Art by Daniel Sandoval
Career Crooks released Good Luck With That this past week. In honor of the event, Zilla Rocca and Small Professor are taking over the site for today. Here, Small Pro talks about which Philly rappers inspired him…and which didn’t.
Fellow Philly cat who also has a soft spot for breakbeats and grimey, eerie sounds, like me. At home crafting a backdrop for either Reef The Lost Cauze or members of the Lessondary. Consistently inspires memorable verses from Elucid, otherwise known as my favorite rapper ever. Yes.
He didn’t inspire anything on GLWT, but CW has always been a personal favorite due to his work with Young Gunz, State Property, and Cam’ron during the Roc’s early 2000s era. Always dug his crisp drum sounds & overall sound (clean enough for radio but still came with some harder stuff here & there). Had an ill old school minimalist rap production chamber and also could flip soul with the best of ’em. Versatility.
DJ Jazzy Jeff
Yes. Another personal favorite…had dope beats without relying on anybody else’s template (besides Dilla, but who wasn’t influenced by that guy?) but some of the songs of his that stick out to me are the ones where he flips a famous or well-known sample…like his songs with Raheem DeVaughn and Jill Scott from 2002’s The Magnificent record…sometimes the funk is brand new, and sometimes it’s recycled.
Stoupe The Enemy Of Mankind
Jedi Mind Tricks is one of my favorite band/group names ever. And their beats, bruh….whooo. Stoupe was always dope to me: (mostly) kept things nice & dark with his sample choices, he was ill with the chops, and he could do a mean Primo impersonation as well. In other words…my kinda guy. Wouldn’t say he influenced anything on GLWT, but the same NY legends who inspired me when I started out fueled parts of his sound, obviously.
This young dude goes by 555 now, but in 2013 or so, he went by Anagram (even though my favorite name of his was …) and he sent me a tape with like 50 beats on it…it changed my beat life a little bit (don’t think this is what he sent me officially, but a lot of what I remember hearing ended up here. He has his own unorthodox dusted, lo-fi sound and I can never figure out what kind of records his beats come from…probably has influenced everything i’ve put out in the last 4 years or so.
Lil Uzi Vert has some interesting beats from time to time, but…nah.
This is a yes for me, dawg. The stretch of Roots albums from 1996 to 2004 is one I consider integral to my personal beatmaking journey. Illadelph Halflife was key to learning how to make gutter rap beats that weren’t rhythmically stiff and Things Fall Apart was just…a clinic (also, drummers teach me different ways of expressing rhythm more than anyone…my younger brother Anwar & Kareem Riggins also come to mind). However, instead of any featuring tracks in particular, I’m going to drop ?uest’s RBMA lecture here, as I find new gems every time I listen:
The guy behind some of Meek Mill’s biggest songs is technically from Chester, but I’m gonna claim him for the purposes of this piece. Even though I’m a fan of his work (because bangers), I wouldn’t call him that big of an inspiration…except that I kinda got the idea for “Least Important Most Important” from either a Barrell Brothers (Skyzoo & Torae) track or everybody’s favorite Bobby Shmurda song. Gotta love his 808s.
No, but he had/has JOINTS; the thing that I always noticed about his beats were the drums…check this for evidence. (Definitely super duty tough with the scratch game, as well). I remember copping Virtuosity from Sandbox Automatic when it dropped, and marveling at the fact that this was a Philly guy, working with the likes of Raekwon and Planet Asia.
Another personal homie who’s influenced my work over the last few years without being a tremendously well known name. He’s just a naturally out-of-the-box rhythmic thinker (not to mention being the illest with mpc sample chops I have ever personally witnessed) and I personally can’t wait for whatever new ish he comes out with. Check “Thruspace (Tidbit)” and “Naverpurse” from his last record, and…good luck with that.