Post will be continued at a later time.
Post on the way.
Working on a full video for it.
Check Out Magic Okaino on the DJ KSin Slovember 5 mixtape with the song entitled "Chop It Up"
The song "Bliss of Satisfaction" takes the approach, and is strictly from the perspective of being satisfied, and dealing or coming in contact with unfulfilled/unsatisfied/unhappy people. This also plays into the "Freezing In Hell" theme as well from the aspect of chillin', coolin', or positively relaxing, keeping your couth, etc.
This was the last song recorded for the “Freezing In Hell” project. It also happens to be the last song in the arrangement. This song sort of just came about at the right time. Around the fall of 2015 the "Dab" (dance) became very popular with everyone in our viral monkey-see-monkey-do society, and right now everybody does the move.
I've heard songs where they reference the Dab and it’s obvious that a lot of people don't really know what a Dab is. Just go ask Lil Bow Wow to break it down for you.
So this song references the Dab, as well as the effects of its misunderstood popularity.
The beat for "Dabbin On Hoes"was produced by STE Muzik. I was working with him from the middle of summer through the end of the 2015 year. I tried to put together a project in the style of New Orleans bounce music. This didn't come to full fruition, but great progress was achieved. A lot of kinks have to get worked out as expected with trying new styles, or trying to do anything new really. I had no idea how difficult it would be to make N.O. bounce music as well as find people to work with that could help me achieve my ideas. I found out that the way I was trying to go about making/recording records isn't in the normal/regular workflow for the majority producers/DJs who make N.O. bounce music.
STE Muzik did however take on the challenge, and I'm extremely grateful and thankful for that. The reason I mention all of this is because the Dab On ‘Em song is me singing over an altered bounce beat STE Muzik produced. If you listen close you can still hear the triggaman sample lightly as well as the drum patterns commonly found in bounce music on the song. I just went full R&B over it which I thought was different and fresh, and seemed right when I was doing it.
The song itself goes along pretty simply with the “Freezing In Hell” theme. This song is about a cold Dab referring to the dance as well as a low temperature dab. The reason I’m actually singing the song though is because as an artist, or as a person really, there are many things you could aspire to do or be, but anything you want to do or be has to be solely for you; only to please yourself, never anyone else. Anytime you get that confused you got it twisted.
Of course whatever it is you are trying to achieve can be shared, but very few people will appreciate it and you shouldn’t have this expectation for anyone. This goes as well with creating art, trying to change the world, or even trying to save the world. You’ll receive more attention going with the popular thing, which right now, is dabbin on ‘em one time. The song’s message is that I could work magic but you would rather see me Dab on ‘em.
As for the cover art for the single "Dabbin On Hoes (Dab On ‘Em)", it’s a collaboration through art that has well been overdue! Obray Cowan did the artwork; I just call him O.C. In fact, I've never actually called him Obray...ever...
Anyways, he is truly one of my brothers from another mother, as well as one of my former classmates in college. I definitely credit him hugely in part as one of the 2 forces while I was in school with helping me reshape and understand art. He taught me how to retain the values you hold in your craft when you perform in your craft.
In general, there are different types of artists obviously... Some are transparent in style while others have styles they work in. As long as you aren’t mimicking something, I would consider one of these your unique style, and this goes for any craft.
In a nutshell I learned this from O.C. by simply watching him work. O.C. is a very creative artist and has a very dope and unique style as well! He is also a tattoo artist with his own tattoo shop right now which is pretty cool too!
An issue for an artist who may not have transparent/multifaceted styles is they have to be sure of themselves. They need to be confident as well as accepting that they live and die through creation with their style. For artists who have their own style it’s very important to embrace the style you have. It’s also very important to embrace the ideas you have even if other people don’t approve. It’s you. With a unique style, sometimes it won’t be received well because it’s different. But if it’s what you naturally do I believe that’s what you should be doing. The strategy is really about how can you create flawlessly and endlessly using the style you possess. I don’t believe an artist should ever compromise or conform their style for any person or reason other than if that’s the choice the artist wishes to make.
In a nutshell I learned this from O.C. by simply watching him work. O.C. is a very creative artist and has a very dope and unique style as well! He is also a tattoo artist with his own tattoo shop right now which is pretty cool too!
