Tila & Excel – “Before Christ”

“Before Christ” by Tila and Excel produced by Taylor M Beats paints a vivid image of their testimony and the beginning of their walk with God.

The “Before Christ” instrumental (music bed) has about 20 tracks.  The sample is very light and sparkles in the hi end.  The drums are made up of an 808, kick, snares, claps, hi-hats, ride cymbal and a secondary kick during that hook that sounds like a metal door closing.  The drums were the first elements I mixed.  Once I had the drums working well with each other, I mixed the sample to the drums.  There was no other element providing a melody besides the sample.  To provide a deeper bass line, I duplicated the sample and filtered out the hi-end.  I used the FilterBank F202 EQ with the hi-pass frequency at 37 Hz and the lo-pass frequency at 195 Hz while bringing the peak on both of them considerably high.  This really helped to tighten the bassline.  Surprisingly, through the whole mix of the beat, I ended up scarcely using plug ins.  I mostly balanced levels and panned a lot to create depth and space.  The TrueVerb was a go to reverb to help push certain drum instruments into the background.  This makes sense because the song itself is filled with raw emotion, so the instrumental show be mixed with a raw aesthetic.

To get a raw upfront feel of the rap vocals, I parallel compressed them. I gravitated to using Slate Digital bus compressors, which really helped to add warmth to the vocals.  For EQ though, I used WAVES Q-series.

Although this is a very raw emotional song, I did add a couple of special effects.  I used the OneKnob filter during parts of the songs where I wanted to highlight certain lyrics and parts of the delivery that were very emotional.  Like I’ve always said, the One Knob filter is my favorite plug in!  There was also a drop between the hook and Cruz’s verse that I felt was an awkward silence.  I added a stutter to the beginning of Cruz’s verse to help with the transition.

I like the “Before Christ” because it is easy to listen to and lyrically it’s easy to follow even though the imagery and rhyme schemes are complex.

Please take the time to listen, vibe out, and learn from Attila and Excel Cruz’s testimony through rap!


Ksenia ‘K Sound”


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