Kanye West at Abbey Road Studios

“Late Registration,” just like Kanye’s debut, “The College Dropout,” was released to critical acclaim and commercial success. Kanye had spent time working with composers and musicians to breathe new life into his music. Hip Hop wasn’t incorporating live strings, orchestral percussion and all sorts of instruments to create a rap symphony. Kanye’s impeccable taste was witnessed once again, this time in unfamiliar territory. Film composer Jon Brion served as executive producer on a number of tracks. His expertise helped guide West towards making a critically acclaimed album.

Kanye wanted to perform Late Registration on stage with an actual orchestra supporting him… so he recorded a live album at Abbey Road studios. Performing in front of 300 guests and supported by a live orchestra, complete with a rousing string section, this was something never done in hip hop. Not at this level of quality at least.

During the studio sessions for Late Orchestration, footage was shot of Ye as he floated around the studio like a film director on set. Even working next to someone in control of conducting the live instrumentation, all eyes were glued on Kanye for his cues. West’s desire to separate himself from the restricting trends of hip hop was also expressed on the album cover. As the dropout bear crossed the street just like The Beatles on “Abbey Road,” Kanye was letting everyone know that he was in his own world. He was going to forever distance himself from what the status quo would demand of him.

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Madlib Sampling in the Studio on a Roland SP-303

Madlib has remained an independent favorite over the past couple of decades. Known for his raw sampling style and compression heavy mixes, Madlib has remained a staple in West Coast hip hop, bringing raw soul and jazz samples to his listeners. In this video, we see Madlib sampling on a Roland SP-303. This is the sampler that J Dilla used to produce a good amount of his final project, “Donuts.” Madlib and Dilla remained friends and collaborators until Dilla’s last days. Madlib’s influence on Dilla was apparent by the time he made “Donuts.” Jay Dee’s raw loops and chops were a perfect homage to his California friend and collaborator. Watching Madlib in this video, in his element, is a treat for any hip hop nerd.

Remember when Jay Z Almost Called it Quits?

Welcome to The Most Unruly’s official blog! On this page, we will be posting about the pieces of art and culture that inspire us and get our creative minds going. To start it off, we wanted to bring light to a classic piece of content. Many are familiar with this content due to the fact that it features Jay Z in his prime. At this time, Jay Z told the world he was retiring. He was set to close the curtain on his career. His final word to the universe was “The Black Album” in 2004. But of course… the album full of super-producers would not be his final piece of work. During this time, a documentary was being made. It was titled “Fade To Black.” The film centered around Jay Z’s time in the studio, making “The Black Album” and his stage performances.

The film lost some gravitas due to the fact Jay did not actually retire. It is a documentary that is a relic of the golden years of Jay’s reign over music. It’s not too hard to understand why he made his return as his love for music outweighed any promises of retirement. Working in the studio with Jay may leave some frozen, but only the best of the best producers could carry themselves without being crushed under the pressure. Everyone was realizing this would likely be the final time they could lend their talents to the artist who inspired them all. Timbaland and Pharrell in their prime were left dishing out track after track just for one to be accepted. A young Kanye West was brewing the right soundtrack to make for Jay, making magic at the boards. Kanye saw the album as being “The Black Movie” with a larger than life aesthetic. Kanye would be the next to hold down the Roc-a-Fella label at the same heights as his idol… but for now, many saw him as just a producer. His production on “Lucifer” off of the album remains a high point in Kanye’s production discography. Watching Jay Z get into the zone and show his studio habits and creative process makes this documentary a treat for any music lover.