REVOLT TV presents "The Produce Section," a column where we put the spotlight on the men and women behind the beats we love so much and their contributions to the culture as a whole. From profiling and interviewing the hottest producers of today to acknowledging the greatest producers of all-time and delving deep into their discographies, The Produce Section is the hub where beats, rhymes and life connect.
Producers have long been the backbone of rap music, providing emcees and rappers alike with the sonic backdrops over which they bare their souls and share their stories. Rap artists may get much of the fanfare and are front and center. However, without the producer toiling away behind the scenes, crafting the instrumentals; the lyrics would be reduced to spoken word and hip hop would be nonexistent as we know it.
In this edition of The Produce Section, we cover DR Period, the creator of some of the biggest street bangers of the '90s and beyond. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the Brownsville rep first made waves after helming the boards for nearly the entirety of M.O.P.'s debut album, To the Death. From there, DR earned credits on releases from the hottest lyricists on the east coast, quickly building a track record for his ability to produce hit singles without pandering for radio airplay.
The early aughts would capture a renaissance period for the boardsman, who returned to form with contributions from a varied list of artists, some of which accounted for the most commercially successful records of his career. With more than a quarter-century worth of instrumentals under his belt, DR Period is a decorated veteran who has earned the respect of the hip hop community because of his longevity and his propensity for crafting quintessential street anthems.
In the latest installment of our series, we highlight 11 of DR Period's most iconic beats that define his excellence behind the boards.
1. "How About Some Hardcore"
In 1993, DR Period joined forces with Brooklyn rap group M.O.P. for their debut single, "How About Some Hardcore," which had a seismic impact on the underground and helped put them on the map with their first hit. Taking elements of The Dells' 1971 cut "Free and Easy" and reinforcing them with drums lifted from The Emotions' "Blind Alley," the producer delivers a horn-heavy sound bed for the two rhyme pugilists to get rowdy over.
2. "Rugged Neva Smoove"
DR Period's chemistry with M.O.P. members Billy Danze and Lil Fame was solidified with this soundscape from the pair's 1994 debut. Comprised of tambourines, drum loops, and a vocal sample of "How About Some Hardcore," this selection is a certified banger that captures three of Brownsville's finest in full sync.
3. "Mo Money, Mo Murder, Mo Homicide"
The boardsman deconstructs a sample of The O'Jays 1978 hit "Cry Together" for the second collaboration between Nas and AZ, which was released as a single from the latter's 1995 debut, Doe or Die. Matching the lush instrumentation of the original with fresh kicks and snares, DR delivers one of the more memorable backdrops of the mid '90s with this undisputed classic.
4. "Broken Language"
In 1995, the producer helmed the boards for this menacing backdrop, which helped jumpstart the careers of Brooklyn rhymers Smoothe Da Hustler and Trigga Tha Gambler, and is regarded as one of the hardest beats in hip hop history. Featuring a sample of "The Message (Inspiration)" by Brass Construction, this track helped earn Smoothe Da Hustler a record deal with Profile Records and stamped DR as one of the chief boardsman of his era.
5. "See What I See"
In 1996, DR Period kept things gritty with his craftsmanship on this intense composition from rap phenom Shyheim's sophomore album, The Lost Generation. Layering terse piano keys atop the thud of kicks and snares, DR cooks up a hard-boiled backdrop for the Rugged Child to perform verbal gymnastics over.
6. "My Crew Can't Go for That"
Aretha Franklin's wails from her 1976 cut "I Get High" serve as the crux of this backdrop, which DR contributed to The Nutty Professor soundtrack. The song, which was accompanied by a music video, continued Trigga Tha Gambler and Smoothe Da Hustler's winning streak alongside the beat maker, who infused elements from Hall & Oates' 1981 jam "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" for this instrumental.
7. "Ante Up"
DR Period would reconnect with Danze and Fame for this raucous lead single from their 2000 album, Warriorz. Built around a riff from Sam & Dave's 1969 cut "Soul Sister, Brown Sugar," this street banger peaked at No. 19 on the Hot Rap Songs chart and spawned an epic remix. It would become the most popular production of DR's career.
8. "International Hustler"
In 2002, Freeway outsourced the production services of the famed producer for this solo cut from the State Property soundtrack, which captures the conspicuously bearded spitter taking his criminal enterprise abroad. Layering electric guitar riffs on the beat, DR constructs an instrumental that pairs boom-bap with an ample dose of heavy metal for the Philly rep.
9. "Once Again"
For this introductory cut from AZ's 2002 album Aziatic, DR Period chops up John Sebastian's 1976 ditty "Welcome Back" to assist in reintroducing S.O.S.A. to the greater rap populous. Revamping the original sample with crisp rounds of percussion and keys, the producer crafts a banger that sets the tone for the entire LP, and recaptured the magic of him and AZ's past collaborative efforts.
10. "The True Meaning"
In 2002, Cormega tapped DR to score the title track from his critically acclaimed album The True Meaning. Stripping elements from Diana Ross' 1973 release "Sleepin'," the Brooklyn-bred composer put forth a soulful composition for the indie champ's breakthrough solo set.
11. "Hey Ma (Remix)"
DR Period scored one of the bigger production credits on his resume with his work on the remix to Cam'ron's hit single "Hey Ma," the highest-charting single of the rapper's career. Co-produced by Mafia Boy and featuring a sample of the Commodores' 1977 release "Easy," this beat strays away from DR's more grisly tunes and showcases his ability to create feel-good jams that resonate with the mainstream.
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