Agriculture I-Hop MP3s

Cut’n’pasted in the studio, and often mistaken for background music when it can play well in the foreground, instrumental hip-hop has much in common with the broader field of ambient/electronica. But there are key differences, and one of them is economic. For any i-hop producer with an interest in going pro, beats are a form of currency, pure and simple. Thus, while netlabels proliferate with free downloadable electronic music, much of it beat-driven and sample-derived, someone coming from the hip-hop side of the continuum is less likely to post anything gratis — not when any given track might yield a payday. As a producer named Illmind says on his page (, “I am telling yall right now, please do not waste your time sending me messages for free beats.” (Apparently streaming audio is OK.)

One apparent exception: record labels that traffic in i-hop are known to post MP3s to promote proper albums. Yesterday it was Stones Throw, pushing a single of the the 35 tracks off Madlib’s forthcoming Beat Konducta Vol. 1-2: The Movies (link). Today it’s the great label the Agriculture, noting the release of the 14-track Gentrified by QPE (aka Quiet Personal Electronics, aka Kacy Wiggins) with a pair of freebies. Like much of the Agriculture’s catalog, QPE’s Gentrified is only hip-hop in the most dub-minded, slack-paced way, and QPE appears to have embraced “hip-hop nouveau” as a tag to distinguish itself. Up for the download: “Stare” (MP3), a loungey beat with a raspy hi-hat amid a watery riff, and “McGarrett” (MP3), which has a similar feel, laced with a deeper underlying melodic line, the mating call of some sad robot. More info at

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