZZY JEFF to find themselves one. Despite the limited sampling time and very basic capabilities, the machine is still very much sought after over 25 years later. even in this age of PC based software like PRO-TOOLS and LOGIC. There have been many drum machines that have been used within hip hop; ROLAND TR-808 and TR-909s, DMXs, MPC60s, MPC2000s, ASR10s, but few are held in such high regard as the EMU SP series.
To celebrate the history of the SP1200 a new book has been released in a very limited quantity of 150, written and compiled by SP fanatic PBODY (what's up bro!).
Entitled "SP1200: THE ART & THE SCIENCE" the book features everything from history of the machine and its predecessors, tips on how to look after and maintain your SP, how to make your SP beats kick like a mule, and interviews on various SP-using producers from across the globe. It's also good to see my homeboy MAC MCRAW from VINYL VETERANS interviewed in the book, there ain't much about making beats on the SP that he doesn't know (check him out on YOUTUBE here and click on the photo below to read MAC;s interview.)
For more details on the SP1200 book and to order a copy check this out.