This picture came about over a simple afternoon phone call, which took less than 5 minutes. I asked him if he knew what dabbin was, and he said of course! So then I told him the idea I had for the picture which involved the cold Dab, with some magic in the picture and sent him the song. He sketched up the picture and had everything sent to me later that night.
In conclusion for this post, here is my last thought... Ideas begin in the mind, and when you create through what ever channel you choose, they outwardly appear. This is the reason why songs can be created without actually being physically written at all. It’s also the reason why a picture that doesn’t exist can be made with only an idea, and turned into reality on paper. And that is Magic.
Follow O.C. on IG:@ArtbyO
or you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since I was now fully completing my own projects it opened up even more options of what I could do on the backend. I like to, and am always looking for ways to compliment projects I’m working on with other forms of art, especially where it makes sense. It keeps everything interesting for me. I do have the fear of being bored/complacent/predictable/uninspired or having any part of my creative process becoming a mundane activity. I never want to feel like I'm just going through the motions. I like to work with purpose as much as possible. It makes the difficult times and tedious tasks easier to deal with.
As stated before, 3rain put together my first few projects by sequencing and arranging in the order they played in. He also was doing a form of hosting by playing each project as a full mix. Some mixes were live, and others were simulated mixes which plays into how I finish projects now. Instead of just playing records song by song as a playlist would play, each project contains songs mixed together. In other words, some tracks may bleed into each other and/or they seamlessly connect through beats in some style. For example, when a song is made it’s simply that song no more no less, but when it is mixed it can transition to a different song through a connection of beats.
From The Lost Art project forward all of my projects released were arranged in the form of a DJ mix, i.e. a steady flow of songs with continuous play. Certain types of records cater to this more than others, such as electronic and house music where a constant 4/4 beat kick is bound to be found and carried out through a mix. Speaking only for myself, each project I have is a steady stream and flow of songs. The project is only in track by track form because the mix is cut purely for convenience, but they play as one by design.
I don't actually DJ but I personally think I have many DJ-like qualities. Although I don't have turntables or use DJ software, I am an audio editor. Mixes can be created in audio editing programs as well as DJ software. I wrote an audio editor post a little while ago explaining how a DJ is technically a manual audio editor, and demonstrated the similarities. To get straight to the point, the only thing an audio editor program isn’t capable of that a DJ can do,or can only be achieved in a DJ programs is to create scratches using records on (virtual) turntables. Scratching can be simulated in audio editor programs through the use of recorded samples with scratching sounds, but in my opinion the technique involved is extremely unconducive to any audio editor program.
So, looking for something new to do, I decided to look for DJs to put together my projects in tandem with me. My object was to go for a mixtape fashion as well as get it hosted. As an artist in charge of my own project, I can put the tape together, but I can't do all the elements involved in hosting it. I can’t realistically be the DJ hyping myself up on records. I also don't spin records the way a DJ can. I can alter the way a record plays, but it’s not an efficient use of time to make two different versions of my own work by myself. I just think that’s weird and counterproductive.
I plan to write a blog post about mixtapes in the very near future, but for the time being I’ll explain mixtapes briefly. In the internet mixtape age there are typically two different versions. One is the DJ version where a DJ usually hosts a tape and adds voice-over to it for shout-outs, community announcements, telling jokes, etc. The other is a normal/regular version which usually plays more similarly to an album, with no DJ voice-over. The songs may be mixed as well, but you won’t hear a DJ talking over it.
DJs can be found in every genre of music, but I personally feel no genre felt a bigger impact by the DJ than in Hip Hop music. DJ-ing is actually one of the core elements of Hip Hop. Without a DJ, Hip Hop music would have failed to exist. This is due to the fact that it was created solely on turntables, an extremely unique property to Hip Hop that differentiates it from all genres worldwide. To keep it short and basic, Hip Hop was formed by the use of looping breakbeats off vinyl records and a MC that would rap over it.
The DJ was the producer. Originally, a rapper would have nothing to rap over without a DJ. Flash forward to today, this is no longer true. Technology has advanced so much that the DJ is often the last person who will probably even touch a record. DJs today are used more to break or introduce records, as well as spin them. They don’t often make records any more, but even when they do, they rarely use turntables. I find that kind of sad, actually, since DJs can spin records differently than they would normally play and build up energy for a record.
