How I make my music

The short version: I play all of my own instruments, including keyboards, guitar, bass, and (electric) drums.  I also produce all of my own music (except for a few collaborations), and write all of my own lyrics.  For the long version, read on.

When I was 13, I was walking to play basketball with a friend of mine named Cleveland “B.J.” Fuller.  He had already been rapping for a while, and he told me to “kick a rap.”  I replied, “I can’t rap man.”  He said, “Man, just kick a rap.”  I freestyled a 30 second verse, and that became my first song, “Inventor.”  I didn’t know how to play instruments at the time, so I used my Yamaha PSR-500 to make some beats.  More or less, I just chose the tempo, the key, and the accompaniment.  Then I hit play, and had a couple different options for the intro/chorus, verse, and ending.  I made music this way until 1998, writing all of my own lyrics, but not really playing any instruments.

In 1998, a guitarist friend of mine saw me recording and asked if I could record his stuff.  We tried, and it didn’t really work.  I told him, “Well, it works fine for what I’m doing.”  His reply was the single most important thing anyone has ever said to me from a musical development standpoint.  “It may be fine for what you’re doing, but it won’t work for music.”  The words stung, but he was right.  I really was only a lyricist and emcee at that point.  So, I decided to learn how to play instruments.

Those instruments include a Yamaha DTXPress electric drum set, fender short scale music master bass, Elvis replica guitar, and various keyboards.  I also taught myself to produce in 1998.  When I first started, it was with a soundblaster live card.  The quality was awful, and I knew basically nothing.  The next several albums, “Delve Deeper,” “Transitions,” and “Out of the Shadows,” were very experimental, as I was learning how to play instruments and produce.  I completely taught myself instruments, except for one finger exercise a friend showed me, and a quick online video on how to play funk guitar (just the muting the strings part).  I have never learned music theory, nor have I ever learned how to play any other musician’s music.  At this point in my development, I don’t plan on ever learning theory or covers.  I just make music from my heart.

In terms of recording equipment, I use an M-Audio Delta 1010 24-bit digital sound card.  I use Vegas 1.0 for my software, and generally play the parts from start to finish with one particular instrument, and then move onto the next instrument.  I don’t use loops because I feel like the most beautiful aspect of music is humanity.  Playing a song from start to finish, and keeping the occasional error keeps the music human.  That’s also why I don’t Quantize (correcting minor imperfections in timing using computers). Being slightly off the rhythm sometimes yields fantastic results.

It is because of how I make my music that makes my music uniquely reflective of myself. Music theorists may scoff, and music purists may orally lose their innards, but for me music is about self-expression and I cannot properly express myself if I’m confining my music to a predetermined set of rules administered by others.

I have collaborated on 3 finished songs, and tried to create 2 other collaborations, since 1994.  The 3 finished songs are “A Little About Me,” which was musically created by a friend of mine in Columbus, OH who wishes to remain anonymous.  “Ready For Tomorrow” which was a collaboration with a singer (Birgitta Lindsey) who found me on garageband.com.  She sung and created the music.  Finally, Eli Roth played the drums on “Prime Time Players.”

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Published by: Mission Man

I am a conscientious hip-hop musician, and have been rapping since 1992. I started playing drums, bass, guitar, and keyboard, in addition to producing my own music, starting in 1998. For full details, see the official website at MissionMan.net.

Categories How I Make My Music5 Comments

5 thoughts on “How I make my music”

  1. Yo! How goes it? :0) It’s Birgitta! The wonderful world of blogging is pretty cool, eh? We’re able to find our old friends, etc. Hope all is well in your world and it’s good seeing you again! x

    1. I just now saw this post. I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve logged into my blog. Anyway, it’s really great to hear from you! I’ll have to stop by your site when I get a chance. I’m working on my developing my first WordPress plugin right now, which is why I logged into my blog to begin with.

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