Apollo Brown Breaks Down His New Album 'Thirty Eight' Track By Track [Interview + Full LP Stream]
Detroit’s Apollo Brown–one of hip-hop’s most prolific beatmakers–is back with his first instrumental album since 2011’s Clouds. For his latest instrumental album, Thirty Eight, Brown said he wanted to take a different approach and create an album like an “old school OST.” Since each instrumental is in a sense, a mini-movie unto itself, we asked Brown to set the scene for us track by track and provide the backstory for each vignette of audible blaxploitation.
“What I hear with this album is a back alley in 1981, pool hall fights and day prostitution,” Brown said in an exclusive interview with Okayplayer. “That’s kind of what I get out of it, when I listen to this album. It’s a little different. It’s a little of bit of a roller coaster ride. I wanted to give the listener that; I didn’t want to go with the real strict way that Clouds was made.” Thirty Eight features a more minimalistic and repetitive approach to beatmaking with a lot less emphasis on heavy drums, which has become a staple in Apollo Brown’s production. This is an album he said is “unapologetically not for everybody–it’s niche music.”
The album has two bonus tracks featuring Roc Marciano and the CD version of the album comes with a 5” vinyl record with the two songs. Brown said a lot of the beats on Thirty Eight were originally intended to go towards an album with Marciano, but since their schedules couldn’t permit for the two to get together for an entire project, the album was scrapped.
“I went with the bonus tracks to try and give people a little starter on what would have been if me and Roc would’ve done an album,” Brown said. “I still wanted him to be a big part of this project. I’m a big fan, I don’t work with nobody I’m not a fan of, so I’m a huge fan of Roc.”
When Apollo Brown sat down with Okayplayer, he put the outline of a movie to his soundtrack, envisioning a stick-up crew in Detroit in the late ’70s or early ’80s. “I interpret these tracks differently every time, and I think the listener will too,” he said. “Whatever story comes in your mind when you listen to these tracks, it can pertain to you, it can pertain to a friend, it can pertain to something that you’ve never went through – who knows?”
Read on for the track-by-track breakdown from the man himself…