On a DJ search finding someone who can see your vision and understands what you are trying to do can be difficult. This is particularly true if you are not creating music in line with the latest trends. That mixed with the insane prices for someone to put together a mixtape of a project I was already creating myself was absolutely ridiculous and highly inefficient in my eyes.
Now to pull it back for a minute. While I was creating the projects for “Up Against Hell Vol.2”, I finished 3 of the 4 projects before figuring my DJ issue out. I came to the understanding that a remix of the project was the best route and made the most sense. Since I was capable of and comfortable with finishing my own projects, it made no sense to get someone else to do that. That bridge had been crossed. The first project successfully remixed was "The MOTF 2" which was the last project completed and released on “Up Against Hell Vol.2”.
With releasing the idea of having a DJ put together my records in more of a mixtape format, I thought, "Hey let me try to get these records screwed." This process took time as well since I personally didn't know anyone who screwed music on actual tables or even virtual tables. The only alternative was simulating the effect I was looking for through audio editing programs, but it didn’t have the desired effect.
I eventually came across a DJ named DJ KSin. He had completed an ungodly amount of projects himself including remixes of current mainstream projects and projects by independent artists like myself. I have to say, from the time he did the remix version for the MOTF 2, everything clicked.
The Chopped and Screwed remixes DJ KSin did (or as he refers to his mixes, "Slowed N Throwed remixes") allowed me to do a few things. 1, I could have two totally different versions of my projects. He compiled his own versions of my work into a screwtape (similar to a mixtape, but with chopped and screwed effects). 2, He hosted projects and actually took pride in the process. He talks to the listener while spinning my records, which is cool. And 3, I’m usually inspired to make additional tracks for his tapes. These usually end up being freestyles that help create making a mixtape/screwtape.
In general, the same core songs are on both projects. On the project versions I do now, if there is a story to be told with the songs I’ll tell it on my version through whatever channels I find useful. I also like condensing time on my projects. Some of the "Magicizaproblem" projects run long. With the "Magic Okaino" projects you will find that the projects are very short time-wise. On DJ KSin’s projects however, there is no pressure on him to reduce time. Screwed songs generally are played slower due to being pitched down. So that in addition to a whole project naturally comes with a longer playtime. KSin also lets the beats ride out often in his projects, which stretches out intros and outros and creates a more musical experience for listeners.
Over time especially as a teenager I have come to appreciate screwed music. It is definitely something I would consider an acquired taste; when it’s bad, it’s bad, and when it’s good, it’s really good. I’ve fallen in love with screw music probably twice and for different reasons.
The first time it was an 8ball & Mjg
album entitled “Space Age 4eva”. I had tried to listen to screw music before, but that was the first album I ever liked the entire screwed version. It was purely amazing! It was so good that to this day I can’t even listen to the regular version because it feels too fast. I also have to note that the “Space Age 4 Eva” album was an actual great album in terms of content and everything else. Screwing won’t actually change the content part of it since it works with the music the way it’s heard.
The second time I would say I fell in love with it would have been when one of my dogs from TX was showing me music. We'll refer to him as J. Tuck. For whatever reason I came to understand the DJ portion of it, as in the style with it; the art of spinning a record.
I wouldn’t say DJ-ing in general is dead, but the art of the DJ is on life support...Trick DJs aren't extinct, but rare. The chopping technique involved in chopped and screwed music requires a bit of skill for the DJ.
Even though chopped and screwed music comes from the Hip Hop genre, I wouldn’t say chopped and screwed is actually genre specific. You can chop and screw anything since the technique more or less defines the style of music.
The "Out To You" record was originally called "Cheers To Do". It was first created for the "Fall In Love With Horrible Love Songs" project, however I ended up not using it because the project turned out to be longer than I had intended. Cutting songs from a project is a very common situation in the post production process. The way I see it, out of all the problems that occur during the entire recording process, it’s a very good problem to have too many songs for a project.
One of the reasons I decided to cut "Cheers To Do" from its original record was that I saw that it could fit in other scenarios. Some of the other songs I had wouldn't have worked on other projects.
About 5 months later, when I began to form the "Most Improved Player" project, I found a role for “Cheers To Do” and ended up remodifying it to fit this record. The theme of “Most Improved Player” is centered around baseball, which I will tie in with the end of this post.
