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Okinato Black is a reference to Yasuke, or Sakanouye no Tamaramuro, the legendary African shogun of Early Japanese civilization.
He was known to be the paragon of military virtues, and regarded as one of the most distinguished Black warriors of antiquity, yet still he is largely unknown.
The project is a response to the resurgence of chamber rap beats, popularized by Wu-Tang, the proliferation of experimental hip-hop producers using the legendary Roland SP-404, and my own fascination with the anime Samurai Champloo. The intention was to never limit the source, or genre of samples, but through the usage, obtain a cohesion in sound.
Digging further into the story of Yasuke, I found it very interesting to see parallels, however abstractly, both in my personal life, and my discipline musically. The focus of my work thus far has been the nature of my chop, or sample usage, now the hallmark of my sound. While my approach tends to lean more toward the perfunctory, more emphasis on the act of producing music, rather than the construction of particular sonics, a samurai would be intently aware of his sword stroke, I was intent on breathing this intentionality into my approach. I often liken my sensibility to Jackson Pollock, where his work is more of an receipt of his performance, than testament to his genius. He calls upon the audience to get lost in the immediate nature of his art, rather than the inference of personality. This was a profound shift in my thinking as a producer.
We all ostensibly have access to the same sounds, samples, virtual instruments, & equipment as musicians... but the proof of work is in the ideas themselves, rather than a fashioning of the recognizable. This allowed me to find freedom in my work. Affectively, my mind became the sword, the songs the reincarnate. Also, I drew large inspiration from moments when the unorthodox met the necessary, and his story seemed to embody that, as he was becoming famous for his striking appearance, not his position in life, which is always central to the destiny of people who were burdened by a caste. He was able to move forward into history on the strength of his own choices.
I live in Texas, where experimental hip-hop has always existed, but hadn't always been well respected, going mostly overlooked in favor of artists from more metropolitan cities & music with a more mainstream appeal...
Looking forward to taking the heads of hip-hop listeners seeking to see it remain the same... limiting the growth of our new era, the tape is a slight departure from my previous works. In attempting to shed a persona, I had unwittingly reinvented one.
I used a very simple set-up... the SP-404, Behringer Tweakalizer, Behringer Xenyx 302 to Audacity.
released December 6, 2016
"For a samurai to be brave, he must have a bit of Black blood."