Hip-hop has many legendary producers from the old school. Whether it’s Dr Dre or DJ Premier, there is a multitude of names that have acquired legendary status over the years. However, some beatmakers, such as Araab Muzik are overlooked despite what they have contributed to the culture.
The majority of producers that had their heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s are well-known and highly respected. This includes the likes of Dr Dre, Scott Storch, Swizz Beatz and J Dilla. However, these legends who influenced the sonics of hip-hop in the early 2000s would also influence a new generation of producers. These individuals are now in control of the landscape of hip-hop.
Different regions of the US have, in the past, produced very different sounds. These sounds had an influence on emerging producers. Los Angeles has always had much slower, more chilled-out, and funkier sonics. As such, it went on to birth producers such as Flying Lotus and Cardo. On the other hand, the East Coast has always had a more brash sound that gave way to producers such as 88-Keys and, of course, Araab Muzik.
Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, Araab Muzik (real name Abraham Orellana) contributed greatly to the shifting of hip-hop sonics in the 2000s and 2010s. Brought up in a musical household, Orellana’s mother was a professional singer and was encouraged to learn the keyboard from a young age.
With a musical background and a love for hip-hop living in America’s North East not too far from New York, Orellana began making beats on an MPC he bought in 2005. By 2006, aged 17, the teenager began to gain traction locally and then regionally in the North East, getting noticed by Diplomat Records, the record label of New york crew Dipset.
Araab Muzik produced tracks for the Diplomats and its members for their solo projects. Songs produced by Araab Muzik for Dipset include Jim Jones’ track ‘Salute’. However, Dipset needed to have the producer all to themselves, and Araab music became the go-to producer in New York and was one of the most sought-after young producers in the city after Swizz Beatz.
Araab Muzik produced ‘1,2,3’ by Lloyd Banks, ‘How I Fly’ by Styles P and and ‘Get Em Girls’ by Cam’Ron. But even when the 2000s artists began to fade, and the new generation of New York talent was coming to the forefront, Araab Muzik was still the new generation’s go-to. Araab Muzik provided what some would call New York’s grittier, busier and more aggressive answer to trap music. Atlanta trap music has always been fairly sparse in its production, whereas Araab Muzik’s beats have always been a bit more interesting.
With so many amazing beats in this article, we’re going to pick out his five best beats of all time.
The five best Araab Muzik beats of all time:
5. ‘I Can Show You’ – Araab Muzik
This one has never been vocalled but was released by Orellana on his solo project For Professional Use Only. The track is so good it doesn’t even need any vocals on it for the instrumental to make the top five. With its jazz-infused beat, it is truly one-of-a-kind.
A fast-paced yet progressive trumpet frenzy, it’s questionable whether there is an artist who could handle such a rapid arrangement of a beat. Regardless of whether it has been vocalled or not, it is a hypnotic piece of music, that is for sure.
4. ‘Ice Princess’ – Azealia Banks
This beat, produced by Araab Muzik, is a trap rendition of ‘In the Air’ by Morgan Page. One of Orellana’s more sparse beats, the instrumental of ‘Ice Princess’ performed by Azealia Banks, is interesting in that it still includes the EDM chorus segment with its four-on-the-floor drum beat.
This very much creates a sense of being up and then getting grounded again. A good job by Araab on this one.
3. ‘1, 2, 3 Grind’- Lloyd Banks
An amazing beat that Lloyd Banks most definitely did justice. From The Cold Corner 2 mixtape, ‘1, 2, 3 Grind’ is an eerie piano beat that suits Banks’ tone and style of rapping perfectly. It is one of the producer’s favourite instrumentals and, as a result, was released alongside his other favourites on his compilation album Instrumental University.
2. ‘Salute’ – Jim Jones
Another gritty instrumental, ‘Salute’ has an unexplainable, detuned, off-kilter appeal where you feel as if you’re not supposed to like it, but the track’s audacious and edgy sonics cause you to love it. The could almost fall into the category of experimental.
The 2000s, for everything amazing that it provided, did lack a sense of experimentation. Scott Storch and his violin progressions were amazing, yet in comparison to ‘Salute,’ they seem too clinical. ‘Salute’ by Jim Jones was a fairly good track. However, yet again, it feels as if the instrumental fell into the wrong hands. Azealia Banks did a much better job with her 2012 cover and, unlike jones, did the beat justice.
1. ‘Y.N.R.E’ – A$AP Mob
A potentially controversial pick considering all the beats that Orellana has produced over the years, but from watching the footage of A$AP Rocky reacting to this instrumental, anyone could tell that it is an extremely hard track.
Used by A$AP Twelvvy for his 2012 single ‘Y.N.R.E’, the beat is so extraordinary that having the vocals on it actually ruins the track. One feels as if the vocals mask the true beauty of the song, which is it’s instrumental. The track appears on Lords Never Worry, the 2012 A$AP Mob mixtape. Below you can hear the instrumental as well as watch A$AP Rocky react to the beat in his studio session with Araab Muzik.