The following piece is a companion to the article/transcription about the Travis Barker remix of Crank That, which appears in the June 2008 issue of Modern Drummer (the one with Cindy Blackman on the cover).
A few months ago, Chris came in for his weekly lesson and could barely contain himself as he blurted out, “Travis has done it again!”
Chris had practiced two hours a day for one entire week to learn Travis Barker’s Remix of Soulja Boy’s Crank That. Now it was time to learn another Travis Barker Remix, one that he had just discovered on YouTube.
Blink 182 to Soulja Boy
Travis Barker began taking drum lessons at the age of four from a jazz drum teacher, who taught him many styles of music. While in high school, Travis played in the jazz and marching band, but stopped before his senior year and began to tour with rock bands, including the Aquabats. Soon after he joined the punk-rock band, Blink 182, they achieved mainstream worldwide success (from 1999 to 2004). Blink announced an “indefinite hiatus” in 2005. Travis has been involved with other projects including +44, Boxcar Racer, and the Transplants.
Travis released his remix of Crank That in September 2007 on YouTube (over fourteen millions viewings so far). Filmed with only a hand-held camera (fitting the YouTube vibe), Travis is shown nailing it in the studio, adding drums to a pre-existing rap song.
Travis has again created an Internet phenomenon. Since its release in January 2008, “Recording Session Flo Rida Low” has attracted well over four million viewings on YouTube.
The original rap song, Low (feat. T-Pain), comes from Tramar Dillard, known as Flo Rida, a 28-year-old rapper from Florida (hence his stage name). His song has remained at or near the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 25 consecutive weeks.
Faheem Najm, known as T-Pain (short for Teddy Pain), is a 22-year-old rapper, who also appears on the song Low.
Style and Analysis
To get an idea of why Travis orchestrated/played what he did, you might want to listen to a recording of the original song. Just as in Crank That by Soulja Boy, Low involves very sparse percussion. The song is layered by synthesizer patterns and simple melodies. Reggae-tinged rap creates much of the rhythmic interest.