Three Things Digital Creatives Can Learn from Hip Hop Beatmakers

One of my biggest interests over the last couple of years has been building beats. For the uninitiated, “beats” in this context equals instrumental hip hop tracks, focused mostly on texture, juxtaposition and getting a good head nod going. You can hear my take on this art form here, but that’s not really what this post is about.

Damu the Fudgemunk is a musician who has been using YouTube to showcase his approach to making beats for a few years now. He’s garnered a solid reputation and landed production gigs by using YouTube to get his name and style out there. So that’s one reason why he should be interesting to the Fauna Corp faithful – he has brought his art and passion together and built a brand for himself via online video, and people keep tuning in because he’s got skills and charisma.

Damu’s latest video (filmed and edited by JNota) has him playing live drums and talking about his approach to rhythm. I thought this video was especially relevant for Fauna Corp because the production values are solid without being flashy (text overlays in capslock, san-serif fonts, video shot with slight vignette effect, nice saturation, and solid editing), and the subject matter is so particular.

If you are new to the world of beatmaking, the considerations that Damu discusses (poly-rhythms, tone and placement of hi-hats, different producers’ techniques for kick and snare textures, etc.) are the very same ones that beatmakers obsess over every day. For a musical form often referred to as “boom-bap”, It is a style filled with surprising subtlety, and reinterpreting / re-purposing the licks and riffs of  previous masters is part of the art.  So for Fauna Corp readers that means: learn from the best, lift what you can, make it all your own.

So Damu’s latest video is instructional to Digital Creatives in three ways:

  • It shows how being passionate and genuine in online video can be a way to further your craft, reach new audiences and establish your brand;
  • It shows how simple, tasteful production techniques can be used to make engaging videos that resonate with audiences both inside and outside your community;
  • And it shows how the minutiae of any interest or past-time – whether it is beatmaking,  visual art, weird sports, or even political upheaval in Sudan – can be studied and obsessed over so that your own output is a natural (but not unconscious) extension of what you’ve learned, hybridized and interpreted.

Check out Damu’s latest video, and see if you agree that there are things to learn from, regardless of what your digital output is about.

Get into what you are into, and you can get others into it too. And, as always, feel free to leave a comment here on Fauna Corp.

2 comments

  1. Dan

    Awesome breakdown for Digital Creatives. Nicely put.

    On a content side, dude, I’m embarrsed to say I’d never heard of Damu…. ouch! But totally diggin his stuff now (ah, what one can spend a morning doing when not really working……. ;)

    Side note – totally down with the new(er) Roots album. If you haven’t yet, you’ll want to check it out – amazing/fierce beats and lyrics (http://theroots.com/tracks/higo). Also checkout their sweet remix of oldies with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD0AHkRf2FA) so tasty….

  2. admin

    Very cool, Dan. It is not surprising that you haven’t heard of Damu…he’s mostly only known inside the beatmaker world, but he’s an example of a dude who has used the social share and his youtube presence to become well-known with those cats.

    Love the Roots, so I’ll check out the stuff you are linking to. Thanks for the comment, brother.

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