Kid Capri has been around the block. Talking to Native Instruments, the hip hop producer breaks down the thinking behind his Sounds.com collection, and talks about his love for the studio.
Born and raised in the Bronx in the 1970s, Kid Capri (born David Anthony Love, Jr.) essentially started his DJ career at the age of eight, playing block parties around his neighborhood. Over the next several decades, he’d go on to DJ everywhere from the legendary Studio 54 to the set of Def Comedy Jam, in addition to producing all of the tracks used on the last four seasons of the show. He has produced tracks for the likes of Boogie Down Productions, Grand Puba, 50 Cent, and narrated throughout Kendrick Lamar’s award winning album DAMN which was released in 2017. He showed up in the 1993 hip hop film Who’s the Man?, and was the lead judge on the BET reality show Master of the Mix.
For someone who has seen it all, it felt like a no-brainer to have him curate his own Sounds.com collection. For his Artist Collection, Kid Capri brings together a combination of old-school hip hop production, mixed with new school trap elements. Deep punchy kicks sit alongside boom-bap snares and claps, rounded out with smooth piano lines and catchy synth melodies.
“I picked stuff that I didn’t think anyone else would pick,” Love says of his collection. “I was really careful about kicks and snares, finding stuff that was unique. I chose the sounds I chose because I like hard, clean sounds with a little grit on them.
“For me, I don’t really have one kinda style — I can make hip hop, I can make EDM, I can make reggae,” Love continues. “I was trying to find sounds that could work with any kind of music that I make, and not just stay in one lane.”
Asked how his approach to music making has changed over the years, Love says his ability to listen has always been, and continues to be the focus. “My ear has definitely changed. The way I listen to sounds has changed, the way I program sounds has changed. I’m not an incredible musician when it comes to playing, but I have an ear to put it all together. Throughout the years it’s gotten way better.”
“For a long time I was tone deaf,” he continues. “I was getting the wrong tones in; I’d take it into the car — the best place to listen to music — and it wouldn’t sound right. I’d have to come back to the studio and fix it. Now I do it right the first time.”
For a long time, Love relied on sampled drums; in recent years, he’s become a fan of mixing digital drums with those samples to create what he calls a “brand new sound.”
“If an EDM artist came to me today, I could make that for them,” he says. “If a trap artist came to me tomorrow, I could make that. Somebody wants classical music, I can make that. It’s endless. If you have the right sounds, it makes your job a lot easier.”
In his studio in Northern New Jersey, MASCHINE STUDIO and KOMPLETE KONTROL are Love’s main focus, in terms of hardware. “Inspiration for me is to wake up everyday,” he says, laughing. “When I wake up, the first thing I think about is music, and how I can be creative. And once I get into the studio, it’s like a sixth sense — I just start making things. I don’t plan it out, I just do it as I do it.” For Love, it’s an obsession, through and through: “I’m on the road, and when I leave the road I’m in the studio. When I’m home I don’t go nowhere but the studio.”