As he lines up his third EP for LuckyMe, Edinburgh-hailing rap producer S-Type selects a handful of the hip hop and R&B instrumentals that fed his sonic obsessions.
S-Type didn't slow down in 2014. Besides dropping his 'Rosario' EP - a record that somehow managed to be even bigger than his alreay-pretty-huge 'Billboard' EP before it - the Edinburgh-hailing rap producer also worked with Hudson Mohawke and Nick Hook on the ludicrous, gargantuan Rap Monument project and soundtracked Astrid Andersen's collection at the London Menswear A/W 2015 last month.
Not wanting to drop momentum, he's lined up a new EP for release with longtime home LuckyMe. 'SV8' sees S-Type continue to open his world out to collaborators, with Lunice, Yung Gud, and Inkke all making appearances on its three tracks.
Before its release, S-Type has picked out a selection of his favourite rap and R&B instrumentals. Listening to his choices should give you an insight into some of the sonic obsessions that manifest themselves in his own crashing, melodic beats. "The vocals on these songs are great - some are absolute classics - but I’ve picked some instrumental versions that are just as strong, to play out or just listen on headphones," S-Type explains, "These aren’t necessarily my favourite beats of all time, as I would’ve struggled to do a top 100, let alone 10. I tried to pick a range of different styles and opted for some less obvious ones - some that people may have forgotten."
S-Type: "For sure one of my favourite beats ever. The sample is from a live version of TLC’s Diggin On You. Just Blaze has always been a massive influence on how I flip samples and program my drums, often with big fills, snare flams, and cymbal crashes."
S-Type: "ALC is definitely someone else I’ve always looked up to. I got into sampling prog rock and library music because of him. His productions sound so full, but with plenty room for the vocalist. That’s so important in rap music. It almost feels like a crime to post this one without Cam - go listen to the vocal version after."
S-Type: "I feel like Dilla’s electronic era isn’t as celebrated as his soulful side. This beat is particularly dope because of the half-time switch up at the end, which, Dilla said in an interview, was an homage to Timbaland."
S-Type: "The Neptunes are genius producers/songwriters, making both sweet melody-driven pop and minimal street bangers. Along with Timbaland, they helped me appreciate good pop music, but their work with Clipse is some of the best rap music of all time. I still play this one out in my sets."
S-Type: "I never hear people playing or talking about this one anymore. A lot of Timbo’s music has the illusion of being really minimal and stripped back, but when you really pay attention to it, you can hear how subtely layered everything is - especially the drums. He often adds his signature beatbox percussion underneath the main loop."
S-Type: "People hardly ever talk about Danja, but have a look at his production credits. He made a lot of hits with Timbaland for artists like Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado. The blend of major keys, pop melodies, and hard drums is what I’m obsessed with - definitely a big influence for me."
S-Type: "T-Pain is one of my favourite artists - however, I do prefer this as an instrumental. Like Danja, Kane Beatz makes emotional music without being soppy at all. This is a ballad and a banger at the same time."
S-Type: "From 2003, but still goes hard. Dipset are one of my favourite rap groups ever. I wasn’t actually aware of Spike N’ Jamahl until I looked at the credits - the beat reminds me a lot of Just Blaze’s epic style. Dipset got me into sampling Hair Metal and '80s music. Check the sample: Winger - Headed For A Heartbreak."
S-Type: "I had to include something from the Roc-A-Fella, pitched-up soul sample era. These are my favourite type of Kanye beats, when he meshes samples with live instruments. His drums and percussion hits back then were so loud and quantised, I love it. Also the switch up at 2:53 - wow."
S-Type: "I feel like the mid-2000s birthed the best produced R&B. Ryan Leslie produced Cassie’s entire first record; similar to the Neptunes, his style is minimal and glossy. He makes perfect pop music. I learned a lot about structure listening to him."
LuckyMe release the 'SV8' EP on February 16th 2015 (pre-order).