Nostalgia OD: M Mac talks about the oldschool, the new school & sampling The Simpsons
Earlier this week, Toronto super producer and SmashMouth Music Group beatsmith M Mac released his Nostalgia ODremix project.
Nostalgia OD includes 10 original M Mac remixes that nod to two of M Mac’s most nostalgic influencers: oldschool hip-hop and The Simpsons. M Mac put his new wave flip on classic tracks from artists including Brandy, OutKast, De La Soul, Busta, and more. Then he threw in a bunch of audio samples from The Simpsons. And the end result is an overdose of nostalgia – Nostalgia OD.
Rather than putting out this project as a nod to either one of the oldschool or the new school, M Mac uses this mix to bridge the gap between the eras. It’s a newschool take on the old school, and an oldschool take on the new school.
Stream the new project via SoundCloud after the jump, and peep our Q&A with M Mac to find out more about how Nostalgia OD came together.
M Mac – Nostalgia OD
“All I’m trying to show is each era – whether it’s 90s, 2000s, [or] present… things really aren’t that different. Maybe nostalgia is a stronger factor to our allegiances to certain eras and artists than we really think.” – M Mac
Q&A: M Mac
HipHopCanada: What does Nostalgia OD represent to you – personally?
M Mac: Nostalgia OD is a few things. It’s what I’d describe [as] the type of entrapping euphoria you get when you’re on a nostalgia trip; going through old memories. Whether it’s triggered by music, personal belongings; usually to the point where you’re just lost in the past for moment. I’d also use it as a descriptor for a lot of things created or recreated for the sole purpose of trying to grab people emotionally – usually – for monetary gain like old TV and movies being rebooted for the third or fourth time around for a cash grab. Or in some cases, where some musicians whole careers are dedicated to reworking older hits into new Frankenstein-esque covers.. interpolations that just reek of the worst kind of pandering….Wait is that what I’m… nah forget it.
HipHopCanada: What do you produce with?
M Mac: I produce using FL Studio and some VSTs, the same way I’ve been doing it these past 11 to 12 years.
HipHopCanada: I feel like this mix is so brilliant because it appeals to all the OG hip-hop heads, as well as the younger kids on the new school kick. It combines the best of the oldschool with your own brand of new school M Mac production. Like… the oldschool is the new school. And the new school is the oldschool.
M Mac: Thank you, and you hit the nail right on the head of the overall scope of this mix. I wanted to showcase the parallels of both old school and new school; Brandy in the style of Kehlani/Arianna Grande or Outkast in the style of K.R.I.T./Kendrick. Some I just wanted to challenge myself to find a line between contemporary styles and keeping portions of what made these songs classics to begin with.
HipHopCanada: How’d the Simpsons samples end up getting involved in all of this?
M Mac: The two constants in my life have been my love for both rap music and the first 10 seasons of The Simpsons. So I decided to combine the two of them since they’re both a pretty big part of past and present into something cool. I’ve always wanted to make myself into a Simpsons character but never had a legit reason to go and commission that until this project.
HipHopCanada: What was the process for putting this project together? And what prompted you to make this a mix?
M Mac: I wanted to do something a little bit different than just “Hey! Here’s another remix project!” So I thought a mix would probably be dope with some samples from the show to transition between each song, with the wealth of possible relevant quotables to pluck from the show it just seems like a no brainer. It took a fair bit of arrangement and digging but I’m really happy how it turned out.
HipHopCanada: How’d these remixes all come together? Were you consciously trying to make a Nostalgia OD project? Or was it just coincidental that you had a bunch of oldschool remixes?
M Mac: It was a bit of both. I didn’t come up the name until I had a few remixes compiled. But I used to make so many remixes back in the day [so] I have this wealth of vocal tracks. I started messing around with some sounds from Aphex Twin’s secret SoundCloud page and I ended up just throwing the Busta Rhymes vocals on it because it just fit so well. And then the ball started rolling on other songs I hadn’t ever done remixes for up to that point. I then just tried to keep the remixes down to songs and artists that had a huge impact on me growing up and first started making music. I also had a few remixes that I swear like every year I made a new iteration of it and then completely forget about it. So the mix ended of giving me an excuse to finalize old remixes I kept on the shelf, as well.
HipHopCanada: Tell me about the first song you ever remixed as a producer?
M Mac: The first song I ever “remixed” – period – was “Super Ugly” by JAY-Z, more because it was the first vocal track I ever downloaded. And I think I downloaded it by mistake, even. I don’t have it anymore, and I knew absolutely nothing about anything when it came to making music but it was the coolest thing ever to me at like 14-years-old.
HipHopCanada: Which artists do you get most nostalgic about? And which artists were most influential during your come-up?
M Mac: Artists that I get nostalgic over are guys like Nas, Jay, Kool G Rap, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Little Brother, DOOM. Early on in beatmaking were guys like Kanye, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, 9th Wonder, Danger Mouse, Just Blaze, J Dilla, and the list gets bigger from there..
HipHopCanada: I love how this wan’t just all trap remixes of ’90s songs; you also incorporated a lot of ambient chill and new wave elements. I think a lot of hip-hop fans mistakingly associate the “new wave” of hip-hop with “trap” and bangers. But a lot of the compositions we’re hearing in rap right now aren’t all about snapping drumlines and turning up.
M Mac: I mean… you look at the top selling rappers right now: Drake, Kendrick, Cole… These guys know the importance of versatility and keeping the balance between brining new and exciting elements and learning lessons from the greats of previous generations; both what to do and what not to do. I think with how big the audience listening to rap has gotten in even just the past ten years and how easily accessible music is now, there’s room for every style at the table. This mix I tried to blur the lines between generations, more as a proof of concept rather than outdoing previous versions but there’s always some that tend to get stuck in this mindset that their eras were the best and untouchable. Meanwhile 2015 was likely one of, if not the best year in the genre’s short history to be a fan. All I’m trying to show is each era – whether it’s 90s, 2000s, [or] present… things really aren’t that different. Maybe nostalgia is a stronger factor to our allegiances to certain eras and artists than we really think.
Interview conducted by Sarah Jay for HipHopCanada