New music from Eminem? Yes, please. While the summer heats up with music from…
- Posted on Nov 17th 2009 3:30PM by Charley Rogulewski
Booking time in Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Studio G with engineer Joel Hamilton, the trio put together a roster of MCs that would add verses to the Keys' signature neo-rock sound including Mos Def, Q-Tip, RZA, Raekwon, Ludacris, Pharoahe Monch, Jim Jones, NOE, Nicole Wray, Billy Danze and even the late Ol' Dirty Bastard.
"Damon Dash signed him before he died and created a whole record that never came out," Auerbach says. "So we were putting together people to come into the studio and he said, 'Well, I got all these Ol' Dirty Bastard songs that never came out. You guys want to hear some?'" Auerbach's answer was obvious. The ODB track on the album, 'Coochie,' also features Ludacris.
It took Auerbach and Carney, who've released seven studio albums together, "a couple of days" to write the music before pulling the MCs into the studio. Once that happened, the BlakRoc album was finished in 11 days. "It just kinda happened," Auerbach says. "They all have their characteristic styles and characteristic sounds so everyone just brought what they did to the table. That's why it's so interesting, because it all worked so well. Nothing was forced. It was just easy."
Missy Elliot protege Nicole Wray can also take credit for moving things along, with Auerbach calling her "the lynchpin" of the project. "We used her like an instrument, like 'Piano won't work, guitar wont work, what about Nicole?' And she was just there hanging out and just ready to improvise," he says.
For the Keys, the collaboration was an adolescent dream come true. "We listen to a lot of straight up hip-hop and lot of old soul records," Auerbach says. One soul group in particular is Memphis heavy funk act Blackrock. "They had a song called 'Yeah Yeah.' I played that song for Damon one night and he just kind of flipped out. I played it for Mos Def and he flipped out," Auerbach says of the instrumental track that essentially provided a backbone to the project. "The idea was that we would do something raw and sorta heavy -- that sort of music with rhyming on top of it." The song would essentially inspire the name of the project. "When we were figuring out what we wanted to call it, we loved the Blackrock track. Us being the Black Keys, Damon had Roc-A-Fella Records -- it was just like 'Let's call it BlakRoc.'"
Even Auerbach "lost his s---" while making the album. With Wu-Tang Clan making the guitarist's top five bands list of all time, watching Raekwon put together his verses blew his mind. "He was sorta what I imagined watching Bob Dylan work in his prime would be like. Raekwon came in, heard the music, got inspired and just sat down and started writing. He wrote like 20 verses, just like that, in 45 minutes. And everything that he says is so visual, such a story. His rhyme schemes are just insane."
'BlakRoc' hits stores Nov. 27.