'Good Rap Music'- Bahamadia
I'd imagine that most people who visit sites like this one enjoy 1970s jazz, funk, soul, and related forms. But we take different paths to get here - some people know these musics from back in the day, while others have tracked back to the music via hip hop samples, explorers looking for treasure amongst the dusty grooves of yesteryear. Part of the history of the Fender Rhodes electric piano is somehow tied up in this search, specifically : the near-disappearance of the instrument around the time of the early 1980s, and then its return to many forms of popular music, including hip hop, in the 1990s and the current decade.
'Thought Process'- Breakthrough / Grap Luva
The development of FM synthesis in the 80s, and the 'audio shock' or the novelty of that technology's clarity and emulation of the 'real' , led people away from warmer tones of analogue emulations like the Rhodes. The gated-reverb snare drum that could bite your head off and the crisp bells of the DX-7 synthesiser took over. The rhodes company tried to adapt, but by then had lost both their classic sound and the public ear.
Later, sometime in the early 90s, I remember buying a keyboard module that included a "dusty rhodes" patch - the rhodes samples it contained were overlayed with other samples of vinyl crackle and dust. This was around the time people like Pete Rock, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul were excavating 70s jazz in their classic hip hop albums.
So things like the "dusty rhodes" patch - appearing at a time when the rhodes itself was no longer being manufactured, would seem to mean that the rhodes had become a "vinyl instrument" that could travel in time, and could bring the music of the past to life via the turntable or the sampler.
'Relieved'- Pete Philly & Perquisite
After rhodes samples brought the sound back to the public's ears via hip hop, the sound began to re-appear in the music of the next soul generation, via people like D'Angelo, Maxwell and more recently Dwele (who plays here on Bahamadia's "Beautiful Things"). People began to refurbish and play the Rhodes again, along with virtual emulations, in the 90s. The sound once again spread through many forms of music, and last month the Rhodes company announced that they are, for the first time in many years, to release a new series of the instrument.
'K.O.S. (Determination)'- Talib Kweli / Mos Def
In this seventh compilation, "Hip Hop and the Fender Rhodes", I don't want to do a historical summary of the 90s rhodes-n-jazz flavoured hip hop that I mentioned, but rather look at its after-effect.
This is more recent, jazz-flavoured hip hop, all from the last ten years, mostly still existing somewhere outside the newer world of million-selling commercial "pop hop". I don't get too excited at a lot of the blandness in popular music that passes itself off either as "jazz" or "hip hop" these days, but to me, the connections that some hip hop is making with jazz, ranging from the more soul and jazz-related stuff in this comp to the more esoteric edge of West coast independent hip hop labels, really IS the spirit of "jazz" in the 21st Century.
'Come get with it'- Basic Vocab
Sometimes the rhodes is sampled here, sometimes it's played, often both in the same track. This is an international collection, mostly from hip hop's birthplace, the USA, but also from places like Japan and France. I guess i'd subtitle this "The Children Of Pete Rock" - and even his brother is on track 2.
This is for the funky people, for the hip hop people, for the jazz people, all of you. Hope you enjoy it, tell me what you think ...
click the pic below for more rhodes compilations