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DJ Intrigue on his Gritty, Soulful Chops for Cappadonna’s New Album
Made With Tracklib

DJ Intrigue on his Gritty, Soulful Chops for Cappadonna’s New Album

When DJ Intrigue says he goes "buck wild on the samples" for a new album by Wu-Tang's Cappadonna, you know what time it is... Hear all nine tracks with Tracklip samples on 'Black Tarzann,' while Intrigue and Cappa break down their collaboration and production process.

By Tracklib

ON PLAYING DRUMS & CHOPPING SAMPLES

DJ Intrigue: All my life I’ve studied drums. When I went to Berklee College of Music, I learned to play the keys and how to structure songs through melodies and chord progressions. Learning how to play different styles like jazz, funk, rock, and various Latin grooves. When I sit down to make a beat, I pull from all of that.

I also like to have my drums knock hard—but who doesn’t? When sampling music, I actually like to play the sample chops out on the MIDI keyboard instead of “MPC style” on the beat pads. Everyone asks me why, but I don’t have a specific answer. I guess it feels like I’m playing the melody with samples as if I’m playing the piano.

Sometimes I have an array of sample chops from one song spread across four octaves on the keyboard. Just like figuring out a chord progression, I figure out the sample progression and which chops I use to create the beat.

I also like to use live instruments in my productions like live drums, percussion, and guitars. Even if I’m using a sample as the main instrument, a little live percussion and bass guitar can add a whole new depth to the track.

Cappadonna: Intrigue’s samples give me the old raw hip-hop and boom bap feel that I’m looking for to stay grounded in the culture. For Black Tarzann, we were going for the original Hip Hop sound with a touch of soul.

ON HIS GEAR & DAW

All tracks on this new album were produced in my home studio during quarantine. For the most part, my setup is pretty basic. In my studio, I have the iMAC 32”, Apollo Twin interface, AKAI & M-AUDIO MIDI controllers/keys, SP-404, Roland X-6 Synth, Technics Turntable with my Rane mixer, a bunch of live drums, and a couple of guitars.

All of my beats are made using the Presonus Studio One software. I just like the workflow on that DAW. It’s easy for me to download the song from Tracklib and bring it straight into Studio One. I chop up the sounds that I like and drop them into their Sample One virtual sampler to manipulate and play out the samples. I also like to use the plug-ins from Waves and Sound Toys to mix and tighten up the sound.

"I see Tracklib as a growing item for the future. It allows the raw culture to be seen and heard. Tracklib is a guaranteed win!"

—Cappadonna

TRACKS & SAMPLES

Grip The Mic

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4:21

Zillanova has a lot of dope songs to sample on Tracklib but as soon as I pressed play on “The Fader,” I immediately heard Cappa’s voice over it. This sample was super hard and had a lot of space for the lyrics to shine. It was also a similar BPM as "Grip the Mic," so when I chopped it up over Cappa’s lyrics it fit together really well.

Get This Work

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5:12

For the main sample, I took the horns from “Can’t Stop Loving You” by Soul Dog, which starts about 20 seconds in. I also sampled the one-word ‘Baby,’ which is two minutes into the original record. Those are two samples in two completely different sections of the song that sound super tight when played together in the combo as I did on “Get This Work.” It's like they were made to go together. I also chopped up another vocal section to add more melody and spice to my sample arrangement.

I Can Get 'Em

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2:53

That’s another sample that just fit instantly. Sometimes it just works like that. I was looking for a smooth-sounding sample for this track. So I searched in Tracklib’s Tracklib’s jazz section. After about 20 minutes of digital digging, Paul Page’s “Sakura - Pagoda Bells” came up. As soon as I pressed play I knew which parts I wanted to sample. It took me only a few minutes to chop it up and match it up to the drums I had for “I Can Get Em.” That’s one of my favorites tracks on the album.

