If you’re not aware of Mass Appeal’s amazing series “Rhythm Roulette” on their Youtube channel, it’s time to set aside an hour or two and watch some of the best producers on the planet make beats out of whatever they blindly (and i use the term ‘blindly’ literally) picked from record stores.
Three records chosen wearing a blindfold, then go make a beat sampling those records. Simple. Here are 10 of our favourites:
And we open with the one and only EL-P of Run The Jewels and Cannibal Ox fame (amongst many MANY other accolades, check his discography).
Laconic as ever, EL-P talks us through he pre-beatmaking rituals, why NOT to buy Beethoven for sampling, and ends up building a muddy, leftfield amalgamation of all three records in true, warped EL-P fashion.
9) Just Blaze
The awesome thing about this one is Just Blaze doing it live in front of an audience and giving a lecture about the process at the same time.
And, in typical fashion, created a soulful, hard-hitting head nodder (the sped-up choir makes this), and he liked it so much he ducked out to go finish the beat at his own studio.
Just Blaze is one of the G.O.A.T.s for a reason.
8) Sporting Life
This one goes absolutely everywhere. Ratking’s wizard of Leftfield Hip-Hop, Sporting Life, grabs 3 cassettes from the bargain bins and gets to work, finding some spacey sounds from the Far East which he manipulates and warps to an insane degree using Wiki vocals, Memphis Phonk lo-fi and his unique set-up with crazy electronics and live drum sampling on top of it all.
Truly a unique figure within Hip-Hop.
7) Black Milk
A big favourite of ours, Black Milk takes it there in maybe the closest thing to what it was like seeing the legendary J Dilla at work.
After putting one of the chosen records he hates into the darkest corners of his wardrobe, Milk eventually finds fire on a Herb Alpert LP, flipping it real nice on the MPC and finessing it with Busta Rhymes vocal chops and some off-kilter synth stabs.
The young prodigy who was winning beat battles at just 16 years old and now, only in her very-early twenties, has already made beats for Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Bryson Tiller, Rihanna and Drake… Jesus Christ.
Anyways, to the beat. Wondagurl flicks through and ends up picking some very 80s, sorta post-disco/dance-punk style records, two of which she warps, and warps and warps again till she can latch on a fierce 808 and snappy drum combination, mashing two of the records together to create a very, almost lo-fi Flume-esque type beat.
A modern-day G.O.A.T. who has a VERY long career ahead of her.
5) 45 King
Probably the funniest one in the entire series.
A true legend in the game still going strong, ‘The King’ knows what he likes and doesn’t like for sure. He’s a character from start to finish, but nothing beats the moment he deems a record useless cause he can’t find anything to sample on it… so he literally USES the record as a snare.
Has to be seen to be believed.
4) Big K.R.I.T.
“I can’t make beats from no disco, cocaine and roller blades.” The awesome jack of all trades Big. K.R.I.T. ladies and gents.
The southern rap superstar makes a southern classic from some deep soul, AND writes a hook and verse relating to ‘Rhythm Roulette’ itself.
Dude is legit.
3) Statik Selektah
Producer extraordinaire for the likes of Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson and Mick Jenkins, Statik has that old-school ear that’s made him so popular amongst purists of the boom-bap scene.
Here he flips a beautiful soul sample from The Sylvers into an early 00’s style song that someone like Freeway or Little Brother would for sure be on.
The ease in which he does this is sickening, honestly.
A true magician at work. Araab has an ear like no-one else and, after picking three CDs of soul, he sets about creating some ridiculously head-snapping work in like, no time at all with an MPC and lightning quick hands.
Dude’s a genius for sure. Probably one of the best beats made on “Rhythm Roulette”.
1) 9th Wonder
I mean, what is there to say? The legendary 9th Wonder goes absolutely H.A.M. in this one. It helps when you manage to get lucky and bag some great records, but i think the speed in which he works, the quality of the output, the amount of beats he makes with the records, and his charisma… it’s unbeatable.
Our favourite ‘Rhythm Roulette’ episode for sure.