To remodify “Cheers To Do”, I basically gutted the whole song outside of the hook/chorus part. It previously consisted of 2 rap verses over a good portion of the song. At the time, the way these verses were composed didn't go well with how I envisioned the “Most Improved Player” project. I felt they kind of “boxed” the song in.
With any style of writing there's only so much you can actually express. In songwriting, for example, there's very little you can actually say in song format without overloading the songs. I didn't want that to happen here so I took on other methods and went about recording the song. What I was left with was a more open-to-interpretation version of how the first record was set up.
I re-recorded “Cheers To Do” in a single take, more as a freestyle, and it became "Out To You" which went more with the baseball theme I was going for on the "Most Improved Player" project. The beat used is a cover of the song "Fool For You" by CeeLo Green and Melonie Fiona, and it’s about celebration and being in the joy of the moment. It’s also a toast; it has a very classy elegant type of feel to it.
So, back to baseball. Baseball has a few unique celebrations to the sport. Out of all the major sports, it has the biggest team celebrations; solo celebrations do occur but are very minimal. Walk Off Hits/Homeruns have dugout clearing celebrations as well as a pitcher throwing a no hitter/perfect game. The king of the baseball celebrations are the champagne celebrations which occur when a team reaches the playoffs, after each round advanced in the playoffs, and of course if you win the World Series. So in the playoffs 4-5 separate celebrations can occur if you win the World Series (5 is only if a team advances in the playoffs from a wild card spot).
DJ KSin Interview
Okaino: How long have you been DJing?
KSin: Since 98' but more into the internet aspects and professional side since 05'.
Okaino: What got you into DJing?
KSin: DJ Screw did at first, then DJ Dolby D (UGK's DJ) who is well known in the area, is who really got me into the dj artform.
Okaino: How would you describe your approach to spinnin records?
KSin: My approach is more or less described as "calculated procrastination on a creative mindframe".
Okaino: What/who are your musical influences?
KSin: I'm influenced musically through all genres of music, but mainly rap influenced me early. Alot of west coast rap, but that's from DJ Screw who through his art put me on those artists. Artists like Ice Cube, Spice 1, Too Short. Also East Coast, artists like Mobb Deep, Biggie, Method Man. Southern music is always a go to me musically though, artists like U.G.K., Outkast, MJG & Eightball, ESG, Lil Keke, are always gonna be on a playlist of mines.
Okaino: How would you describe chopped and screwed music (you can drop the history of screwed music here if you want.)
KSin: I would describe it nothing less than an artform. It's simple to outsiders, but very complex to OG screwheads. I've been on the genre since 94' and at first I thought it was a joke, but it grew on me quick. Being from Lake Charles, Louisiana we were closer to Texas and heavily influenced by the culture.
Okaino: What is the difference between your Slowed N Throwed Remixes and Chopped and Screwed music?
KSin: Nothing. It what you call it, most people name it things other than Screwed just out of respect for DJ Screw, but no matter if its Slowed N Throwed, Chopped Not Slopped, Slowed N Sliced, its all the same and as long as you pay homage to the Originator its all good IMO
Okaino: In your opinion what is the best magicizaproblem/magic okaino project youve worked on so far? why? (if possible to answer)
KSin: All Magic projects have been different in there own way, some more creative than others, and some more flow than others. If I had to pick I would say MOTF2
Okaino: Name me 5 albums that still haven't got old to you.
KSin: DJ Screw - All Work, No Play
Lil Keke - The Commission
Eminem - Marshall Mathers
Kanye West - The College Dropout
ESG - Shinin' & Grindin'
Okaino: Whats your latest project (mention the strategy you used with ig names and what you were trying to accomplish)
KSin: My latest solo project was #Slowvember4, I did a tape for just indie artists.
Tagging them on IG is something i started last year, I feel like its a great platform for networking and most people will have an instagram before a twitter.
Okaino: Where can people reach you at?
KSin: Folks can reach me on social media, or just by my email email@example.com
Facebook: Kendrick DJKSin Sinegal
Also check my website out screwworldblog.com
Okaino: Extra question what does art mean to you?
KSin: Art, in my opinion, means "expression". Meaning that any expression or outward feelings that you as a person, express to the world or other people is art. Simple things like the way you tie your shoes and someone notices it, or things like a painting, drawing, or music are all art. The way a person speaks is art. Life is art.
