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Black Dynamite: The Importance of Adrian Younge's Contributions To Hip-Hop

Younge is a much needed guardian of analog in an all-digital era.
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You may not immediately be familiar with Adrian Younge’s name, but I guarantee you’re familiar with his work. The LA-bred producer and multi-instrumentalist has been making fantastic music for the better part of 15 years, yet he first caught the attention of many in 2009, when he scored the brilliant blaxploitation parody Black Dynamite.

Of course, being a blaxploitation film, the music recreated the soul and funk sounds of the 1970s, but the way Younge went about creating the music is arguably the most impressive part.

Younge played every instrument and wrote every lyric for all but three tracks, in addition to recording the entire score on vintage analog equipment that would later be digitally transferred. That kind of loyalty to the glory days of music production is not only rare in today’s music scene, it’s also a large part of the appeal of Younge’s music.

Since Black Dynamite, Younge has worked with Ghostface Killah, Jay Z, PRhyme (the majority of the samples on PRhyme come from Younge’s catalog), Kendrick Lamar and more, infusing modern mainstream music with the spirit of soul through rich instrumentation and a healthy dose of nostalgia.

Not only has he brought some much needed soul into modern music, he has re-introduced a new generation to many of the greats from generations past. In 2013, Younge produced an entire album with The Delfonics, essentially Tarantino-ing their relevance (after Tarantino himself had already done that in 1997, by featuring their music heavily in Jackie Brown).

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In an era of quick-fire releases and minimalist, digitally-produced beats, Adrian Younge’s work is a shining beacon of hope for those that still long for that warm, fuzzy, vinyl-scratch feeling in their music.

Even with Younge's upcoming electronic album The Electronique Void, everything is made using analog equipment. That patience and attention to detail is exactly what makes both artists and listeners love his work now, like with his upcoming scoring work alongside Ali Shaheed Muhammad on Marvel’s upcoming Netflix series Luke Cage, and what will guarantee him another 15 years of success. 

So get that Marvel money and keep the spirit of soul alive, Adrian! The true music lovers out here appreciate you for it.

***

By Brent Bradley. Unfortunately his Twitter is fully digital. 

Photo Credit: LinearLabs

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