Recording the Greats, Hotel Style
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Pick a Beat
The recording was all done in a two-week time period, says Muska. We had the beats ready, so theyd come in and pick a beat that they liked I had a bunch for them to choose from and then theyd sit down and write their lyrics right in the room. And when they were ready, we would record it.
The vibe of this record is about the artists the people and what theyve done to create hip hop and take it to the level where its at now, he says. So it was basically, What are you about?
Each song is its own world, and you go into it through each artist, and kind of live through what theyre about, what their mindstate is, and their musical styles. Each song on the album is different, just as each artist is an individual, influence on hip hop music.
Hip hop isnt about whats on the radio today and whats on MTV, says Muska. Hip hop is about bringing people together for a common cause. They all come together to feel good and listen to music that makes them feel good. And its self expression, through graffiti, through breakdancing, through MCing, through the way you dress, through everything thats what hip hop is.
Whenever Im not skateboarding, Im working on music, says Chad Muska.
Meeting His Idols
The sound that we got from the hotel room and hallway was really good, says Roen. If we told people we did the recording at a pro studio in New York, they wouldnt be able to tell.Recording Vocals
Muska and Roen used a RODE NT2 microphone and a Sound Devices USB audio interface to record vocal tracks alongside Muskas instrumental tracks that were laid out in Cubase. They also used a Mindprint single-channel voice strip box with a compressor and a microphone preamp, a DAT backup system and a Mackie 1402 mixer.
What we did musically for this album shows what can be done without a million-dollar studio with a laptop, a microphone, a good little MIDI sound module and a good compressor. We set up a complete recording studio in our hotel room, says Roen. Plus they videotaped all of the rappers recording during the sessions and cut a video using Final Cut Pro.
They get promotional help from a global street team network of about 650 kids who put MuskaBeatz posters around their neighborhoods. They built the street team through the Internet.
Skateboarding and hip hop are not just American things, explains Muska. Theyre all over Japan, Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada everywhere. Were trying to communicate with kids that are into what were doing and bring them together. We try to hook them up with each other in their own community, and bring them together to help promote our label and our music and get the word out there for us. Theyre stoked to do it.
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