Posts Tagged ‘dan johns’

Today’s song perspective comes in the form of an open conversation, discussing “Black Magnum.”

Dan: “Plex, we had really just met a couple of months (maybe even weeks) before we decided to do a Black Magnum song. But we pretty much vibed instantly. I remember pitching the idea to you about doing a record with you and Diligent, over some of my production. I didn’t even have an idea for how the beat would sound, but I knew that it had to have some of the common elements from the catalogs of Black Box ENT & Magnum Opus Records: heavy low end and a ‘poetic’ melody/sample.”

Plex: “Yeah, I remember this song idea coming up right around the time we did “Scarlet Letter”, so coming off of my 36 bar original verse I was feeling like I was in a nice zone.  When you dropped the beat in the group & said it was for Me, You & Diligent my eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas.  I remember asking you what the concept should be and you said something like “Let Diligent decide, but I already have an idea about what he will want to do lol”

Dan: “And like clockwork, Diligent came out, both barrels cocked, and letting off shots! Diligent and I hadn’t done a song together in over 10 years before “Better Left Unsaid,” and in that time, we both, in different arenas, had made a name for ourselves as battle rhymers. When I chopped up those strings and keys for the “Black Magnum” beat, I already knew that Diligent was going to take it to the arena. In a way, I hoped that he would, because even back in college, that always brought out the best in both of us. We pretty much all wrote our rhymes for this one in seclusion, right? lol”

Plex: “Lol… Yup!  We all wrote at the same time and I don’t think anyone heard anyone else until they were all recorded.  Me not being a battle rapper or a punch line king, knew I had to step my game up to stand out amongst battle tested emcees like You and Diligent.  When I heard the final song and how well it went together, I knew we had to do a visual.  So I hit Diligent up to see if he was down and used it as an opportunity to get us all out to South Carolina so me and you could finally meet face to face and vibe out.”

Dan: “What was dope about the process of crafting the visual to me, is how much input Dan Hunter (the director) allowed us to have. He did a great job of making the trip from Atlanta to SC make sense in the visual, and the Tarantino homage fit perfectly. It gave a perfect explanation for the ANON & Mikcheck cameos, and Hunch’s appearances on the hook.”

Anon: “The best part was seeing Dili get his wings. Like…. he was like I’m bout to drop these bars and Dan ain’t gon be ready! He was like ready to cause a brawl. He was feeling that champion music. The subtlety of his verse is what makes it dope. It’s like the first part of the verse is just more emcee….. Then he say “for time sake” and went in!!!!!”

Dan: “How about at the video shoot, when we were pressed for time, as we were trying to do all of my scenes for the video, and still have time left to shoot footage for “Hungry Arms,” and Diligent was making sure that he was “Sunday morning fresh” before coming out of the house?  Everything he does has a purpose, and a reason behind it.”

Plex: “Yeah, just like his beard, you know Diligent always fresh, clean and perfectly pressed.  It was amazing that we were able to get so much done in such a short time.  The only thing missing that day was Hunch, I’m glad we were able to capture his scenes back in the A to make both “Hungry Arms” and “Black Magnum” videos complete.  I view “Black Magnum” as the song that truly solidified my contribution and role within the project. But yo Hunch, how di you come up with that hook?” 

Hunch: “Dan dropped the beat and intentions for it which did not include me. I was determined to get on this track, the beat was so me. Throughout the process i would drop subte and not so subtle hints that i needed to get on this song. Eventually i got through cause i was asked to do the hook..had something in mind, then heard the three verses. Original hook went in trash, and new one was hashed out…”

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By The Hunchpunch Champ

Though this is the third entry on the album the song was created towards the end of the album process. At this point, everybody was fined tuned in their writing, trust with each other was at a all time high, and distribution of songs was becoming easier. ‘Plex Stockton’ was slowly gaining rep within the crew as the assist man. He would acquire beats and flawlessly be able to assign which emcees would sound best over the track.

Personally 85 percent of my writing process happens in the car. There is something about driving and zoning out to a beat that makes it easier to catch cadences, witty word play, and concepts for me than just simply listening through headphones. There is a phrase we use ‘in the pocket’ that describes this. I was in the car when Plex sent out the beat. It immediately jumped on me, then through me. The bass line was entrapping. The drums immediate. In no time I was in the pocket.

As I explained at this point in the process our level of trust was growing amongst the crew, so much in fact, if one of us had and idea, the others would give them space to help manifest it. The words “my moment” began to repeat in my head. “My moment my moment my moment.” I was not sure how this was going to work into the song, but I sent Plex Long that phrase and said I think I got something. One thing that I have to respect out of the crew is when ideas are presented, they are never shut down or put to the side. Rather, they are picked up and ran with as shown when the following morning Plex had his verse. Which defined what the song was.

