Alabama Rap Group G-Side Samples Beach House
Huntsville, Ala., rap group G-Side is known for its working-class raps and experimental but distinctively Southern beats. Along with its in-house production team the Block Beattaz, it also has a thing for out-of-the-box, though somehow never gimmicky, samples (Chinese new-age on “Rising Sun,” and um, Enya on “Speed of Sound“). Though their new album, The ONE . . . COHESIVE, has been out since the beginning of the year, it wasn’t until this recent Washington Post review that the (actually kinda obvious now that someone else pointed it out) sample source for “How Far” was revealed: Beach House’s “10 Mile Stereo” off last year’s Teen Dream.
The Block Beattaz took the ringing guitar, the melody, and perhaps a bit of the group’s hazy vibe, and turned “10 Mile Stereo” into the kind of spaced-out minor victory-filled anthem these guys do really well. Through e-mail, we spoke to Cory Parham, better known as “CP,” one half of the Block Beattaz, about “How Far” and Beach House.
City Paper: How did you arrive at the sample?
Cory Parham: Back in August, when we began to put production for The One . . . Cohesive into overdrive, the homie DJ Giraffo from Norway said that he had something that I should hear and possibly sample. So he threw it in the dropbox for me. I let it sit for a day or two because I was going through a ton of music at that time, trying to find the sound that we felt encompassed what we were attempting to convey through the album. When I finally listened to the record, I was completely blown away.
CP: What is it about the sample grabbed you?
Parham: It was one of those moments in your life that something completely grabs you and hits you in that emotional place. That song that says what you feel better than you can articulate it. Then, when I finally made it to the lyric, “They say we’ll go far, but they don’t know how far we’ll go,” chills went through my body. It explained that dynamic of knowing you’re great but God, fate, or life may think differently. We aren’t in control. The song is big. The drums were made for the stage. It had an atmosphere around it. I wanted to make sure we captured that in the production.
CP: How familiar were you with Beach House?
Parham: I wasn’t hip to them initially but now I’m a huge fan. [G-Side's manager] Codie G gave me their material to research and study and I focused on the set they did in Birmingham, Ala., at the Bottle Tree [Cafe and] Lounge. The music was ethereal, which is how people describe the Block Beattaz sound. Through the performance, I saw that they are sincerely, emotionally attached to their music. So much so that I didn’t want to alter the feeling of the song. We made sure that the subject matter and everything was on point. We brought in our favorite guitarist Cody Hampton who played on the track “Huntsville International” and he knocked it down quick. We wanted to make sure we respected their song, while still covering it from our perspective.
CP: “How Far” is credited as featuring Victoria Tate and Kaylan Parham. Who is Kaylan Parham?
Parham: Kaylan is my eldest daughter. She’s 10. She was born right when I started seriously doing music in 2000. She learned to use the computer by sitting in my lap and pressing the record button on Pro Tools. She’s my biggest fan and she happened to be in the studio with me that day when we began recording the song, which was the last one we recorded. This is probably the fourth song she’s done with me but this has meant the most. It’s a testament of what I try to instill in her: The only thing that can stand in the way of your dreams is you.