How J Dilla used a sampler to make his mark on hip-hop history

Arguably the two most pivotal moments in hip-hop history were the advent the drum machine and the embrace sampling, and over the course hip-hop’s development, the movement’s most influential figures, from  to all commonly wielded both these tools to make their mark on what is now unequivocally America’s most popular music. By the early 1990’s, fully customizable sampling machines like Akai’s MCP 3000 reigned supreme, and one legendary producer had an ability to use it that was head and shoulders above the rest: the late .

Dilla’s MPC 3000 is now being honored in the National Museum African American History in Washington, D.C.. His loose, intentionally imperfect drumming style is enshrined in hip-hop history and still largely inspires artists in various corners the rap and hip-hop space today. In a new Vox feature that delves into the beloved beat maker’s distinctly renown style and equipment choice, Dilla’s distinguished technique is described as “humanizing” in the way that he would circumvent his MPC’s quantization capabilities and manually place his beats with keen rhythmic improvisation.

Well worth the watch, the video dives into a revealing lesson in hip-hop and electronic production history behind the work one iconic producer and his equally iconic piece hardware.

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How J Dilla used a sampler to make his mark on hip-hop history