Producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura is behind the boards with a host of hip-hop stars on the soundtrack for the upcoming 2K Sports video game "NBA 2K7," due next month via Decon Records.
Producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura is behind the boards with a host of hip-hop stars on the soundtrack for the upcoming 2K Sports video game "NBA 2K7," due next month via Decon Records. The 13-track set features guest turns by Ghostface, E-40, Slim Thug, Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, Rhymefest and members of both Dilated Peoples and Jurassic 5.
Nakamura had less than two months to assemble the music, a deadline made easier by his deep connections within the hip-hop world. "I'm fortunate that artists like working with me," he tells Billboard.com. "But because the deadlines were so crazy, some of this stuff had to be done by mail. That's just not how I like to do tracks. But, given the circumstances, I'd rather have the artists I wanted than to have just the people available in this six-week period, because then the quality level would go down significantly."
Also featured on the album is a new remix of A Tribe Called Quest's "Lyrics To Go." As previously reported, Tribe is reuniting for a 2K Sports-sponsored tour with Rhymefest, beginning Sept. 1 in Detroit. "I love Tribe," Nakamura enthuses. "Tribe is a big part of what influences my feelings about hip-hop."
Nakamura tried to vary the tone of the music so it would be suitable amid a variety of in-game scenarios. "There a couple of songs that are darker, for like comeback or crunch time," he says. "There's some pumped-up ones for starting the game, then you get a little more depressed when the game is going downhill, then you come back up when you're winning again."
As a bonus, Nakamura, Common, Slim Thug, Flavor Flav and the Roots ?uestlove are among the real hip-hop stars that appear in the game. "I think if you win a couple rounds, you play our team," Nakamura says.
The artist is hoping to make a handful of appearances in conjunction with the game and soundtrack, but for now, he is hard at work on the second album from Deltron 3030, which also features rapper Del the Funky Homosapien and turntablist Kid Koala.
"We'll probably be done with the record by the end of the year," Nakamura enthuses. "The tracks are all done, and Del has written for four or five of them so far. We haven't recorded any vocals but Koala has done all the cuts."
Asked to describe the sound of the music, he offers, "It's a little more upbeat and action-packed as far as tempo goes. There's a little bit more of an urgency to it. Lyrically, so far it seems more focused toward the aftermath of the disasters in the world. It's a little bit darker."