Behind the Beat: Technical and Practical Aspects of Instrumental Hip-Hop Composition.
Abstract: From DJ Premier's beat productions in the early '90s to Kanye West's
live performance at the 2010 Video Music Awards, the Akai MPC has long been considered
standard sampling technology in any hip-hop production studio. Expanding upon the various
techniques developed by pioneering hip-hop DJs--including beat-juggling, cutting, and
mixing--the MPC introduced a much wider range of possi... read morebilities regarding not only the
manipulation of individual samples, but their assemblage into a musical composition as
well. Furthermore, the expansion of the machine has coincided with the musical development
of the hip-hop tradition, as producers have responded and reacted to changing technological
trends with increasingly innovative trends in performance practice. Through analyses of
several tracks by DJ Shadow, Madlib, and Flying Lotus, this paper will fill a major gap in
hip-hop scholarship by exploring both the technical aspects of the music's construction as
well as how these producers have responded and reacted to the changing characteristics of
the MPC throughout its development. In exposing diverse technical and musical trends that
have received little attention from scholars, this paper hopes to provide a missing link to
the way we analyze hip-hop music and culture.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Music.
Advisor: Joseph Auner.
Committee: Stephan Pennington, and Jeffrey Summit.
Keywords: Music, , and American Studies.read less