Madlib Made “No More Parties In L.A.” With an iPad
Madlib has long been a figure of great intrigue within the beatmaking and hip-hop community. From teaching himself how to play every instrument used for the Yesterday’s New Quintet albums, to his mind-blowing revelation in a 2002 Red Bull Music Academy interview that many of his beats were made with an SP-303, to his claim that he only sleeps two hours per night and only releases 30% of the music he records, the Stones Throw mainstay has become something of a living urban legend.
Like many eccentric and unconventional musical geniuses, his prolific output and remarkably deep and diverse catalog have endeared him to some of his most esteemed peers. As Madlib continues to put out an endless stream of solo instrumental projects, his fingerprints can also be found on releases from Erykah Badu, Ghostface Killah, Talib Kweli, and countless others. He may not be the most commercially successful, but those in the upper tier of the music industry know what’s up. As journalist Jeff Weiss so aptly put in a 2010 article for LA Weekly, “While Madlib may not have as many fans as Kanye West, he has Kanye West for a fan.”
In fact, Kanye was such a fan of his work that he sought Madlib’s services for 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy — an album that boasted production contributions from Jeff Bhasker, Bink, Mike Dean, DJ Frank E, No I.D., RZA, and S1. Though Weiss reported that Kanye considered a total of five Madlib instrumentals for inclusion on the album, they didn’t make the final cut for unknown reasons. Fans who were disappointed at the apparent missed opportunity were left in waiting for several years, but they once again had reason to celebrate when Kanye tweeted, “We just wanna thank Madlib for these 6 beat CDs he sent over #scary, ” on January 22nd, 2016.
“While Madlib may not have as many fans as Kanye West, he has Kanye West for a fan.”- Jeff Weiss
Despite Kanye’s enthusiasm for the new batch of material, Madlib later questioned how much he actually liked the tracks in a 2016 interview with RMBA. “He didn’t like them beats,” he told interviewer Jeff Mao with a laugh. “I’m just kidding Kanye. Sent him a bunch of crazy Quasimoto shit.”
Whether or not some of the beats were too obscure for his liking, Kanye did end up using a Madlib track on Life of Pablo, which dropped less than a month after his #scary tweet. According to Madlib, Kanye and whoever was in the studio with him had some heated arguments over which instrumentals they should use use for “No More Parties In LA”, Madlib’s sole contribution to Life of Pablo. “I heard they was battling back and forth for a couple of hours over the beat CDs,” he told Mao.
Though the exact timeline of “No More Parties” isn’t exactly clear, it appears the song’s origins might date all the way back to the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy sessions. In the bonus footage of the 2013 Stones Throw documentary Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, Kanye describes how impressed he was with Madlib’s first submissions to him before rapping one of the verses from “No More Parties”.
“You sit there and polish your shit for a week, I don’t know about all that shit.”- Madlib
In the 2016 interview with RMBA Madlib goes on to say to he made “No More Parties In LA” on his iPad, an interesting reveal for a producer known for working on more vintage gear like the Roland SPs and the SP-1200. Though he doesn’t say which app he used to compose the song, he later discusses his decision to use late Junie Morrison’s “Suzie Thundertussy” as the sample source for “No More Parties”. His simple, mostly unaltered looping of Morrison drew some criticism from people who didn’t think the beat did enough to distinguish itself — something he was quick to shut down. “I just wanted to leave it the same. Dudes get mad,” he said. “That’s my sound. I’m a loop digger, so I just want to leave it like that, just make it dirtier than what it was.”
In the end, Madlib doesn’t appear to have any interest in overthinking his workflow and stressing over how much he alters a sample, whether he’s using the SP-303 or the iPad. He also doesn’t seem to worry about having the most pristine sound quality. “You sit there and polish your shit for a week, I don’t know about all that shit,” he told Mao. “That’s cool for you all, but I don’t know about all that.”
Whether he’s using straight loops on an iPad, playing his own instruments, or chopping the hell out of some samples on some vintage equipment, Madlib always impresses with his final product. His loose attitude about music, his refusal to stick to a strict producer code, and his disinterest in self-analyzing his process only adds to his legend. With an apparent bond already forged between him and Kanye West, it would be a shame if the memorable “No More Parties In LA” was their only official release together. Hopefully the other five songs Kanye picked all those years ago or some new beats from Madlib’s enormous stash are put to use in the future.