Presenting: JUST DUE RECORDS SAMPLER Volume 2

The Just Due Records collective stays grinding out music.

Since our first sampler, we have all grown as individual artists and as a collective. This new collection of songs is a master summary of our recent accomplishments, as well as a revealing glimpse into the future of where Just Due is headed. Featuring 5 exclusive new songs, your head will be bouncing from beginning to end, whether you are an experienced Just Due aficionado or this is your introduction to the talented collective. There is something for everyone on this compilation. Prepare to go on a skip-free adventure of sound. Please enjoy.

Just Due Mixtape Vol 2 (MIXED by Spread)

Unless it’s a SP, MPC, MV, ASR, 808 or Lasonic, I really can’t stand my hip hop in a box. I really enjoy hip hop that covers many tempos and draws inspiration from every genre. With the 2nd installment of the Just Due Mixtape, I really dug into the archives to highlight the musicality of the hip hop made by our talented collective.

I’ve been rapping and enjoying hip hop since as long as I can remember, but I also had the blessing of growing up with some of the heaviest musicians on the planet. I’m a musician, first and foremost. I never shun hip hop that strays from the boom bap sound and goes into jazz, funk, rock and soul. I also believe in the solid foundation of hip hop, so I don’t condone experimental hip hop just for the sake of being experimental. Mediocre musicians make mediocre hip hop. I believe every sound should have a purpose. I wouldn’t dare try to play jazz trumpet without knowing Miles, just as I would frown upon a trumpeter playing hip hop with no knowledge of Melle Mel. A trained ear can hear the difference. If you fake it, you only fool yourself. I enjoy hip hop that is musical, but still keeps it real, such as Organized Noise, Outkast, JDilla, The Roots, Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Quik and many more. At Just Due Records, we hope to carry on that tradition in our own way.

This mixtape was mixed on 2 turntables, a mixer and Serato. With the exception of a few spoken word bits and the Blazin’ In The City Dub Mix (exclusive to THIS mixtape only), it was just me blending my favorite uptempo songs, beats, guitar solos and interludes from the vast Just Due catalog. This mix delves into hip hop, funk, soul, acid rock, jazz, electro, deep house, bounce and the undefined from parts unknown. If you have a snobby music friend that claims that hip hop is not real music, this is the mix to play them so you can prove them wrong once and for all.

Please enjoy.

-Spread

Just Due Records Mixtape Vol. 1 is HERE!!! (Mixed by DJ Spread)


Dear World,

My name is Spread, a two-headed beast who wears many hats.

In my adventures as a DJ for the past 20 years, I have learned that one can always find some type of current music to play and ENJOY without losing a part of their soul. Many DJs, myself included, get lazy and get stuck to certain time periods of music and have a hard time relating to what the average crowd wants to hear in 2016.

For me, the truth is, I spend most of my “listening time” bumping my own projects, new ideas, stuff other cats in the crew are working on, etc. and a handful of classic artists I’ve listened to for my whole life. But that does not mean my ears are not open. I’ve probably been bumping more “new” music than I have in over a decade…and even catching up on stuff I missed a decade ago. I listen to more local artists now than ever and hope to start putting more music from my home in The Bay in my mixes…

…But as for now, I have recently concocted 5 mixes from the deep core of Just Due Records past, present and future catalog. It’s pretty random as to which songs made the cut and appeared on which mix. The first mix, featured here, consists of released tracks, unreleased instrumentals, vocal tracks, interludes and remixes. It features music by Lord Netty, Stak, DAM!, The Philosophy, Big Oil, Shogun, ACE ONE, Spread and more, so you know it SLAPS!

Enjoy.

