For more than 20 years, Da Beatminerz helped define a predominant, defiantly Brooklyn, New York sound. With low end bass, heavily filtered samples, and rich sonic textures, the Bushwick-based crew has been sought out by major labels and indie labels alike, making 12″ deep cuts and Rap classics played everyday on radio.
For his new “Learn From The Legends” series, premiering over the next month on Ambrosia For Heads, emerging producer Rodney Hazard checks in with some top New York City sonic craftsmen about their careers, techniques, and various standout records.
To start things off, Rodney heads to Bucktown to visit the Dewgarde House Of Hits. The childhood home of DJ Evil Dee (Ewart C. Dewgarde) and Mr. Walt (Walter V. Dewgarde) is where the pair best known as Da Beatminerz makes their grooves these days. Just off of the Franklin Avenue that colors the lyrics of Black Moon records, this is the back-drop where the brothers would stake their claim in music through quiet and careful dedication.
While Baby Paul, Rich Black, and Chocolate Ty were onetime additions in Da’Minerz, it was Walt and Dee that worked in record stores, before cutting their teeth on Black Moon’s 1993 debut, Enta Da Stage. Working closely with Nervous/Wreck Records, the pair would be the sonic core at the breakout Duck Down Records. In the years since, Walt and Dee have made joints for KRS-One, Naughty By Nature, M.O.P. and Big Daddy Kane.
Speaking in their studio, they discuss how they coupled many of their finest productions with high-powered remixes. Many of those companion B-sides crossed over, challenging and sometimes eclipsing the originals. “We had a vow back then, that whatever record we do, we do a single, and then a remix version,” says Evil Dee, who balanced his duties as a member of Black Moon.
In the video interview, the duo also explain how Smif-n-Wessun’s 20 year-old hit, “Sound Bwoy Bureill” was a mounting project. Initially a beat intended for Heltah Skeltah (as recently revealed), the guys added wind effects, with General Steele contributing another accent in making one of Rap’s finest Dancehall/Hip-Hop fusions.
Also, Evil Dee warns aspiring producers to “avoid the two-track” in pursuit of deep, expansive mixes.
In honor of the meeting, Rodney Hazard presents his mix of Joey Bada$’ “Alowha,” keeping the remix tradition alive:
My production album Victim Volunteer is out March 31st.