It is a notorious fact that most rap artists and producers are extremely secretive about the process behind the creation of their music. Historically speaking, individual snare sounds, synth samples, and vocal yips are all hoarded and guarded with a fervor to prevent the next man up from biting on classic elements that make up an overall signature sound. A new series called Beat Breakdown on YouTube looks to shed a little light on what happens behind the mixing boards and dispel some of the myths behind the magic.
Created by Andrew Atwood, who goes by the username Sandurz, the series takes classic and popular rap tracks, strips them to the bone, and recreates them to near perfection. No detail is too small and everything from sound effects, the individual drums, strings sections, bass lines, guitar parts, and synth lines are all deconstructed, snipped apart, and pieced back together. Even the origins of the smallest James Brown “yeah” vocal line or an African chant are fully laid bare.
So far Atwood has uploaded 18 episodes of Beat Breakdown and has covered songs from a number of epic artists and producers including Nas, DJ Premier, Drake, Dr. Dre, J. Cole, and A Tribe Called Quest to go along with five different songs by super producer and self-proclaimed “greatest living rock star on the planet,” Kanye West. You can even head over to the Beat Breakdown official website where Atwood has uploaded project files for every track covered in the series so you can play around with them yourself.