07 October 2010

Trackz on Demand-Trailblazin in the hip-hop nation

Every form of music has a history.  Hip-hop is no exception. People have tried to dismiss the genre as irrelevant from its beginning.  Some said it wouldn't last; well here it is 30 years later, still going hard. Sure, it may seem difficult to look past the sad state of affairs today, but if you do, the history is there.  If you are like me, you remember when the deejay, scratching records and making beats, was the heart and soul that drove everything.

If you turn off BET and tune into the underground, then you'll realize that you're not alone.  There are still producers and deejays out there turning out quality product, hustling away in the background.  That's why I write this blog, to bring them out of the background and into the forefront, to shine a light on the underground hustlers carrying hip-hop on their shoulders and trying to bring it back to its glory days.

I'm going to talk about two of those hustlers right now. Look carefully at the right-side column of this page and you will see a widget for Trackz on Demand.  If you don't know the names behind the sound, then I'm here  to educate you.  I don't make any secret of the fact that I rep hard for The Prolegend Movement, and today I'm reppin for two of the members of the group who make up Trackz on Demand, Mass Pro and Laf Legend.

Trackz on Demand showcases the beatmaking skills of this half of Prolegend.  In addition to rapping, Pro and Laf play the keyboard and bass.  Their instrumental skills are self-taught, "like the old blues cats" as Laf Legend put it, and make up a big part of their beats.  The two have worked together since high school, starting out with a Korg Trinity keyboard and a bunch of inspiration.  They formed Prolegend Productions, which went on to become The Prolegend Movement and expanded to a foursome with Laf's younger brother Lankdizzim, and Lank's friend J.Co.

The idea for Trackz on Demand came from Pro, who worked as a Comcast service technician.  Everyone in Jacksonville who has Comcast knows how iffy their service is sometimes, and Pro said that he was always getting calls for people whose OnDemand service wasn't working.  So the running joke became, " I'm gonna make a company, and my stuff is gonna work".  And Trackz on Demand was born.

Although the name may have come from a joke, the talent that these two guys have is no laughing matter.  They use software like Reason and Garage band, to produce their original sounds.  Pro said, "I like to start off with drums, put a bass to it, add some piano chords.  Build a foundation, sprinkle some other sounds in.  Once you have a sound, start arranging it into a song.  Intro, Outro, breakdown.  Make a dope beat, and all you need is some vocals."  Of course, The Prolegend Movement is definitely not lacking in the vocals department, so when you put it all together, you have the unique sound that has driven them to number 1 on the local hip-hop charts according to Reverbnation.  

I asked Pro what his favorite beat was so far, and he said that he really likes the sample that he did for Erry Time.  That song came out with a 70's funk sound that makes it one of my favorites, and the Internet audience seems to agree, because it became a favorite on underground radio shows.  But, he added, "I don’t know if I’ve made my best beat yet. It’s a continuous thing, I’m still trying to get better.  Still trying to outdo the last beat, as they say".  

That drive for excellence is what makes Trackz on Demand and The Prolegend Movement heavy hitters in my book.  They never settle for mediocre, but instead always try to give listeners their best sound.  In addition to the music on their original release, Revolution Revalationz, as well as the Black Diamonds mixtape and EP, they have a virtual library of tracks that they haven't officially released yet.  When I ask the guys why not, they all say something like, "its something missing" or  "its just not ready yet", or something along those lines.  They are their own toughest critics and it shows in the work that they put out.

So artists, if you need some fresh, original beats, then Trackz on Demand is where its at.  You can lease beats for $19.99 or buy them exclusively.  If you sign up on the website using your Facebook account, then you also get a free beat. They aren't just for hip-hop, either.  They have some great beats that would sound good with some R&B vocals, or even with some spoken word.  Independent artists, let's support each other and our community, because God knows it needs help.  I think Mass Pro summed it up perfectly when he said, "We need more beats.  We don’t need more violence, we need more beats so rappers can stop killing each other and just get on the microphone."

Enough said.

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