Illmore Records

Survival Pack

A lot of music fans and bystanders only recognize the so called "glamorous" side of artist's lives, when the lights and cameras are on and everyone's all smiles. The hard work and labor that puts these entertainers on this path is rarely seen. For singers, musicians and rappers, this labor takes place in the studio. This is where the mind crafted songs are shaped, structured and sung into reality.  Everyone has their necessities that they rely on for comfort while they are in the studio. For some singers it might be a steeped lemon or peppermint tea or honey in their distilled water, all intent on opening up, soothing or taking care of the vocal cords. For some of the 60's & 70's rock bands, it might be their entourage of groupies and ______ (insert drug of choice). Illmore artists, part of the Hip Hop generation, has their own brand of studio accessories that all could be needed for a successful night of recording. Here is the list of 9 must have items that Illmore artists rely on while in the studio.(All 9 are not necessarily needed for each session, nor are they in any particular order). This is the Illmore studio survival pack.


 1. Pen and a pad.

The obvious person will say; "why should the artist waste time and money writing in the studio?!" This is definitely agreed. Save your writing for at home and come prepared. However you never know when you'll have to change a verse on the fly, revise some lines or just flat out get inspired by your producer's latest 3am head nodder creation. A pen and a pad may seem like the old school to this generation, that loves to rhyme lyrics off of and scribe lyrics to their blackberries, I Phones, lap tops, etc, etc, however there's nothing like putting your thoughts on paper. Plus can you say crash and burn or dead battery?!

2. Loud speakers and headphones.  

This is pretty self explanatory but not always in place with every studio house. It's producers who will get excited at having the latest $500 pair of headphones. You can add status seekers to that list as well, but not your average mc or singer. As long as there's a decent brand of headphones, where both headphones have no shorts and work and the frame of the headphones aren't broken, the average mc can happily deal with it. Here it's just about hearing your vocals and the beat strongly in your head so that one can zone out properly and record their best. Likewise when hearing your music on playback, you prefer not to hear it through your average computer factory speakers. You wanna hear every crevice and crack in the beat and how the voice rides it. This is how you really feel the vocal, so good speakers are a must, but keep it mind, if your makeshift studio is in someone's house or an apartment building, bumping those speakers after a certain time may cause a problem.

3. Usb drive and or cds. 

With nowadays technology, there are even car decks that have usb capability tied into them. Every mc or singer wants to hear their takes from that session to either possibly tighten it or just to bump and enjoy their latest stuff. Now unless you want three hundred cds lying around with the outtakes and individual takes from your first lp, it's advisable that you carry a usb stick. However if your car stereo can't play off of usb and you just can't wait to get home to hear your track, bring a cd and bump your hot 16's flying across the highway.  

4. Good takeout. 

Nothing can bring a very productive recording session to a screeching halt, like an mc's or engineer's growling stomach. If one's not the brown bag, blue lunch pail type, to carry your own food with you, then speed dial on your cell should include some of your favorite eateries. Illmore's favorite spots over the years have included Mcdonalds, Sunrise, NFC(KFC wannabe, but just as good), and Wing machine. Occasionally hooking up your producer/engineer can be a good thing. It keeps the session rolling and could give you the inside track on your producer's latest banger, ahead of other mcs.  

5. Alcohol. 

Nothing says let's have a good time like throwing back a shot, chug or swig of something with a kick to it. A completely sober studio can be abit of a somber one, at times, as the tone can stay serious without a hint of joyous energy. It's never advisable to get fall down drunk or close to it in a session, because then you're either too busy slurring your vocals or trying to be funny. However a light buzz can have you and the producer cracking a quick joke between takes and the heightened energy goes into making good music. Personal Illmore favorites include any forty ounces or twenty-two ounces(Molson, St. Ides, OE, Bud, etc), Sherry(especially Almond flavored and Spumante Bambino. Just remember save the heavy drinking for when all your takes are done. 

6. Green, Kush, Chronic, etc. 

Blazing a quick jay can have a calming effect on a studio session. Sometimes one just wants to focus on the art and this has a way of eliminating outside distractions. A lot of smokers say they do for religious or spiritual reasons and seeing that a serious mc can view the studio as their church or retreat, push them lighters up. Just remember ever blazing can make any artist prefer their pillow to a punch in.

7. Phillie Blunts.

A perfect companion to number 6 on our list; the greenery. While Illmore honors this old school tradition with this classic cigar, it all depends on the smoker. Plenty of variety out there. See white owls, century sams, and the pipe to name a few.  

8. Game systems. 

So you have the seventh verse on a nine man crew track and they're still working on verse two. Who knows why all you are at the studio at the same time anyway. This is a recipe for destruction. No crews in the studio!!! This is a discussion for another time though. However to kill the boredom while you wait, instead of hearing your boys' 16's that you now know in your sleep, you could be testing out your skills on the latest Madden game or breaking the law in grand theft auto. It doesn't matter if it's Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Game Cube, Play station or even Nintendo or Atari-be ready to get laughed at if you have these though-they all are a perfect compliment to the overall studio vibe. Just keep the game console as far from the recording booth and/or sound booth as possible. The excessive trash talking and spontaneous celebratory outbursts can be distracting to a studio session.   

 Last but not least...

9. Instrumentals.

First off instrumentals have always been the bedrock that Hip Hop has flaunted it's anti establishment, rebellious swagger on top of. Most producers, DJs and engineers have a healthy collection of instrumentals. It allows DJs to blend and mix songs and producers and engineers to analyze a fellow craftmen's work. Plus anyone who's been into Hip Hop at one time or another, probably has flow and instrumentals nurture that. A lot of mcs' mixtapes, past and present, include other people's instrumentals. One, it's an affordable way to record when you can't keep shelling out for original beats and two, it allows an mc to compare themselves to another mc, who rocked the beat first. A way to possibly out best your idol, so to speak. A lot of times there's no better way to get the creative juices flowing then by freestyling over instrumentals. Before most of Illmore's artists started recording, it was all night freestyle sessions that set the tone. Constant freestyling also keeps one sharp for potential freestyle battles.  

Keeping these 9 points in mind has helped Illmore to continue to have enjoyable recording sessions.