The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article titled “The New Faces of Chicago’s Hip-Hop Scene”. Much to our delight, 3 of the 10 featured artists work right here at Studio 11. The article pays tribute to local hip-hop artists who are making a lot of noise not only here in Chicago, but on a national level as well.
King Has been recording at Studio 11 since 2005, and has recently enjoyed a boom of popularity and recognition. King’s catalog is dauntingly massive as he is one of the most prolific artists this studio has ever seen. His combination of utter cleverness and freestyle ability has helped him complete a staggering amount of cool tracks, so its no doubt that his name is buzzing.
Although Rockie is no newcomer to rap, he is a fairly new client at Studio 11. Rockie started work up here with his extremely powerful and impressive “The Otherside” mixtape, which did amazing numbers online. Rockie is currently working on a new project up here and a few leaks are already floating around the web. Be on the lookout for “Driving 88” coming soon.
YP is another long-time client of Studio 11, having blazed the booth since 2005. YP has recently acquired new management and has since been killing it in the streets, on the stage, and on the radio. This past fall saw the release of his most solid mixtape to date, “Still Awake”. Without missing a beat, YP started work on his next project the day “Still Awake” was released. YP has teamed up with some well known producers and is collecting some features from huge artists, so there is no doubt that his next project will make some serious waves.
It seems as though the hip-hop scene in Chicago is finally coming together to form some sort of movement. I feel like there is more support than there has been for quite some time, and artists of vastly different styles are coming together for the cause. I for one love being at the boards through it all watching and helping the artists come one step closer to their creative aspirations. As always, thank you for your continued loyalty!
This week Studio 11 was visited by east siders Saint Nick and D. Brown, of Street Fame Clique Ent.
St. and D have done multiple projects through Studio 11’s B room over the years, and their material seems to keep getting stronger and stronger. Both artists have done some maturing in recent years, fine tuning what their voices are capable of, with Saint gaining confidence as both a rapper and singer, and D finding his dominating tone as a rapper.
Here we get to see Saint working on his new joint “Its Nothin” for an upcoming project. The track has a huge energy and a massive “call and response” style hook. Saint’s music always challenges me as an engineer, and this song was no exception. Nick really likes his punch-lines to shine, and I often find myself digging deep into my bag of tricks to accommodate him.
This song was recorded with our typical all tube vocal chain used in Studio B, and mixed on our Pro Tools HD system. Creating headroom on a track this massive was a bit tough, but some delicate side chaining really made the vocals stand out and sit out front. Some cool sound effects from my collection were used, as well as a Transformers sound that Nick found online.
All in all it was a short, but fun session and we wound up with a banger. Check out more from Street Famous on their Facebook.
Every now and then we at Studio 11 get to work on some stuff outside of our norms. Recently I got to work with longtime Studio 11 client A-List on this short music video promoting home-town hero Derrick Rose. The video, containing tons of slick D. Rose highlights was cut together with an original track by A-List, and the results were quite uplifting!
A-List is always on the grind working on cool projects and has had weekly segments on 3 major cable networks. Check out his you-tube channel for more of his work.
We recently had our boy Kris Warren in the studio workin on some tracks. Kris has really stepped up his game this year and has been busy making videos and traveling to promote his music.
Kris works with producers from all over, but recently has been working on tracks produced in Los Angeles and Chicago, hence the name of his upcoming project “From Chi to LA”
Here we get a peak at Kris working on a joint called “Run Tell That“, a track riddled with classic Chicago pimpery. As you can hear, there are some female vocals performed by one of Kris’ go-to girls Amanda Cameron. The beat is produced by once Chicagoan, now Angelino, Jomekka.
This was a simple record to record and mix. Kris likes his stuff pretty natural sounding, so we kept his voice pretty dry, and saved most of the vocal effecting for Amanda’s parts. Both vocalists were tracked through the Audio Technica At-4060 and the Manley VoxBox. Amanda’s voice was wet up with the Waves Supertap Delay and some Sony Oxford plate reverb emulation.
In the studio this week was Green Light Gang, a west side Chicago collective of rappers and singers.
GLG has been coming to Studio 11 for years, sometimes solo dolo, other times with fellow west siders The Dutch Boys. Collectively their catalog is huge, and continues to grow. These guys have a knack for finding cool and abnormal beats, which is really refreshing for us here considering how Soundclick has changed the game.
Here we get to see Taka, working on his new joint “Blow Minds Away“, to be released on GLG’s next project. The song features a spaced out beat, a melodic hook, and a particularly “smokey” tone on the verses. The half sung vocals on the hook and uplifting feel of the beat help make this one a classic Chicago Lake Shore Drive ridin’ song.
Since the beat is still building in the beginning, we decided to start the song with an un-stacked hook to give listeners a taste of what is to come. Once the drums enter, Taka starts his verse with a direct flow, working around the beat’s interesting rhythmic aspects, with the clap only falling on the “2,” similar to a lot of Dub Music.
On the vocal mix I used some of the newer Waves pluggins from the Hybrid Line, utilizing a variation on the tape delay preset from the H-Delay. Taka’s vocals have a lot of life and dynamics on this track, and the beat had plenty of headroom, so I didn’t need to compress much…and the compression used was in parallel, using the Waves H-Comp.
Taka also has very present upper harmonics in his voice, so not much hi-shelving was needed, but I did have to do some low mid dip using the Sony Oxford GML eq. In front of the eq is a Waves R-De-esser to tame the sibilance.
The goal on this mix was to achieve a laid back, un-aggressive sound while still capturing the energy and animation. Be on the lookout for GLG’s next mixtape, coming soon.