First off, I want to admit that whenever it comes to anything that has to do with a manual or how-to or a class on any of the aspects of hip hop….I’m always weary. I actually took a hip hop culture class back in my first round of college (don’t ask). The class was terrible and it was taught by this girl that was into riding motorcycles and had more tattoos than Kat Von Dee (sorry to pass judgement) but she knew NADA about hip hop. Most of the lessons were on Tupac, I kid you not. Long story short, I aced the class and learned nothing new. As a matter of fact, I ended up teaching the class more about hip hop than my teacher did. What’s the point of my mini memory lane flashback you ask? Well, I just wanted to give you some history of my interaction with anything taught when it comes to hip hop.
Then along comes Sa’id’s Beat Tips Manual. For those of you that know me, I don’t mean to toot my own horn but I’m pretty much a self taught genius when it comes to these beats and music. What could Sa’id possibly tell me about making a beat? Well, one chapter in and I was convinced. The book is written very intelligently and as well he attacked it from an angle that’s very important to begin with….the history. Before getting into the subject at hand, Sa’id strategically broke down the different musical movements in hip hop by years and who spearheaded said movements. After looking at Amir’s chart (yes, he included a comprehensive chart), you realize a lot about where hip hop has been, where it has gone, and you can even deduce why certain movements occurred when they did.
After being enlightened with the most accurate history of hip hop I’ve seen in a textbook, we get into beat making. Up until now I never thought someone could accurately speak on what goes into beat making and as well, he even discredits the lifelong argument that “sampling isn’t creative”. It made me proud to be a beat maker.
Being self taught, there are many things in my beat making process that I practiced not knowing why they work. Amir covers this in his book through explanation of what I would call “beat theory” and a technical breakdown of sampling. This book is not just for beatheads that have MPCs, this book applies to any beathead that samples. Whether you’re a newbie or 10 yrs deep into it (like myself), there is a lot this book has to offer as it gets your creativity flowing after a couple of hours. Trust me on this one.