Tag Archives: Don Leisure

The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: May 2019

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May’s best beat tapes include a collection of dust-kissed samples from Turkish records, a retrospective compilation of lush and soulful beats from one of Spain’s most gifted producers, loops and chops from a revered Beat Junkie, minimal and downtempo beats featuring heavy blues/funk guitar, and more.

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Album of the Day: Don Leisure, “Halal Cool J”

The title of Wales-based beatsmith Don Leisure’s latest instrumental album is a pun on the name of iconic rap star LL Cool J—but the vibe of the project is closer to the sort of dusty, mystical beats RZA perfected during the Wu-Tang Clan’s ’90s reign. Only here, the ’60s Stax soul samples and kung fu soundbites have been switched out for Eastern European loops and snatches of Turkish dialogue. It’s a head-nodding, static-coated musical blend that radiates a sense of sonic wanderlust.

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How Don Leisure’s Bollywood-Actor Uncle Inspired His New Album

Don Leisure

For every musician, there is a mentor: a person who sparked their interest in music, who made them believe that they could make music, or actually taught them how to play. Occasionally, those mentors make their way into liner notes or thank-you speeches at awards shows. Rarely do they end up on the album cover. But with his new beat tape, Shaboo, Welsh producer Don Leisure put his inspiration front and center.

The album is dedicated to his uncle Nasser, whose photo appears on the cover, and who hitchhiked from Kenya to London before appearing in Bollywood films under the name—you guessed it—Shaboo. When a young Don asked his uncle if he thought he could make music, too, a furious Nasser told him, “Of course you will! It’s in your blood!” Leisure picked up the FruityLoops software a week later, and hasn’t looked back since. And although Nasser passed away before he could hear the fruits of Leisure’s labor, his spirit lives on in the beat tape that bears his name, and in songs that incorporate sounds from all over the world.

We spoke with Leisure about how his family and his global travels inspired one of the more creative beat tapes of the year.

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