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Anyone who knows ?uesto personally, or at least has followed him over the years, knows that he like short, tight, concise albums, and usually cites Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Nas “Illmatic” as examples. Here, he publically reaches out to Jay Electronica, pleading with him to craft a classic. Read on:

that’s what made Nas’ Illmatic so ill: it introduced the idea a producer’s buffet table. before that? ONE producer controlled the movie. there is a reason why the “too many cooks in the kitchen….” idiom exists people. you do notice that most of the albums you hold near and dear to your hearts are albums in which the person with the final say (the producer) has the know how on how to make it cohesively fit.

imagine if songs in the key of life had a herbie track, a quincy track, a maurice white track…..

and even in the cases of what we *think* producer is (again…just cause you made the beat does not make you the producer in the real definition of the word) if indeed we used the post illmatic sense of producer to define what was done on off the wall and thriller—then yes indeed: “rock with you” “off the wall” “burn this disco out” “baby be mine” and “thriller” woulda been produced by rod temperton.

because it was him that wrote the songs. it was him that wrote the lead sheets for the musicians to follow. if you are lucky enough to get your hands on any of the mj masters you can clearly hear him in the studio giving arrangement notes to the musicians playing as if he were quarterback of the team.—back then they called them Arrangers. which explains why MJ’s liner notes were so damn explicit in its explanation of who did what. read em! rhythm arranger, horn arranger, string arranger, background vocal arranger, —crazy credits.

now adays a mofo “might” get co production credit depending on the generosity of the head man in charge. (this is how scott storch came up in the game—kanye too–you play side minion to a “bigger name”—in other words…you do the dirty work) or they collect enough mario brother hidden coins to finally step out on their own when its time (show of hands, who here knew that pharrell was the temperton to teddy riley’s jones in the early 90s?)

none of this is to lessen the role of “producer” i mean when you hire quincy you are basically hiring his massive connected data base of a listers that know how to get the job done.

quincy is smart enough to know that rufus was a tight knit unit of a band that could make the then risky “rock with you” work as a mellow disco song. as opposed to just grabbing his a list random musicians.

quincy was patient enough to comb through about 1000+ songs in a short time (8 months to thoroughly go through material and pick the final 9 for Thriller? pre ipod period too?!?! patience!)–

even going far enough to say quincy had a pimp’s eye on how to turn a 4 into a dimepiece:

peep this story on the birth of “human nature” from wiki (its reliable and i personally spoke to paich about it

“Human Nature” was written by Steve Porcaro of Toto and John Bettis for Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. Initially, Porcaro recorded a rough demo of the song on a cassette. Fellow Toto band member David Paich then gave the demo, along with two songs written by Paich, to producer Quincy Jones, hoping they would be included on Thriller. Jones didn’t like Paich’s songs, but enjoyed the rough demo of “Human Nature” at the end of the cassette. Jones explained, “All of a sudden, at the end, there was all this silence, there was: ‘why, why, dah dah da-dum dah dah, why, why’. Just a dummy lyric and a very skeletal thing—I get goosebumps talking about it. I said, ‘This is where we wanna go, because it’s got such a wonderful flavor’”. Bettis, who had written lyrics for hits by The Carpenters and The Pointer Sisters, among others, was asked to add lyrics to the song. He completed the song in two days. The producer asked if the song could be included on Jackson’s album, to which Porcaro and Bettis agreed. “Human Nature” was the last song selected for Thriller, ousting “Carousel” from the final track listing

actually duh! peep the demo!

http://bit.ly/aGWBQB

now the average cat could just pass on it. but jones had the insight to get a fast turnaround from legendary lyricist john bettis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bettis

to execute the job.

THAT is a producer in my opinion.

not to negate the buffet illmatic way of doing things.

actually big upped the ante by using the illmatic format (some home grown beats from puff’s stable—and yes i never once argued puff’s role as producer for he is an AWESOME conceptualizer–and got beats from the cream of the crop—but he REALLY hit paydirt on Life After Death by demonstrating he could expand his reach via “Notorious Thugs”–which showed MANY (hello Hov) the benefit of going to the buffet for 3rds and 4ths….

now multi produced albums are as common as “abc”

and as confusing as spelling “antidisestablishmentarianism” (i love that commercial with the kid at the table)

so yes, if you wanna know the common thread to why

3 feet high and rising
the low end theory
the chornic
criminal minded
radio
licensed to ill
raising hell
it takes a nation of millions to hold us back

or

off the wall
purple rain
control
innervisions
rumors
nevermind the bullocks
synchronicity
sgt peppers
pet sounds

always wind up on the final lists?

these are albums created with no buffet!!

either one primary producer

or a team with a vision.

let’s start there!

problem with buffets are you are so busy searching for “that hit” that the vision is lost on how to make a cohesive album

so again to jay e.

if you REALLY wanna make a mark

i think there is beautiful irony in you walking through the same Nas door that people are already buzzing about….

but in the opposite direction.

10 songs

1 producer.

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2 Responses to "?uestlove Writes Open Letter To Jay Electronica"
  • jack in the box says:

    gotta agree with questlove. kinda funny he sneaked in that thing about the “human nature” demo.

  • [...] and 2004′s The Deadline, both of which are also very good, but Chain Letters the pinnacle of The Buffet the Worked with M-Phazes, Illmind and Nicolay on [...]

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