Mark Batson is as qualified as mortal man to discuss the parameters of music producing.
As one of the primary reasons behind award-winning albums from the likes of Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band, Seal and Eminem, he has also racked up platinum plaques and even scored films (most recently, the Oscar-nominated American Hustle in 2013.)
Batson, like the rest of the world, is currently analyzing the Straight Outta Compton fever gripping the world and his most glaring omission in the film is not of Dr. Dre’s personal life but of his professional accomplishments.
In a new editorial with HipHopDX, Batson breaks down why even a man as heralded as Dr. Dre could still be considered “slept-on.”
The difference between Dr. Dre and most producers is that when most producers get to a level where they feel they have the songs strong enough, they then bring in top level Grammy award-winning mixing engineers like Manny Maroquin, Serban Ghenea and Jimmy Douglass to fine tune the sonics and perfect them. Most successful hit producers are usually known to be paired with a world renowned sonic genius who has studied electronics and the use of probably either the Neve or SSL consoles who will then take the music and fine tune the frequencies in order to maximize the sonic experience. These mixers are well studied and learned persons who have mastered and perfected the art of combining science and math with audio technology on the same level as a person who has mastered any other complex scientific machinery that is extremely difficult to operate and requires a highly proficient level most often associated with technical geniuses.
Take a look at an SSL console. You’ve probably seen them in pictures and have always stopped to think, “How do they use that thing? How do they operate all of the levers and buttons?” As a music producer, I will guarantee you that most of the people you’ve probably seen sitting in front of these consoles in a picture have no idea how to operate them proficiently either.
While watching Straight Outta Compton, one of the interesting things to note is not only “Boyz In The Hood,” a great and timeless recording of Eazy-E that soulfully captures a bit of LA inner city history, but it’s also a recording so sonically proficient that 30 years later it stands up well next to anything recorded and on the radio today. This anomaly is the case of all of Dre’s most well know records. Let’s get to the reason why.
Many of Dre’s most famous recordings not only begin with him programming the first kick and snare drum, but they also end with him mixing the records with a scientific and sonic mastery created by his own two hands. Dre is not only the producer of the song and a writer of his music but is also the engineer who has mixed all of the recordings that he has released. There is no other scientific genius brought in to enhance his sounds or “man behind the curtain,” because he is that scientific technical genius.
Read the rest of Mark Batson’s article over at HipHopDX.
Photo: Jody Cortes/WENN