Freezing in Hell
After taking a year off from a hectic release schedule, Magic Okaino is back with his latest project entitled ‘Freezing in Hell’. The album is an embodiment of the word ‘cold’, and is a deep exploration into the various meanings associated with the word. Magic hits the ground running with this theme, toying with complex wordplay from every angle imaginable.
The vibe and pace of the album is quickly established within the first track, ‘Miss Winter Time’. We’re greeted with desolate, floaty synths and sombre vocals that have been laid upon a foundation of syncopated trap-style beats. It’s a strong opener, warming us up for a stellar half-hour journey into Magic’s mind.
I don't remember exactly when I made the "Pressure Makes Diamonds" song I do remember it was just another song sitting on my hard drive getting no love.
The title alone as well as the song was a perfect fit for the Most Improved Player project, in terms of the perspective of the song as well as the connection to the baseball theme in the project. In baseball the game, as well as the players especially on the major league level, are under pressure to perform. The game doesn't actually give in on pressure, but the actual pressure on the player can be relieved by consistent all around good play over a good period of time. (As in any sport really)
Baseball is a game of many streaks. A team can be on a streak as well as an indivdual player. Everything is cool when it's going well, but there are times when things dont. Which are known as slumps.
How great you are when everything is good is determined by how you conduct yourself when things aren't looking so good and you are down.
The style of the Pressure Makes Diamonds song is a style that can be found in several spots throughout the entire Up Against Hell series. The style resembles spoken word a little bit. I wouldn't consider myself a poet, but when the lyrics are written out some songs as this one, do appear to be poems. Looks can be very deceiving though.
The Pressure Makes Diamonds song plays into the change that's involved with pressure. It's about being unsurprised and unmoved by all unexpected occurrences that are thrown at you, which is bound to happen in and under pressure situations. Pressure can bring the best and worst out of people, While it can makes some people. It can break others. From personal experience Ive found that pressure can come from different places.
You can pressure or push yourself to be better...sometimes other people can put pressure on u, and sometimes the way life rolls pressure may be applied to u in that way as well. It's important to not stray from it, but also to not be absorbed by it, andto face it and become what it is you are supposed to become.
In Creating the Up Against Hell Series, I faced all 3 of the different types of pressures I jus mentioned for short blog purposes I will keep each story fairly brief.
1.The first type of pressure I mentioned is the pressure that is self-put on. I put pressure on myself to knock these projects/and songs out by doing my best work and getting the work completed with no excuses. The pressure of letting myself down is something I won't stand for. To be honest, if I would have come up short on songs, and not been able to complete this project the entire effort would have been pathetic. (This also falls into the realms of goals set by self)
2.The second type of pressure I mentioned would be defined more as peer pressure. Obviously, there's good and bad, but In the case for the Up Against Hell Series, the pressure was applied by my friend 3rain who recognized I had a lot of songs that I hadn't released, Mainly because I would email them to him, and ended up taking all the space in his email inbox.
He referred to me as a hoarder of songs. Put them together, and formed a project which was called "The Lost Art". *
After he put the "The Lost Art" project together I felt the pressure to put more projects together, because it was the best option for me, it was the most efficient way to work and display work, and also if someone goes to the extent to put a project together I mean that work is in vein to not act on it and continue. I wasn't having that either.
I actually still hold on to songs, but I have more songs, and I have released more projects so technically it's different.
3. Aside from actual life happening, there was natural pressure applied to the situation of how I was writing/recording/mixing all my records under extreme time constraints. I was fully starting and completing records/projects which fortunately I had enough experience to deal with.
All these processes come with more than too many decisions that have to be made, and executed in a timely fashion you have to be sure about your skills and how you deal with issues that arise with any project which I'm not sure I could have dealt with at a younger stage of life.
These by far aren't the only things that had me under pressure, but out of the 3 things and styles I mentioned something beautiful happened.
After creating the first volume of Up Against Hell, I became more comfortable with the overall workflow required for the project. I began to find new things to incorporate with my work. One of those things was working more with visual artist for my cover artwork (people who actually draw/paint creating original pieces). I also began to work with DJs and seeing how I could successfully change the form of my records after they were completed.