We got the Dopp Gang to go deep on their five most influential hip-hop producers.
Since debuting a decade ago, the Doppelgangaz have been serving up some of the most creative hip-hop around. Based in New York, the duo’s latest release is Beats For Brothels Vol. 4, an instrumental album designed to showcase EP and Matter ov Fact’s blend of crate diggin’ tendencies topped with melodic flourishes.
EP: With Dre, it’s how super polished the sound is. It’s clean and all the layers are designed perfectly: The beat is never crowded, there’s always enough room for the lyricists, there’s a pocket for the vocals. Like “The Watcher” [on 2001], it’s bass, a little brass hit, drums, but it’s epic because he has little touches of percussion coming in like a conga hitting and sweeping effects.
Matter ov Fact: If everything sounds dead center, it’s a jumbled mess. You need things to the side and moving.
EP: Plus Dre changed the game with mixing, like it’s the hottest level you can get it to without it distorting. They say he EQs before he brings it into Pro Tools.
Easy Mo Bee
Matter ov Fact: Easy Mo Bee is a perfect example of you’ll hear a beat and be like, “Oh, shit, that’s him?” He worked on [2Pac’s] Me Against The World — you can’t say he just makes east coast or west coast, dude does it all.
EP: If you want to talk about technique and layers, he has that and his shit is smooth as hell. At the end of [Busta Rhymes’s] “Everything Remains Raw,” he showcases every layer of the beat, everything’s coming out and you’re catching these little undertones. It’s not just the sample on top — it’s using all the space. He’s layering his drums, he’s got snares on top of snares, kicks on top of kicks. If you want your shit to be full and you want low end, you stack your snares.
EP: The thing that separates Madlib when he uses samples, is you can’t just randomly chop a record and because it’s from the same song randomly put chops together and think it’s going to sound like this cool patchwork rhythm. But the way Madlib can finesse the shit to work, him and J Dilla both did it perfectly: It’s patchwork sounds but everything flows, it’s within the same notes and chords.
Matter ov Fact: People think of it as lo-fi, but his shit slaps. We just saw Freddie Gibbs live and he was doing “Thuggin'” and it was one of the biggest sessions of the night. You’d think the beat is a little subdued, but that joint slaps. I feel like Madlib, for somebody known for that type of style, he can make joints that slap in the stadium at the same time. It’s a big sound but not in your face.
EP: Other people may not realize the extent of all the work Daz has done, and I know there’s legal battles about his contributions to [Dr. Dre’s] The Chronic. But as we’ve done more research, the stuff he’s done is wow, like 2Pac’s “Scandalouz.”
Matter ov Fact: If you think about All Eyez On Me, without Daz you’ve got no album.
EP: He’s got shit that doesn’t sound west coast. He did “Homeboyz” on the Outlawz album and that’s a very stripped down beat, like someone would throw that on for a freestyle on the radio. Dude can do all types of shit.
EP: Timbaland is the king of rhythms and breaking up standard rhythms. All that stuff around ’97, like triple time rhythms, who thinks to do that?
Matter ov Fact: I remember hearing “Up Jumps Da Boogie” and my mind being blown. It was so unorthodox at the time, it was futuristic.
EP: He’s playing with all those fine measurements. Most rappers like sixteenths, but he’s doing crazy things.
Matter ov Fact: And the weird sounds in the background like babies and sampling nature.
EP: And around the ninth to twelfth bar region, Timbaland used to always insert a new sound. So you’d get eight bars of the traditional beat and then something gets taken away or is added. It’s the same thing as Dre, including those bongo sweeps from left to right, it’s ear candy, it gives you something. That’s definitely something that we’ve taken on board with our own music.