A Beginner’s Guide to Kev Brown Beats

Photo: Daniel Love

Landover, Md., producer Kev Brown is made in J-Dilla’s image: he’s a low-key dude whose silky blend of evocative boom bap is respected by traditional hip-hop types like Busta Rhymes Freddie Foxx, Diamond D., and Phonte, etc. He’s also the quiet leader of the Washington D.C. area’s Low Budget Crew (which includes MCs Sean Born, Kaimbr and Quartermaine, among others) and also helped launch Oddisee’s career, who is now a nationally recognized producer/MC nurturing his own movement. In early 2013, Brown will drop a new EP called Songs Without Words. For the uninitiated, here are Brown’s favorite self-created beats, told to Hive by the man himself.

1. De La Soul, “Special”

That’s an early-in-the-career joint. I was with Jazzy Jeff’s “A Touch of Jazz” at the time. De La Soul came through the studio and I didn’t realize Jeff was playing them my beats. I was like, “it’s De La Soul, that’s crazy!” I liked the way it was mixed. Troy Hightower made it sound dope. I think that was my first production credit outside the people I know.

2. Kaimbr, The Alexander Green Project

Kaimbr’s real name is Al Green, so we thought it’d be crazy to rap on a bunch of Al Green joints. The studio sessions we had were fun. I like working with my crew because we get along the best. I loved the whole project; all those beats were fun to make.

3. Sean Born, Behind the Scale

It’s raw and rugged, and my style had to adjust to his. On this project and the Al Green joint, I delved into different ways of chopping up records. With Sean’s new album, it’s gonna be more of the same, but more of a basic sound to it.

4. LMNO, “Ya Know”

A joint from Selective Hearing Part II. That’s the first time I went out of town to work on an album. LMNO and I went to the studio and did everything from scratch. We actually planned to call the album James/Brown, but the same people who gave us that idea got cold feet about it when the album was finished.

5. “Albany”

The drums are real hard and the bass is heavy: It’s two chops, but I think it’s the horns that get people. It makes you think of your own stories.

 

 

 

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