4D - The Michigan Daily - New Student Editon 2006
Songs in the key of Bei:
Student producer wows
By Anthony Baber
Daily Arts Writer
In modern hip hop, the pro-
ducers, long thought of as the
stoic guys behind the mixing
board, quietly arranging mel-
odies, are quickly becoming
just as famous as the lyricists.
Artists go looking for specific
producers because simply hav-
ing Kanye West, The Neptunes
or Just Blaze attached to a song
can thrust the track immedi-
ately into heavy radio play.
Joining the pack is LSA sopho-
more Brandon Green - better
known as Bei Maejor - a Uni-
versity student who's already
producing beats for artists such
as Trey Songz, Jim Jones and
In his dorm room in the Baits
II Residence Hall, he's created
a small studio perfect for craft-
ing his finished arrangements.
On his desk sits his MPC, a
sequencing sampler worksta-
tion and the centerpiece of his
equipment. Above the MPC is a
turntable and against the wall,
a keyboard. These tools, along
with Maejor's own ear and
mind, are crucial elements in
his production process.
Sitting back in his chair, he
recalled his already-impressive
accomplishments in music.
"I did two songs with Lil' Mo
(and) a song with Peedi Crack
on Def Jam. I've been doing a
lot of R&B," Green said.
"I did a song with Chris Brown
that, unfortunately, didn't make
the album. It was real hot, but
I guess the label didn't want
it. They'll probably use it on a
soundtrack or something."
As a music-industry rookie,
Green is rapidly gaining expe-
rience. Working with different
artists, going to different places
and meeting important people
are all at the top of his agenda.
"My first song that came out
on a major label, for Trey Songz
last summer, 'Ur Behind,' was
one of my favorite songs," he
explained. "Not only did it get
the most coverage, but I got to
go to L.A. to work in the stu-
dio, so that's the most excited
Signed to industry giant
Atlantic, Green is able to work
with other Atlantic artists such
as Twista and Trey Songz.
"I'm saving a lot of my best
stuff for Trey Songz; he's one
of my favorite artists. We first
started working together and
we're on the same label. (His
album is) gonna be hot."
The feeling is mutual: In the
current issue of Vibe magazine,
Trey Songz lists Bei Maejor as
one of his favorite producers to
Green's stunning level of vis-
ibility at such a young age is the
result of a lot of hard work, tal-
ent and inspiration from some
of his favorite producers.
"J Dilla, who recently died,
Just Blaze, The Neptunes and
Troy Taylor, an R&B producer
... Those are the main people
who have influenced my style,"
One of his most recent cre-
ations is featured on Bun-B's
"I produced a song on there
featuring Mike Jones, Birdman
and Trey Songz, called 'Hold
U Down,' " he said. "It's set to
be the next single, but I don't
know when they're recording
the video. The song has been
doing well and moving up the
charts all over the country from
requests by people who just
have heard it."
Though Maejor is a ris-
ing star in the music industry,
he still thinks of himself just
another University student.
"I consider myself Brandon
Green most of the time. I can't
just call myself Brandon Green,
that's a terrible name," he said
with a chuckle. "It's not catchy
at all, not exciting. But there's
really not a difference, I'm
always Brandon Green, but I
give somebody a beat I say, 'Yo,
I'm Bei Maejor."'
- This article originally Hot producer Bel Maejor - also known as LSA sophomore Brandon Green - flips through old LPs in his Baits 11
ran Feb. 23, 2006. dorm room and recording studio.
NomoDeri carries torch ofDeri spirit
By Lloyd Cargo
Daily Music Editor
In the early 1970s, Detroit was at somewhat of a cul-
tural and economic crossroads. Motown had left for Los
Angeles, and the Motor City was slowly
reduced to a shell of its former self. But
the heart of the underground jazz scene N 1
remained, and brilliant artists such as New Tones
Marcus Belgrave and Wendell Harrison Ubiquity
stood ground to fill the void, forming
Tribe Records to showcase their deep
jazz and funk roots. Local musicians captured the soul
of a city, printing a progressive magazine and promoting
the message "Music is the healing force of the universe."
Nomo, with their latest, New Tones, continue in that tradi-
tion by evoking the essence of Ann Arbor andcelebrating
the vibrancy of our diverse city.