I always say I spit the realest things on Charlie P’s beats, but I also come up with  my best cadences as well. The bars came naturally and the flow was challenging but I was able to eventually nail it. I had an idea for the hook, but couldn’t get it quite together.  I asked Dan to take the reigns because I felt I was over thinking it and Dan is a master knocking mountains down to mole hills. I always say there is genius in simplicity and Dan made it clear when he came back with the hook in no time. A chest thumping, desperation declaration of “This is the Time. MY moment.” 

Additional Commentary:

Dan Johns: When I heard what Hunch did with his verse and that INSANE flow, I knew that I had to change up the flow to try and keep up. T

ANON the Griot: I was bumping Smiles and Cries II at the time, so I was crazy over Charlie P. tracks. I had already reached out and hollered about some out of the box type tracks when I heard “My Moment.” Since I had already blessed a few tracks by then, I couldn’t be offended. But damn, did I hate I that I didn’t jump on it. That subtle 808?

Plex Long: So, this is a funny story to me… I literally had to fight Charlie Pazinets to get this beat. continued below…

Me & Charlie P were jammin thru tracks in the lab, like we always do, and he played the beat as a raw idea in the making. I immediately was like “nah man, I need that for the ‘Chaos Theory’ album”. He was like “I don’t know Plex, it’s not finished, it’s just a basic idea I was playing with”. So we went back & forth for a while til he finally let me have it. I knew off the rip that the sound would be set off perfect by the voices/flows of Hunch & Dan, so I sent it to just them that night. Dan had just said he was gonna take a step back from the pen for a min, so he didn’t really react right away. Hunch said “I hear something about My Moment, like this is my moment, my moment”. So I ran with that and dropped my verse in the middle of the song and sent it to Hunch & Dan the next day. A day later Hunch dropped his verse and the foundation of the hook. Dan followed that with the rest of the hook and an anchor verse to make you press rewind & reconsider your bars. Another banger in the books, from the words of Dan Johns, “Don’t worry Charlie P, we got this”.

OH YOU DAMN RIGHT, its a double barrel edition of Getting Networked as Dan and the Hardcore Fish review not only Royal Rumble 1999, but also cover Royal Rumble 2015 and the fallout that has ensued online.   As always, follow both Dan and Dustin @danjohnny5 and @dspencecantlose – and continue sending in your suggestions for February reviews!

http://thefanspodcast.com/podcasts/getting-networked-episode-39-wwe-royal-rumble-1999

As the countdown to the February 10th release of “Chaos Theory” continues, we are going to give you some perspective on random songs from the album. Today’s entry is the opening song, “Nobody Want It.”

After the group had reconnected via social media, and the decision to work on an album had been finalized, we needed a launching pad: a song that would start the ball rolling, and also allow for us to figure out the best work flow for a project of this magnitude, considering that the Suns are scattered around the country.

Having just wrapped up my solo album, Alpha Writer, I was eager to do more work on the production side of a project. I went through my collection and found a classical violin sample that I wanted to flip into something new. Once I found a suitable snippet for the verse portion of the beat, I built some drums around it and a very simple bassline. I posted this in the Suns private group as a “beat skeleton” for the crew to write to…

…but I wasn’t sure if the direction that I had in mind would translate to the group in the simple skeleton. So, I came up with a verse, and laid a rough recording of it. I then sent that to the group, asking them to check it out and let me know what they thought. I believe it was Hunch who named the song “Nobody Want It,” taking his cue from the last line of my verse, “my mic had bodies on it, don’t nobody want it.”

Next thing I know, the verses started coming in quick, first from Anon, then from Hunch.  Let me back up a second though, because I recorded and produced my portion of NWI in Reaper, the group decided it would be ideal to record “Nobody Want It” in Reaper as well, since I would be arranging and mixing the song. So when Anon and Hunch sent their rhymes, they sent the entire Reaper projects, which made it easier for me to line everything up. Then the record took a dramatic turn…

Trice Be Phantom Magnetiq, or as we call him, Trice Beezy, was tasked with laying down the hook for NWI. What he sent us was an epic, operatic, proclamation of him singing “No, No, No, Nobody Want it!” He left open two bars for the emcees to fill in. That blew my mind. When he sent his files, I placed them after Anon’s verse, and I heard something that needed to be added.  I played an organ in the melody of his chant, with an accompanying bassline, to break the monotony of my beat skeleton. Next, I sprinkled elements of that melody throughout the verse portions of the beat, most notably during the beginning of Anon, Mikchek and Felix’s verses.

Additional Suns Commentary on “Nobody Want it” follows:

The HunchPunch Champ: First song on project, I set out to show the rest of the squad my growth as an emcee.  Sat with the beat for about a week before I actually recorded to it. Definitely was out to set the bar. Didn’t realize everybody else had the same intentions

Mikchek: As we were agreeing on the track listing for Chaos Theory it was only fitting that this was the first joint on the record. While we all worked on other joints, if I remember correctly, this was the first joint that we jumped in the lab together and finished.

ANON the Griot:  I honestly didn’t want the song on the project at first. I was afraid that it sounded too much like that late 90’s battle-rap. In fact, it wasn’t until I let my brother John Baiyewu listen to it that I changed my tune. He kept comparing it to a Wu-Tang song whose title we can’t remember. The one where Meth says, “Like a sandwich ain’t a sandwich without Miracle Whip.” Sometimes it takes fresh ears to hear things anew. The thing is…. that one moment gave me stupid confidence in the project and all songs going forth.  I could truly see the symmetry.

Trice Be Phantom Magnetiq: when i heard the beat, all i could think of was, EPIC… and that’s where i saw fit to bring out one of the weapons in my arsenal.. the OPERATIQ BATTLE CHANT AND CALL (spoken with deep resonating bass voice with reverb) llol… in essence it felt right to come out the gate bangin heads…
Trice Be Phantom Magnetiq:

Song Title: “Divine Suns”

Artist: Divine Suns ft. ANON The Griot, Dan Johns, Felix the Black Cat, The Hunch Punch Champ & Trice Be Magnetiq

Song Produced by: Dan Johns and Trice Be Magnetiq

Video Edited & Directed by: Magnesium

Video Description: Some of the greatest stories have never been told. Some of the best songs have never been heard. At least not on radio. Such is the case with the Atlanta collective of Divine Suns. A narrative that began in heated cyphers on the campus of Morehouse College sees the light of day with a crisp and humble visual treatment. And while not household names, they are hardly new to the game.

Song Title: Black Magnum
 
Artist: Divine Suns ft. Plex Long, Diligent, Dan Johns & The HunchPunch Champ
 
Album: “Chaos Theory” (Coming Fall/Winter 2014)

Song Produced by: Dan Johns

Video Directed by: D. Aaron Hunter

Video Description: Plex Long is a businessman trapped in a maze with dire consequences. His new associate, Dan Johns, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of some precious cargo. Understanding the gravity of the situation, Plex enlists the help of his partner in crime (and rhyme), Diligent, to ensure prompt delivery of a mysterious package. Plex’s life hangs in the balance.

Director D. Aaron Hunter crafts a seamless collage of film noir, suspense, and comedy in a subtle homage to Quentin Tarantino. Boasting plenty of action cuts and cameos by fellow Divine Suns, ANON the Griot and Mikchek (Jarian Rich is the cool, other guy), Black Magnum is a visual metaphor for the David-and-Goliath battle of the emcee versus corporate interests. Black Magnum fronts the maxi-single release of Divine Sun’s Chaos Theory, an album commemorating 15 years of brotherhood and celebrating the reunion of an “album never released.”
 
Official Video Link: http://youtu.be/Nb0Bh92fdMM

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/album/id908936123

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Divine_Suns_Black_Magnum?id=B656ammao2ie5rtl7n3qcz5742y

Twitter: @DivineSunsMusic @PlexLong @HunchPunchChamp @DanJohnny5 @DiligentSWATs

Instagram: @DivineSunsMusic @PlexLongBBE @HunchPunchChamp @DanJohnny5

Official Facebook Fan Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DivineSunsMusic
 

The official trailer for the upcoming “Black Magnum” video debut from Divine Suns (ft. Plex Long, Diligent, The HunchPunch Champ & Dan Johns)

The video is directed by Dan Hunter

http://podcast.inoslen.com/inr51/

Dan Johns makes his first appearance on Noslen Radio, discussing the past, present and future of hip hop, his new album “Alpha Writer,” the Divine Suns & more!

Being hungry is an art and the Divine Suns have mastered the craft. The Morehouse alums make feast from famine this Divine Sunday. “Hungry Arms,” produced by Germany’s DJ Snapshot, finds Mikchek, ANON, and Dan Johns trading bars like a Hip Hop bazaar. The visuals, shot in Florence, South Carolina and Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, illustrate the magic which i sthe Suns: backyards and boom bap collide in a visual feeding frenzy. Grab your plates and prepare to be served.

alpha-cover
His first full-length release in 5 years, “Alpha Writer” puts the maturation of a man as an artist, but more importantly, as a father and husband. The signature Dan Johns sound is present, but has evolved and become more refined and polished. The subject matter is more diverse, and even more personal. Frequent collaborators such as Croup, Jah Freedom, Encore, Akshun, Fat Rat Da Czar and DJ Stylz make notable contributions, but one of the things that sets “Alpha Writer” apart from his previous work is the inclusion of several generations of Dan’s family.

Keeping with the personal vibe of the project, ALL PROFIT from “Alpha Writer” will be donated to the medical care of Dan’s father, who is currently on the kidney transplant list. Get your Copy Today!

Alpha Writer on Bandcamp

Alpha Writer on Itunes

Alpha Writer on Amazon

Alpha Writer on Google Play