By Steven “Crown” Bifano
Hip Hop music and culture is currently at a point where the emphasis of the genre is solely on the rapper. Record labels put out album after album where the emcee gets majority of the shine, but very little of the benefits. When observing the labels intake of capital compared to the actual frontman, one can see the average emcee, trap rapper, or even a superb talent being played and pick pocketed by greedy little hands that contain the musk of cultural appropriation. A frontman to the label indeed. Nothing more than a smiling face or a hard rock from the streets, merely used as a mask for those whose control is determined by an amount of value described through green pieces of paper. This game has been going on for years, and overtime more aspects of Hip Hop have been eliminated from the mainstream cipher. While the focus is merely placed on the emcee, there have been many other aspects and components of the culture that are now being pushed further into the shadows of the entertainment industry. One specific component is the DJ, modernly known as the beat maker or producer. The one who puts the whole damn thing together. The backbone to this whole thing we call Hip Hop.
As the years have gone by less and less focus has been put on the DJ, where now all a DJ has to do is play the requested tracks at a show in a smooth and mild manner with a decent transition. This role and persona is incorrect for a multitude of reasons. Back in the day when the culture belonged to the creators, the DJ did more than just play a song for an emcee to rap over, the DJ created that song. The DJ is a scientist of sound. One who experiments with different sounds and vibrations through the art of sampling, with the goal to ultimately create something new out of something that already existed. Preparation for these so called beats and rhythms was through tough practice with two turntables and a mixer, whereas now the sampler and various audio engineering software has changed the game to allow one to prepare a track and present it made, rather it being made on the spot as practiced. In the present tense the role of the DJ and the beat maker have been separated into two distinct categories where at one point they were one and the same. While the cipher of the mainstream creates these differences, the renaissance on the outskirts that is the independent and underground still holds the DJ in high regard. Here, there is emphasis on the maker of beats. The provider of tracks has a place within this realm, where here and there someone will be able to step outside and sell a track to those who hold rank in the mainstream. Between the winter of 2016 and the summer of 2017 a beat maker has risen through the creation of two projects that are not only unique, but also a day dream to many Hip Hop heads. This said producer goes by the alias of Seanh or Seanh2k11.
Hailing from Portsmouth, England, Seanh has created a forced fantasy that many for years have hoped to come into fruition. After the release of his back to back works, Seanh has shown and proved to be a Doctor Frankenstein in the underground, whose creation has lurked into the depths of mainstream media twice and created a buzz amongst the village people. This very creation that is making waves all across the industry goes by the name of SadeVillian I & II, a merging of the MC, Doom and the Soul singer, Sade, forced at the hands of producer Seanh. Dropping part one in the winter of 2016 as an EP, Seanh has gotten much attention for the project. For years many have hoped for Doom and Sade to come together for a collaboration for multiple reasons. In the early stages of Doom’s career, after his original alias Zev Love X, many have noticed that Doom was highly influenced by Sade. “Doomsday,” off of Doom’s first project, 1999’s Operation Doomsday LP, contained samples from Sade’s “Kiss of Life,” which is a major single from her fourth studio album, 1992’s Love Deluxe. From that moment many noticed the sample, and many dreamed of an actual collaboration between the two musical giants. Although the two have yet to get together to actually create this desired master piece, Seanh has given us a taste of what could be. Sade, very elegant and smooth, and Doom very soulful yet rugged complement each other. Together they create something new and intriguing, and give the listener an idea of what two opposites could create once they come together. As stated before, the DJ is a scientist of sound, one whom experiments with that which has already existed and creates something new out of it. Seanh has shown and proved these skills and abilities with the first SadeVillian alone, proving that he is in fact what a DJ is, and what a DJ is supposed to be. The project within itself is nothing original, but through sampling it becomes original and new.
Each track consists of samples taken from popular Sade songs, with a backing of programmed drum loops which give the overall production zest and character. While majority of the samples are mere loops and chops, vocals from Sade are also sampled and transitioned to create hooks, furthering the fantasy of the dreamed collaboration. Various acapellas of Doom verses are placed over these well-made masterpieces along with samples from various marvel cartoons, creating the overall project. Two notable tracks that exemplify Seanh’s skills are “Silver Spoon” and “Hot Pants.” “Silver Spoon” being a combination of both Sade’s “Jezebel” and Doom’s “My Favorite Ladies,” shows that as a scientist in the field of sound, Seanh is a chemist of various mixtures and elements. The combination of two polar opposites is noticed in this track, showing that in some cases a variation between artists creates a beautiful similarity that is new to the world we live in. “Hot Pants” on the other hand is a combination of Sade’s “Your Love is King,” and Doom’s verse off of Johnathan Toth’s “Ghostwhirl.” The latter yielding the most commercial appeal. The looping of the notable saxophone off of “Your Love is King,” along with Doom’s obscure verse demonstrates the clever matching.
SadeVillian is a project that is of a beautiful and beastly quality, making it a classic of the ages. Although deeply concentrated in the underground, the project has gotten notable attention from mainstream publications such as Highsnobiety, Hypebeast, among others. This project has gone above and beyond when it comes to the exposure that so many artists in the underground and independent realm desire, showing that there is hope for us too to build a platform for the creativity of the artists and the culture as a whole. While Seanh made waves during the early months of 2016, he is now doing the same during this present month.
SadeVillian 2 dropped earlier this month and once again that very monster that terrorized the village people earlier on in 2016, awoke from its slumber for a standing ovation. Like its predecessor, SadeVillian 2 consists of Doom acapellas, loops and chops from Sade samples, along with programmed drums. Besides the updated production, a new aspect of this project is the various features of other Hip Hop giants and their classic verses. Mos Def aka Yasin Bey, the late great Sean Price, and the Chef from Shaolin, Raekwon each have a featured verse from previous works on this project, giving us more of a taste of what an actual collaboration between Doom and Sade would be like. If the two ever came together for an original album, there surely would be many other emcees considered for guest appearances. While the foundation of this project is similar to its first, there is a distinctive feel when in comparison. The first has a gloomy triumphant feel, whereas the second has more of an upbeat vibe with a hint of sadness, giving it a bittersweet sensation to the ear. Although both have differences, they are one and the same with an extravagant continuation. Releasing SadeVillain 2 in the early stages of the summer, makes it anthemic for the season. Like its first, each track is superb and creative in all areas of the art, and hopefully in the future we will once again be visited for a third time by the beautiful monstrosity known as SadeVillian. The cover art alone speaks for itself. Peace.