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BeatTips Top 30 Beatmakers of All Time: The Beatnuts

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#26 – The Beatnuts

By AMIR SAID (SA’ID)

The Beatnuts — Juju and Psycho less! No respectable discussion about beatmaking could be had without at least mentioning The Beatnuts. It’s not just a name drop, it’s a reality of what they mean to the beatmaking tradition. Before The Neptunes, The Beatnuts were THE most popular, well-respected beatmaking duo. The Beatnuts sound, which was characterized punching drums, a rough polish, and an innovative use of sampled breaks and phrases, help personify the overall sound of the early 90s. Equally adept with complex chopping and straight forward looped breaks, The Beatnuts’ beats always had a sophistication to them, no matter how neck-snapping rough they were. Simply put, a beat by The Beatnuts always had a jail-break sound to it; a sound that was hard, a sound the blasted through walls.

It’s also important to note that The Beatnuts were masters of the dig. They were known for their diggin’ in the crates prowess. Indeed, they were regular fixtures at vinyl record shows and stores in New York City. And this showed in their music. Listening to The Beatnuts always meant a new trip to the record store me. In fact, I discovered a world of new (old) music by simply tracking down what The Beatnuts used on their debut album.

Finally, it must be noted that The Beatnuts are also rappers! That’s right, they have the rare distinction of being in hip hop/rap’s cannon as beatmakers and rappers. Their debut album, The Beatnuts: Street Level is a bonafide hip hop/rap classic.

The Beatnuts (Songs) Recommended for Study:

“Hellraiser” – The Beatnuts beat by The Beatnuts

“Reign of theTec” – The Beatnuts beat by The Beatnuts

“Props Over Here” – The Beatnuts beat by The Beatnuts

“Screwed Up” – Screwball beat by The Beatnuts

“Watch Out Now” – The Beatnuts beat by The Beatnuts

“Find That” – The Beatnuts beat by The Beatnuts

“Let Off of a Couple” – The Beatnuts beat by The Beatnuts

“Off the Books” – The Beatnuts feat. Big Pun and Cuban Link beat by The Beatnuts

“Get Funky” – The Beatnuts beat by The Beatnuts

“Do You Believe” – The Beatnuts beat by The Beatnuts

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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