Much to many people's surprise (as well as joy/horror, depending on your tastes), hip-hop still refuses to be a flash-in-the-pan musical fad and has now been around for over 20 years. It seems fitting, then, that the sample companies remain keen to cater for hip-hop practitioners, and Ueberschall are no exception.
Da Nu Hiphop Era is a two-CD set (both audio) made up of 27 construction kits. Each kit consists of an extended mix of the full groove, lasting over a minute and covering an intro, main groove and breakdown. The full mix is then stripped back into tracks of just the beats, instrumental backing, solo-ed riffs, and all the drum samples as single hits. Style-wise, Da New Hiphop Era wears its influences proudly on its sleeve. Aimed squarely at the more commercial side of hip-hop, this collection is heavily influenced by the mainstream, platinum-selling styles of artists like Dr Dre, Nelly, Eminem and P Diddy.
The kits are very good; all the programming is of a high standard and each groove contains anything from five to around 15 elements, which is a lot of riffs and loops to play with. In terms of tempo, kits range between 60 and 105bpm, with the majority hovering around the 90-100bpm mark. In keeping with this collection's influences, a large number of the grooves are synth-led, with simple, choppy riffs (à la Dr Dre) and programmed beats, though each also includes some type of 'played' loop, either guitar or keys, to add that human feel.
In addition to instruments and drums, six of the kits feature surprisingly good (American) rapped vocals, consisting of a few lines of verse and a chorus that could easily be cut into loops and dropped into other compositions. That said, the lyrics are not exactly ground-breaking, sticking to the well-trodden path of money, guns, sex and 'keeping it real'. A touch too predictable for my taste but, nevertheless, a welcome extra element that is lacking in other hip-hop sample libraries.
On the downside, I'd like to have seen a bit more variation in style, as this collection's focus is quite narrow for such a varied genre, and the lack of any real scratching samples also surprised me. I'm also not sure that two discs of construction kits alone will appeal to producers looking for odd loops to throw into their own compositions. Don't get me wrong — there is some great stuff here, but it might take a bit of digging to get to it.
These are just minor niggles, however, as overall Da Nu Hiphop Era is a well-assembled collection of authentic hip-hop construction kits (several of the Dre/Eminem-a-likes are spot-on) just waiting to add a touch of iced-out US street culture to your recordings.
£59.95 including VAT.
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