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Plus 27 Micro-Chop articles worth revisiting.

Micro-Chop has grown and evolved quite a bit since I started the initial Medium publication in the summer of 2016. The Twitter community recently eclipsed 6,000 members and the tweets sent from that account just broke 1,500,000 total unique impressions over the past 28 days.

Those numbers are simultaneously encouraging, mind-blowing, and terrifying. I just hope I can continue using the Twitter feed to share my own writing while signal boosting various artists and music journalists as best I can.

I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to every single person who helped me get this far. …

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As you may already know, I started a Micro-Chop Substack newsletter in July. So far I have close to 800 free and paid subscribers. I’m trying to boost that number to over 1,000.

If you really love my writing and want to offer some financial support, I’m running a 40% off sale on subscriptions. For $3/month or $26/year you get brand new Micro-Chop articles sent directly to your inbox on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week. If you sign up for a paid subscription you also get access to all archived Substack articles. Read a sample article here.

If you enjoy my writing but you’d rather not pay for it, try out a free subscription. Free subscribers receive one new article every Monday. …

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A quick update on some early newsletter success.

Hi Folks,

In its first six weeks the Micro-Chop Substack newsletter broke 500 total subscribers. This is very exciting news. People seem to love it so far and I love this new way of engaging my readers.

The unique hybrid of newsletter and website that Substack offers has certainly helped generate new interest in Micro-Chop while earning me some additional income for my hard work.

I’m very happy with the results and plan on putting the majority of my writing effort into freelancing and Substack moving forward — at least for the time being.

So far, I’ve written about

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House Shoes and Big Tone on Detroit history, two-track instrumentals, and the seven years it took to make their record.

Veteran producer and MC Big Tone still remembers the first time he linked with fellow Detroit native and Street Corner Music founder House Shoes in 1995. A member of a group called University at the time, Tone walked into an iconic Detroit hip-hop landmark with a beat tape in his pocket and some music to share. “I met Shoes by playing him a batch of beats that I made outside of Hip Hop Shop,” he says. “I gave him a tape, he went and popped it in his car. …

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A candid shot of NAMELESS. (Photo Credit: Bandcamp)

The Flint native on FL Studio trial versions, vintage video game flips, and turning a children’s TV show theme into a classic beat.

Veteran producer NAMELESS still vividly remembers his earliest days crafting instrumentals as a teenager growing up in Flint, Michigan during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Like many sample choppers who came of age as computers became a staple in American homes, he started making beats by testing his skills on a demo of a now-famous digital audio workstation. “I actually started with Fruity Loops, the box computer and all that,” he says. “It wasn’t even the full version, it was like a trial version.”

Watch NAMELESS recreate “Yo Gabba Stabba” live.

Although there wasn’t a huge hip-hop scene in his local community, NAMELESS was fortunate enough to have a few key people nurture his love of music. His close friend and fellow Wu-Tang fanatic Brandon encouraged him to try his hand at beatmaking while Beats x Beers founder B.Corder showed aspiring producers from the Flint area they could achieve widespread recognition through perseverance and hard work. “Everybody was fucking with him, he was pretty much the most respected coming up out of Flint,” NAMELESS remembers. …

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The versatile L.A. producer discusses bouncing back from a severe car accident, her impressive debut album, and new royalty-free Ableton compositions.

(Updated July 15th, 2019)

Before making waves with her impressive (mostly) instrumental debut YUNG, L.A. beat scene staple Linafornia first found her way into production as a form of catharsis during a dark time in her life. “I started making beats because I was doing physical therapy, learning how to walk again and stuff like that,” she tells me. “That was the influence.”

Linafornia performing live at Poobah Records in 2017 with Kahil Saadiq.

Though her early beats were born out of difficult circumstances, Linafornia’s life was in a great place before she had to retrain her brain and body how to walk. In addition to attending school and holding down a job, she’d also landed a dream gig promoting the documentary film Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton as part of Stones Throw Records street team in 2013. Things took an unexpected turn, however, when a severe car accident forced her work obligations to the side so she could focus on healing and recovery. …

Please give it a try.

Hi Folks,

I’ll keep it short and simple. I need to find new ways to earn income from my writing.

Substack is a newsletter service that lets writers charge for their work while building a unique audience.

I’m starting a Micro-Chop Substack newsletter to share existing work from my archives as well as new and exclusive Micro-Chop stories you won’t be able to read anywhere else.

If you sign up for the free version of the Micro-Chop newsletter, you’ll receive one email/story each week. …

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The Roland TR-808 drum machine. (Credit: Ethan Hein’s flickr)

Or, why I’m not giving away most of my work for free anymore.

(Updated on July 15th, 2019)

O n Tuesday, June 25th, 2019, my wife Jenn and I were driving to Orlando. Having spent the better part of a day and a half driving from Massachusettes, I noticed that my car was overheating as I pulled onto I-4 about an hour away from our destination. After rolling down the windows, killing the AC, turning on the heat, and pulling over as soon as I was able to safely, we got out of the car to assess the damage.

Long story short, both the engine and radiator were completely fucked. After a somewhat reasonable repair option fell through the cracks because of an unexpected parts delay, I came to terms with the fact that I had to pay off the thousands of dollars remaining on my car loan, sell my car for next to nothing, and leave it in Florida. It goes without saying that this was not an ideal financial situation for us. …

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Ohbliv explains the value of building bridges in your artistic community, his rejection of traditional song structure, and the meaning of his new album.

Dig into Richmond, Virginia native Ohbliv’s old tweets and you’ll see him using the phrase “give thanks” as far back as 2010, long before the release of his May 2019 album with the same name. So where exactly does the saying come from and what’s the significance? “It’s something that resonated with me a couple of years ago,” says the veteran sample chopper. “Just learning gratitude and being grateful for everything, the good and the bad. It’s something I’ve started to tweet to remind people — if you’re alive reading that tweet, give thanks.”

As for the decision to title his new Fat Beats release Give Thanks, Ohbliv wanted to demonstrate his appreciation for the important people in his life after a decade in the game. “It’s coming up on ten years since my first official release,” he says. “So it just seemed fitting that I show some formal thanks. If you get the record you’ll see in the liner notes I tried to list every person that's had a positive effect on my life.” …

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The Ypsilanti native discusses making a song for his mother, using his voice as an instrument, and how the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling influenced his music.

23-year production veteran 14KT has often found the creative process with relative ease during his career. He started his musical odyssey by recording raps through a busted pair of headphones and constructing pause tape beats with his boombox during his high school years. As his sample chopping skills improved with time, he posted audio commentary of instrumentals on Myspace during the platform’s beat scene heyday. And in a November 2017 Micro-Chop interview, KT described a sort of creative apex he hit with his sample flipping abilities while working on the RSXGLD album.

14KT making a beat with Cool Edit Pro circa 2007. …


Gino Sorcinelli

Freelance journalist @Ableton, ‏@HipHopDX, @okayplayer, @Passionweiss, @RBMA, @ughhdotcom + @wearestillcrew. Creator of and @bookshelfbeats.

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