01. Youngsters – Big Oil
02. That’s The Way I Like It – Slick Shooze
03. Slammin’ – Spread
04. Flyer – Lord Netty f/K David
05. Intro – Lord Netty
06. Cardiac Arrest – DAM!
07. Get Off Into A Pocket – The Philosophy
08. Hi – Stak
09. Snatch That – Spread f/Shogun, ACE ONE, and Stak
10. 2Meegly/Outro (TDIA) – Stak
11. Necessary – The Philosophy f/Dee
12. Nononononon – Stak
13. El Presidente/Return of Insomniac Blend – Spread/DAM!
14. SunRa w/Guitar – Big Oil f/Ryan Shaeffer
15. Wright – Stak

Choppin’ It Up With The Comdot

Right before I left the city of Nap (Indianapolis,IN for the uninitiated), I remember I kept hearing people say, “Yo, you gotta check out this MC, The Comdot. He’s lyrically on another level. You should peep him.”
Well, back then the scene wasn’t as cohesive, so you could very well go without seeing a lot of talented artists for years if you didn’t happen to run in the same circles, etc.
I remember I saw The Comdot get on the mic during, if I recall correctly, one of DJ MetroGnome‘s sets, either at an Old Soul event or my favorite night of the week for years, Take That! Tuesdays at Coaches Tavern. Either way, it was memorable because, after many of us MCs used to just abuse the mic at Front Page late Saturday nights, I hardly EVER saw MetroGnome let an MC get on the mic and spit a verse during one of his sets. I’m not sure if it was a freestyle or a written (which is how it always should be in my opinion), but all I know is homeboy killed it and had the whole crowd of party people listening and reacting to true lyricism. If you are from or live in the Nap, you know that is not an easy task. At that time, I was poised to move to The Bay Area, but I remember feeling good. Like everything is in good hands.
Since then, that has been the case. I see a lot of people representing and bringing that energy on a more regular basis. A lot of dope labels and blogs and weeklys and monthlys and venues and groups and individuals have really exploded onto the scene and every visit back to Nap makes me more and more proud. (Let’s leave out politics for now)
And now, one of the most talented cats, in my eyes, in the city is about to put out his debut album. I’ve heard a few tracks off of it and every track was a banger. The man knows how to craft a song. I recently caught up to The Comdot via the internet and asked him a few questions. Check it out:

What up?
It’s Spread.

Peace.
I’m gonna go ahead and keep it simple.
Where are you from and what brought you to Naptown?

I’m from Charlotte N.C.
My moms having trouble brought me to Nap. Some things had popped off and she wouldn’t feel safe unless I was here to hold her down. So I came thru.

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of doing hip hop in Indianapolis?
The advantage for ME at least is just being able to focus. Indy gives me a lot of creative energy. For me, it’s not as hectic as Charlotte is, it’s a little more laid back so that gives me an environment to focus on what I need to do and get it done. I stay in an open space when it comes to music, so that helps my creativity. I love this place.
Disadvantages of doing hiphop in Indy? There just isn’t enough major coverage. If this were LA or NY or ATL, half the artists in this city would be making money in the game. The talent is here, just not enough coverage.

Who were some of your biggest musical influences growing up?
Influences?
Marvin Gaye
Nas
Sade
James Brown
Dr Dre
J Dilla I could keep going..
Tons of records and countless funk..

What’s the name of your new album, when does it drop and where will we be able to find it?
The Album (My first ever) will be called The Grey Maxell LP.
We’re right behind the 8 ball, eyeing a Late Oct release.
You’ll be able to purchase and download the digital version via my own website. Thecomdot.com

Are there any mainstream or underground acts that you are feeling these days? If so, name a few and tell us why.
Feeling Kendrick, Cole, Lacrae, Mali Music, Oddisse, Gibbs, Lupe..there’s some dope stuff floating around out there. They each ate doing what THEY want to do. Without following anyone. The didn’t come in trying to simply ride the wave of a trend…they simply dropped what they was on and shifted the climate of the game.
If you could play any music venue anywhere in the world, where would it be?
As far as venue?
The world?
Either The Garden or The Roman Coliseum or Somewhere in Africa..outside.

Favorite producer, past or present?
Favorite producer is Dilla with no question.
What do you want to accomplish with your music?
What I want to accomplish with music? I want to be responsible for the most incredible records the world will hear for the next 30-40 years.. Up until and after i’m gone.
Anything else you wanna let the people know?
I want to let the people know about this album and why they need to go get it.
Because this album is quality and it’s true. It’s title carries the weight of a culture that was once what the iPod and Android music players ate today. The tape. It was personal. It was a real relationship with the music. Ya tape HAD to be dope. No one wanted a mediocre tape. Who wants to fast forward half the songs on a tape you paid money for? So the music HAD to be good. There was a closer relationship with the music when it was on cassettes. Hopefully they can take the time and digest an entire album front to back, just like it would’ve been on a cassette.