Life On Welfare

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0:58

Cappadonna: “Life on Welfare” is super hard! One of my favorite beats on the album. “Walk With Me” is another favorite. Got that smooth soul:

Walk With Me

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3:48

You Can't Defeat Me

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4:08

Black Tarzann (ft. A-F-R-O)

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9:54

Mean Streets (ft. Killah Priest)

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4:40

ON 'BLACK TARZANN'

One night, I played Cap nearly fifty beats and he picked about fifteen of them for him to write songs with for this project. We recorded the two tracks with Killah Priest that same week in L.A. and Cap took the rest of the beats back with him to the East Coast.

About two weeks later, he sent them back with lyrics recorded. His lyrics were fire, and the songs had potential, but the beats didn’t sound cohesive enough for an album and I wasn’t happy with it. I kept thinking that I need to recreate some of these beats to make them all cohesive. So I stripped the songs down to only drums and Cap's lyrics to give me new inspiration. Then I started digging on the Tracklib site for the perfect samples to match the feel and tone of his voice. The first two songs I recreated were “You Can’t Defeat Me” & “Grip The Mic.”. Those samples just fell into my lap.

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4:23
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4:08

A week went by and I already remixed about six of the songs Cap sent me. When listening to them back-to-back, I knew we had the right sound for the album. I just felt and heard the album taking form. I spoke with Cap that next week and sent him the new versions and he liked them a lot. So I moved forward doing the same for the rest of the tracks on Black Tarzann.

DJ Intrigue (right) & Cappadonna (left)
DJ Intrigue (right) & Cappadonna (left)

"A big part of my sound for this album was using Tracklib and going buck wild on the samples!"

—DJ Intrigue

ON WORKING TOGETHER

DJ Intrigue: Cappadonna’s lyrical sword is always sharp. He’s a true MC. Put on a beat and he can just ‘go in’ on it…..freestyle or written. It’s truly an honor to work and record with him. We got great chemistry in the studio. I think that developed over time. I like to bring a lot of energy into the room and he definitely feeds off that. I love it when we go through beats and he just starts rhyming. That’s the best.

Cap originally took me on the road to be his DJ back in 2013 and we’ve been working together ever since. The energy we have on the stage is the same when we hit the studio. He also trusts me in the studio. I know what he likes, how he likes to record, and what we need to do to complete a record. This is actually the first album we have done together where I produced every track front to back.

Cappadonna: It’s just good vibes for me and Intrigue to work together. He’s a really good producer. We both like the same culture of true hip-hop and that 90s era. Our vibes complement each other in music.

ON DIGGING

A big part of my sound for this album was using Tracklib and going buck wild on the samples! I generally know what I like as soon as I hear it. From my experience, I believe the best samples usually come from the intro, outro, or the breakdown section of a song. But I do like to search further into the track and look for other hidden gems to sample. Like a vocal phrase, word, or melody.

I tend to apply the same tactics as if I was walking into any record shop in your local city or town. I mostly dig by genre to get the sounds I’m looking for like Soul, Jazz, Latin, Funk, and African grooves. On Tracklib, I also like to dig by region. I sometimes stop on a song if the artwork is funky-looking. But usually, I just click through them one by one. Press play, skip through intro, outro, or any breaks I see in the waveforms. If something catches my ear, I dig a little deeper into the song. I love it when the sample just jumps right out at you and you're like POW - that’s it!!

ON TRACKLIB

Tracklib allows producers the freedom to create without concern. I believe this will entice producers to sample more if they know that the sample licenses are easily accessible and affordable. Tracklib is also available 24/7, so when you’re up at 2 AM trying to make a beat and you feel like you need inspiration, you can just sign on and dig for that sound that might inspire you. Tracklib has such a wide variety of songs from all different regions of the world which will open up a lot of creative minds to music that they otherwise may not have listened to or thought of sampling.

Cappadonna: I see Tracklib as a growing item for the future. It allows the raw culture to be seen and heard. Tracklib is a guaranteed win!


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