Beats are kind of a funny thing. They carry the music-heavy part of hip-hop, can make or break a song, and are rarely alone. For that reason, instrumental hip-hop’s always intrigued me. It essentially strips away half of hip-hop. I’m not a hip-hop head and have never claimed to be knowledgeable on the subject, so I have to admit to liking instrumental hip-hop because it strips away all the references, wordplay, and lyricism that can go over my head a lot. Instead, you’ve got something that, when done well, you can just bop your head to and feel.
DJ Hetz is a friend of The Reeflex, an artist I posted a few days ago for his ambient-sounding, sample driven “hip-hop.” Hertz isn’t anything like The Reeflex, with funk and Motown-inspired beats that really pop. They may not sound much alike, but I think something must be going on with them–some sort of synergy that’s generating talent down at UF.
In truth, while I might have mentioned Hetz’ work is Motown and Funk inspired, it sounds like there’s a whole lot of other great influences going on in there. This kid’s got some serious range. On his more synth-driven stuff like “when gone,” there’s the feeling of an old-school video game. I don’t mean that disparagingly, it’s catchy, immediate and doesn’t start to grate under repeated loopings, all signs of a great beat. The celebratory mood would make for a great album closer. But then there’s something like “why its,” a somber, piano driven jam that could simultaneously be a sweet send-off to a friend (ala “T.R.O.Y.”) or a cool, slow love jam. Your mood can decide that for you–another great thing about instrumental hip-hop is it’s openness to interpretation. The rap usually determines that for you, so it’s nice to get yourself into a song that way.
My favorite beat of his though has to be “slowly stop,” which truly fits the definition of Motown-inspired. It’s just a great beat to nod your head to and one I doubt many wouldn’t like. In fact, this is the kind of beat I’d hear and then totally disregard the rap over it, so it’s great that it’s just a straight beat here.
Hetz has a ton of work out there and I’ll admit that I simply didn’t have the time to listen to all of it. You can check it all out and download it for free at his soundclick. The tracks don’t seem to be collected in any order, but if you like what’s posted here I’d say just grad as much as you’d like. I recommend it if you need something to work to that’s not invasive but still sounds great.
DJ Hetz – slowly stop , why its , and when gone