8 great examples to answer the question “What does ‘dusty beats’ mean?”

Dusty Beats is a rejuvination of the old art of sampling, before technology turned it from an art to a science. Neither is a bad thing, and we appreciate all forms of quality, as long as it’s quality.

Dilla, Madlib and DOOM are the forefathers of dusty beats, and the boomerang they threw some 20 years ago seems to be heading back our way. Paying homage to soul music, funk music, jazz music, and just about anything you can make sound good.

This is music to be listened to in a car from 1999 or before. Or maybe go and burn your self a cd, and grab a walkman. Either way, dusty beats is a genre that wreaks of nostalgia.

Dusty beats generally listerally sound dusty– lo-fi samples, and heavy, heavy sidechaining of the sample to the drums. Also, the drums are generally have a gluttonous amount of swing to them, so as to get that head bobbin’. It works.

These beats can be instrumental, or can feature an MC, or as is getting more and more popular, the producer will use a well known acapella from the early 90’s, and just remix the song.

All producers have their own style and procedure for producing, but I think it’s safe to say at least 95% of all beats that could fit into this sub-sub-genre is sampled directly from vinyl. The analog, 50 year old, slightly warped is part of the welcoming warmth of the genre.

A huge part is accessibility over exclusivity. Everyone has access to a record player and a neighborhood record store. It’s up to you what records you buy, and how you use them. It’s a rat race to the next sample, and we’re all invited.

Along the line of accessibility, this niche of music can be appropriate in a multitude of settings; in your car, at a house party, smoking with your friends, doing homework, fucking, sleeping, drawing, and just about everything but a bar mitzvah.