The code of the beat.

Nottz’ “Cars” Sends Strong Signal


Beatsmith/Rapper Solidifies His Message of Dope Music

By Amir Said (Sa’id)

Aside from Kanye West, of course, I haven’t been impressed with a beatmaker/rapper since perhaps Large Professor and Havoc (of Mobb Deep). To be sure, it ain’t easy to excel in both fields. I mean, Chuck D served as a member of the infamous Bomb Squad beat collective (lead by Hank Shocklee). And famed rhyme storyteller Slick Rick made the beats to some of his better known classics. But make no mistake: Chuck D and Slick Rick were, first and foremost, rappers. But when Large Professor burst on the scene with Main Source as the front man, sole rapper, and resident beatmaker, the profile of the beatmaker/rapper appeared to be on the rise. In fact, in 1995, Havoc—resident beatmaker of Mobb Deep—seemed to up the ante. But after Havoc, I haven’t found myself moved by many beatmaker-first rappers. That is, until now.

Unlike some beatmakers who have taken a respectable stab at rapping, Nottz seems to be genuinely concerned with carving out a true rap voice. In both “Cars,” and his previous release, “Shine So Brite,” Nottz takes a serious approach the art of rapping. He doesn’t sheepishly try to summon up Kanye West-like stanzas; nor does he opt to hide behind a robust and elongated chorus. Instead, Nottz is acutely aware of what all great rappers are aware of: Attention to detail.

Having spent years crafting what is a truly unique sound, characterized by pounding drumwork and church-worn organ passes, laced over soulful samples, who better but Nottz to know how to make his beats come alive. Indeed, with each release, Nottz is giving notice that his sound is, first and foremost, his. And as such, the underlying message that he’s bent on delivering is that he has some dope music worth listening to. Given the early songs and accompanying videos that he released (great videos, by the way), I must concede that Nottz’ album, You Need This Music, is aptly titled.

For educational purposes…

Nottz – “Cars,” from the forthcoming Nottz album, You Need This Music

Nottz “Cars” from Raw Koncept on Vimeo.

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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

  • That 808 drop @ 1:26 is CRAZY!!! It’s all in the details.