word. appreciate your time.
And no doubt. Anytime

If you haven’t already seen it, peep the video for Aqua, from the upcoming release The Grey Maxell LP:

Monk McNizzle – “Eat Like A Player” Official Video IS HERE

Whether you live on the West Coast, Midwest, East Coast or South, you know it’s hard to eat well with just a little dough.  A lot of us get tempted into that cheap fast food life and it’s a cycle that’s hard to break.  But luckily, my homie, a man of the people, Monk McNizzle, is here to show you how to eat like a player.  The official video, comprised of clips from 9 different live performances of the song at various fast food joints around the country (which can be found here: http://monkmcnizzle.com/video-s), is finally here and ready for organic consumption.  Enjoy:

You can find Monk McNizzle’s self-titled album here: http://monkmcnizzle.com/music and find out more about him on his website http://monkmcnizzle.com

The brother is talented, so I’m just gonna throw another video up here for your enjoyment:

SPREADUCATION Part 2: Top 10 Things YOU Can Do As an Artist to Make Your Studio Time Worth the Money

Howdy y’all! It’s your main man, Spread, with another installment of Spreaducation. Now, I’m not here just to plug music this time. I’m here to teach a little lesson about proper studio etiquette for the independent musician. I went to audio school and graduated from a very prestigious program, only to realize, soon after, that I’d rather be playing music than recording it. I’m not much up on what the latest gear is and I can’t really afford to buy any decent gear to start a studio. I enjoy rocking mics more than hanging them. I still get down on Pro Tools and record my own stuff and stuff for friends, but luckily I still know enough successful engineers to have recorded at some pretty bad-ass studios. I’ve seen many things and heard many more stories, yet I still see some of the same studio mistakes and bullshit happen again and again. I know because I am or have been guilty of disobeying almost all 10 of these tips I’m trying to give yall. I’m just writing this so you don’t have to learn the hard and expensive ways in which I have.

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1. Be On Time and Have a Plan

Time is money, baby. Not only that, when you treat someone else’s time like it matters, they tend to work harder for you. Whether you tour the world or you’re just a local prima donna, people remember that shit and treat you accordingly.
You should also have a plan of attack for that particular session. Especially if you are spending good money for it. What song or songs are we working on? Maybe there is a tune that is more difficult and you want to tackle that first, or maybe you want to start with an easy one you all know well to get the session off to a good start. It’s really up to you. You know your project. You know your band(group, whatever). How many times have you heard someone say “Yo, we should get in the studio together,” and they don’t even know what your music sounds like and you aren’t sure what they do either?…It’s best to avoid those people. Realize there’s a task at hand and that task will magically turn into fun!

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2.   Leave Band Drama at the Door

I’ve heard a lot of artists say, “I don’t care about what kind of mic’s a studio has as much as I care if the viiiibe is right.”
While I agree with that, you could be recording on a tropical beach into Neumann Coconut 87’s and the vibe will never be right if the vibe between members of your group ain’t right.  Whether you’re a 10-piece ensemble or a production duo, certain people have certain special ways of getting on your nerves.  These things tend to magnify when you’re locked in a room together hearing nothing but each other’s voices for hours on end.  This, sometimes, puts the engineer into the role of baby-sitter or mediator instead of…well…engineer.  Also, those “bad vibes” carry over to tape…or oops, I mean disc or…whatever.  Are those the moments you want etched in virtual stone?
You can’t change anyone’s personality, but you can try to get on the same page as everyone else BEFORE you get in the studio.  Have a pow-wow, smoke a joint, carpool, eat lunch together, anything to synchronize things…or if your bandmate is really that bad, meeting before the session can at least get you warmed up and used to the asshole tendencies of your bandmate, which will only get worse as the day goes on.

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3.  Pre-roll/Stock Up

Did someone say joint?  Let’s put it bluntly, lots of musicians smoke weed.  Many of those who don’t smoke, drink.  Those that don’t drink, at least eat.

Weed-Head Tips:
– Cop a sack before going to the studio.  Having your “weed guy” stop by uninvited is never a good move, and although some studios might have interns willing to make a run for you, are you a smoker or a fuckin’ rookie?
– Better yet, roll a few up before you get to the studio.  Blunts, joints or a bong, any which way you can never go wrong.
– Know the engineer/studio’s policy about herb.  Some don’t give a fuck, some give a slight fuck and some give a “fuck no.”  Be respectful.

