The code of the beat.

BeatTips MusicStudy: Mos Def ft. Talib Kweli – “History” Produded by J Dilla


Repetition, Rupture, and Groove


What’s dope about any J Dilla interest is the fact that he’s increasingly being recognized for: samples, chops, ruptures, loops, and soul—hip hop. Just as with DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Large Professor, a study of J Dilla brings you back, fundamentally, to the study of soul music. That being said, listen to this joint “History” by Mos Def and Talib Kweli—one of the best beatworks I’ve ever heard by J Dilla. It’s subtle yet direct and defiant at the same time… And yo, as you listen to this, ask yourself: Would this song have gotten any real strong reaction five years ago and why?

The music and videos below are presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

Mos Def – “History” Feat. Talib Kweli (Prod. By J Dilla)

Here’s the music video for “History”

Finally, if anyone really believes that “live” renditions of hip hop/rap originals are co-equal, check this out. It “seems” to be comparable, but notice how much the “feeling” and essence of J Dilla’s beat is missing.

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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