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Erykah Badu: Honey | Zeroes and Ones

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The monitor I need to take a look at at this time is Erykah Badu’s 2007 single Honey. It’s produced by ninth Marvel, who has labored with Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Drake, Future’s Youngster, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and blog-favourite Jill Scott, to call however a number of. Honey is taken from Badu’s fourth alum New Amerykah Half One (4th World Warfare), which noticed launch in early 2008.

The video sees Badu recreate quite a few album sleeve paintings together with classics from Eric B. & Rakim, Chaka Khan, Grace Jones, Nas, Funkadelic, Minnie Riperton, Earth, Wind & Hearth, The Ohio Gamers and De La Soul.

Badu had this to say on the monitor:

We selected ‘Honey’ as the only due to its attraction so far as it feels good. It’s a ninth Marvel monitor and ninth Marvel is a wizard in relation to the drums and the bass. It’s a few lover whom I’m chasing by the identify of Slim who I feel is nice, so candy sugar received an extended approach to catch him.

Let’s attempt and get near it utilizing Logic X and some primary plug-ins.

I’m in Love…

The spine of the monitor is a two bar pattern of I’m in Love, written and carried out by Clarence McDonald (of Pretty Day notoriety) with assistance from Fritz Baskett and David Shields and carried out by Nancy Wilson from her album Music On My Thoughts launched Capitol Data in 1978.

Clarence was type sufficient to answer my e mail asking for pointers concerning the composition and recording. Make sure to take a look at what he’s as much as on his web site.

I’ve acquired the pattern at roughly 81.9982 bpm however I feel we’ll work at a pleasant spherical 82 bpm if that’s alright with everybody else?

The backing monitor includes of drums, bass, a number of guitars and piano. Let’s begin off with Logic’s Drummer. I’ve loaded the R&B drummer “Rose” and used the “New Soul” preset.

You possibly can convert this to a MIDI monitor by ctrl + clicking (or proper click on) the newly created area and following Convert > Convert to MIDI area.

I made some small modifications to the kick drum sample, added in a crash cymbal and barely tweaked the high-hat sample to 16ths as an alternative of eighth notes. I’ve additionally tuned the kick and hi-hats up a number of cents and tuned the snare down.

Logic’s Drum Package designer has a dead-posh multi-output setting, permitting us to combine every particular person component of the package individually. Nevertheless judging by the age of this document I’m going to hazard a guess it was made with fewer microphones and will simply work processing the stereo output.

For each monitor on this I’m going so as to add some Waves Kramer HLS Channel strip to simulate the kind of desk which may have been used to trace this.

I’ve added some Vulf Compressor by Goodhertz, utilizing the 2-Bus Glue (Parallel) preset including in some Analog Lo-Fi noise and decreasing the quantity of compression. Then I’ve added some primary Logic EQ to tame the subs and larger frequencies, which wouldn’t be as current in an older soul document. It’s ok for us to maneuver forward with.


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The piano outlines the primary concord. The chords are Eb-7, Eb/F, Db/Gb, Gb/Ab with an Ab/Bb as a passing chord. These are generally known as slash chords and are massively fashionable in soul, funk, R&B and offshoot genres.

After initially scuffling with the chords myself, Clarence helped me out massively with not just one or two of the voicings however the left hand half particularly. I’ve used the sub-tenor clef so we don’t need to cope with too many ledger strains.


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I opted for an additional Native Devices Kontakt sound, this time the New York grand. The sound is sort of dry and skinny so I’ve introduced the interior reverb down and used some Logic EQ to take away some low-mids and increase round 7.5 kHz.

This was nonetheless a bit of too hi-fi so I added some iZotope Vinyl, which can be utilized somewhat like an EQ. Identical to Brexit, set the yr to 1970 and improve the enter achieve somewhat.

Let’s flip our consideration to the bass half. I used to be blessed with the prospect to have a gifted bass participant and good pal of mine David O’Neill to trace the bass for this tutorial. We recorded his Warwick Corvette right into a Dbx 580 preamp and FMR Audio RNC500 ‘Really Nice Compressor’.

