How do you practice this style... ?uestlove

jodgey4

Silver Member
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H54p11ywUU
As a reference... how do you practice playing in such a broken style, other than with a metronome or with music? He's been my drummer crush for months now, and all I've been able to learn is how to play different swung feels that sound slightly off beat, but nothing like this. Any ideas? Thanks y'all!
As a side note... I could've maybe made it into Prince's show at SXSW; ?uestlove was there -- I should've gone and asked him! Maybe I'll bump into him in NY this week :).
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Maybe somebody else is more familiar with his thing than me, but he seems to be displacing random snare or hihat hits by a 32nd note or so. The feel shifts to almost a swing feel at times, but it sounds like it might be on a weird grid-- like 7s or something, not triplets. It sounds like he knows what he's doing, and is placing that stuff precisely.

To develop that general thing you could just practice keeping that basic beat solid while pushing occasional snare or hihat hits a hair late or early.

To develop that quasi-swing feel, you'd have to seriously analyze what he's doing, and get very familiar with whatever grid he's playing off of, learning where each of the partials lands relative to the beat.
 

jodgey4

Silver Member
I suppose that's the most clear and correct answer, but I want to know his thought process. It's certainly more organic than quantizing everything right off the bat. I know he cites underground hip hop as a main influence, as loops often had a broken feel. I just need a practice method that can help me develop these ideas. Getting consistent is extremely difficult.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Maybe, if you have a metronome that can play subdivisions, you can practice your precision in placing those displaced beats. That's about all I can think of to develop your accuracy in a controlled environment, so to speak. I mention the metronome because you can set it up to suggest a feel, (try overlapping triplets and eighths, for example) and then mess around with it in a somewhat organic way. That way you'll be able to tell immediately if your precision is lacking, especially if your record yourself.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I played for awhile with a guy who produced together with D'Angelo and would do the same thing. The drummer in that band did also (I was playing guitar).

It is sub divisions. There is a Mike Johnston video (which I can't find at the moment) where he talks about getting each subdivision down. Counting out 4 with one hand in a money beat or something simple and then dropping in each 8th, then each 16th, then each 32nd. And then going to each part of various triplets.

These church players practice these and find ones that give them a sort of lurch that they like, and then practice that until it's right there. At first I thought it was a sort of feel thing that they were pushing the beat around, until I had it explained to me. It gets to a sort of competition with each other to work out one that will trip somebody else up. And then that person will practice some and play it back.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
this is a style of play that derived from emulating DJs

J Dilla , DJ Premier and Pete Rock and guys like that were doing it in the early 90s
MF Doom also ran with the style as did RZA , Jaylib , Madlib ...and later EL P etc.

drummers like Chris Dave and Quest started to emulate the way these cats would produce

check this cat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtCvi7dfyqU
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I suppose that's the most clear and correct answer, but I want to know his thought process. It's certainly more organic than quantizing everything right off the bat.
If you're convinced he doesn't know the math behind what he's playing, then all you need to do is copy what you hear as best you can.
 

jodgey4

Silver Member
If you're convinced he doesn't know the math behind what he's playing, then all you need to do is copy what you hear as best you can.
I never said I doubted he knew exactly what he's doing... I was just thinking it came from playing with old records and being able to feel the music better than I.
J Dilla, and all the Soulquarians for that matter... are ridiculous. I can't wait for the new D'Angelo album!
"At first I thought it was a sort of feel thing that they were pushing the beat around, until I had it explained to me..." that's where I am/was. That's why I came to y'all for direction.
I'll have to try to find that Mike J video or something like it... but great ideas so far.
 
this is a style of play that derived from emulating DJs

J Dilla , DJ Premier and Pete Rock and guys like that were doing it in the early 90s
MF Doom also ran with the style as did RZA , Jaylib , Madlib ...and later EL P etc.

drummers like Chris Dave and Quest started to emulate the way these cats would produce

check this cat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtCvi7dfyqU
IMHO this is the best response in this thread. No disrespect to the others at all but I'd take JoJo's advice on learning the language of those styles (ie how to produce them via sequencer). It will help understanding what's going on. There are video's of drummers who understand it mathematically but who don't "get the feel" of the lo-fi "glich beats" or the Dilla non-quantization.

One of the tracks I practice to (and would suggest) is "Cold World" by GZA (produced by RZA)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8WAP_6zdqc

If you can wrap your mind and timing around that, I think you're on your way.

BTW....im in the same boat as you. Current crush is Chis Dave. Dude has this style mastered!


