article RTE’s Rhapsody in Blue, a rap song from 1988, has been the subject of several different incarnations over the years, with its distinctive guitar riff often referred to as “the beat”.
But how did the song come about?
How did it begin as a simple melody?
And why was it the most popular in a genre which many consider to be dominated by hard-hitting rap?
In the early 1990s, Rhapsodic was being considered for inclusion in the RCA Classic and RCA Music Awards.
Rhapsodies inclusion would mark a return to the studio for the rapper, and his team would be working on the song at the same time as their debut album, The Blueprint, was being recorded.
But after only two months of recording, RiffTrax was forced to change their plans.
The studio was already running low on equipment and it was time to move on.
“We had no money and we didn’t have any songs, so we just decided to go for it,” says the former Riff Trax rapper.
“But after a couple of months, the studio just didn’t feel right, so that was a really tough decision for us, but we didn.
And then when we went back to the studios, they just didn, too.
So we were like, ‘OK, let’s just give up’.”
RiffTraxx had made it through its first two years on the studio’s floor, but the decision to quit proved to be a major setback.
“You know, it wasn’t like we were having any kind of success.
We weren’t recording the best stuff,” recalls the rapper.
“And that was the biggest issue.
The fact that we didn’s studio was a mess.
It was all dirty, and the people working there were all kind of mean, and they were just treating us like shit.”
So, when Rifftrax announced in 1994 that they would be releasing the new album, which was already in the works, the rest of the world was in for a rude awakening.
The album was not exactly a hit.
Riff’s previous album, 1994’s The Blueprint – which was produced by DJ Khaled – was largely criticised for being too aggressive and not being able to achieve a sound that could appeal to mainstream listeners.
“Rifftraxx was trying to create something that could be heard by a mainstream audience,” says The Weeknd, who had previously collaborated with Riff on his 2014 album, Black Beatles.
“They were trying to bring something new to the scene, and Riff was trying not to do that.
So they did a lot of things that were just not doing that.”
But Riff didn’t stop there.
In addition to not recording the new material, RIFF had also decided to drop a major record label deal.
“The label was getting more and more aggressive,” says Riff.
“They were pushing me to drop the record, and I wasn’t even aware of it, because the label was trying too hard to get rid of me.”
And then they ended up putting me in a really bad situation, where I’m a new artist who’s just starting out, and their agent and manager wanted me to do the record.
And they were like ‘you have to do this, you have to make this happen.’
And then they just wanted to get the record out, so I didn’t even know it was coming.
“And it was not the only time Riff had fallen foul of his old label.”
And I was like, I don’t want to be paying them for this. “
One was that I did not get paid, because they weren’t paying me for the album, but they were paying me to record the album.
And I was like, I don’t want to be paying them for this.
I don, so they weren, like, just trying to get me to stop doing what I was doing, which is producing records.
So it was kind of a bummer.”
Another problem was that they were actually making money off my album.
They were actually getting money for the songs on the album.
“It was not an easy transition.
RIFF says that the album’s producer was his friend who had worked with the late producer, Kanye West, but it was a difficult time for him.”
I just don’t think I’m going to be able to make it’. “
I was like ‘I don’t know what to do.
I just don’t think I’m going to be able to make it’.
And it’s just like, this is my last chance.
I’m just going to have to give up on it.
I have to go home, I have no job, I’m literally homeless.’
And so I did.
I took a job in London and I didn.
I got a job on the side, and my house was full of food and all that.
And that’s how it ended.”
But the transition did not end there. The rapper