88-keys: The Process of Making a Beat
Navani Otero

I remember meeting him through a friend of mine, a totally casual encounter. I had no idea he was who he was at first – no bling, no entourage, he didn’t announce what he did as his introduction, nothing extra about him that would scream “industry”. That’s what was so cool about him – he was a real dude and totally down to earth. I wasn’t aware of the magnitude of talent I was surrounded by until I walked in his living room and saw the framed gold records on the wall, serving as a summary of his accomplishments. It was then I realized who I was dealing with.

Looking back now, I can say there were signs of genius everywhere – in the mess of his abode to his personal style. Being in his presence is like hanging out with a long lost friend, you remember how to have fun. In that same child like sense, he represents how hip hop used to be when it was about having fun and loving it - plain and simple. As I stepped into his studio (which consisted of a wall to wall record collection), I admitted once wanting to be a super dope producer to rep for the females. Instead of laughing hysterically at me, he immediately sat me down and taught me the process of making of a beat. I was stunned. Maybe that is what makes him so special, his willingness to open up and let people in.

So now I’ve come back to ask him to open up to his fans, and again he delivers:

DM: How did you break into the business?

88: Well it ALL started when I heard "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" by Roy Ayers Ubiquity. I thought I was hearing a Brand Nubian RE-remix for "Wake Up (Sunshine Mix)" when, in actuality, I was listening to the original sample. I found the Roy Ayers record then felt like the sample could have been used in a different way & I also noticed other songs on that same album which I felt should have been used as a hip hop song.

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