Behind The Music: DJ CXL – Represent [Part One]
Track breakdown by DJCXL:
1. Represent ft Tyson Tyler, Derty Sesh, Manchoo, Hazaduz & Nikki Montana
– This is my posse cut, i sent the beat out to a few MC’s with the scratch hook “Represent One Time” already on it, 5 got back to me within the time frame i gave them, Nikki Montana was the only person on the album that i didn’t know and the album was lacking that female touch so i hit her up and she got back with her verse fairly quickly. At this point the track didn’t have much structure, just hook, rap, hook, rap kinda thing and the length of it was like 8 or 9 minutes long and with the beat staying the same through out, we had to change something up. During this process i still didn’t have an album title or opening track and out of all the names Represent was the one that stuck and for a few reasons, the main one being that I’m a NZ DMC Champion and represented NZ at the world finals in 2003. We decided this was a strong track to kick the album off and being called Represent i felt it needed to represent for the DJ’s too and Manchoo was at the top of the list since we have alot of history from back in our battling days. Structure wise i had to drop one of the MC’s to make way for all the scratching but the end result is a solid track from start to finish.
2. Make A Change ft Ermehn
– This is the darkest track on the album which touches on child abuse, like many in NZ i know someone that this has happened too and while putting the album together, every week i read in the paper or saw on tv that a child had been beaten up, killed, grabbed off the street and raped and that shit really bugged me! I had this one beat i thought would suit if i was to do a track on the subject, i sat on the idea for awhile contemplating whether to do it or not, i mean i knew it wasn’t gonna change the world or anything, i mentioned it to a couple people and they said to go for it. Ermehn had that raw sound that complemented the beat and lyrics to match. I dug into the National Radio archives for audio news clippings to add that eerie feel to the track and to really drive the message home. I just wanted to raise awareness to the problem, to say its not ok.
3. My Love ft J Williams & Patriarch
– My Love was my first single we put out in 2010, Patriarch hit me up asking if i had any beats and suggested i put a track together that we could submit for the new recording artist grant. The beat he thought would work best was one i didn’t even really think much of at the time, it was one i nearly scrapped while in the process of making it, i liked the sample but it was doing my head in, i was trying to flip it somehow, as i was about to delete it from my MPC i decided to chop the sample into 8 sounds and spread it over the pads, i thought i’d try play it backwards from end to start and boom, there it was. I then added some nice drums which gave it that RnB kinda feel. My process of making beats starts from digging in the crates to find that one gem, adding the drums etc is easy but digging, that’s we’re most of the ground work is. I collaborated with Anonymouz on this one, he added the bass, harp and synths that gave the beat dynamics and that live instrumentation. From there i gave the beat to J to come up with a hook, Patriarch knocked out the verse’s then i laced the scratches to fill it out. My Love was the 5th highest played urban song on radio for 2010.
4. Natural ft Erakah & K One
– This was my second single, at this point i was still working on my sound and after the success of My Love and having to follow that up i felt a bit of pressure to deliver a strong beat but as soon as i heard the sample i knew i had something, i referenced the feel of the beat with Thalia and Fat Joe’s “I Want You” and so hit up my label mates Erakah and K One to lace the track, it all came together pretty quickly. I hit up Anonymouz to add that niceness and from there i knew i needed to have him on all my beats.
5. Yo DJ ft Sabre (Nesian Mystic)
– We knocked out a track a few months before this one which was more on a political vibe but Sabre wanted to come with something more catchy, a clubby kinda feel and so i sent him a couple more beats and he was feeling this one, it was a good choice as the feel was different to everything else I’d done so far. We knocked out a demo version at my place then we sat on it for a wee while before hitting the Illegal studio. When it came to adding the scratch i had to think how that would fit as i wanted to have scratching on all my tracks but in a way that it fit the song and wasn’t just in there for the sake of it. I listened to the hook and thought i could reply to what Sabre was saying as if he was hitting me up in the DJ booth to play him a slow jam.
6. How To Be A Real DJ ft Scribe
– I sent Scribe this beat a couple years ago, i actually forgot about it, it wasn’t part of the beats i had chosen for the album. Scribe had recorded a few tracks at the Illegal studios on a few visits to Auckland including “How to be a real DJ” over a beat of mine so when i approached him to do a track that one was already there. I honestly didn’t see this kind of topic over the beat but it grew on me quickly and i needed this kind of track for the album. I’m not sure if it was just a demo or a proper take but Scribe being a hard bugger to lock down at the best of times i went with what he’d done. I grabbed the acapella and worked around it with the scratches and Anonymouz added the rest topping it off with a nice piano outro.
7. Lets Just Celebrate ft Vince Harder, Ethical & Young Sid
– This was my first beat using a 80’s sample, I’m not really into that kinda sound but was really diggin’ the feel and how i flipped it. With the drums i thought it would sound nice with a dance kinda feel to change it up. I thought it could be a different feel for Sid aswell so sent it to him and he knocked out his verse fairly quickly. I basically left the track in his hands as was the way i did with most of my tracks, i wanted the artists to do what they felt would work more than me telling them what to do. He hit up Vince to lay the hook and Eth to do the other verse, though when i got the track back it didn’t have a bridge so i had to think a lil’ as to what i could do, get vince to sing something? do a scratch, but what? then i went through Sids verse and found the bit i liked “It’s a celebration put your cups in the air”, slapped it in, ended up being an easy one and a nice track.