Friday, 8 August 2014

Amir Said: 'From 'Beat Maker' to 'Beatmaker', Ensuring Beatmakers do not Misrepresent Themselves'

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that earlier on this year, the name of this website changed from 'The New Beat Maker' to 'The New Beatmaker'.   They may also have noticed that newer posts refer to 'beatmakers' and 'beatmaking', whereas older ones refer to 'beat makers' and 'beat making'.

Longtime readers will also know that one of The New Beatmaker's proudest moments was when we were able to talk to the legendary Amir 'Sa'id' Said, back in 2012.

These two points are related to one another. 

Sa'id is a skillful MC and beatmaker in his own right, his 'Soul Review' album being a gem of an album.

However, he is probably best known the world over as being a teacher and writer on hip hop production and sampling.

He is the author of acclaimed books 'The Art of Sampling' and 'The BeatTips Manual', essential reading for anyone into hip hop production, beatmaking, or sample based production of any kind.

On top of this, he is the founder of one of the biggest and best websites related to beatmaking, hip hop, sampling and music production, BeatTips.com.

Long before I even thought about creating a website, BeatTips.com was a go-to site for all things hip hop production and sampling and that is still the case today.

Long before I even thought about creating a website, BeatTips.com was a go-to site for all things hip hop production and sampling and that is still the case today.

As well as being a leading authority on the technical elements of hip hop production, Sa'id is also a great teacher in ethics or, for want of a better word, the 'metaphysics' of beatmaking and sampling.

It is safe to say that when Amir Said talks, The New Beatmaker listens.

So, when I received the following email from Sa'id following our interview (copied below with his permission), I paid great attention:

From Sa'id himself:

'For ten years, I've been deeply interested in bringing a serious level of uniformity to the beatmaking tradition. And one of the most important things that I emphasize is getting the language and terms right, so that members of the craft all over the world could be on the same page. For instance, following best practices for the spelling of a craft in present tense and members of the craft, the terms "beatmaking" and "beatmaker" are best spelt as one word, no space. This follows the respected model of craft/trade terms like "songwriting" and "songwriter", or "filmmaking" and “filmmaker”.

I raise this with you because I believe that you're serious about helping the tradition move forward. I'm noticing that some people are wrongly following what they think is best based on Google searches, but that's not the way to proceed. Wherever we—actual practitioners—can set the language models for the terms that we use and define us, the better off the tradition is. Moreover, Google yields search results on the most pertinent content, so sites with content on "beatmaking" yield better results, as its only meant for music production.  While those sites using "beat making," which is a two-word term that Google recognizes possibles based on *both words, yields broader results that include *any combination of the words beat and making.

But again, it comes down to respect for our community and respect for ourselves as music makers, artisans, and craftsmen of an art and trade. Across the board this is the proper way (e.g. screenwriter, not "screen writer"; or cameraman, not "camera man"). Thus, the proper, respected terms are beatmaking and beatmaker.  Beatmaking is only going to grow in the future, so it's critical that serious people like you and myself help shape the way in which our community and members within it are discussed.

- Sa'id'

Before creating the site I had wrestled with whether to use the 'beatmaker' or 'beat maker' and, for reasons that I now cannot recall, plumped for the latter.  However, Sa'id's email resonated with me and shortly after I began referring to beatmaking and beatmakers, even adding these to older posts.  The change over to 'The New Beatmaker' on the logo and header however, was much later in coming as I kept putting it off as my design skills are pretty entry level!  
...it comes down to respect for our community and respect for ourselves as craftsmen of an art and trade. Across the board this is the proper way (e.g. screenwriter, not "screen writer"; or cameraman, not "camera man")...
If the people within any sort of community do not set standards for how they should address each other and be addressed or referred to, it is easier for people from outside that community to set the standards for how that community are addressed and referred to - often not to the benefit of the community itself.  The New Beatmaker has over 500 posts at last count, so replacing 'beat maker' with 'beatmaker' is going to take some time, but with this principle in mind, I'll get there.

I am honoured that Sa'id took the time to share this wisdom.  Check out our exclusive interview with Sa'id here; and buy 'The BeatTips Manual' 6th Edition and 'The Art of Sampling' at the BeatTips store here.  Both are available for immediate digital download.

Related Posts: Exclusive interview with Amir 'Sa'id' Said: In this exclusive interview The New Beatmaker speaks to The BeatTips Manual author, accomplished beatmaker, MC and beattips.com founder Amir 'Sa'id' Said about The BeatTips Manual: the book's conception, influences and value to both new and experienced producers.  Click here to read.

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