I’ve touched an MPC 2000 twice in my entire lifetime, played around with a TR-707 a few times, and sequenced out a track with an ASR-10. I was able to get my hands on them while my homies had it in their possession at that time. For me not knowing my way around these machines, it made the experience a bit frustrating for me and my homies, who had little patience to guide me through this audio hell. I’m too much of an introvert to flash out on them…for being lame and inconsiderate of my lack of knowledge towards these foreign objects. While they exited out to lunch, I stuck around aimlessly constructing a pattern that was good enough to rap to. I found myself distancing away from machines for a long time, focusing on this new videogame from Codemasters called MTV’s Music Generator. All it required was a playstation, memory card, TV, and a creative mind. Plus, it only hit me for $20. Well worth the price. This was my first introduction to a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
Navigating through a machine can be time consuming…spending an hour flipping back and forth from menus just to select your desired sounds to put together. You’re mashing buttons to perform certain commands, just to lay down a simple beat pattern. If you’re not familiar with that particular process, you will lose your creativity. A DAW, in my opinion, has an advantage pertaining to navigation. You can see what you’re doing. All of your tools are on display for easy access. No need to push four or more buttons just to adjust an individual sound clip. MTV’s Music Generator, in retrospect, was limited to what I could do but I was able to produce tons of beats without losing any creative brain cells in the process. After a year of making beats on a Playstation, I was informed of a computer program similar to what I already owned. From what I heard, this was more intuitive, more engaging, and more sophisticated than a video game. And, it was right at my price point…free! With a little help from a classmate, he installed Fruityloops onto my E-M
achine PC. That summer was spent inside mostly due to this awesome program…totally transfixed.
If I was able to get Fruityloops, then everybody could get it as well. And that started the argument between the “real beat makers” vs the “Fruityloop fakers”. A few of my musical mentors found that the program was novice at best and couldn’t see the potential that it could provide. I was excused out of a studio session for mentioning that I used the program to produce. The common outcry was consistent with complaints of the visual aesthetic of the program, the poor sound library, and the fact that it’s accessible for no money down (illegally downloaded). “Machines were the industry’s choice for production duties…not no damn software with a fruity name.” I totally understood where the resentment came from. I would feel some type of way knowing that I paid several hundreds or close to thousands for equipment to better my production quality while a kid from nowhere became a beat maker overnight due to a cracked computer program. A “bedroom producer” was born everyday all thanks to Fruityloops.
This kid from Atlanta made a monster hit. This guy from North Carolina made beats for a top tier rapper of our generation. Both had used the software that was labeled “fake.” You’d be surprised to find that it’s now the software of choice for popular producers ranging from all different genres of music. Five of the current top ten rap songs on the radio were produced using this software. A “bedroom producer” with talent has a certain chance to become the sought after producer in today’s music industry using Fruityloops. It pissed a puritan off to find out that a “bedroom producer” with a laptop can set up anywhere, record anything, and export any format with ease. Now you can spend next to nothing to compete with the elites producing beats,thus setting an even playing field.
I’m not bashing those who prefer MPC’s over any DAW. I now have access to any production tool if needed. It’s just make sense for me to use a DAW for the visual component. If you use anything that can produce a final product when finished, stick with it. If it’s easier to navigate with your current machine or DAW, stick with it. DAWs like Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Fruityloops (now FL Studio), Garage Band, Studio One, Digital Performer, and a lengthy list of others can be used for all of your musical desires. Same with machines, too. There’s a plethora of machines out there besides MPCs that can give you necessary tools to make bangers. At the end of the day (Feefo’s tagline), it’s all about the “person” behind the machine or DAW. That kid who made that hit from Atlanta differed from the guy from North Carolina, but they used the same software. Don’t hate, create! And stop hating on Fruityloops.
What’s your production tool of choice?
The opinions and views expressed here are the opinions of the designated author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or views of any of the individual members of Dead End Hip Hop.