For me 808 has a deep-seated meaning in popular music culture, featuring in a wide array of tunes around the world. These powerful three digits promise a distinctive quality in music, suggesting edgy and downright dirty beats.
Here’s a selective round-up of the better-known affiliations, an odyssey into 808 sounds. All music is available for download from the Nokia Music Store.
As Kanye’s fourth studio album to date, 808s and Heartbreak, the 808 reference throughout the album refers to the glory days of the Roland 808-TR drum machine, an instrument that was core to the expansion of Hip-Hop in the early 1980s.
After a tough year in 2008, Kanye reflects on the anguish of his mother dying and split with his fiancee to produce a minimal electro-pop record, rich in regret, pain and sadness.
Bassnectar, a dubstep producer based in Santa Cruz California, creates a bass driven stormer taken from his Wildstyle EP, released in 2010. The 808 reference remains a mystery with this one, but you cannot argue he is the kind of big-style bass!
“Do I make your heart beat like an 808 drum, is my love your drug?”
Ke$ha sings with such malice in her voice, she could almost be surfing the tide of resentment flowing through her lyrics. I reckon she sets a lot of guys’ hearts beating like an 808 drum. And she’d look great snapped on the 41 megapixel 808 PureView camera too. Just saying!
Anyway Ke$ha certainly does justice to the 808 by ripping it up with this electro-pop floor raiser that peaked at No 4 in the USA Billboard Hot 100.
”We got that beat that 808 the boom boom in your town”
Expressive lyrics from the pop tour de force who have the world in their beat-driven claws. Boom Boom Pow was such a success, it rip-roared to the top spot in over seven countries, highlighting the power of that 808 drum.
This line represents my first ever memories of music, trawling through my dad’s vinyl collection and stumbling across his master-cut original Hip-Hop and Dancehall tracks, all of which gave me that 808 feeling.
808 State, its in the name. Hailing from Manchester, UK, these boys take their handle directly from the drum machine that cut their original root beats.
Pacific State set the trend for acid house vibes in the late 1980s, with its looping drum fills and sharp cutting electro.