Kenny Beats on the Regional Sounds of Hip-Hop | Broken Record (Hosted by Rick Rubin)

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There’s a reason Kenny Beats is one of the great young producers in hip-hop: he does his homework. 

Kenny has a vast understanding of the regional sounds and histories of cities to pull from when making beats for an artist. This allows him to find a common musical language with rappers, which is super important in an art form as hyper-local as rap.

Everything from the popular local dances to the type of crime most prevalent in different cities can inform the sound of a local scene and influences how Kenny might approach making a beat.

Today, we’re kicking off a two-part series of interviews with Kenny Beats. In the one you’re about to hear, which was taped a while back, Kenny maps out the evolution of regional sounds in hip-hop ... drawing parallels between disparate cities.

I should also say that Kenny produced our theme song. He approached it as if he were Rick Rubin in 1985. See if you can guess which Beastie Boys song it’s based on.

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From Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam, and Justin Richmond. The musicians you love talk about their life, inspiration, and craft. Then play.

Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and also established American Recordings. With the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Geto Boys, and Run-DMC, Rick helped popularize hip-hop music.

In 2007, MTV called him “the most important producer of the last 20 years,” and the same year he was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World.

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