critique 25 to Life - my first Hip Hop Song

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by cowparsleyman, Jun 23, 2020.

  1. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    I've looked at the items that you mentioned @bouldersound and made some changes, there was no Shadow hills 2nd comp on the 2buss, I used the l3 maximiser from Waves, this 06072020 mix has the following amendments

    ePiano (wurli) -3db @ between 400 and 800 moved it L, moved the Rhodes to the R by the same amount
    Pigments bass synth - distotion fx removed, LFO slowed down, Chorus rate slowed and depth increased, Waves rbass, bypassed
    L3 maximiser removed on 2bus
    Vocoder on intro on intro reduced by 6db
    SPAN on 2buss looks much flatter now
    2buss volume reduced by -3db

    I've uploaded the mp3 as requested.

    Let me know what you think...

    Thanks for the critique and the suggestions

     

    Attached Files:

  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    I think it sounds much better. It lost some overall loudness which I think needs to come back to some degree.

    The LF issue I was hearing is at about 78Hz. I put a .5 octave 4dB cut on the mix at 78Hz and I think it helped, but I think it really only needs to be on the bass synth (or whatever is the main bass instrument).

    I like the guitar accents. Since they're between vocal lines I think they could be more featured.

    While playing with the eq I tried a 2 octave boost at 7kHz. I pushed it to +5dB and I liked it. Just to be sure I wasn't crazy, I checked it against a couple of other mixes, Steely Dan's Aja and the new Public Enemy release, State of the Union (STFU).
     
  3. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    I appreciate your labours, glad it sounds better, I’ll do the same referencing it with a hip hop song ( like for like genre might be wise, although as i said, i don’t have any...I’ll have to buy one ....) i kind of got a hunch that hip hop songs are a tad bass heavy, hence my approach to the eq of the bass instruments.

    thanks again
     
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    I agree that hip hop is generally going to be heavy on the bass. Even within the genre there are variations. The PE song I listened to had a bit less density in the LF than yours, but it had more dynamic thump. It's more in your face and less groove oriented like yours, so that makes sense. I just listened to Aja to make sure my sub was set properly and to sort of calibrate my hearing to a known reference.
     
  5. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    OK I understand now...
     
  6. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    I'd like to hear some other perspectives to balance against mine.
     
  7. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    It's better for sure to my ears but vocals and e-piano and organ are all still too low & mid heavy and competing with the bass (and each other). There's still a uniformity to the instrument volumes that make everything (a lot of things) in the mix sit on the same plane. I think you could work on that (and finding a reference mix would be a really good idea to work on this aspect with.) But I did like this better than the first for sure.

    As for the rap part - two problems with this as an experiment in genre for you. Your flow is very generic and both the flow and the vocal interplay are reminiscent of Blondie's "Rapture" and that's not a good thing. It was OK for Blondie in 1980 - but this is 2020... this really dates your rap and creates a disparity in the track between your rather sophisticated arrangement/production and the rap.

    Second issue with the rap is the diction/accent -- basically you are mimicking an accent in the same way guys who sing reggae imitate a Rasta/Jamaican patois. Now there are some white guys that can pull that off - but it takes living it and being it to get any form of authenticity.... but it's clearly a characterization here and that really again makes is less than the rest of the track aspires to be. In this current age or reckoning with respect to race and stuff like appropriation, this can be a tricky mine field to be wading into.

    I'm not a big Hip Hop guy -- but I'd recommend listening to the series "Hip Hop Evolution" on Netflix -- Hip Hop has a very specific vocabulary and regional sub-genres and styles with their own grammar and stylistics..... I think you'd be better off doing some deep diving into a specific genre and getting a feel or understanding for that - then try a track that is itself more in line with that genre than this one.
     
  8. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    @DogsoverLava - Thanks for taking the time to listen and review.

    By the same plane do you mean the same volume or the same spatial position? I kind of wanted a flattish dry background to the Vocals, as they feature so highly in it.

    I'm generally satisfied with the delivery of the rap, it's consistent with English white guys singing, I think the characterization comes from the fact that my delivery has an edge/purpose to it, I wanted some anger to come across, it was indeed genuine, when tracking I honestly felt totally drawn into the meaning of the lyrics, as they are semi autobiographical. Since rock n roll began We never sing "Darnce", it's always been "Dance" I take it as a compliment that I can put off a Classic Rap over a contemporary vibe.

    I'll consider your other comments and make a decision whether to make any further changes to it.
     
  9. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Home Page:
    It's a bit of both -- there's Left right in a stereo mix but there's also up down & forward back -- think of a mix in 3 dimensions. This mix is still very 2D to my ears - the experience of the mix. too many of the elements are carrying or competing for the same frequencies and stuff is uniformly loud across the mix -- at least to my ears - burdening it with unnecessary mass/weight. I'm trying to describe it in organic terms as opposed to technical terms.

    I'm just one guy though and my expertise is limited (there are guys here with years and years more experience on the tech side - guys I'm learning from too). But I still think you need to selectively carve out frequencies from all your mix elements and possibly limit how much processing you are applying to common buses -- basically free the mix from all the weight & reserve your mastering for mastering on the 2 bus alone. I think others are hearing this too - maybe just not as specifically as I am. guys? (this is how I learn too).

    I'll keep my criticism focused on the mix from now on as you are happy with the rest so that's cool. And thanks for posting this for sure - it's how we all learn.
     
  10. stevie_m

    stevie_m Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    OP,

    Really solid rap and flow and the overall synth groove is really smooth and catchy. The opening vocal intro sounds like something Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle would do. The vocal performance is great. It's a straight forward oldschool early 80s throwback rhyme scheme - which is totally cool. You have enough subtle variations going on to hold the listener. Structurally the song is sound. I do agree with DogsoverLava that there is a kind of 2D-ness to the track. It is not egregious, but it sounds as though it's being lo-passed or high end being EQ'd out on the master. The frequencies are all fitting together just fine to my ears, the mix - particularly the vocals - sound slightly muffled as if being lo-passed. The vocal singing switchup at 3:15 is a cool twist!
     
  11. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    @stevie_m - thanks for taking the time to listen Stevie, i appreciate the precision of your comments, I can certainly work with your comments.

    i may (or may not) have put a bax on the 2buss, How did you listen to it? Cans, speakers?
     
  12. cowparsleyman

    cowparsleyman Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    ...just thought I'd let you know this song has been accepted to the VIP Soundcloud playlist...not sure what that will bring...Can anyone share their experience of this? I guess not much will come of it...
     
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice