David Axelrod tribute

by Tokyo Cigar

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When i found out David Axelrod had passed away, I was hit with some ill depression. This was a man I considered easily one of my top musical idols. Being a hip hop head I was introduced to him via samples of songs i loved before i even knew who he was. Reading an article in the source about the art of sampling he was given a special section and the way the writer wrote about his compositions I was intrigued and further investigation revealed that i was already in love with the songs that he provided the heavy musical backbone for. The first song i heard that sampled him came from Show and AG from the DITC crew. Other members of the crew would later come out with songs that sampled him ( Fat Joe, Buckwild and most of all Diamond D who Axelrod would honor by partially naming a track after him ).

Hunting down his records with my homie G.C. led us to Songs of innocence and Songs of experience and after plundering numerous samples from the records we would both vibe out and just listen to the records themselves. Axelrod had away of injecting drama and emotion into his songs. Everyone that would be around me as i played his songs would always ask "Who is this?" and when i told them who it was and his contribution to hip hop they would always take it upon themselves to find out more about him. His music was that good.

In this era of "relevance" ( one of the wackest words ever ) few can understand how someone made music that was not only great for his generation but was so timeless that it inspired people damn near 30 years after their creation to make other timeless songs with them. Think about the fact that EVERYONE from Rza, Primo, Dre, Diamond, Madlib, Pete Rock, Showbiz, Q-tip, The Beatminerz, Beatnuts, Diamond D, Buckwild, VIC, Domingo, DJ Shadow and tons of others considered to be the best sample based producers of Hip hops most revered era all went to one man's songs for their joints at one point or another and that puts it into perspective how amazing his music was. Even Swizz Beatz who had a strict no sampling rule used Axelrod for a song he produced for Lil Wayne. Side note: My favorite Axelrod flip of all time came from Diamond D for the "Soul on Ice" remix. That joint is one of the most bone chilling beats i have ever heard in my life and was so incredible that Axelrod himself not only complimented it in an interview but he also ended up working with Ras Kass, who Diamond made the remix for.

I was so saddened by his death that i lost my appetite and couldn't even bring myself to listen to his music. The best way that I know how to deal with tragedy is by making music and I made all 7 of these beats in one day ( "Midnight" was a remake of a beat I made for Kebo a couple of years back and i just redid it for this cause i didn't feel like digging through hundreds of my beats to find one ). Ironically that Day was the birthday of fellow beat making Aquarian J Dilla. ( he was born on Feb. 7th, I was born on Feb. 3rd ) I used the vocal samples from earth rot to kinda narrate creation and death in a metaphorical way, God created the earth and from the earth we came and to the earth we shall all return. The titles reflect the idea of life having different sections like a day. Axelrod had a spiritual religiousness to his music, naming songs "Holy Thursday" and such so I felt this was a fitting tribute to him. After you listen to this PLEASE do yourself a favor and dig up his music and check it out for yourself.

Rest in Peace to David Axelrod and God bless his life.


released February 8, 2017

Produced by Tokyo Cigar



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