10 years and running, hip-hop duo The Clipse, like many other groups has an identifiable sound. Virginia production team, The Neptunes have helped The Clipse carve their nitch. After label troubles in past years, December 8th brought the
release of their 4th full-length studio album “Till The Casket Drops”. Despite picky fans and lack-luster sales, The Clipse have a large cult following. Much like Jay-Z
and Raekwon, The Clipse drop clever word play, coke raps and real life experience in their music. This album follows that blueprint.
Keeping their fan base pleased, The Clipse stick
to their formula of production with The Neptunes but also enlist outside their camp. Production includes DJ Khalil and the newest generation of 90’s Bad Boy in house production team, The Hitmen. The Hitmen were a producer collective assembled while legendary producer D-Dot (who mentored Kayne West) was A&Ring for Puff at
Bad Boy. The Hitmen are considered to be one of the most talented producer groups ever assembled in hip hop. (Can’t forget DITC) Members consists of:
In 2001, Sean C and LV (Grind Music LLC) became the newest members of The Hitmen team. Along with Dr. Butcher, Sean C started out as a DJ and is an original member of the world famous X-Ecutioner DJ crew. (RIP DJ Roc Raida) His first production credit came on the classic 1996 album Reasonable Doubt for a little song called “Cant Knock The Hustle”. LV, who grew up with Sean crossed paths again in 1997 while Sean was A&Ring at Loud Records. Through Sean’s A&R position, LV was presented the opportunity to become Big Pun’s tour DJ. After which, they formed a production company under the name “Grind Music LLC”. While producing in 2001, they inked a production deal with Puff to become part of The Hitmen.
“Grind Music LLC” took on the grueling task of the albums intro.
Clipse intro‘s are usually one of my personal favorites on the album and from my experience usually set the tone for what’s to come. This track starts off with a psychedelic 60’s guitar riff, it gives you that feel from the Iron Butterfly era. After listening to the original sample, you hear some live guitar was added, giving the extra element that takes the loop to that next level. Sean C and LV also added some dope percussion and the epic drum rolls. Dope drum programming goes a very long way. This track has all the elements for a banger. Dope sample, dope drums, added instruments and of course…dope rhymes! The sample on the other hand was a tough find. I had a hard time even Googling the record to find out more about it. Shout out to my man “Jay” for passing this one along to me.
Potter St. Cloud
The sampled artist, David Potter, was a in group with 2 other musicians back in the 60’s. As a
group, manager robbed them for their publishing and equipment. Forced to return back to Texas, Potter teamed up with a writer by the name of Alan Mellinger also known as Endle. Together they wrote 2 albums. First, Endle St. Cloud, and Potter St. Cloud, which was sampled for “Freedom”. Potter an established musician opened for acts like “Jimi Hendrix”, “The
Doors” and even “Steppenwolf“. From the style of sound on the intro you can tell that those groups definitely brought influence to his music.
Sean C and LV not known by many fans in the hip hop community, are carrying on the Hitmen tradition. They are most noted for producing with Akai MPC 4000. Their latest hit most notably was “Roc Boys” off of Jay-Z’s American Gangster LP, over half of which was produced entirely by “Grind Music LLC”. Rumor has it Sean C and LV are working with Nas in the future. Lastly, we’ve decided to move this column to a bi-weekly schedule. So check back in 2 weeks for the next sample.
Till then, I’m out! @KoolPapaiLL