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Friday, February 10, 2006

Rap Producer Scott Storch

When I hear a rap record I almost always the hear production first, and the rapping second. That may sound strange, but I am a producer myself, and came to love hip-hop via instrumentals. Yet the people involved in hip-hop production remain largely obscure to me. I've been doing my homework on the subject recently, but I know so little about the producers in the hip-hop business mainly due to the relatively low profile they tend to keep (with a few notable exceptions, of course). But this is changing.

Last month the New York Times published a piece on producer Scott Storch. Focusing mainly on Storch's superstar lifestyle, the article reads like numerous stories I've read about rappers in the mainstream media -- but this one is about a guy who works behind the scenes. Despite a somewhat condescending tone, it is an interesting profile. It takes a very special kind of creative talent to craft the perfect pop vessel for shaking asses on the dancefloor (or simply making kids feel cool), and I have a lot of respect for that. When it works properly (I must admit to being enamored with Storch's production on the Fat Joe anthem "Lean Back") the track feels very simple, but is in fact a masterpiece of subtlety with exactly the right drum sounds, the perfect fx whistles and glissandos for emphasis, minimal but super-effective melody -- everything in place and stated with perfect confidence. You can cry about it being unfair, but this is why he gets $90,000 to produce a track.

As for Storch working for Paris Hilton, why not? As he says, "If people are given the right circumstances and the right track and the right melody, it's about the conviction. It's not necessarily about being a God-given virtuoso." Production seems to be taking center stage more and more, and besides, Hilton's music career is no more or less a manufactured thing than that of many other stars today.

3 Comments:

Blogger wayne&wax said...

storch has produced some bangers, no doubt--from his recent hits, to the justin timberlake joints (seriously), to the stuff he did w/ dre, to his days back in the roots--but i can't stand the way he comes across in interviews. he talks like an arrogant fool, and he dresses the part, too.

plus, he says weird things, such as when he claimed a while back that dre's next album (which still hasn't been released) would be the "most musically advanced hip-hop album ever." gimme a break: it don't get more "musically advanced" than the bomb squad circa '88. the sort of perspective on music such a comment implies seems to run contrary to what it takes to be a great hip-hop producer: open ears and a blatant disregard for "traditional" (i.e., according to the western art music tradition) notions of musical value.

but yeah, props to storch for raising the profile of producers everywhere. all it took was asking artists to shout his name over the intros. why didn't he think of that sooner instead of sulking about not being invited to the grammy's?

4:35 PM  
Blogger jacob z. said...

There's something about his apparent rampant douchebaggery that fascinates me, like watching a trainwreck or an hour of mtv... I mean, look at that picture of him - hahaha!

I guess partly it's because it makes me wonder about the way personality is tied to creativity... Can storch produce a track that conveys thuggish arrogance and self-satisfaction (like "lean back") at least in part because he is so arrogant himself?

10:07 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

I heard Scott Storch shouted on The Games album and I googled the name and ran into this page. Douchebaggery is right, mass props. Ima think of the name Scott Storch everytime I hear the word Douche.

7:35 PM  

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