betty ford boys – leaders of the brew school

Betty Ford Boys - Leaders Of The Brew School coverWell there you have it. The Cream of drums, the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young of samples, the new supergroup in the field of melodic beats: Betty Ford Boys. Since all three members were featured in the Hi-Hat Club series, and have releases on the Melting Pot Music label, combining their forces to release a group effort was bound to happen.


While the rest of the Beat-scene is trying to produce the hottest Bass track or be the next best thing in Trap by remixing an R&B or Hip-Hop joint, Suff Daddy, Brenk (Sinatra) and Dexter do what they do best: produce the grooviest, smoothest, sophisticated and simply the most bad-ass sample-based beats imaginable. Betty Ford Boys – Leaders Of The Brew School” is the answer to the question: What do you get if you add the quirkyness of Suff to the to the shuffled Brenk beats, and lace it with the jazzy psychedelic touch of Dexter.


The album title is clearly a play on Leaders of the New School, and my interpretation of this is that A) the trio knows damn well that they are currently the top of the instrumental hip-hop beat scene, and B) they just do this for pure fun and the love of the game. The latter is apparent throughout the album: Although all three members have already displayed their savyness in beat-digging on their previous releases, this album contains a lot of throwback samples which are easily recognized. Also, the themes and vocal cuts are taunting, and will probably bring a smile to anyone who’s been into Hip-Hop for the last ten years and over. And lastly there are no featurings, it’s just three guys getting together and making fat beats.


The thing that makes Leaders Of The Brew School stand out from other similar releases becomes very obvious from the first track. This is not just a collection of one-day-beats thrown together as an album, it’s a well-thought team-effort that clearly took a while to perfect. The sampled backdrops of the tracks are not just taken from one track, they’re layered. Basslines are not simply filtered from the sample and boosted, they’re created from scratch and mixed in so smoothly you’ll only notice this fact when it’s being cut out. The added synths are so extensive that on some tracks I’m not even sure there is a sample as backdrop. And most importantly, the album isn’t dripping with a sample-purist vibe. Whatever the technique, whatever the sample, whatever the vocal cut, nothing is left out on behalf of old school principles.


Basically you can divide the album into three types of tracks. Ofcourse the soulful side is heavily represented:
-The Time Has Come (4 Us To Be One), an 808-driven track with smooth funky guitars and sultry vocals.
-Papa Was (A Junky), Too, with a piano backdrop and sweet melodic lead-synths.
-Everyday, which combines rhodes, a funky bassline and a spaced-out vocoder.
-Tell Her, a minimal head-nodder based on a 70′s bass-groove, topped off with a Westcoast like solo lead.-Making Love Good, another 808-driven track with rhodes and swaying brass solo’s.
-Snow Soul, piano’s, vocals and ofcourse a sweeping lead-synth.
-Drinkin’ Hennesy, vocals and basslines are key on this track. The sampled backdrop is there, but heavily filtered and degraded, which is how music generally sounds after you’ve downed 1 or 2 or 12 glasses of liquor.


Ofcourse the Boys know how to make bangers too, and these are mostly fused with electronics:
-Hero Heroin, altogether a haunting track based on 4 simple minor chords, heavy side-chaining and vocal cuts that are both funny and eerie.
-Icky, a pretty slow and dark track driven by a simple but groovy saw-wave synth. In stead of extensive hihats and percussion this one applies a subtle shaker and a little arp way in the back to provide some extra funk.
-Hold Up, wait a minute, let the Boys put some kush up in it. The Dr. Dre vocal is accompanied by a little but hard synth and a tearjerking high glass-like melody. Although it starts out pretty dark, halway through the mood is switched to melancholic.
-I Need A 40 starts off melancholic, but this vibe is quickly replaced by the LFO’d pad-synth that kicks in after the intro. You can feel the loneliness of buying beer (on your own, at a 7-11, at 4 in the morning) in the cutting lead synths.


Now the next songs may or not deserve their own category but I’d like to set them apart for their extreme loveliness in the melodic synth department and drum groovyness:
-Westcoast Shizznit combines a more steady beat than most the tracks (kick-hihat-snare-kick-hihat-snare) with the obvious 90′s WC elements: a funky staccato bassline and ofcourse a Funky Worm lead.
-Sippin’, another straightforward beat with an ultra-funky attack bassline, rhodes backdrop and chord-stabs. For the lounge lizards amongst us who will happily spend the evening alone at the bar without feeling depressed.
-Coco Puffs is ridiculously lovely. It’s basically Sippin’, but for those who’se wristwatch shows 4:20. At all times.
-Till The Weels Fall Off, that’s for how long Betty Ford Boys will ride this thing out. Another straight head-nodder with glide synths, a glass lead and filtered backdrops. Better get wit’ this, fool.


What more is there to say? 15 tracks, 1 interlude, playing for 36 minutes. It’s definitely an album, because making tracks like these 4 minutes long would be a disaster. But somehow Dex, Suff and Brenk stuffed every song so full of variation, vocal cuts and obscure intro’s, that an average playtime of 2:30 per track feels really short and keeps you longing for more. Get your hardcopy here or your MP3′s here . Get yourself admitted to the clinic through Facebook and check out 2 tracks and a little tour-impression below!