Happy 50th Birthday Hip Hop!

Basement Boogie 45 signed copy

From the first time hearing Newcleus’ “Jam On It,” I was hooked on Hip Hop music. From the beats to the larger-than-life stories, this music offered an escape from every day realities while it kept you rooted in reality at the same time. Like many hip-hop heads who grew up in and with the culture, I tried my hand at each of the elements at different times (graffiti, DJing, B-Boying, & Emceeing,). I love and respect each of the elements, yet the one I settled on or that fit the most for me aside from DJing was emceeing.
I’ve been a part of different crews over the years (shout out to Future Shock & Tunnel Rats) and have been able to work with some of my favorites one of them being Ras Kass on my song “Basement Boogie”.

For the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop, I’m offering a super limited amount of signed (by me) copies of my song “Bassment Boogie” feat Ras Kass from my Dark Room EP on 7″ vinyl here!

Exploring the EQ Feature In Koala Sampler

view of Koala Sampler's EQ window

Equalization is a fundamental tool in music production that allows you to shape the tonal balance of your sound, and Koala Sampler’s new 3-band EQ feature makes it easy to achieve great sounding results.

In this blog, we’ll explore five EQ tips using the new EQ feature in Koala Sampler to help you master your sound

1. Understand the Frequency Spectrum.

Before diving into the EQ feature in Koala Sampler, we have to start with the basics. Understanding the frequency spectrum is important because it will help you identify and address frequency imbalances and help you shape your sound. An example of a frequency imbalance is when you listen to a track in your car but can’t make out the lyrics because the low end is drowning out everything else. The frequency spectrum is the range of frequencies that can be heard by the human ear, typically ranging from 20 Hz (low frequencies) to 20,000 Hz (high frequencies). Different elements in your mix, such as drums, vocals, and synths, occupy different frequency ranges.

2. Use High-Pass and Low-Pass Filters.

High-pass and low-pass filters are essential tools in EQing, and Koala Sampler’s new EQ feature makes it easy to implement them. High-pass filters allow higher frequencies to pass through while attenuating lower frequencies, making them useful for cleaning up low-end rumble or unwanted low-frequency content. Low-pass filters do the opposite, allowing lower frequencies to pass through while attenuating (turning down) higher frequencies, making them ideal for taming harsh highs or reducing unwanted noise. Experiment with high-pass and low-pass filters in Koala Sampler’s EQ feature to clean up your mix and achieve a more balanced sound.

3. Address Frequency Clashes

In a mix, different elements can compete for the same frequency range, resulting in frequency clashes that can muddy up your sound. Koala Sampler’s EQ feature allows you to identify and address these frequency clashes easily. For example, if your kick drum and bassline are both prominent in the low-frequency range, they may clash and result in a muddy mix. (This means you would lose definition between the individual instrument sounds). By using the EQ feature in Koala Sampler, you can identify the dominant frequencies of each element and make precise cuts or boosts to create separation and clarity between them.

4. Use Parametric EQ for Precision.

First of all, what does “Parametric EQ” even mean? Parametric equalization is basically a filter for audio that allows for continuous control of frequency content. In Koala Sampler’s case, you have the control over 3 frequency bands or ranges: low, mid, and high. Parametric EQs typically have controls for frequency, gain, and bandwidth (or “Q”). Koala Sampler’s 3 band parametric EQ allows you to make precise adjustments to specific frequencies.

Afrobeat sample being EQ’d while playing

Use these controls in Koala Sampler by tapping your fingers on the screen above the frequency points to target specific frequency ranges and make subtle or drastic adjustments to shape the tonal balance of your sound.

4. Trust Your Ears and Experiment.

While technical knowledge and tools like Koala Sampler’s EQ feature are essential, it’s also important to trust your ears and experiment. Every mix is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different EQ settings in Koala Sampler, and use your ears to guide your decisions. Train your ears by listening to different reference tracks, and compare your mix to them to identify any tonal imbalances or areas that need improvement.

In conclusion, Koala Sampler’s new EQ feature is a powerful tool that can help you achieve professional-sounding results in your mobile music production. By understanding the frequency spectrum, using high-pass and low-pass filters, addressing frequency clashes, using parametric EQ for precision, and trusting your ears and experimenting, you can master your sound and create a polished mix.

As per usual, here’s a beat that showcases some of these EQ tips
put into practice.

Happy EQing!

Creating beat Tags in Koala Sampler

Creating producer beat tags in Koala Sampler

Creating Beat Tags in Koala Sampler

Whether submitting tracks for placements with artists or competing in beat battles, you definitely want to have personalized beat tags that will make your music memorable and stand out.  In this blog, I’ll walk you through the steps to create your own beat tag using a couple iconic vocal samples in Koala Sampler. 

