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"Beats Vol. 1 Review"

Poignant lyrics and a catchy hook are two segments of a track’s musical triad. The fulcrum which balances these two equally important elements is the song’s beat. Listeners desire rhythmical stimulation to be captivated by a song. And who better to captivate audience than Oakland producer B. Durazzo. Durazzo uses a combination of synths, deep bass grooves, and samples from a variety of music to entertain the masses. His latest beat tape, “Beats Vol. 1” is 16 banging, neck snapping beats bang in the car or freestyle to.

Durazzo garners the listener’s attention from the beginning with “Singularity”, an up-tempo infectious Pete Rock inspired string and bass groove. The open and closed hi-hat sequences set the pace for the high octane production. About midway through the song melodious horns invade the track; giving the track a fresh and pleasant sound. The star of the song is a prominent snare drum. The driving instrument hits like a gunshot and commands unyielding attention. Durazzo blends these sounds nicely and showcases his determination to make quality music. Perhaps one of the most intriguing tracks on the beat tape is “buried Beneath the Grapevine”. Soul and Classical music are juxtaposed in an enjoyable clamoring way on this mid-tempo banger. Chopped harpsichord notes are layered over a filtered staccato break beat. Towering horns and soothing strings appear in alternating sequences and add a nice flair to the infectious rhythm. This J-Dilla like production proves why Durazzo is destined for greatness. Other commanding songs are the Joe Tex inspired “Monkey Bars” and the MPC driven “Clockwork”.

B. Durazzo’s energetic sound features elements from a variety of periods in music. His choice combination of synths, basslines and samples are catchy and will rhythmically stimulate the auditory senses of the audience. Beats Vol. 1 is a must have beat tape for avid Hip-Hop heads that can be purchased at the official B. Durazzo webpage. Emcees should take full advantage of copping beats from this up and coming producer who will soon be providing music for some of the industry’s elite.

-The Chemist
Amped Sounds - Amped Sounds

"Beats Vol. 1 Review"

When I first took a look at a video of B.Durazzo playing a beat live on two MPCs, I thought to myself, “Damn, this isn’t just some kid playing around with Fruityloops and a sampler. Dude’s talented.” Over the course of the video, Ben played each machine like it was a part of a larger instrument. This is something which defies the notion that most hip-hop isn’t “real music” because of the lack of live instrumentation involved in the creative process. Sure, The Roots have been playing live instruments for to make their music for years, but the vast majority of people that make hip-hop do not. Even the turntable has been questioned as a legitimate instrument but if you’ve ever watched a DMC level DJ, you can see that there really shouldn’t be much of a question. Is Ben using other people’s music to make his? Yes, but you could argue that any musician does the same through their influences. As they say, “There ain’t nothin’ new under the sun.”

Not only was watching Ben play interesting, but the beat which he composes is pretty ill. The instrumental has a haunting quality reminiscent of RJD2's earlier work and that classic boom-bap feel that really gets your head nodding.

As I listened to each track off of Ben’s album, that reminscence of RJD2 was further reinforced. While he does remind me of RJ’s older work, it’s not in a way that is offensive or “biting” as they call it in hip-hop. Durazzo’s music has an intelligent sound that doesn’t need an emcee to make it interesting. Instead of making his music just a background for another person’s words, each track has a voice of its own. His instrumentals are laden with horns and flutes that carry each track from beginning to end and function to give the album a cohesive feel. The album could use a bit of diversity just to provide a break from the norm but overall, it’s a hella solid effort.

Would I listen to it again? Hell yeah mos def I would. My favorte tracks are probably “Monkey Bars” and “Arsenal”. The drums hit hard as fuck in the intro of “Monkey Bars” and really set the tone for the track. ”Arsenal” just has that quality to it that makes you wanna do something ignorant, like paint graffiti or slap a Wal-Mart greeter. It’s rare to find producers in hip-hop who respect their craft enough to learn the tools of their trade like any other musican would. Unlike most producers, Brandon could even perfom this material live as the process of making it is pretty cool to watch and allows for improvisation. Overall, B.Durazzo has a sound that is well crafted and intelligent. You can listen to Ben’s album and also purchase it HERE.

-Joseph Goral
Sock Monkey Sound - Sock Monkey Sound


Beats Vol. 1
(September 2011)

Beats Vol. 1½
(May 2012)

Beats Vol. 2*
(September 2012)




Benjamin Daniel Durazzo was born on September 1st, 1988 in San Francisco, CA. He grew up playing drums and guitar throughout his teen years, eventually shifting his focus to sampler based hip-hop production after high school.

The beacon of his sound is the AKAI MPC. During live performances, he utilizes two at once: The left hand plays drum patterns while the right hand triggers melodic samples. No loops or backing sequences. Everything is programmed 100% in realtime. A unique approach that sets him apart from every other producer is the industry.

B.DURAZZO tours California frequently with local emcee, Greg Gee and bass player, Alex Riddle. In 2012 alone, they rocked shows with number of renowned hip-hop acts such as Gift of Gab, One Be Lo, Percee P, and members of Crown City Rockers, Living Legends, and Hieroglyphics.