Monday, May 4, 2020

The Witzard's Best of Bandcamp: Beat Tapes from Jumbled, John Morrison, Frank-N-Dank's Frank Nitt & Zilla Rocca (Bandcamp Friday Finds)

As many of you may know, this past Friday was Bandcamp Friday, wherein Bandcamp decide to waive their artist fees, graciously giving artists 100% of their profits accrued over a 24-hour period. My wife and I had a baby appointment on Friday, but I posted a comprehensive Twitter THREAD containing noteworthy new releases. Plus, I personally supported nine different artists spending $40 in total on Friday alone. This was the second time Bandcamp has done such Bandcamp Fridays events amidst these uncertain time and I hear, there are already plans to do another one in June. So, even though this month's Bandcamp Friday has already passed, your favorite Indie/underground artists could still use you support!

We've decided to run a couple features spotlighting some of our favorite artists, albums, EP's, mixtapes, genres, etc. right here on The Witzard! We're calling it Best of Bandcamp and this inaugural edition will spotlight Bandcamp-only beat tapes released in recent weeks. I believe, my first exposure to a "beat tape" was J Dilla's magnum opus and, unfortunately, final album before passing, 2006's Donuts. Sometimes, referred to as "Instrumental Hip-Hop," beat tapes often consist of just that, instrumental Hip-Hop beats, which can either be listened to as-is or beefed up with original content from like-minded emcees, singers, musicians, etc. With that said, today's selection of beat tapes includes Jumbled's Dots [beat tape,] John Morrison's Spares: Unreleased Remixes & Flips, Frank Nitt's Fronto Leaf Beats, Vol. 1, and Zilla Rocca's wonderfully-titled Don't Drop A Beat Tape, Zilla.

Jumbled himself describes Dots [beat tape] like this: "My family moved last summer—which meant most of my equipment had to be stored away and I thinned out hundreds of my records for sampling—and started with a new approach after we moved to our new place. I set up a new lab and try to avoid better-known albums/artists." Dots [beat tape] is just that: a Donuts-style collection of 17 Hip-Hop instrumental beats most of which clock in at about 1 minute in length. Dots consists of dusty 70's Rock-indebted beats hand-crafted by Jumbled and as an added bonus, features adorable cover artwork painted by John Bachman's daughter, Lucy. Jumbled's beats have featured rhymes from talented emcees and singers, such as ALASKA, Berko Lover, Darko The Super, Height Keech, ialive, Luke Sick, and UllNevaNo. Jumbled's Dots [beat tape] is now available on Bandcamp, via Hartford & Reckord Tapes.

John Morrison's Spares: Unreleased Remixes & Flips is, essentially, half beat tape and half remix album, but it was so extremely dope (and we bought it!) that we couldn't resist including it here. Spares serves as a companion piece/follow-up to Morrison's recent remix album, Memorabilia. Just as its title suggests, Spares: Unreleased Remixes & Flips consists of just that: a collection of unreleased remixes and flips that didn't appear on Memorabilia. Executed in the same vein as Memorabilia, Spares: Unreleased Remixes & Flips features, as John Morrison himself describes it, "stolen vocals" from Common, Ghostface Killah, Nas, Lauryn Hill, KRS-One, Jai Paul, Bush Babees, Ja Rule & Cash Money Click, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Mos Def, Shabazz The Disciple, Toro Y Moi, OutKast, and T-Pain. John Morrison's Spares: Unreleased Remixes & Flips and Memorabilia are both currently available to purchase on Bandcamp.

Next up, we have Fronto Leaf Beats, Vol. 1 from California by way of Detroit's own Frank Nitt. Nitt is, of course, one half of Frank-N-Dank and is a long-time affiliate of J Dilla, Madlib, Yancey Boys, The Joint Chiefs, and Terrace Martin. We were fortunate enough to conduct a comprehensive interview with Frank Nitt last year published by our friends "across the pond" at GrownUpRap. However, we can honestly say we had absolutely NO IDEA Frank Nitt was planning to record and release his own beat tape. One day, all of a sudden, Frank emailed us with a link to his debut beat tape, Fronto Leaf Beats, Vol. 1. As Nitt himself describes it, Fronto Leaf Beats, Vol. 1 is "a collection of drum-heavy head-nodder instrumentals with something for every vibe or activity!! There is, also, a bit of narration by stand-up legend Russell Peters. It's now available on Frank Nitt's new Bandcamp page for just $1.00 or more.

Last, but not least, we have Zilla Rocca's Don't Drop A Beat Tape, Zilla, which we hear is/was frowned upon by fellow producer Disco Vietnam. Although, this one's a bit different, as Zilla's been producing beats on his own albums on-and-off since, at least, 2008's Bring Me The Head of Zilla Rocca. Zilla says Don't Drop A Beat Tape, Zilla is the direct "result of 18 years of beat-making; some jams have been sent to dozens of rappers, some have only existed in my car speakers while I was making a beer run. Some were freestyled upon in The International Dart Parlour from 2010-2015. Others, you make, forget about immediately, and, then, stumble across when trying to pad a tracklisting and, then, say, "OH SH*T, WHEN DID I MAKE THIS?" Who knows if I'll ever put out another one of these, so enjoy Don't Drop a Beat Tape, Zilla." Don't Drop A Beat Tape, Zilla is now available on Three Dollar Pistol Music's Bandcamp page.

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