Formed in 2003, jamming in a Kerrytown basement,
School of Music alumni Nomo shake, rattle and roll
in the spirit of John Coltrane, Fela Kuti and Sly Stone.
The group is the vision of band leader, keyboardist and
saxophonist Elliot Bergman, the heart of an extremely
Nomo is more than the sum of its considerable parts:
Every member is indispensable. Nomo couldn't groove
without percussionists Dan Piccolo and Olman Piedra,
and couldn't wail without trumpeters Ingrid Racine and
Justin Walter, alto sax Dean Moore or baritone sax Dan
Bennett. Norwould the carefully craftedpolyrhythmsbe
complete without the tasteful guitar of Erik Hall
See NOMO, Page :OD
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By Kimberly Chou
Daily Arts Writer
Prince is aJehovah's Witness.
Or so he says.
Surethe days of " "
assless jumpsuits Prince
and buxom 3121
proteges are gone. NPG/Universal
But if Prince keeps
coming up with
such lascivious tracks as the moan-
inducing "Black Sweat;' the artist
formerly (and once again on his
newest release 3121) known asa sexy
motherfucker just isn't convincing as
a socially conservative Christian.
"You can act hard if you want to
/ This groove will make you sweet,'
Prince demurs over a rattling pattern
of handclaps on "Black Sweat."
"You'll be screaming like a white
lady / When I count to three." And
that high-pitched, melodic whine
cutting through the rhythmic din?
Even the studio's mixing board is
having an orgasm.
2004's Musicology might have
been Prince's comeback album,
following a surprise Grammy
performance and a Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame induction. The release
garnered a couple Grammy nods,
and Prince had his chance to wax
both politically and spiritually on
the record, but it left something to be
desired for fans desperately holding
on to their Purple Rain LPs.
During the last three decades,
Prince has proven his various talents
as an artist: He's an adroit songwriter,
an underrated producer and multi-
instrumentalist. For the most part -
save for that god-awful period in the
'90s - his notorious perfectionism
has served him well.
While Prince is more than capable
when it comes to subtle love ballads,
there's a reason why he's known for
libido-driven funk jams. Personified,
Prince's catalogue would be one
"Shh - this suit may be a three-piece Prada, but I'm still wearing it with
saucy, well-traveled trick, mixing revamp what works well.
essential influences likeJamestBrown But once in a while, the listener
and George Clinton with androgyny is reminded why Prince fell off the
and sexual promiscuity. charts for most of the last decade:
But on 3121, Prince gets spiritual. overindulgent balladry and wholly
He gets political. And then he croons, unnecessary rap passages. "Incense
"Girl ... Eye'm gonna seek this thing and Candles" combines both.
like a buried treasure." Goddamn. Absolutely, there are signs of
It's a game of subtlety and Prince's evolving spirituality. A
innuendo; the man doesn't need to number of 3121 song titles could
be as explicit as he used to be (see: be strung together for a sermon:
"Pussy Control" on 1995's Gold "Beautiful, Loved and Blessed;'
Experience). On "Satisfied;' a silken "Love,'"'The Word." It's a precarious
Prince vocal wraps itself around old- balance between earthly and heavenly
school soul horns. It'd be a fitting love, if you want to getphilosophical.
opener for a late-'50s Sam Cooke On 3121, Prince gets closer to
concert, save for Prince's demand reconciling his higher love with the
that his lady send her company home basic love of getting freaky.
and turn off her cell phone. Maybe Prince will pull an Al
The title track isn't the apocalyptic Green one day, disappearing from
deadline of "1999;' but it's still a secular pop to create gospel music.
spacey invitation to party. Prince Maybe he'll lose the gloss and go
teases his vocals, tweaks his falsetto back to thinly veiled raunch. But for
and slows down the digitized tenor now, this current Princely evolution
melody, effectively singing two-part - finally a return to quality jams,
harmony and backup on his own. "going down like the Wall of Berlin."
The tight pop structure of classic - should be savored.
Prince shows up as well on "The
Fury" and "Lolita;' with layers of ***
bright synthesizer and tart keys. It's
not so much he's ran out of ideas, - This article originally
but rather he's finding new ways to ran Apr. 19, 2006.