Drunkard Tips:
– Hit the liquor store on your way to the studio.
– Pace yourself.  I know you think you “feel” it more when you get more tipsy, but your fingers are moving slower than they “feel” to you and you’re slurring your words and fucking up your breath control…and now you’re starting to be an asshole.  Put the bottle down, son.
– Offer the engineer a damn beer!  They may decline, but at least offer.  They might let you use their fridge if you’re cool.

Lard-Ass Tips:
– Eat a good meal before you get there, if you can.  If you are a vocalist, you might want to avoid too much fat and milk/cheese. Really, eat whatever the fuck you want, but it is true that these foods cause excess mucus in your throat.  Spicy and acidic foods can also dry out your throat.
– Bring a snack.  But make sure you bring enough for the whole class.
– Clean up after yourself.  Don’t be a fuckin’ slob!  “But they got people who do that.  I’m paying good money for this studio.”  Fuck you.  It’s 7 steps to the fucking trash can.  You ain’t fat Elvis yet.

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4.  Get as Much Pre-Production Done as Possible

This tip is probably more geared toward producers, beatmakers, etc.  I’m lucky to have some engineering background, so I have Pro Tools at the crib and do a lot of my production from home.  I get my tracks sounding as good as possible, within my personal studio’s limitations, and I also know how my engineer mixes, so I prepare my mixes for him to work with.  I have shitty plugins and very little outboard gear.  I leave my mixes relatively raw when it comes to compression, reverb, etc.  I’ll EQ stuff as best as possible to give the engineer a good idea of where I want things to sit.  I go through all the vocal takes and decide which ad-libs or background vocals I want or don’t want, do necessary edits, fade-ins, fade-outs, and crossfades, and arrange the track as I want it to sound.  Even if you only work on an MPC or Fruity Loops or Ableton or whatever, get your tracks sounding as best as possible before going to the studio. Studios have great gear.  They do make magic happen.  But a shitty snare is a shitty snare.  You can polish a turd in the studio, but it’ll just become a shiny turd.  Know how to make your machine/software sound good without mixing and mastering.
For example, are you a J Dilla fan?  Cool.  If you want your beats to knock like that, figure out how to tune your samples.  One of my favorite engineers, Bob Power, put it best when asked at The Red Bull Music Academy about engineering J Dilla’s drums: “Jay Dee is a pretty brilliant guy. You know his stuff is really simple , but one of his brilliant things is, the kick he chooses, where he tunes it, and where the bass is in relation to that. People who mix bottom-heavy music will know that that’s like ninety percent of the battle. So Jay Dee’s stuff in a weird way is easier to deal with as a mixer, than it might sound. And that’s another thing, if you know this, if you’re dealing with samples or just drum sounds on their own, where you tune them is absolutely key to both, the feel and the sonics of the track as well. And where you tune the kick drum versus where the vocals are going to sit and where the bassline is, if you haven’t dealt with it, you should.”
Also, one other thing…TUNE YOUR FUCKING INSTRUMENT BEFORE YOU GET TO THE STUDIO.  If it always goes out of tune when you travel, then get there early to tune. Shit.

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5. Know As Many of Your Lyrics as Possible