Nevertheless in the event you don’t have a prime bassist at your disposal there’s a plethora of excellent bass guitar plug-ins on the market. I’m going to make use of the Scarbee MM-Bass that comes as commonplace with Native Devices Komplete (we will A/B the actual and MIDI bass so that you can examine your self).

N.B Should you don’t have full there’s a unbelievable free model of Kontakt referred to as Kontakt Participant that has a really competent bass guitar patch in it. Failing that the Logic EXS-24 sounds aren’t even that dangerous!

In Scarbee I’ve modified the participant profile to Soul & Funk and FX preset to Previous Faculty. I’ve used a few of Logic’s Bass amp (tweaking the 70’s Strong preset), Waves JJP Bass and LA-style achieve discount utilizing Logic’s inventory compressor.

The important thing to this sound is getting the notice lengths right (one thing I’m a being proponent of is tweaking word lengths to get funkier bass strains) and the slides right – if you will get each of these it’ll sound there or there abouts. Right here’s the MIDI bass:


…And right here’s the actual one for comparability. I’ll use the actual for the resampling on this demo, however as you’ll be able to hear Kontakt does a great job.


Right here’s the notation and tab. The rests and slides are necessary to getting these grooving correctly.

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Right here’s the piano roll, which is simpler for us to see the place the slides are.

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Subsequent, the guitars. I used to be fortunate sufficient to have the superb Martin Case monitor the guitars for this tutorial. He used a Fender Telecaster with an MXR Dyna Comp by means of the identical dbx pre-amp because the bass.

I counted about three guitar elements which doesn’t completely stack up as I’m positive there was simply two guitarists however I’ll comply with my ear.

The primary is an easy single picked line that repeats all through the verses. It’s necessary to take a seat simply behind the beat to get the texture proper.


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To get it to take a seat there’s as little increase round 1 kHz and a dip round 120 Hz with some optical compression from Logic’s primary compressor. It’s fairly pokey so I used to be stunned at how low within the combine I wanted it to get it sitting proper.

The second guitar follows the chords, albeit barely simplified. Under I’ve listed the Db/Gb as a Gb∆7 as harmonically it performs the identical perform and is barely simpler to learn. By this logic the Eb/F could possibly be regarded as an F-9/11 or comparable.

I’ve tweaked Logic’s amp sim a good bit to get an identical sound, choosing the Boutique amp and EQ with a 2×12 cab and dynamic microphone on it. The achieve’s low with the treble cranked somewhat to offer it some chew.

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Equally to the picked guitar I discovered I might hold this actually low within the combine to offer the chords sufficient assault with out overpowering the rhythm part.

Lastly there’s a guitar with muted string and a wah pedal rocking again and forth. Somewhat than utilizing an actual wah pedal I resorted to Logic’s pedalboard and recorded the rocking myself.

Hit cmd + l to arm the MIDI study perform and choosing the pedal’s major motion, transfer a MIDI knob/slider. I set the monitor’s automation mode to “learn” and recorded within the sweeping impact. It’s not good however shut sufficient.


I additionally used some graphic EQ and compression in the identical pedalboard plug-in and completed it off with some extra amp sim, this time the Brownface amp with a four×12 cab and utilizing some EQ to attenuate round 2 kHz.

Under is a video from the recording session of I’m Gonna Let Ya, from the identical album. It provides us a number of clues about how we strategy the combination.

From the video we will see that there was loads of acoustic baffles nevertheless it’s nonetheless tracked in an enormous room, so our reverb ought to mirror this accordingly. I’ve routed all the instrument to a return monitor utilizing Logic’s wonderful convolution reverb Area Designer, utilizing the 1.6 Diffusion Corridor preset.

Subsequent I routed all of the tracks (together with the reverb) to a bus to allow them to be processed collectively. I’ve added somewhat Fielding DSP Reviver for some tasty third order harmonics, Logic EQ, Fairchild-style compression, tape saturation and delicate limiting. Right here it’s:


Honey, Honey, Honey, Honey… Honey!

