21Aug/113

K-Def – The Most Underrated

If there ever was a non-T.R.O.Y. compilation we’d post on here its this one. Peace to all parties involved, T.R.O.Y. forum member claaa7, who needs to just join the blog already, Al Lindstrom for hookin’ me up with most of my Tommy Boy vinyl back in the day and of course everyone else who made this happen. Check it out and be sure to thank claaa7 on his site or in the thread. –Philaflava

Download Compilation

Intro & Interview by Chris Moss
Photos by Dan Love
Compilation produced by J.E.S.A. Of 2DopeBoyz, Chris Moss, claaa7 Of The Lost Tapes & Redefinition Records

“For a producer -or any artist for that matter- to articulate their vision and have it manifested sonically for the masses to hear is no simple task. Equally difficult is having that same artist verbally detail the creative processes that went into the creation of that work of art. Be it painting, writing, rapping, or beat making, describing the intricacies of creation is a difficult undertaking.

I had a chance to talk with K-Def the other day and he is one cat who can put his words down in a similarly poignant fashion as one of his signature drum patterns. To borrow the title to his latest release on Redefinition Records, he’s adapted quite well as “Time’s Change”. K walks us through a sampling of some of his discography and several releases you may or may not be familiar with. Quite candidly, this selection was chosen not only to illustrate his rightfully earned place in Hip Hop, but also to show the breadth of his catalog and talent. For a producer to have worked with Diddy and UGK and Ghostface and Ol’ Dirty Bastard is quite an accomplishment. K-Def gives readers –and listeners- a chance to hear a little insight from the producer himself and some never before shared knowledge into the origins of some of his records. Pay attention.”

01. “Introducing the Magnificent”
K-Def: “That was done in ’95 and I had just gotten the MPC 3000 hooked up with various sound modules.” This was really the first time I had started playing keys on my beats. “The drums came right from a clean-ass, Akai factory drum disk, no sampled drums!” I was looking to move my production game away from what I had previously been doing and started incorporating more technology into my equipment setup.

02. “Real Live Shit Remix” (Ft. Real Live/Ghostface/Lord Tariq/Killa Sin/Cappadonna)
K-Def: “It was a methodical hypnosis beat. I had programmed the drums and hooked the sample up with the strings and the hard timpani hits. Everyone wanted to rhyme on this beat and Wu and others were really down to get on this record. I also have this session on videotape, too. It was the original version that helped us get a deal with Big Beat/Atlantic.”

03. “How Nice I Am” (Ft. World Renown)
K-Def: “This was another methodical hypnosis joint. I was working on this around the same time as I did Da Youngsta’s song ‘Reality’ and it derived from the same sampled record. I actually had Illmatic a year before it got released and ‘The World is Yours’ inspired me to do this record. I won’t reveal the exact song, but I will say it was a Chick Corea sample and I’ll leave it at that.”

04. “Axel’s Replay”
K-Def: “I was a big David Axelrod fan. The more and more I study these guys in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the more I understand I like to use the same instruments they used. I found a record of his that had open drums on it and that was rare itself. I programmed that and played the live sounds over it to emulate the original record without just sampling it.”

05. “Funk Mode” (Ft. Tragedy)
K-Def: “We did a bunch of records together around this time. We were at Power Play Studios listening to the beat with the break. I mentioned to him that Brand Nubian just came out with it and he was like, ‘I don’t give a fuck, let’s use it.’ I was just a sample maniac being around Marley a lot. Trag, once he was done with a record, he was done! (laughs)

06. “Rather Uneke” (Ft. De’1)
K-Def: “He wanted to do it as a DJ record after I had laid the cuts down on this record. This was the record that set me up to do the ‘Lord Jazz Hit Me One Time’ record afterwards. Marley saw that I was ready to make that kind of record now.

07. “Pop The Trunk Interlude”
K-Def: “When I came across the sample (mimics the sounds), I was like ‘what the fuck is that. I pulled the part of the output plug out to separate the frequencies and was able to remove the big kick from the sample. I wanted to get Red vocals on there, Mobb Deep’s on there, too, all the main dudes that were rockin’ at the time. I had to argue a little with Big Beat to get this one done. They weren’t going to clear everything, but I got those two samples on there.”

08. “It’s Getting Hot Remix” (Ft. Artifacts)
K-Def: “Me and Larry had our shit out and I was feeling the Buckwild remix the Artifacts did with Busta (Ed. Note: Artifacts were label mates with Real Live around this time). Pete (Rock) had this first and I loved ‘In The Flesh’ as I used to ride around to this in my car all the time. I thought I could change the drums and add a little bit more of the original record with the Akai S3000 since I had more sample time than the SP-1200. The record never came out, but cats were really feeling this one.”

09. “For Tha Family” (Ft. Mic Geronimo)
K-Def: “That song started off good, although I didn’t make it for the final mix. It was a hot record and I was competing with Pete Rock’s ‘Unstoppable’ and Diddy’s record and they went with Diddy’s record. Mic Geronimo and I were cool: he came through and played basketball. However, at this point, I was an artist now and focused a little more on Real Live at this point.”