I know that the best music is created “in the moment.”  I tend to begin my vocal sessions with a freestyle or two just to warm up my voice and my brain.  Sometimes, I’ll decide to hit something newer and lesser known in the middle of a session just to freshen up the vibe a little bit.  I’m a real MC.  I CAN write a dope 16 bars in less than 15 minutes, but unless I have to, I probably won’t.  Whatever it takes, do that.  BUT you will save yourself a lot of time, money and stress if you can have the lyrics polished before the session.  Not just written, but memorized, rehearsed and ready.  Your voice is like any other instrument, or even a sport.  The reason you practice is not because you are a boring person.  Practicing makes it so you know the material well-enough to actually deliver it with true feeling and precision without thinking.  Crumpled paper sounds in the vocal track are hard to get rid of, and if you are reading off of a paper (or your bitchass phone), most likely your mouth is not at the optimum angle to make that $10,000 mic you bought studio time for make a difference. Maybe the paper is in front of your face or on a music stand and your head is tilted down while singing/rapping/mouth farting etc.  Either way, the engineer can probably “fix it,” but I guarantee you, the less an engineer has to “fix,” the better your record will sound.  You should envision the mic as a portal to a magical world of the immortal, and nothing should get between your mouth and that mic, except perhaps a pop filter.
Speaking of microphones, you should know your mic and know your material.   If you’re paying for studio time, you are most likely recording on a condenser mic (or ribbon for you vintage singers), so hopefully I won’t have to waste time in this blog to tell you not to cuff or cup the mic.  If you have a part where you yell and a part where you whisper in the same verse, you should think of that logistically and work with your engineer.  Perhaps you are savvy enough to stand back a bit when you yell and move closer when you whisper.  Maybe it makes more sense to punch in the yelling part and the whispering part separately from the rest of the verse.  These minute details are the difference between a mix that sounds “fixed” and a mix that makes you say “Wow!”
Knowing your material is crucial.  I know most of this is rapper-centric, but singers and arrangers can take a lot from this too.  For example, do you know the vocal arrangements already?  Do you have harmonies charted out or are you working with a pro who can come up with better harmonies off the cuff than you could write in a million years.  That’s okay, no shame in that.  Know your material and know your personnel.  George Clinton’s genius lies not only in his ideas, but his decision to swallow his pride and hire the best singers and players he can find.  Save the “demo” for the crib.  It helps to record a rough version (hopefully for free) BEFORE you get to the studio so you can make sure you avoid cringeworthy moments and include good ideas.  It’ll never be “perfect” but it saves you a lot of explaining and disclaimers when someone listens to your material if you do it right.  Once your album is done, you have to sell it, and its tough to sell something you’re slightly embarrassed about.

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6.  Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

This is a great way to avoid #2.  Everyone else in your band knows your strengths and weakness, you should too.  Nothing is more frustrating than spending an expensive hour listening to a guitar player try to nail a part that you know someone else in the room can play in their sleep.  Or listening to a rapper try to sing a difficult part when there’s a trained singer in the room.  The studio is a place for pros.  If you gotta practice, do it on your own dime.  It’s okay to pass the baton for the betterment of the team.  Aim high, try your best, and if there’s ever a time to “go for it,” it’s when you’re in the studio.  But if you came up with a drum part and you can’t get the drummer to learn the feel quickly, respectfully suggest that you play it.  Sometimes it’s not all about skills as much as it is feel.  Be honest with yourself and your bandmates/producers and delegate responsibility accordingly.
This isn’t only about playing.  If there’s a dude who is always an hour late, don’t catch a ride with him and plan on something productive you can do with who is there.  Yea, he’s an asshole for not listening to #1, but #2 is definitely gonna happen unless you just focus your energy away from the late dude and focus on the task at hand with who is there.  Maybe the late guy is the singer (big stretch).  Well, lay down the rhythm section parts so when his funky ass gets there he can hit it right away.  Argue after the session.  Shit, take him out back and whoop his ass as soon as you’ve got some free time (don’t hit him in the face though if you have an upcoming video shoot).  But this time is expensive so don’t waste it arguing like some little bitches.
Know who you are.  I once had a drummer tell me the sound he was going for was “Herb” Alexander, from Primus.  I eventually had to tell him, “Look, you need more practice, your style isn’t at all similar to Herb, and your drums aren’t tuned and don’t sound like his drums.  I can only make you sound how you sound.”  If your band sounds like The Sex Pistols on stage, don’t get in the studio and try to be Steely Dan because you have all these toys at your command.  Do you.  If you’re a rapper and you can’t get every song in one take, fuck it.  Who cares?  Punch in every line if it’s gonna sound better.  The studio is not about you, it’s about the sound.  Listen to suggestions, ask for advice and let any criticism fuel you rather than discourage you.  The studio magnifies the ups and downs of band “family” dynamics.  It’s best to act like you’re at your grandma’s house and be nice to your brothers and sisters, because if not, you’re picking your own switch to get beatings with.  The type of shit that’ll make you grow up to be a lumberjack.  That’s not okay.