You can sample from a few sources using Koala Sampler. You can RECORD FROM MIC, RESAMPLE FROM APP or IMPORT FILE. The options listed are capitalized for clarity and because this is how the interface looks in Koala Sampler.

Step 1: Import the samples

First, we need to import the Brother Ali and LL Cool J vocal samples into Koala Sampler. 

Today we’re choosing to IMPORT VIDEO from a video screen recording of The Travelers podcast where Brother Ali interviewed Oddisee (one of the best producer emcees). Here’s how you import the video: 

In the hamburger icon on the top right of the interface, select IMPORT VIDEO and you can import the audio from any video you’ve screen recorded. 

Brother Ali speaks on humanity, life and purpose. He says my name: ‘sojourn’.

Another from LL Cool J where he disses emcees who rely on the simple ABC style from 1989’s “It Get’s No Rougher” from his Walking With A Panther album. You’ll see / hear where this is going momentarily.

Vocal sample of LL Cool J ‘s “It Get’s No Rougher”

Step 2: Choose a section to use

The song we’re sampling has a ton of great vocal snippets to choose from, but we recommend finding a section that’s short and catchy. For example the one I’m choosing is the very beginning where he goes through the alphabet. 

The idea is to chop the individual parts where he says the letters that spell out my name: “the S” – “the O” – “the J” – “the O”- “the U” – “the R” – “the N”.  Choose a section that you like and make note of the time stamp. 

Step 3: Edit the samples

Once you’ve chosen a section to use, tap EDIT in Koala Sampler to edit the sample. Use the start and end point markers to select the exact snippet you want to use for your beat tag. You can also adjust the pitch, panning, and volume of the sample to fit your production style. In addition to this you can time stretch and now even EQ the sample.

Step 4: Add effects

Now it’s time to add some effects to make your beat tag stand out. Koala Sampler has a variety of built-in effects like reverb, tempo delay, and distortion that you can use to give your sample some character. I recommend experimenting with different effects to find the perfect combination for your beat tag.

Step 5: Save and export

Once you’re happy with your beat tag, give it a name and save it in Koala Sampler. In The SAMPLE tab, simply tap the EDIT option and under the TOOLS button, select LABEL and edit the pad label. Lastly save the samples and song. You can also export either the sample itself as a wav file, all samples, the current sequence, or all of the sequences. You’ll also have the opportunity to name the individual sample when you go to export it. You can also share the entire song if you are continuing to work on it, either on another device or in your DAW on your computer. 

Congratulations, you’ve just created a custom beat tag using a vocal sample from LL Cool J’s “It Gets No Rougher” and Brother Ali’s the Traveler’s Podcast. With some creativity and the right tools, you can make your productions stand out and leave a lasting impression on your listeners. Get to chopping!  Here’s an example of how it’s done.

Sojourn: “Spell it out”

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How-To‘s for Mobile Music Production: Koala Sampler Cuts and Scratches

If you’re looking for an easy way to produce music and get your ideas out quickly, Koala Sampler is a great tool to use. You can even replicate the sounds of cuts and scratches. All on the app. Read on to find out how it’s done.

Here’s how I replicated cutting and scratching with Koala Sampler:

  1. Sample the sound (whether via YouTube, interface, or screen-recorded video)
  2. In the SAMPLE tab, Tap EDIT and deselect ONE SHOT
  3. Adjust the start and end points of your sample as desired.
  4. While in the SAMPLE tab, Tap the edited pads with your selected sound on them and use the other hand or finger(s) to move the PITCH knob up and down while tapping the pads.
  5. Copy the same sample and add it to two pads by clicking and dragging the sample to the pad beneath it.
  6. Keep tapping the pad while manipulating the pitch until it sounds like cuts.
Screen recording of my beat tag using KRS ONE’s voice where he says “Sojourn” from the song “Ah Yeah!”

Here’s another example sourced from The Jungle Brothers’ Afrika Baby Bam on Straight out The Jungle: “…in the J-u-n-g-l-e!”

This vocal sample ended up being one of the main parts used for the scratch hook / refrain in my Jungle Flip beat.
Sojourn’s Jungle Koala flip

This beat was created on an iPhone and iPad, however, Koala Sampler is available in Google Play and the Apple Store. I’d like to give a big shout-out to Marek for developing the app Koala Sampler. Also, to the team of producers and beat makers who make the app what it is!

Lastly, thanks to the entire Koala Sampler Official group specifically Remi for doing the sample flip challenges and Koala Beat cast which inspired my Jungle flip.

*The drum sounds used in this beat are chopped from my Sojourn Plays the Breaks series now available below:*

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