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Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop (Music Culture) Paperback – July 26, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Music Culture
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan (July 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819566969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819566966
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Making Beats is a leap into the future of hip-hop studies. The book should be required reading for scholars and serious fans of hip-hop music and culture." -- Mark Anthony Neal, author of Songs in the Key of Black Life

Review

“Making Beats is a leap into the future of hip-hop studies. The book should be required reading for scholars and serious fans of hip-hop music and culture.” (Mark Anthony Neal, author of Songs in the Key of Black Life)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
If you're just a hip hop head, the quotes from producers are probably the most interesting part of the book.
Mugg Sly
The author does a great job of mixing data with anecdotal evidence that comes from his field work, and the result reads like a well-organized historical narrative.
Nicholas Maxwell
Over the years I have bought quite a few books about producing with samples or general music production overall.
zachary spangler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Mugg Sly on November 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm usually pretty skeptical of books written about hip-hop by authors with PhD's. Most of the time, they don't get it. They aren't hip hop heads, although they might own a few Cd's. Mike Dyson, Tricia Rose, et cetera.

I think this book gets it right.

But the title of this book is misleading. It's not a how-to book on making hip hop beats.

It's an ethnographic study on hip hop producers, most of which are underground/college radio hip hop makers.

So chances are most Amazon customers won't know the names of the producers, or even be able to recognize any of their songs.

But if you know names like Paul C, Diamond D, Showbiz, Pete Rock, Premier, Dilla, Marley Marl, Supreme, Soulman, Dj Muro - this book is really good.

There are a lot of insider issues that producers talk about between themselves, but never really get into the main hip hop discussion, and so it has no chance of getting into the mainstream.

Joe decided to look at producers and ask these questions. He interviewed folks like Dj Kool Akiem (of the Micranauts), Vitamin D, Domino of Hieroglyphics, and he asks questions like

- Why do you need to sample, why not just replay the sample?

- What's the big deal with reissues?

- Producers who didn't start out as Dj's

- Will you sample from a rap record?

If you're just a hip hop head, the quotes from producers are probably the most interesting part of the book. You really get to look into 1 school of thought on how to make beats.

If you're an academic, it's got plenty of footnotes, and lots of support for his ideas.

For me, I think the best part of the book was the literature review.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Maxwell on November 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a producer and music fan, I was inspired by this book. It's an academic study, but unlike other such works, it's also a page-turner. The author does a great job of mixing data with anecdotal evidence that comes from his field work, and the result reads like a well-organized historical narrative.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of this book was that it denies all the nonsense that other writers have asserted about hip-hop's use of sampling as only an ironic way of referencing the past. This book instead puts forth the idea, which I agree with as a music producer, that sounds are chosen because they simply sound pleasing when combined with one another. In this respect, sampled-based hip-hop is really no different from many types of electronic music: Compositions are built up by putting sounds into the mix that work well with what is already there, and this process continues until you have some kind of groove or atmosphere established. All this patronizing stuff about hip-hop producers all being street philosophers from the school of hard knocks needs to stop. The truth is that they are composers like the rest of us, and they dig stuff that sounds good in their tracks. Thus, I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to read about the nature of sample-based hip-hop as a musical genre rather than as purely a method of recontextualizing the past to pay some mystical homage to those who came before. A refreshing, realistic book that gives proper respect and validity to a genre that is too often misunderstood and marginalized.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Giovanni Turner on July 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting exploration of underground hip-hop production. A limited diversity of interviewees hampers its usefulness - I was incredibly disturbed when one interviewee said, unchallenged, that the use of live instruments was "not real hip-hop." Otherwise, an interesting, albeit short-sighted journey.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SlipperyPete on October 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Great read if you're intrigued in hip hop. As a hip hop head/fan/beat making hobbyist, this book provided exactly what I was looking for. If you're looking for a how-to guide on making beats this is not it. This is a textbook on the philosophy, ethics, and unwritten rules behind the mysterious and exclusive practices of beat making from the mouths of several prolific producers themselves. Incredible insight into a world that most consumers of hip hop don't pay enough mind to; the mystic world of golden era, underground, sample based hip hop production.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paula Espinoza on December 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Great book! I learned a lot from not knowing much about the music itself. Yes I appreciate good music but there are so much work in one particular song that I didn't know, and i learned how the process of making beats, creating songs and develop a song by sampling works. YES! I can now say and agree that sampling respectfully and carefully is good for hip-hop and like Schloss explains in the book, sampling is the foundation of the music system. The music is not just being put together easy, its work and it starts by "diggin in the crates" a term I now love and respect!

By Paula Espinoza
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