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7. Know Why You Are In The Studio

This kinda goes back to #1 about having a plan, but it’s important to reiterate.  Ask yourself some questions before you make plans.  Is this the only studio time you’re going to get in the foreseeable future?  Are you working on a single?  Working on a good old fashioned album?  Do you wanna just record as many songs as possible and see what happens?  Got one solid tune and wanna see what you can come up with after that?  Just mixing?  Tracking, overdubbing, and mixing?  Just vocals?  Just drums?  All these are all reasonable scenarios.  It helps to know the answers to these simple questions before you do anything.

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8. BOAP ToSs (Bring Only Essential People To Sessions)

R Kelly may or may not take young girls to the studio and lock them in the mic closet until he’s finished with the session, but you are not R Kelly.  Your wife nags you, your girlfriend is too fine for anyone to concentrate around, and your homie, who calls himself a “super-producer,” couldn’t play Mary Had a Little Lamb on his Casio.  Your other homies who tell you all your verses are tight are lying ass yes-men who just want to smoke up all your weed.
Maybe that isn’t you?
Jokes aside, it is never a good idea to have people in the studio who serve no purpose.  Deeper still, it might not even be a good idea to bring the whole band if they are not needed in that particular session.  While tracking, I understand.  You want to have the band camaraderie happening, etc.  But for mixing?  Trust me.  If you have a 10-piece band, and all 10 of them are at the mixing session, you will never get the song mixed.  Do you have a producer?  Bandleader?  Guy who writes all the tunes?  Those people belong in the mixing session.  Are you footing the studio bill?  Well, you have every right to be there.  Otherwise, keep it simple.  If you are a 4 piece band, you can all go help with the mix, but you all should get together before the session and discuss and write down mixing notes.  That way, you can already argue with the guitar player about the fact that he is loud enough, but he still insists on being turned up.  You can all acknowledge the bass player fucked up a small part so you can punch in or just have the engineer drop the bass out in that section or copy and paste another part.  Whatever it is, it helps to know these things before going to the studio.  It saves fragile artistic egos from being put on the spot.  Also, engineers work long hours and they are not trying to tweak every second of every song like you are.  They aren’t as attached to the music as you.  If one guy in the band thinks the engineer should tweak this or that, it might not get done.  If the whole band feels the same way and have discussed it before the session, it will get done.  No one but the engineer EVER thinks the mix is finished.  But you eventually have to pinch that shit off.  The engineer is essential to helping that process, but he/she cannot read your mind.  If you have an idea of what you want, your mix will sound better.  If you go into the session and haven’t thought about it very much, you’re not gonna be as happy with the results.
I digress…Anyway, don’t bring people to the studio who will make you act weird.  Trim the fat from your mixing session.

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9. Know Your Studio’s Capabilities BEFORE You Book a Session

I know most studios have a place on their website that shows the gear they have available.  People love seeing all the gear…but just admit it…You don’t know what half of that shit is or what it does.  But you do know what YOU do and what you need to get done.  If there is anything that seems like it would require a lot of preparation for the engineer, make proper arrangements beforehand.  The more time spent on setting shit up, the harder it is to get in the groove once you start recording and the session becomes less fun for the engineer and more of a chore.
If you don’t know the difference between auto tune and a vocoder, you probably shouldn’t ask the engineer to “make your voice do that robot thing.”  Did you have that effect in mind before the session or are you just trying to cover up a vocal part that you don’t like?  Is your guitar tone sounding shitty?  That’s okay, admit it and work with the gear available.  Do you know how to tune your drums?  Because if not, that fancy gear is just gonna magnify their shitty sound.  Are you just working on a demo?  Don’t waste money on a fully-equipped studio and give your homie with Pro Tools or Logic at the crib some run…
Knowing your studio/engineers’s capabilities is essential.  Don’t be one of those people who orders the chicken and mushroom dish at a restaurant and sends it back, refusing to pay, because you don’t like mushrooms.  Read the menu, do your homework.

