As both a hat-tip to my “Speed Ranks True’s Albums” post and as a hat-tip to the awesomeness which is Team DAR, my brother True decided to compile a list of the top ten beats he’s heard from me. Thankfully, he didn’t just say “every beat,” because where would the subjectiveness be? Spoiler: there wouldn’t be any.
Anyhow, take it away, True.
True God here. Today, I wanted to take a look at Speed on the Beat’s top-ten beats. Speed is one of hip hop’s premier producers (Ed. Note: well, damn True. That actually means a lot) and with his legacy cemented as an indie legend (just like yours truly), it’s only right we take a look at his best (Ed. Note: I’ll interject with back story on the beats and will try to keep my personal preferences to a minimum).
10. “500 Days Of Summer (Losing Faith In Self)”
A song off his August release Death of The King, the beat has a jazzy feel to it with a smooth [unknown] vocal sample in the back that allows Speed to coast on it. (Ed. Note: This is probably one of my favorite DOTK beats, since it’s so smooth. So jazzy.
9. “Empty Words”
This beat can be found on my fifth, and most recent, album Pursuing Happiness. It is a departure from the boombap that’s usually heard [from Speed and True collaborations and the like]. With a sample from a group called Submotion Orchestra, the track breaks down to an EDM-esque bridge in between verses. Amazing work. (Ed. Note: This track originally was slated for the True and Speed as Team DAR collabo The End is Coming, but we couldn’t fit it in to meet our deadline. So, I sat on this one for a while. True mentioned that he found it and wanted to rework it…so, that’s how we got “Empty Words.” I would’ve considered putting “Come and Get It” here, only because it’s a track that’s completely different from what we’re used to from Speed on the Beat beats, but so is “Empty.” Plus, “Empty” is less straightforward than “Come and Get It,” so “Empty” gets the nod…plus the drums here are HEAVY!)
8. “Let Go (Evolution of The Modern Male)”
7. “Tomorrow Is Infinite”
Pursuing Happiness by True God This is actually a rework, oddly enough. On my third album Soul Revival 2, we made a track entitled “Crown The Champion” (which just missed this list). Once we arrived to the making of Pursuing Happiness, Speed reflips the sample from CTC for a golden-era track reminiscent of the ’90s boom bap (Ed. Note: This rework was slated for DOTK, for an unreleased track called “Getting Back.” Once I trimmed down the DOTK length, I cut this one. Probably for the best, since “Getting Back” would’ve been another track just like “Thanatos’ Reprise” or “Do Better”).
6. “Gambling Problem”
While Three7One is my least favorite album personally of mine, it contains this Marvin Gaye sampled track. The sample along with the hard hitting drums creates the perfect backdrop for me to tell my story. (Ed. Note: This track kind of came out of nowhere. I was going for a Boi-1da-meets-Preemo vibe on it. We went through a lot of drafts on this beat. I’ll probably leak them one of these days.)
5. “The Pursuit (Intro)”
My recent album “Pursuing Happiness” kicks off with the familiar sounds of The Isleys “Voyage to Atlantis” and the guitar riff from it. This intro is 5 minutes of pure aggression, pain, and hope over a beautiful track that mirrors all those emotions (Ed. Note: I personally would’ve put “Thanatos” in lieu of “The Pursuit,” only because of the emotion-drenched piano and vocal samples. However, this track does have a special place since True, Apollo, and I played around with this idea for years, dating back to the Soul Revival 1 days. So for that, I agree).
4. “Money Where Yo’ Mouth Is”
Another track off Speed’s most recent “Death Of The King” album that mixes a great piano melody with some hard drums and a small vocal sample that carries Speed to yet another classic track (Ed. Note: This track started out as something I was going to pass along to other artists. However, I decided to keep it for myself, since it fit with the vibe of DOTK–smooth but still a bit rough).
3. “Vital Signs”
Soul Revival 2 by True God
Another track from my 3rd album “Soul Revival 2”, this is one of Speed’s most straightforward beats, yet it’s one of his most effective. With a Jerry Butler sample in place, along with some of the toughest drums Speed has ever used, the track is a smooth ride while hitting with that knock that DAR is known for (Ed. Note: It really is one of my most-straightforward beats. I wanted to use this sample on Songs For…, but never got around to it. I figured I’d use it as an homage to Mos Def and DJ Honda’s “Travellin’ Man,” hence its simple yet beautiful nature).
2. “No Time”
From my first album, Soul Revival 1, this was one of my first singles. The Carole King sample (her classic “Too Late” song) is almost unrecognizable, which makes this track THAT much better. The off-kilter drums backed by the sample allowed me to paint a picture and create an anthem. Building our mainstream.(Ed. Note: I just wanted to completely go Dilla on this one. There’s nothing more or less on this one.)
1. “Rain on Reign”
D.O.A. by True God
My 2nd album, DOA, feels like a blur to me. However, one thing that will forever stick with me is the two-part Earth, Wind, Fire sampled track. It starts off with an upbeat EWF sample then quickly transfers to a glorious track with a slower tempo that lets me spill my soul. This is Speed’s best beat in history. The precision on the drum hits, the sample, the smoothness, etc. This is an amazing track period. (Ed. Note: There’s a funny story behind this one. I wanted to keep this one for myself, since I worked on the second part for something for Songs For…, but after True suggested that we do one of our “infamous multi-part beats” for “Rain,” it came together like this. I would say it’s one of my favorite tracks from this era of SOTB!!! beats and overall, since it starts off so chill then just gets DARK AND BEAUTIFUL. Add that into True’s lyrics on here and you’ve got a classic–especially since “Speed’s [initial relationship falling apart]…opened my eyes” for real. DAR Prophecy)