"Lesson 6: The Lecture" is an old school hip hop
epic by the Los Angeles DJ Cut Chemist
, a member of Jurassic 5
. Built up over several years from a stunning array of samples
and beats, it's a celebration of the positivity
of early hip hop
, and fits in perfectly with the J5 ethos. It's also forward-looking; as the DJ himself puts it, "It represents a utopian
future of hip hop culture, where there's complete open-mindedness as opposed to narrow-minded formulas."
The thing that immediately draws you in is the surreal humour of the samples, many of which have the "Where the hell did he get that?!" quality which marks out great sampling. Some concern music and DJing - "Any physical difficulty with a record or a turntable is taken care of" - while others appear to have been drawn from real chemistry lectures (not the kind of thing you expect to hear in hip hop), and some are just plain bizarre. Certainly the cut-and-paste DJing style, and the numerous chemistry samples, justify the name "Cut Chemist".
"Lesson 6" follows the earlier "Lesson 4", another tribute to DJing. There was apparently supposed to be a "Lesson 5", but as Cut Chemist explains, "I did '6' before '5' because I thought there was a dire need for it to happen now." The track appears in slightly different versions on the Deep Concentration compilation and Jurassic 5's eponymous EP and LP.
Here's a breakdown of what happens in the J5 mix:
Sampled voice: OK, let's begin.
Over a scratchy, minimalist loop, another sampled voice explains the following terms:
Compound: A substance composed of two or more elements chemically combined in definite proportions by weight.
Mixture: Two or more substances that are not chemically united, such as air.
Solution: A uniform mixture, of varying proportions, of a solvent and a solute. (echo)
Drum machine kicks in.
For many of our students, this is the lesson you've been waiting for. Lesson... copious scratching ...six. More scratching.
Different voice: Left channel... right channel...
Drums stop. Chemistry lecturer returns.
Hydrogen, H, +1.
Sodium, Na, +1.
Magnesium, Mg, +2.
Aluminum, Al, +3.
Potassium, K, +1.
Calcium, Ca, +2.
Chromium, Cr, +2, 3, 6.
Drums return. There is some scratching, and what sounds like a man humming a silly tune. Then a voice says, with some more scratching: Any physical difficulty with a record, or a turntable, is taken care of.
There is some scratching of the percussion sounds, then another voice: Do you think that Led Zeppelin and Frank Sinatra would go together?
The music suddenly cuts out. A voice replies: Edit. No. Combinations of music.
The music starts again, with the drum machine and a flute loop (this is J5 after all). Then there is a voice saying: You are about to play a soul, 45 rpm recording. But the turntable is set at 33 and a third, and the record plays very slowly.
Some slow percussion plays, and there is the rumbling sound of a voice being played much too slowly. "Let's pick up the tempo a bit, eh?" A faster drum pattern is added.
"Now let us imagine that you are in the middle of your disk jockey program." (Echo). Another drum pattern. "This is the mark of a professional." There are some samples of a guitar, then a different voice saying: "Yeah, if you could throw in a couple of, yeah...(slurred)...right when he's playing the drum, you know, let him play a couple of beats alone, yeah."
There is some experimentation with different drum patterns, then some notes playing and an extremely slowed-down sample of "And the record plays very slowly".
The music cuts out. "Oh I'm sorry, I had the turntable at the wrong speed." The drums return, with lots of rhythmic scratching. Then there is an echoed sample of a voice saying "Listen!" Then, over a completely different backdrop that appears to have been taken from jazz, a voice says: "Scratching - the greatest thing on Earth."
The music cuts out again, except for the drums. Twice, a voice says: "What do you do?" There is then some more experimenting with drum patterns, and samples of people shouting, and someone saying "Drop".
The original loop from the chemistry at the beginning of the track returns. The lecturer explains:
Chemical change: A change that alters the composition of the molecules of a substance. New substances with new properties are produced. (Echo)
From now until your next lesson we want you to study carefully every section of Lesson (different voice) 6, and to go back over Lesson (different voice) 4. Practice carefully, and you will be ready for the new techniques, and new situations, we will cover together in Lesson (different voice) 5. (echo)