10. “What I’m After Remix” (Ft. Lords of the Underground/Keith Murray)
K-Def: “That shit was crazy; Keith was amped. Everyone was yelling loud as hell and Keith was louder than everyone and he said, ‘I want to be heard, Def, I want to be heard!’ Keith was a beast on there. That break is rare and I haven’t told anybody about it either. I looped it, filtered it and left it like that.”
11. “In This Cold World” (instrumental version)
K-Def: “This is a Lord Tariq record called ‘In This Cold World’ on a white label promo. He and DJ Enuff came by Sugar Hill Studios at the time and I was playing the beat. As soon as he heard it, he wanted it! Tariq is one of the coolest and most fun cats I’ve been in the studio with. We went to go clear the samples and we couldn’t get them cleared. The joint did come out on a white label 12” though.”

12. “Come to Me Remix” (Ft. Diddy/Biggie/Voice of Harlem)
K-Def: “Basically, I got the vocals, put my beat to it and put it to their original video by the next day! Who was doing that sort of thing? Diddy and everyone loved it to the point where I heard every office at Bad Boy listening to this joint while I was up there. Unfortunately, the artist I sampled it from wanted 100% of the copyright. Diddy wasn’t going for that.

13. “Have A Clue”
K-Def: “This is on Willie Boo Boo ‘The Fool.’ My man, 45 King, hipped me to this as I was by his house one day and went crazy for it. I got the soundtrack and I know no one knows what that is because the part I used is not from the record; it’s from the movie score to that movie and I played every note over. By the way, it’s from a John Wayne movie and that’s all I can tell you (laughs).

14. “Reality” (Ft. Da Youngsta’s)
K-Def: “As I said before, this was the same record that I used for ‘How Nice I Am,’ just a different section. I wanted to make something melodical for them and have them make something that had substance to it for cats coming of age during that time. They were getting a little serious with this joint. Once again, this is in the same vibe as the ‘How Nice I Am.’”

15. “High in the Clouds” (Ft. Ol’ Dirty Bastard/Black Rob)
K-Def: “I had the vocals first and I looped up the beat. I knew if another producer/dj/whatever ever confronts me and he starts poppin’ shit, I’d have to pull out a break that is rough, rugged and funky, all at the same time. It will automatically get your attention and it’s a gem as far as I’m concerned. Everything is in the sample, just a loop (laughs), down right and dirty.”

16. “Time Changes”
K-Def: “I haven’t heard a lot of people where someone could take different records and keep it at the same tempo all the way through. Let me try to put 10 different loops or chop ups together over the drums and see how it turns out. No one has used those drums and made them sound as loud as I have. I restored them, got rid of the hiss and put transients on them, too. I got a copy from the master tape. Dr. Dre gave me the insight when he put together the Doggystyle album to get the best kick and snare possible when making a track.”

17. “Monty”
“That joint was done the same time as ‘Crime is Money’ and I used the same drums, too. The original drums came from a Cash Money & Marvelous Marv record. Whew, the drums were open and, oh yeah, it was over!”

18. “It’s Over” (Ft. Ghostface Killah)
K-Def: “Seven Shawn and this girl, Wahkena, did the hook to that shit. There were three singers on the original song and Wahkena was able to sing each part over. Basically, Ghost’s budget for this album was spent. I came in knowing I could not just use the original sample because the clearance fee was too high. I replayed everything on this joint-piano, drums, everything!

19. “Supa Nigg Outro”
K-Def: “King Tee used that originally for one of his 12” joints and I was a fan of his. I liked the sample from Carmen McRae and hooked it up. At first, I didn’t know where the sample originated; but, a record collector from Connecticut came to the Big Beat offices one day and I bought some records from him. I got home and played them. Turns out, I had just found the original record that King Tee used for his joint! This was one of the first beats I did in Cubase around ’97.”

20. “Next Up” (Ft. UGK/Big Daddy Kane/Kool G Rap) [*]
K-Def: “Marley said he was working with UGK and I think Primo had done the joint originally. I gave Marley the beat because it was basically done. I had reprogrammed the drums; I did the whistle and replayed the piano. This beat was originally called ‘The Symph’ that was released two years earlier on my Willie Boo Boo ‘The Fool’ album. My drums are crackin’ on that!”

21. “Chief Rocka” (Lords of the Underground) {*}
K-Def: “I had just seen Marley two weeks prior and I was at his house. I was thinking that I had no more beats after I gave like 25 joints to him, so I knew I had to get more beats done. After I had got back to my crib, I went home, vibed, and I pulled out some breaks from here and there and pieced it together with the drums. Afterwards, I put the beat on and everyone went crazy. This was at time when everyone was focused and Mr. Funke went in! Even with the rhymes, it set us apart at a time when originality meant everything. Listen how he sets off the record (mimics the first couple words). Ten years later when I went to rehook the beat up for an R&B group; I forgot how I originally programmed it. It was the only beat that I couldn’t figure how to reprogram. Just a few years later though, I figured it out. So, we’re good (laughs).

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5 Responses to “K-Def – The Most Underrated”

  1. claaa7 says:

    thanks for the love everyone at the TROY Blog, its nice you’re spreading the work and we really took our time with this one. haha, yeah i need to hook up something for/with you guys because I love this blog and the forum but we’ll work something out in the future for sho sho.

    thx again and p.e.a.c.e.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. SPank (Divided Souls Ent) says:

    Thanks for the look and I appreciate you posting this interview I wrote. Be on the lookout for the one where K-Def is breaking down his embrace of technology. I think it may just throw people for a loop…pun intended! HAHA. Keep up the great work on the blog, too. Peace and GOD BLESS

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Joneski says:

    this is dope…much appreciated. Much love to the TROY fam – peace y’all

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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