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10. Treat The Engineer With Respect

Last, and certainly not least, don’t be an asshole to the dude/chick that is doing their best to make you sound good.  Some engineers are really cool dudes, some look like Weird Al’s stunt double, and some kinda look like Jeffery Dahmer.  They spend a lot of time inside.  Regardless, be nice to them.  Do you wanna piss of your barber with the scissors in his hand?  Your tattoo artist?  The person cooking your food?  Didn’t think so.  Your audio engineer is all of those things rolled into one.
But you paid them good money?  Good for you.  The only price you can pay to treat me like a dick in my own studio is an asswhoopin’.  Your engineer doesn’t care how many records you sold or how many Twitter followers you got.  Eat a dick.  This is their job, and being a musician is supposed to be your job.  Being unprofessional is very popular amongst many musicians.  So is being broke and unsuccessful.  Funny how those go together…
Most professional engineers I know(and amateur for that matter), work 10-15 hour days regularly.  They’ve listened to your song, whether it sucks or not, more than you have.  They’ve solo’d every flat note you sang and just listened to it over and over and over until they made you sound like you know how to sing.  They didn’t laugh in your face at every other word that came out of your mouth because you have no touch with reality and you are just a crazy motherfucker that happens to be talented at one thing.
I understand that a lot of engineers can be snobby, gear-head, controlling dicks sometimes…Well, try not to work with those guys, and if you must, do your best to respect where they’re coming from as much as you expect them to respect you.  The best engineers will create an atmosphere of warmth and creative freedom.  The best of the best will also know how to talk to musicians and keep the session productive when it starts to get off track.  Regardless of who your engineer is, treat them like your project is in their hands, because it is.  Respect them, and they will go out of their way to make your project sound great.  Once you walk in that studio, it is not just about you anymore.  You are committing your sound into the permanent world, whether you just sit on it and never put it out or sell a million copies.  Unless you engineered the whole thing yourself, you didn’t do it alone.  Show some respect for the engineer who helps you bridge the gap.

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Record Store Day in Review

So, ladies and gents, my attempt to do a Bay Area record store crawl was not a failure.  It was a success!  Even if it was all by myself and only in the East Bay.  From the beginnings of the day, it looked like it was gonna be less about buying records and more about just taking pictures of long lines one must wait on to buy records on Record Store Day.

The line to get into Rasputin Records in Berkeley on Record Store Day
The line to get into Rasputin Records in Berkeley on Record Store Day

Already running late, I debated whether it was even worth it to wait in this line just to get in.

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I realized I didn’t really have the time or patience for this long ass line, and I’m not really that into limited Ghostbusters remixes and shit like that…sooooo…luckily, at the end of the line, on the next block, is the world famous Amoeba Records

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Amoeba was nice.  It was crowded, but there were some good finds right away like this bad boy for 6 bucks:

Classic shit.

I snatched up this one, some Yarborough and Peoples and a New Birth record and decided to hit the line and pay.  But when I went to find the end of the line, it was pretty much all the way around the inside of the store.  So, even though I found some gems, I decided to keep it moving and hope every record store wasn’t a 2 hour line.

That's Barely One-Third of the Line
That’s Barely One-Third of the Line

Feeling like an alcoholic on New Years Eve, I was beginning to think record store day is nothing but amateur hour.  But I kept the faith and decided to head to a smaller, more unsung, but high quality record shop on the west side of Berkeley called Dave’s Records.

Old-School Hand-Painted Sign...I Like It Already
Old-School Hand-Painted Sign…I Like It Already

Dave’s was completely awesome.  It is a small shop on San Pablo Ave.  Not the huge selection of Amoeba, but I would say the quality of selections were superior, and the prices were very reasonable.  You’re not going to find the Record Store Day novelty releases here.  You’re not going to find much Hip Hop or new EDM stuff.  But you will find a great selection of Soul, Funk, Jazz and Rock.  Call me old fashioned, but those tend to be the things I search for while record shopping.  I’m not concerned with how rare or obscure a record is, as much as I care that it is jammin’.  I buy records to listen to and play (and sample), so this is my kind of store.  No frills, just the classics.  The guy behind the counter was super-cool too and I really felt welcome there.  Great record shop.  Bought a bunch of shit there.  I will definitely be back for more.  Besides, it’s right down the street from my favorite place to record, Fantasy Studios, and my favorite place to get drunk after recording, The Missouri Lounge.  Much love to Dave’s Record Shop!

Friendly Neighborhood Record Shop
Friendly Neighborhood Record Shop

Ok.  By now, it’s 2:00pm.  I’m coming to grips with the fact that I’m not going to make it to San Francisco to do any record shopping.  And, to be honest, I can’t really afford too many more shops.  So I decide to make one last stop in Oakland, near my crib.

