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Client Feature: SV & DJ Jove

Posted by Keith Freund On September - 9 - 2009COMMENT ON THIS POST

jove l_b8773d77364c4ab2960378a79e018012Earlier this year, Phil and I began working with rap crossover group and production team, SV & DJ Jove, who have become two of our most promising unsigned clients. Check out a sampler from their club anthem “Act Stupid!” and SV’s catchy R&B single “You Know” (currently on the front page of FixYourMix.com).


You may recognize DJ Jove (birth name Vinnie) from MTV’s new reality series Is She Really Going Out With Him?, a show about bad boys that date good girls or as the network puts it, “douchebags and the women that love them.” From the creator of popular blog and book Hot Chicks With Douchebags, Is She Really Going Out With Him? chronicles the trials and tribulations of an alpha male in his natural habitat, which in Jove’s case includes his internet show, Reset Radio, where two porn stars have a cannoli-sucking contest live on the air.



Watch more highlights on MTV.com by clicking on the image below:


WATCH DJ JOVE ON MTVThis guy knows how to work a crowd. A little YouTubing turns up dozens of live shows including a video of Jove doing part of a set in a bra (I’ll spare you the link). To get a sense of his live presence, also check out clip 2 from the MTV.com series where he spins in a club filled with scantily-clad women. He raps the first verse on “Act Stupid!


As a producer, SV has a diverse but signature sound from club rap (think Black Eyed Peas) to pop-R&B (a la Rihanna or Akon). Although born and raised in Brooklyn, some of his beats have a Miami feel to them, particularly “Act Stupid!” In others, he juxtaposes tribal and Middle-Eastern sounds with a mainstream, synth-based club minimalism (like in Rich Boy’s “Drop”). SV is also making moves as a rapper and lyricist–his hook writing ability in particular is phenomenal.


Breaking Onto The Charts


Look out for these guys in the coming months. Today, there are really three ways for an artist to break onto the rap and pop scene, any of which could propel SV & DJ Jove to the top of the charts:

  • A guest spot from an established artist – the Drake model
  • “Going viral” – the Soulja Boy model
  • Grassroots / paying dues – This is the model for most big rappers today including as TI and Lil Wayne. Can take up to a decade to reach peak potential. One could argue that like with rock music, these artists largely benefited from the promotional dollars of the “old music business” (pre-2000s) and that this sort of success may not be as viable in today’s short-attention-span/everything’s-free marketplace. On the other hand, if you told me that Wayne was eventually going to be a Top 40 artist back when I was jamming on his Tha Block is Hot album, I wouldn’t have believed you. I always thought of him as one of the under-appreciated members of Cash Money Records. So I think there’s actually an objective reason for why these artists stood the test of time and went from moderately successful Southern rappers to Top 40 artists: talent.


DJ Jove & SV - Act Stupid! - Single - Act Stupid! Buy “Act Stupid!” on iTunes


Buy “Act Stupid!” on Amazon MP3


www.djjove.com
SV on Myspace


SV & Jove in the studio

Claps & Snaps: The Death of the Snare Drum (TrendWatch)

Posted by Keith Freund On March - 27 - 20092 COMMENTS

Not exactly breaking news, but humor me: scan the Billboard Hip Hop chart and you’ll see that it is hard to find a rap song with a snare drum on the back beat. Why?


tombstoneLet’s go back to the late 90s for a moment. From groups like OutKast, No Limit Soldiers (Master P, Mystikal), and Cash Money Millionaires (Juvenile, Birdman) sprung a new era of southern music which began to seep into America’s collective consciousness. Still, with artists like Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and 50 Cent (and production teams like Neptunes and Timbaland), it would be another half a decade or so before the South virtually became Top 40 rap.


Growing up in Atlanta, I had a somewhat distorted view of the influence of southern rap. In fact, just the other day I was discussing this very topic with a well-known East Coast rap mixer and discovered that songs like “Back That Azz Up” didn’t have the nearly the impact on the national level that they did in Georgia. In fact, he said that Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass” was the song that, for him, signaled the entrance of southern music into the mainstream.


Crunk JuiceThe south officially became mainstream with the Crunk movement, which is when all the clapping and snapping started. For me, the turning point was when “Get Low” came out and Lil Jon became The Face of Crunk on the national and international levels.


Which brings us back to the initial question: Why? While the actual reason probably has something to do with tools available, the whims of producers, and the butterfly effect…

A clap or snap provides two distinct advantages over a snare drum (1) It leaves room for other elements in the mix (does not compete with the vocal) and (2) provides a human element.


As Phil pointed out in a previous post, when it comes to a mix, in order for something to be big, something else has to be small. While it may seem that layers upon layers of sounds would lead to a bigger mix, it also leads to a smaller vocal, smaller drums, smaller bass. When you’ve only got a clap, an 808, and a vocal, each of those elements can be huge. Unlike the epic snare drums that typify the rock idiom, claps are humble, unassuming, and fun.


Many people simply do not enjoy instrumental music because there is nothing human to connect with. They need a lead vocal to connect with the song. To a lesser extent, claps and snaps serve as this same kind of human element. (If I really wanted to get academic about this, I could relate this to the call-and-response aesthetic seen in traditional African music… but I’ll abstain.)


Slowly but surely, Crunk has split off into two genres which are in effect today:


“Snap Music”


The first branch is known as snap music. In my mind, snap music is the only authentically southern rap around because it is still exclusively being made in the South (in other words Kanye isn’t stealing it). Here are its signature characteristics, in order of importance:

  • A single-note bassline (no chord progression)
  • Sparse arrangements
  • 808 kick sound
  • Monophonic, short, riff-based melodic elements
  • Snaps on beats 2 and 4
  • Fruity Loops-esque synth patches
  • Syncopated snare-fills

Snap music is a little less produced than everything else on the radio. I’m talking Yung Joc, I’m talking Soulja Boy, hell, I’m talking “Laffy Taffy”:



Perhaps even more importantly, it’s a lot more convenient to snap while dancing than to clap (not to mention cooler-looking).


Mainstream Rap


The other branch is what I would simply call mainstream rap: your Lil Waynes, your T-Pains, your TIs. This style is characterized by the following:

  • Auto-Tune/choruses with singing
  • Claps on beats 2 and 4
  • 808s, either supplementing or serving as the kick sound
  • A melodic bassline (in other words, there is an actual chord progression)
  • Futuristic, techno-like synth patches

This form of southern rap is so far-reaching that virtually every Top 40 artist uses claps, from New York to New Orleans.


Next time you’re composing a track, remember that the samples you use play an enormous role in defining that song’s style and determines the demographic to which your music appeals.


*Note: There are several notable exceptions to this rule right now:


One is Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It,” which utilizes a combination of both a clap and a snare on beats 2 and 4. The tune has reached #6 on iTunes and #1 on the Billboard Hip-Hop chart.


TI’s “Live Your Life” feat. Rihanna uses a snare on the backbeat, but it has a syncopated snare pattern too, which gives the song a kind of majestic, almost military band sound.


Perhaps the most complete exception is “Swagga Like Us,” with only a snare on beats 2 and 4. This choice was undoubtedly very conscious–because of the gravity of this collaboration, they were able to use an unusual instrumental and be perceived as innovative rather than out of touch. I think that it was inspired by the movie Drumline based on the feel established by the kick drum pattern.

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