It might help to understand some of the context for how this style developed. Im still a newbie to drumming, but have been DJ'ing and producing since the early 90's. The short version is that the beat displacements where the by product of lousy sequencers (ie the Ensoniq EPS-16 plus/ASR 10). In addition to the quantization being non existent (or useless) those sequencers where known to 'drop' beats every so often while running in loop mode. It drove perfectionist crazy, while others (like RZA) just said 'to hell with it' and moved on to the next song.
 
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T-rex

Member
From a totally different vein, but I just started working on the Gavin Harrison Rhythmic Illusions book and it focuses on beat displacement like playing a simple beat and then moving the whole thing over one 16th note. It seems really similar to what they are doing here, which is awesome btw. Maybe something to check out as it is a system for learning how to play and hear displaced beats. Its from more of a prog background, but it would be much cooler to use in a hip hop setting. Especially stuff like leaving the down and back beats alone and moving the hi hat rhythm over a 16th or 32nd.
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
Not to throw a wrench in the works, but I'm not hearing much strict "displacement" (i.e. shifting the entire groove over by one subdivision), just changing the feel of the hihat from straight to slightly swung, etc. I think the illusion of displacement comes from subtle movement in the pulse in response to what D'Angelo is playing. His back beat stays on 2 and D'Angelo's vamp never leave 4/4.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
Not to throw a wrench in the works, but I'm not hearing much strict "displacement" (i.e. shifting the entire groove over by one subdivision), just changing the feel of the hihat from straight to slightly swung, etc. I think the illusion of displacement comes from subtle movement in the pulse in response to what D'Angelo is playing. His back beat stays on 2 and D'Angelo's vamp never leave 4/4.

it has nothing to do with subdivisions , beat displacement or what D'Angelo is playing

they are glitch beats made popular by DJs and hip hop producers in the early to mid 90s such as J Dilla, RZA, MF DOOM ...it was the result of a glitch in the digital equipment they were using and caught on as a signature sound

it is a feel thing not a subdivision thing created to feel choppy and unquantized but still groove hard

to answer the original question.....the only way to get it down is to listen to the records these type of grooves are used on and emulate them

most J Dilla, some Pete Rock , some DJ Premier, some MF Doom, lots of Wu Tang , some D'Angelo, some Erykah Badu ...etc etc

an earlier poster put up "Cold World" by GZA produced by RZA that has a good example
 
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jodgey4

Silver Member
This is not displacement, that would be an incorrect application of the term. Understanding different swung feels is where I started. The correct description is broken/glitch/non-quantized, as Professor Amodeo explains :). I've been playing some grooves from J Dilla's The Shining, namely E=MC2, with success. I think learning by ear is the best start for me, because I just can't subdivide into the differential time elements needed to play from a quantized view. ?uestlove explains the human aspect of it so well.
I had no ideas samplers used to be such trouble makers... I'm glad some guys rolled with the punches and made this music. I feel like I know how to move forward; I also have a lesson tonight, and considering my teacher has played hip hop before, I'm sure he'll have some pointers. I've definitely learned a lot from you guys, thanks so much!
 

Elliot

Member
BTW....im in the same boat as you. Current crush is Chis Dave. Dude has this style mastered!


.
I hope there's some room for me in that boat haha! I got to see Chris Dave last summer play with D'angelo. Holy &#$%! I can't wait to hear this new album.

So there's this amazing band in my town, the drummer has also pretty much mastered this glitchy kind of style, they are a blast to see!

Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNHjKmptoQc

It actually kind of sounds like sampled drums from a Wu Tang record on that track, but I'm telling you he actually plays that way. Their album is free on bandcamp, btw.

So excited about this thread, thanks for all the great responses!
 

poika

Silver Member
Great thread!

I love playing Dilla stuff on the drums. I've been playing this one a lot recently http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdZK0HeYkwM
I just love how the open hi hat comes in right at the end of the loop.

In general I find playing to hiphop beats a really good way to practice, kind of like practicing with a metronome but much more fun. I hate playing with just a click.

You also need discipline to play the same beat for four minutes straight without changing it up - and that is something I really should practice more. Discipline while playing!
 

Brian

Gold Member
Check out Jojo Mayer here :30, along the same lines I would say. Not displacement at all, it's fairly similar to space between grace and accent notes in flams..you can vary the space by a fraction to get a completely different sound and feel; either the flam itself filling the space, or the individual notes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxlgAHf-DeQ
 
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