Psst. Hey. You. Get In Here.
Psst. Hey. You. Get In Here.

I avoided the temptation to go grab fourth meal at Taco Bell and went straight to 25th and Telegraph to one of my new favorite record stores Econo Jam Records.

Another Telegraph Ave Gem
Another Telegraph Ave Gem

In all honesty, the name had me thinking it was gonna be corny.  I was wrong.  A few hipsters, but it wasn’t crawling with them, and the people who worked there were really friendly and inviting.  The girl behind the counter liked my Ricky Henderson T-shirt, my Michael Henderson purchase (Slingshot), and the guy behind the counter seemed to notice I got a bargain or two from the Oddball section.  It was a very welcoming crew though, and I was glad to give them my business on this Record Store Day.  It is a small shop, but they had plenty of the classics and a lot of the limited edition Record Store Day releases.  No real hip-hop section, which was a disappointment, but funk, jazz, soul, rock and punk they had plenty of.  The store was very well-organized, and although things were a bit pricey, there were some GREAT bargains in there too.  I will definitely be back soon.

Spread's Record Store Day Bounty
Spread’s Record Store Day Bounty

All in all, it was a great day.  I didn’t go to as many spots as I wanted to and didn’t have the giant posse I envisioned, but I did get to know a few new spots, bought some great music and supported the very places that I hope to see my own music sold in one day.  I also got inspiration to do another record store crawl on a different day of the year.  This next one is gonna be planned, catered, sponsored and on a day where the lines are not 2 blocks long to get into the record shops.  But I have to say, I’m blessed to live in the Bay Area, a place where record culture is not only alive, but thriving.

So just remember, my brothers and sisters, even when things don’t go according to plan, you can still sit back and listen to the records you just bought on one holiday and enjoy the sounds while smoking yourself into the next holiday (4/20).  Slick Shooze Style.  What a plan.  I’d say everything is about perfect right now.

Much Love Yall

Spread

Spreaducation Day 1

Ladies and Gentlemen, Cats and Dogs, Friends and Foes, Bitches and Hoes,

Welcome to the first installment of Spreaducation.

My name is Spread and I will be your host. My homie Stak and I have been gathering nuggets of music, wisdom and greatness to put on display for you and the rest of the world here in our virtual palace of fine arts.

In all honesty, I’d mostly like to use this platform to expose the world to my music, Stak’s music, and the timeless hip hop sounds of our group Slick Shoes. But I’d also like to share the music of many of my other friends who I’ve had the privilege of growing up with and playing with.

In this climate of disposable arts, I feel that it would be a travesty if the rest of the world never knew about musicians like my good friend Jeremy Radway, who plays everything better than everyone and makes great music like this.  He resides in London and you should definitely check out his band Player Piano if you are ever out that way.

Another of my Naptown brethren is “Dam Rite” aka Devon Ashley. He is well-known for his live drum work with bands like The Pieces, The Lemonheads, and “F. U. Z. Z.” He is also a masterful producer and musical director. As a matter of fact, he just produced this jammin’ album with my good friend Kate Lamont, an incredible singer who I have had the pleasure of playing with. I even did this remix for her recently.
Speaking of Kate, my long-time homie TJ Reynolds made this incredible video for her recently.  TJ is also nice on the beats and on the mic and is one-third of my other hip-hop group The Philosophy.  Be on the lookout for a new EP from us in the near future.  TJ’s solo stuff is pretty fresh too, as you can see in this video, which was made by another Naptown homie Ben Kahlil Rose. TJ’s talented sister, Teresa Reynolds, also just put out an album called State of Mind.

Ok…enough with the plug-fest…
We will also be coming with exclusive goodies at Just Due .  Every week or so I will be dropping our Just Due Beat Mixes like THIS one.  Be on the lookout for our next installments, to be mixed by different hand-picked DJs.  You should also peep my mixcloud site for new and old DJ mixes.

Coming soon, we will have an advice and opinion page, more music from a large network of artists, tips on recording/playing/rapping/DJing/being a bad motherfucker, and much much more!

So go ahead click us up and down.  We won’t say “stop.”

Much Love,

Spread