Studio 11 is proud to announce Chicago artist JXL’s latest album, Document 37. Undoubtedly, JXL is one of Studio 11’s flagship talents in the hip-hop arena. For achieving JXL’s crisp, sexy sonic vision, Document 37 was completed entirely with Studio 11’s expert engineer, Kris Anderson, using gear from Digidesign, Audio Technica, Waves, Manley, and White Lines Audio. JXL’s Document 37 has been grossing since its May 1st release.
JXL has separated himself as one of the fastest rappers and freestylers in the city, a feat which he credits to his teenage appreciation of Tech N9ne’s clear annunciation of fast rap. Amazingly, JXL has been mastering his craft since the early age of 11. Music has always been his medicine. Today, as a full time rapper, JXL attributes his vast, spontaneous vocabulary to an “inter-dimensional realm” within his head. Document 37’s ninth track, Eat Sleep Rap, solidifies rapping as JXL’s religion. Positively, Document 37, demonstrates JXL’s veteran status as a hip-hop artist.
With an in-your-face, rebellious chorus, one of the hardest hitting JXL singles from Document 37 is track one, “Fuck Retail.” The energy of the lively single immediately called for a supplementary music video! Like all audiovisual projects from JXL, the “Fuck Retail” video is one a kind – a truly classic addition to the JXL media repertoire. If you’re tired of your day job, JXL may have a word of advice – witness his furious music video here:
The eighteen tracks featured on Document 37 showcase JXL’s nasty, wickedly witty, speedy rapping and explicit critiques of modern society. Identifying as a progressive rapper, JXL refuses to adhere with any hip-hop “rules” or “norms,” or the notion of “real hip-hop” itself. The classification equally entails an artistic duty to remain conscious of advancing society – in maintaining health, spirit, diversity, the environment, and above all, a rejection of any and all conservative values. In the day of 2016 hip-hop, saturated by destructive themes and the mainstream industry, consciousness is a trend valued by JXL.
All in all, we are proud to call JXL’s Document 37 an undeniable success. Not only is the eighteen-track collection musically effective, the exigency of the album reaches beyond the average hip-hop artist, seeking to wake society up! Undoubtedly, with Document 37, JXL is leading the charge for progressive rap. Check out JXL’s album – we know few listeners will be disappointed with his musicianship and pure skill…so check out Document 37 and experience the greatness!
After listening, continue to be on the look out for JXL in 2016. New installments of melody-driven, lyrical juiciness accompanied by vibrant visuals are not far away!
Please visit our latest FMA blog for complete coverage of the term Chi-Raq, originally implemented by the Dollar Boyz recording at Studio 11 in 2005 “Welcome To Chi-Raq). We caught up with rapper Greazzy for an interview to reflect on the 10 year old recording. The album, as well as Volumes 2 & 3 will be available for free download in the archive.
On August 25th, the young and talented Millenium Barclay / Universal Music France signed rapper ‘Gradur’ arrived at Studio 11 to begin work on his new 13 song untitled mix tape. According to his manager, their reasons for choosing Studio 11 were quite simple. They wanted that “grimey” chicago drill/rap/trap sound and heard that we were the best place in Chicago at delivering. We also assisted them with meet greets, video locations, city tours, and other specialized amenities.
Gradur At Studio 11 Chicago
We were excited to meet and begin working with him, as our research discovered that he was on the verge of becoming the next big rap star out of France. His sound is very similar to some of the big name Chicago trap/drill rappers of the moment, but in our opinion, was a little more eclectic and artsy because of the beats Gradur and his management decided to use.
The vocal recording sessions occurred over a 7 day period of time primarily in Studio 11’s B room, although the A room was used occasionally for listening sessions with other producers such as C-Sick and Johnny May Cash (Young Chop’s brother).
Going in, we knew that the sessions should be fairly simple. Gradur would be rapping and singing over instrumental 2-tracks, which is a fairly common process used when recording rap based music in the studio today. In the B room, we decided to stick with the microphone we had already set up, the Audio Technica AT 4060. Gradur had a bigger, chestier sound, and we found the AT 4060 did a great job at preserving the detail and aggressive character of his voice. The AT 4060 signal was then routed into our Manley Voxbox for amplification into Pro Tools. Some additional equalization and compression was added to his voice on the Voxbox to add additional clarity and depth.
