Denny Black

Pianist-Rapper, Music Producer

Denny Black on SoundBetter

I rap whilst playing jazz-inflected piano, I make rap beats & I follow the Creator and his sonic emissary Sun Ra. See 2 YouTube clips, links below. Piano Cover of "Upstate 2 Queens" by 38 Spesh w/KOOL G RAP EMC - SHOOK ONES PT II (Mobb Deep piano cover)

Equational MC is True School Beats & Bars. a turntable, a laptop with MPC & a mic. Albums out now: "Apocalypse Crimson", "MDCLXVI (1666)", & "Harder Than Hell". Coming soon: tha 4th album "Apocalyptic Hell" (2022), & "FUNKK SIDE OF THA SUNN: A Hip Hop Tribute to Sun Ra"

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.

Interview with Denny Black

  1. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  2. A: Since college semi pro only. Lots of work though. Local stages, original and cover, studios, parades, lessons.. Was not acceptable to pursue creative arts degrees in my house growing up. Got a brief internship at Lava/Atlantic Records in Manhattan from a friend, in their very first year. Collaborated extensively with Mike Wagner aka Don Bonus (Daktaris co-producer, Desco co-founder, King Chango member Luaka Bop) for years on many projects. Played one NYC 'subbing' gig apiece with Gabe Roth, Luke O'Malley and Martín Perna (through Bret).

  3. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  4. A: The woman happened to present a song to Mike about surviving an attack. We arranged it and I played piano on it, and it hit the radio. Holy Moly.

  5. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  6. A: A children's album, a hip hop tribute to a jazz artist, and a hip hop solo album.

  7. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  8. A: Just joined.

  9. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  10. A: Ask Gabe Roth what he thinks ;) and you'll get a much better qualified answer. Analog is probably better in terms of faithful reproduction of the binaural experience, probably because the transients of the waves produced are more natural. Digital is cleaner with more headroom though. Use a hybrid approach and get the best of both worlds!

  11. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  12. A: To overdeliver, or *approvingly* IMprove upon an idea, as originally presented.

  13. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  14. A: Everything. The freedom to create something that never existed before. Music is a life-affirming activity.

  15. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  16. A: Can you play x y z? Do you know such and such artist's work? Usually yes, or I'll check it out.

  17. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  18. A: Hip Hop has way too many misconceptions for this box, but it's not seen for what it is. A deeply expressive rhythmic musical poetry, that is rich in social currency. I hope to augment and celebrate Hip Hop without any heavy associations to the latest fads and such.

  19. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  20. A: What do you need of me? When do you need it learned/mixed/written by? Do you dislike Hip Hop?

  21. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  22. A: Listen to Sun Ra more?

  23. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  24. A: Piano, laptop, mic, MPC pads & a synth.

  25. Q: How would you describe your style?

  26. A: Eclectic is overused. Spiritual is too loaded a term. It's like a clash between tuxedos, spacesuits and North Face jackets.

  27. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  28. A: Kool Keith. He's the best in my opinion. I have been backstage after shows and played some tunes for Arkestra members and they know of my hip hop tribute idea.

  29. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  30. A: Tap bpm blind into an online bpm tap tool. Tap the tempo you feel for that song. Then go to the Google search for that bpm, like put in "pop hits at 113 Bpm" find that BPM database page for that BPM and pick a few tunes to vibe on the groove of at that tempo. Pick the best one for your song and sort of cop the feel and groove by setting up a click track that's really a sample loop of the Smith's. Don't use the sample at mixdown!! Generate immediately your own live recorded, derivative and thus original rhythm track. That's if you want to use a click ONLY.

  31. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  32. A: Ha. I am producing an 8 song children's album, my 4th old school rap album and unlocking the mysteries of the life and work of the mighty Sun Ra.

  33. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  34. A: Funny and cryptic wordplay, complex rhyme schemes, visual imagery evocation.

  35. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  36. A: Whatever it needs. I like to do super accurate piano or piano/vocal arrangements of anything I hear.

  37. Q: What's your typical work process?

  38. A: The bars come to me in kind of a pithy catchy refrain first. That sometimes is the title but almost always becomes the theme of the piece. Iflesh out those bars and sometimes append saved material that fits. I have been sticking strictly to certain established rhythmic patterns this time, to the bars for the 4th album. So then I just cook a batch of beats and match em up to the vibes of the lyrics. Run the whole thing for weeks and tape main vocals live for the whole album. Since it's a cohesive piece by then.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: Condenser or 57, into cheap interface, into a laptop with MPC DAW. Also MPK 49 controller, Ketron SD-2 module, vinyl turntable.

  41. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  42. A: Sun Ra. The Dead. Otherworldly artists like Kool Keith, Al Cisneros and Ol Dirty.

  43. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  44. A: Range from live and studio instrumental and vocal performances, to aspects of production to writing and arranging. I also do non creative work for and with other artists.

Titanium (early mix, no 2nd verse)

I was the Rapper, Beat Maker and Producer in this production

GenresSounds Like
  • Kool Keith
  • Sun Ra
  • Adam Yauch
Gear Highlights
  • MPC
  • SM57
  • AudioTechnica turntable
  • a bic pen
  • a bic lighter and weed.
More Photos
More Samples
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