I’ve been an MPC beat-maker for the past ten years, but always had fantasies of owning this bad-boy. This wonderful machine is responsible for much of the sound we associate with the “Golden Age” of hip hop. Some of my favorite early 90s songs and albums were crafted using the SP 1200. I’ve been digging around the Internet looking to see what else has been written about the iconic sampler and I found some great articles and blog posts. Here are four worth checking out if you are a music fan or gear head. (Just click on each title to make your way over to the article/blog.)
First of all, I love the title. This article, which appeared in the Village Voice seven years ago, features a notable cast of characters who speak about the importance of the SP 1200 in hip hop lore. Hank Shocklee and Pete Rock’s use of the SP 1200 is widely heralded, but it is Lord Finesse’s contributions to the article that tugged at my heartstrings:
Lord Finesse – They had me as a special guest on Stretch and Bobbito, one of the popular radio shows of the ’90s. I thought it would be slick if I brought my 1200 down. A lot of producers did total beats with their 1200, and I think I did two or three, and one specifically was when I chopped up Marvin Gaye‘s “Let’s Get It On.” I chopped all around his voice using the 1200 and put an instrumental in the back. I played it over the air, and me and KRS-One freestyled over it. It was real slick.
Luckily, I recently unearthed the exact Stretch and Bobbito moment Lord Finesse is referring to above.
The Sampleface Museum consists of a series of articles exploring the various iconic samplers, synthesizers and drum machines that served as the backbone of hip hop music. Sampleface provides a concise history of the SP 1200 and has links to some great YouTube videos featuring Grap Luva working the SP. The overall site is a really great concept –Sampleface is a blog showcasing the best sample-based music around, underground and mainstream, old and new, as well as classic albums of all genres, news, reviews and everything in between.
Hey, it’s a fair question! This article breaks down why the SP 1200 is such a popular sampler and explores what a modern day version of the SP could look like. The YouTube link perfectly captures the functionality and feel of the machine.
www.illmuzik.com is another great resource and community for novice and veteran beat makers.
4. Wax Poetics
Here are the videos to accompany Wax Poetics’ “Analog Out” section of issue number 41. From Pete Rock to Ski Beatz and a few other gems… Enjoy!