I came across a music documentary series the other day, that simultaneously made my head turn and ears perk up. Somehow, my first viewing of G Koop & O-Man was already the Bay Area duo's 53rd episode. This time around, they had Tajai from Oakland's Souls of Mischief and Hieroglyphics crew in the mix as they unfolded the process for the video's climax, a track called “Lost In The Game.”
GKoop's resume includes being a session musician and “replay specialist” for the likes of George Clinton, Drake, Nelly, Jake One, Talib Kweli, Atmosphere, Future, and Scarface. So you can say the producer knows a person or two in the game. Along with Tajai, “Lost In The Game” features Parliament Funkadelic's Michael “Clip” Payne on percussion, rapper Izzrell spittin' bars, singer London on a silky hook, Anthony Caruso with woozy guitar riffs, Omayga on drums, and O-Man guiding the beat on the keys; all of this magic going down at Oakland's Fuzz Deluxxe Studios.
This de-construction of a beat's construction is the premise for the YouTube doc. Each episode is a video essay on the making of a track, the musicians involved, and then the finished product at the end. “This project is really about collaboration on all levels from the music on up,” G Koop says in the video. “We try to bring up musicians we respect, put everyone together in a big melting pot, and put creativity in the art first.”
This series is some hip-hop-wormhole-type shit. Knowing there were 52 other episodes to soak in was a trip. The series is a display of hip-hop's roots in funk music and how musical hip-hop truly is. Just before the track comes in at the 3:35 mark, Tajai goes on an existential diatribe about the importance of making music that you want to make, rather than following industry trends.
“We've always put out what we wanted to, probably to our detriment,” he admits. “But in the end when you die, all you got is your catalog. So why you gonna put out weak-ass shit? Your catalog can last a lot longer than you in your physical form, so nobody's gonna understand that you needed to feed your kids when you put out that terrible-ass song. In the end, I make my music for me.”
And with that, here's G Koop & O-Man, Episode #53, “Lost In The Game”: