Awarded 5 Stars
Love it or hate...
Awarded 5 Stars
Love it or hate it, hip-hop is big business. From the chainsaw-wielding stadium antics of Mr Mathers to the re-emergence of a healthy home-grown scene, hip-hop has staked its claim within modern music, both popular and underground. With this in mind, Zero G have returned to the city that started it all and, with producer Vinnie Zummo, have put together a three-CD (two audio, one WAV) collection of hip-hop flavours.
CD one kicks off with a whopping 96 construction kits, ranging in tempo from a lazy 60 bpm to a banging 159 bpm. As usual, a brief blast of the full groove is followed by its component elements drum loop, bassline, synth line, and so on. In stylistic terms, these kits lean heavily towards the more commercial end of the hip-hop spectrum, with Timberland-influenced beats and more than a passing nod to Dr Dre's slick production style.
The samples themselves are well produced, with some nice, tight playing. A few of the beats sound a little lacklustre, and some instruments (notably synths) are rather noisy, but not enough to make them unusable. Of course, with this many kits, a few are bound to miss the mark ('80s pop, anyone?), but on the whole the grooves are put together nicely and are very authentic. With this many kits to choose from, even the most picky producer is guaranteed to find something of use.
And so on to CD two, which is where this collection really starts to shine. Dumping the construction-kit format in favour of individual hits and riffs, the CD starts off with 19 tracks of drum loops. Separated into groups, including machine beats, lo-fi, and brushed kit, these beats are once again well ; programmed and played - in particular, the five tracks of | acoustic loops stand out, with a | fantastically raw quality.
Next up are synth noise loops and a good selection of human beatbox and scat vocals. These are followed by nine tracks of funky bass licks, including electric, fuzz, and the superb 'Greazy Akoustik'. All the riffs groove nicely and are extremely usable, as are the tracks of keyboard loops (including some Rhodes and Mellotron riffs) that follow. The collection of clavinet loops is very good, cleanly recorded and well played.
Other highlights include assorted guitar riffs and the appropriately named 'Stanky Old Piano' loops that sound like George Clinton jamming in an East End boozer. The CD is then rounded off by track upon track of atmosphere, hits and other assorted bits and bobs. The only section that really disappoints on this excellent second CD is the short collection of scratching, which is, frankly, poor. For a hip-hop sample CD, in these days of inspiring turntablists, to churn up a handful of badly-looped, obvious samples is just plain lazy.
Overall, though, what has impressed me most about this set is the sheer amount of material you get for your money. The masses of well-recorded and, above all, useful licks and riffs contained on the second CD alone would satisfy anyone a wanting a source of phat sounds to dip into for inspiration. But add the huge number of good construction kits and a third CD full of pre-cut WAV files, and this collection really stands out as a class product. Shame about the scratching, though!
Awarded 9/10 and Key Buy award
Awarded 9/10 and Key Buy award
"Vinnie Zummo is a very, very funky man. The original N.Y.Cutz has long been a favorite of mine, and it was awarded a Key Buy. Zummo has sustained the magic in a second collection - a big ol' three-disc affair packed with funky goodness. Disc one is entirely devoted to 96 tracks of construction kits, which are all very good. "I like the musical style and attitude of the construction kits," noted second-listener Jim Aikin.
Disc two is a repository of smaller elements: a horde of drum machine loops, EQ Loopz, voice loops & phrases, scat vocals and rhythmic phrases, Bass riffs, electric bass, Rhodes and Clav phrases. Tasty and seasoned with the right effects. If you liked NY Cutz Vol. 1, then 'Off Da Hook' won't disappoint. Anyone looking for a storehouse of edgy funk material would be smart to audition this set."
"With two CDs of audio and another for .wavs,...
"With two CDs of audio and another for .wavs, this is one of those packages that scores right away on the value front, but the quality is there too. We liked the first NY Cutz, and this one continues in the same vein with a tone that's harder than many of its hip-hop contemporaries. The first CD plays host to construction kits in ascending tempo. The rhythms - some of which are on the borders of drum'n'bass - are biting and the sounds retro. Things get more upbeat and the second CD contains electric and acoustic drums, "Old Recordz" samples, some nice keys, chords and more. "
"The first in this series was so good I'm sure...
"The first in this series was so good I'm sure anyone who heard it will be looking for this new baby. You won't be disappointed, as this CD boasts some of the freshest sample material around. This fat package comes with three disks - two Audio plus CDR with .wav files with each sample already nicely formatted to bring straight into your computer (nice!). CD1 has all the grooves you could wish for.
From smooth soul groove to hard weird hip hop loops and hardcore r&b grooves plus a hint of dub/ragga and some hard street grooves. There is a definite slant to the weird edge which makes it stand out. The tempo ranges for a slow 60 up to a manic 159, but most of the action is around the 80-105 region. The drum grooves have a wicked edge and the sounds fit together strangely giving a real fresh vibe.
CD2 features all the individual instruments and beats & pieces necessary to create your track. There are all the excellent breaks and loops from the first CD plus loads of acoustic drum breaks and machine/beatbox loops. There are loads of little weird snippets of sounds and old records to sample and mash into something new.
There is a large section of bassline loops with tempos and tunings, as are the guitar and Rhodes and other assorted keyboard riffs. There are excellent individual kicks and snares plus percussion. The wicked special FX section gives you a feel of how advanced this CD is. Another Zero-G smash"