Most of you know Monk One as a very knowledgable music historian, writer, long time contributing editor to Wax Poetics, prolific record collector, label owner, and of course a a well respected DJ. Case in point: his Dust & Grooves interview with Eilon Paz and accompanying photography was turned into a meme (how many people can say that they are a meme in a positive way?). But did you know that Monk is a dope beat maker/ producer too? This bon vivant knows how to chop up a sample and make your head nod. We’ve been down with these productions for quite a while, so of course when The Riker’s Beats Vol. 1 came through we had to pass it to the masses. Here’s what Monk had to say about the project:
“Before the pandemic shut everything down, I taught on Rikers Island. It’s a surreal, disturbing, dehumanizing place. Mundane but deeply dark.
After work I had a favorite coping method to decompress and refresh my soul: grab some records, fire up the sampler and zone out making beats — basic hypnotic head nodders, nothing fancy. ‘90s sample-y, heavy drums, those were the most satisfying. Playing them back on the next Dantean public transit trek to the island (shoutout to the Q100) was my religious headphone routine for several years. The Rikers Beats playlist was prodigious.
In 2020, the Island is closed to all but DOC staff and the unfortunate incarcerated, and I haven’t been going much of anywhere. I figured this would be a good time to rummage through the archives and select some of the signature sounds I rode with on those long days.”
The project itself is ten jazzy instrumentals, think Wall of Sound Records type of vibe (not The Dead sound system but the label) that knock with heavy drums and a classic vibe that will last for decades and stand the test of time. I feel honored that I’ve listened to these beats for years and am excited to see this project come to fruition. All are really put together well, but our repeat track is “Gun Too Hot”, which besides making our head nod, is just the vibe we are seeking. Education for I sums it up pretty well. Here’s another great thing about the project:
50% of profits will be donated to Brooklyn Defenders Services, who provide high-quality legal representation and related services to people who cannot afford to retain an attorney.
Solid stuff from a solid guy. Listen to Rikers Beats below and support independent artists by purchasing this project.