Since Gradur enjoyed a big sound to his voice, it was decided that doubling all verses and tripling all hooks would be the best way to produce his raps. Two “in out or embellishment” tracks were also added for each verse to help add additional expression to key words and phrases. These tracks were then panned 50% left and right. An occasional “adlib or atmosphere” track was added to the verses as well, but was not used in every song. The occasional in out track was added to the hooks as well, though we found not every song needed one.
The hardest thing going in our sessions with Gradur, was our English/French language barrier. Our engineer Kris was not too fluent with the French language as Gradur wasn’t with the English language. Some simple hand signs and gestures were invented to help speed along the lines of communication during the sessions, and by the end of the week, communication was no longer an issue.
Once all recording was done for a song, the vocals were then mixed in with its corresponding instrumental using plugins like the Sony Oxford GML EQ and Waves REQ for equalization. For all dynamic processing, (compression, de-essing, expansion) we used the Waves RAxe, RCompressor, RDeesser, RVox. For effects like chorus and reverb we used Digidesign’s Short Delay and Reverb One, Waves Metaflanger, and the Sonnox Oxford Reverb. For special effects like delay, distortion and filtering, we used the Digidesign Delay, DFi and EQ series as well as the Waves Metaflanger, Multi-tap and H Delay. We used Antares Autotune for all auto tuning. Additional post production tricks were then added such as beat cutting, stutter edits, record stops, and instrumental manipulation. Each final mix was then routed into the Waves C4 multiband compressor/expander to glue the instrumental and vocals together a little better, and then routed into the Waves L3 for maximization to match current industry standard RMS models.
On the final day of recording the last few bounces were made and files transferred. We all said our goodbyes. Hand shakes, bad jokes, and smiles filled the room and photos were taken. We all knew that this would not be the last time working with each other as over the course of 7 days, good friendships and business relationships were definitely made.
Overall, the Gradur recording sessions went extremely well. Gradur and his management originally planned to record only 9 songs, but because of our effectiveness at keeping recording sessions moving along quickly and productively, they were able to actually record 13 songs. This of course, is how we like to do things here at Studio 11. Keep it fun, keep it productive, keep it professional, and most importantly, keep it simple.
On April 27th, Studio 11 welcomed the richly talented, smooth flowin’ Chicago Hip Hop artist known as Joey Price into our studio to record his brand new mix tape titled “Barely Broke Intellect”, dropping September 9th, 2014. “Barely Broke Intellect” was recorded and mixed in our B room studio by veteran engineer/producer Kris Anderson, the same room in Studio 11 that such artists as Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Rockie Fresh and King Louis all started their careers in.
Joey Price’s smooth layed back vocal delivery was recorded using the AT 4060 tube condenser microphone, which is known for capturing a rich warm mid range tone that is not to heavy on the high end. The signal was then routed into the Manley Voxbox for signal processing and amplification into Pro Tools HD, the digital recording system inside our B room.
Once all the vocal tracking had been finalized for each song on the mixtape, the vocals were then mixed together with their instrumental accompaniment inside Pro Tools. During the mixdown process, Joey Price’s lead and background vocals were treated using the Waves Renaissance Compressor and De-Esser plug-ins, along with the Sonnox GML EQ plug-in for equalization. For basic effects such as reverb and chorus, Joey’s vocals were then processed using Waves Renaissance Reverb, Waves Metaflanger, Sonnox Reverb, Digidesign’s Reverb One and DVerb. Digidesign’s Extra Long Delay and Waves HDelay and Supertap were used for all special delay effects. Distortion and phone filter processing were done using Ampfarm, Digidesign’s Lofi and Digidesign’s 7 band parametric eq plug-in.
Check out Joey Price’s new promotional video for ‘Barely Broke Intellect’ where he discusses his own life experiences and the influences, music and words of ‘Barely Broke Intellect’.