As said within the introduction, the monitor was produced by ninth Marvel, though possible in collaboration with Erykah herself. Giant elements of the album have been reportedly produced by Badu herself in Storage Band and then recorded elsewhere, so it’s truthful to imagine that elements of this monitor might have been inventory Logic sounds.

The pattern might have been chopped up inside an MPC or comparable drum sampling system or imported straight into DAW-of-choice and flex-timed. Both means… [However it has been pointed out to me that 9th Wonder was a huge fan of FL Studio].

Honey is at 88 bpm. Eager eared listeners of the monitor may discover that not solely is it barely quicker however a semitone greater than the pattern’s unique recording. Ignoring potential routes like interpolation, what I appear most probably is that they time stretched the pattern utilizing a re-pitching algorithm, which means because the pattern will get quicker, it additionally pitches up (and because it slows down, it will pitch down).

I’ve bounced I’m in Love down as a wav file set the flex-time algorithm to Velocity, this makes it behave like an analog format the place by rushing it up would additionally improve the pitch. I’ve modified Logic’s bpm to that of Honey and now the pattern is the right pitch in addition to tempo.


Properly, type of… The outcome is definitely barely sharp, as one semitone up from 82 bpm is 86.876 bpm (I’m not Rain Man, I used this musical calculator to determine that out). Personally I don’t thoughts this barely rub of consonance, so let’s transfer on. I’ve added a high-pass filter and some compression and bit crushing to assist it sit.

We’ll begin by simulating the drums. There’s a very good probability they have been from an MPC of some type, however I’m choosing Logic’s Ultrabeat, tweaking the Boutique SP12 preset. I’ve tuned the kick round E (43.7 Hz) and added a bit distortion to it. Tune the snare and clap down a couple of semitones and deliver the quantity of the closed hi-hat proper down.

Take note of the velocities of the kick and convey the clap simply forward of the beat ever so barely. With a wholesome dose of compression, EQ boosting round 150 Hz, and some Bit Crusher to simulate the MPC-sampling artefacts, we will get shut sufficient:


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The bass is a simplified model of the unique, now in E minor as an alternative of Eb minor. My guess is that it’s some kind of analog subtractive or software program emulation of 1. I’ll use Logic’s ES2 (which I’ll be utilizing all through this for continuity).

I’ve used a sine wave with just a little frequency modulation from oscillator one so as to add in some harmonics. There’s a contact of distortion and low-pass filtering too. Make sure the patch is about to both mono or legato (arduous to listen to with out extra separation) and that’s about it!


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There are two lead strains, let’s begin with the screechier of the 2. This can be a easy sawtooth with some mild resonant low-pass filtering. Use a prolonged decay stage on an envelope to shut the filter. I’ve added in a number of the Analog management so as to add some shimmer and tuned the synth up 30 cents – this truly made it nearer to the unique making me assume my unique assumption concerning the pattern being out of tune was right!


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The sample is fairly easy, it does fig. 1 3 times then fig. 2:

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Determine 1.

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Determine 2.

The second is a squelchy envelope filtered motif. It sounds 30 cents sharp once more, in order that’s the very first thing to do. I’ve used a sawtooth because the dominant tone and a quieter, pulse wave tuned an octave decrease. Run these right into a low-pass filter with a medium quantity of resonance and a bit filter FM to provide it some chew. That is being modulated by an envelope with about 25 ms assault and 200 ms decay.


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To complete off I’ve added a excessive F#four and F#5 on a synth string. Logic’s EXS24 Clean Strings sounded nearly proper to me. This helps fill out the gaps and add some sheen to the combination. That’s it actually. Run every thing right into a bus and compress/EQ to style. I’ve boosted round 6 kHz and dipped at 200 and 800 Hz.


That’s it. I hope this has shone some mild on this incredible monitor. It pales compared to the unique(s) nevertheless it’s been an fascinating replay for me. Please depart any suggestions within the feedback part.

In the event you’ve loved this take a look at some extra I’ve completed: