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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Winners announced

Thematic Songwriting Competition - recurrence: monthly
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Mister Fox
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SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Winners announced


Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Songwriting Competition 35 - July 2020

This is the introduction post, where we directly link to the challenge corresponding files (theme, submission information, sponsors) and start of the voting process. There will be no Round 2.

Read more about this month's competition further down below.

Please take note of the following
  • Please consult the official "Rules and Guidelines" for the Songwriting Competition regarding principles of the game and upload/submission guidelines
  • IMPORTANT: please use the following naming convention for your productions (artist name = forum username):
    • SWC000_ArtistName_TrackName.wav and/or .mp3
  • IMPORTANT: if you only submit your production through Soundcloud, name your files properly prior to uploading and make the production downloadable. The forum can also convert your links into a Soundcloud player through the [soundcloud] BBcode from the text editor (orange square with a white cloud in it)

This post will be updated with the corresponding links as we progress, and of course the suitable thread headlines. So please watch this spot:

Submission Period: General Information and Sponsors
Cheat Sheet: A couple of examples / audio demos for this month's challenge (usually not available if genre is "Free to Select")
Voting: Summarized entries and start of voting process
Results of the Songwriting Competition: Results of the Songwriting Competition

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »


Time Frame: Wednesday, 01st July 2020 to Friday, 24th July 2020 (24 days)

Challenge submission will end on 24-07-2020, 23:59 UTC+2/CEST (Germany) - until further notice.

Want to find out if you're still within the deadline, please consult the following options:
The Global Countdown on it's dedicated page or the countdown on the home page. You can also consult the World Clock at the top of the forum or alternatively the following tool - in this case please select "Berlin (Germany)" as location 1, and your location as location 2: Time and Date - World Clock Meeting Planner. We do post reminders via our Twitter account and Facebook page.

GENRE: Conscious Rap

Image Source: Pexels, photo by Eric Esma (cropped), released under Creative Commons CC0

A few word about this month's theme:
(apologies in advance - they're a bit longer than usual)
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote:Half of the year has ended, and there is (seemingly) no end to all the chaos in sight. We're still talking unemployment, mass demonstrations, a surge in virus infections, and more and more people that try to make their anger some air (with downright riots).

Personally, I always thought of art (in our case: music) being the best medium to speak your mind, channel pent up emotions.

And one of the genres that originally served as "an outlet and a voice for the disenfranchised youth of marginalized backgrounds and low-income areas" (Wikipedia), is actually "Hip Hop" music, or "rap music". The other genre to deflect one's anger, would have actually been "Punk Rock". But we've never really touched "Rap" and "Sprechgesang". So why not try something different this month? Maybe get some new songwriters on board this way.

Your task for this Songwriting Competition:

This month, you can create a production in the Conscious Rap genre.

But what actually is "Conscious Rap"?

The TL;DR version: "Conscious Rap", and to some extend even "Nerdcore" (which is also Thematic Rap), is not singing about swag, bling, making mad dosh, cars and scantly clad ladies. It is about either praising things that you love and would love to put into certain heights (like a love for music, science, nature or videogames), or just get something off one's chest because you just can't take certain things anymore. May it be bullying, discrimination, war, etc. Some people even call this "Lyrical Rap" (although that is not a genre definition).
► Show Spoiler

What I'd like to see/hear this month:

You creating your own "beats". As in, your own background music that sets the stage for vocals. I'd actually prefer if you go more "old school", which means: things being a bit more melodic, drums being more laid back and "punchy" than modern-day "new school". Which is more thin, minimalist and modern sounding, with often an excess of hi-hats.

The lyrics are sung / delivered as "Sprechgesang" either by yourself, or you find somebody to collaborate with. Although an instrumental with the occasional voice sample is also fine (like "Action Cat - Tomorrow", which was the source for Mix Challenge 026 / October 2016). But maybe try something new this month.

I'd love to hear your stories, your concerns, maybe feel a bit of your anger. In fact, why not do this in your native tongue even? Throughout the years, I've heard great rap in Japanese, Swedish, Turkish, Russian, various English accents, Brazilian, German, etc. We have such a diverse user base. If you provide a lyric translation, I'd love to expand my musical horizon even more.

What I do not want to hear:

While I am fully aware that the roots of "Hip Hop" lie with sampling of other songs. However - don't just take (for example) half of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, or Henry Mancini's theme from "Love Story", throw a beat on it, some lyrics and call it a day. I also don't want to see you just... go to a page where you can download ready-to-go construction kits or straight up finished productions (beat marketplaces), then just throw on a vocal track and say "that's it". If you really want to "sample" another song, try to be as creative as possible. Looping, layering and transfiguring is the key in this game. There are so many loops and samples out there at this point to create something new. Adding a "MPC-60" style saturation and sampling rate reduction to re-create that old school groove and feel, is super easy these days.

I am also aware, that the "theme" of this month's SWC can easily drift into strong political commentary and ranting (Conspiracy Theories). Try to not be too controversial if possible.

I want you to channel your creativity (and to some extend your pent up anger), I don't want the community to go at each other's throat. The theme is called "Hip Hop Politics", but it's merely a title. You can rap about anything you want. As long as it can be considered "Conscious Rap". You can swear, if you really need to. But don't drift into unnecessary F-bomb dropping, ethnic slurs, unnecessary Ebonics (the infamous "N-word") or similar. Else - post a warning at the beginning of your post.

Definitely a no-no would be "mumble rap", "trap" music and "Gangster Rap" (which can be considered "new school"). Don't slur your words, you don't need to break speed records with raps being in double-time.

Apologies for the longer-than-usual premise and ground rules for the Songwriting Competition. But we're treading completely new ground.
I am really curious how this competition will play out and I'm looking forward to listening to your entries. :phones:

Songwriting Rule Summary / Add-On Rules:
  • create a production fitting to the given theme, genre and general premise
  • you can use any tool that is at your disposal (samples, virtual instruments and/or real instruments)
  • IMPORTANT: if you use non-licensed material (no royalty free material from sample CDs, etc), give full credit to the source material
  • do not go higher than -14LUFS ILk/-1dBTP or K-12v1 (avg)/-1dBTP in terms of perceived loudness (mastering). Music doesn't have to be squashed to bits in order to be impactful
  • for newcomers: no cover versions or remixes, no ripped acapella's
    • please don't use any "finished beats" (as in a background song) from any marketplace (20dollarbeats, Epidemic Sound, Shadowville, Soundclick, etc), you have to create your own


Please take note of the official rules - they can be found at the following thread:
Songwriting Competition - Official Rules and Guidelines

Please address any OT question in the official Gossip thread:
Songwriting Competition - Gossip and Discussion

If you like what the Mix Challenge (community) has been doing in recent months:
Please consider supporting us


SPONSORS (Prizes):

Prizes for Songwriting Challenge participants:

Note: All licenses are NFR (Not-For-Resale), except where noted.
Changes to available prices on short notice may be possible and will be announced separately.


IK Multimedia is kind enough give away one license of MODO BASS to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on IK Multimedia: https://www.ikmultimedia.com

Tone2 is kind enough to donate a license of Saurus2 to the winner (until further notice)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Tone2: https://tone2.com

kv331 audio is kind enough give away a bundle of either SynthMaster 1+2 Bundle, or a freely selectable set of 3 SynthMaster Expansions
License will not turn into NFR, you need to have a kv311 audio user account in order to pick up Expansions
More info on kv331 audio: https://www.kv331audio.com

JRR Sounds is kind enough give away any-1 sound sets or sample set of winner's choice (exception: Bundles)
More info on JRR Sounds: https://www.jrrshop.com/jrr-sounds

Luftrum is kind enough give away either a license of Lunaris, or any 2 sound sets of winner's choice (exception: Bundles and Nano Electronics)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Luftrum: http://www.luftrum.com

Rekkerd Sounds is kind enough give away 1 sound set of winners choice (exception: Krezie EDM and Neurofunk Vol. 1)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Rekkerd Sounds: http://sounds.rekkerd.org/

Ghostwave Audio (Vincent Bastiat) is kind enough to donate any 2 sound sets to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Ghostwave Audio: http://ghostwaveaudio.com

Hollow Sun is kind to donate one license of "Music Laboratory Machines - The Suite I" to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Hollow Sun: http://www.hollowsun.com

Hornet Plugins is kind enough give away one license from the depicted tools (see image) to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Hornet Plugins: http://www.hornetplugins.com

Sound / Graphic Designer, and honorary Mix Challenge staff satYatunes is donating one commercial product of winner's choice (until further notice)
More info on satYatune's page: http://www.satyatunes.com/

And also a thank you to all former contributors as well.

If you want to sponsor content (please have a focus on instruments, samples and sound sets), please get in touch with the Mix Challenge staff.

Please spread the word of the challenge on social media.
For example with our dedicated Twitter Account or Facebook Page


Good luck to all participants.
And most importantly, have fun!

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »


Articles and Info Pages:

https://music.ishkur.com/ (Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music)
Please take a closer look at "Conscious Rap" and "Thematic Rap" in the Hip Hop section.


Information about "Who Sampled Whom"

Music examples (selection):

Public Enemy - Fight the Power (1989)
KRS-One - Sound of da Police (1993, commentary about police brutality)
Martin Iveson - ShellShock (1995, from the videogame OST "Shellshock", which is an anti-war videogame about a "Tank Corp" fighting for peace)
2Pac - Changes (1998 version, borderline "Ganster Rap", references to the war on drugs, racism, the difficulties of life in the ghetto - re-uses an elder 2Pac song and the main music is built around Bruce Hornsby and the Range's "The Way It Is")
Samy Deluxe - Weck mich auf (2001, German, the song is very critical of society, racism, abuse, media corruption, kids that try to hide in drugs and videogames to disconnect from reality)
Spax - Kriegstagebuch (2002, German, a statement against fighting wars, uses snippets from "Karl Jenkins - 'Palladio' I. Allegretto")
Immortal Technique - The 3rd World (2008, among the most aggressive, non apologetic and uncensored tracks on this list)
Shahmen - Dirt (2010, singing about growing up and enjoying life)
Beat Making Lab - Cho Cho Cho (2012, song about the youth rising up, time for building love and peace in a struggling country - more information and lyric translation can be found here)
Greydon Square - Summer's Ending (2012, a criticism about religious believes and the general "system")
JAY-Z - The Story of O.J. (2017, uses Ebonics to get the point across that this is about "rising above stereotypes in order to change things for the better")
Killah Trakz - Welcome Back (2020, singing about coming through hardships and staying on top of things)

Notable mentions:

Peter Maffay - Maffay 'la Cartel (feat Cartel) (1998, German/Turkish - a song about meeting up and being stronger together, more on the rock side than Hip Hop)
Christophe Heral - Akuda House Propaganda (from Beyond Good & Evil OST) (2003, scratches "Conscious Hip Hop", according to Heral is in "a fake Slavic language" - the song is about manipulation by the media, propaganda, lies and stealth)
Bomani "D'mite" Armah - Read a Book (2007, can be considered "Comedy Rap" - it is a satirical observation on the current ridiculous, offensive, and embarrassing state of hip hop, on top of sending a positive message and providing a social commentary)
MC Frontalot - Zero Day (2010, Nerdcore, a song about the electric revolt)
Boyinaband - Don't Stay in School (2015, technically Alternative Hip Hop with a very "conscious" topic, a song about the school system being set up completely wrong -- one of many of his songs about strong topics)
Action Cat - Tomorrow (2015, Instrumental Hip Hop, was the source for Mix Challenge 026 / October 2016).)

Please also check in with the following thread in the the Gear Talk sub-forum, if you're on the look-out for new tools:
Free Tools, Samples and deals (collection thread)

UPDATED: 04-JUL-2020 8:30 UTC+2

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by functionform »

What an awesome idea for a contest. I kind of wish it was a pure nerdcore comp though. The idea iof writing of rap song meant to be political from people who don't usually produce political and probably aren't from those communities that do seems a little off to me. Just my thoughts.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »

I have to stop you right there and say that this month's theme is indeed called "Hip Hop Politics" - but that's about it. It is a title that some day popped into my head, and then never left my lists of possible future Songwriting Competitions.

This, once more, shows me that people do not read the full premise/description and only go via the TL;DR version: "Theme" and "Genre". And I need to be even more clear with future premises to prevent the commentary of "would have joined, but I'm not a fan of the theme". This is also the reason why I changed the landing page from showing the "theme" to showing the "genre" instead, by the way.

:!: Either way - I went back to the premise and addressed this. Marked certain sections and added two to three more sentences that you rap about pretty much everything: As long as it can be considered "Conscious Rap" (see Wikipedia entries, the spoiler comment, etc).

To this counts "Nerdcore" as well. Which is why I've mentioned MC Frontalot as notable example. In fact, I also added Dave P Brown (aka "Boy in a Band") with "Don't Stay in School", although this track is a blend of genres. Killah Traks does a mix of Nerdcore, "Dirty South" and what can be considered "Conscious Rap" as well. I could have also added "The Beasty Boys" with "Get it Together" (although that one is a strange song that rather shouts out friends) or "Sabotage" (which is more Rock than Hip Hop) to the listing above. I could have mentioned Eminem with "Stan" (which is a song about an obsessive fan, which also uses the most of Dido's "Thank you" from 2000) or "Sing for the Moment" (which is about living the hard life as an artist, being a role model and how media twists/turns things, uses the most of Aerosmith's "Dream On" from 1973). I could have added Michael Jackson's "Scream" - which is technically a Pop Song (due to the singing, rather than rapping/Sprechgesang), but the rhythm is rooted in Hip Hop.

I can't give you endless examples however.

I usually invest 2-3 days to write up a premise, find audio examples, etc. For the very reason to get more people involved, to offer them a small guideline for stepping out of their comfort zone. And then we still have the same recurring conversation. Most other Songwriting Competitions are merely like "here, have a theme, have the genre... GO!", or they only mention one genre and "make the best of it". No hints, no premise, no examples, etc.

Just... please take another nose dive into the audio examples post, read up on the premise again. Then go by your gut instinct. If you want to make yourself air about the current state of affairs with our world, then please do so. This is what this theme is about (to vent). If you would rather "rap" about about science and why we human can't seem to exceed our limits (like: space flight, knowledge, etc), then that is just as fine.

:arrow: The most important part in all of this is:
Just make music (in this case: Hip Hop), maybe try something new and be creative.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »

A friendly reminder:
Including today, 14 days left to submit your production.

So far we have 0 entries. Keep in mind, even though the theme is "Hip Hop Politics", the track doesn't need to be political in nature. It should just be more "conscious" and lyrical, basically write your anger off of your soul.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by TrojakEW »

Looks like I'm first.

Did a quick short track in about 3 days in kind of old school Boom Bap style with jazzy feel. Simple agressive upfront beat that dominate whole track as it is used in this style. Goal was to make dirty sounding mix as it was made in 1990s. So a lot of distortion everywhere on purpose.

Challenge for me was rap. Since there is no much time for me to find someone to rap I did something weird that I never done before. I use my voice and I hope I will not need to use it again. I'm not singer or rapper or anything and my voice is bad. I have done some additional processing on it like pitch and formant shift to make it bit better and more masculine but it still sucks. Another challenge was, since I am not a native speaker in English to "rap" not to mention writing some text for track. Had some problems with pronunciation on some words so after that I try to find synonyms for those in order not to break my tongue. I also putting lyrics here if it is too much problem to understand me. Used cheap usb mic wihtout pop filter to record so I have done lot of cleaning in RX7. I also created "cute" artwork for the track.

Have planned to add more piano stuff with more dissonant melodies but I will do not have time for this. So quick and short to not miss another round.

Made using FL Studio 20.6
Instruments used (Kontakt):
1x NI Drum Lab
1x ProjectSam Symphobia (Brass Ensemble)
1x ProjectSam Lumina (Brass Clusters)
1x ProjectSam Swing (Double Bass)
1x NI Kinetic Metal (for vinyl noise simulation in intro)
1x Samplelogic Cinemorphx (one vocal loop for scratching)
Used Effects:
2x VSTzOne Arx One
1x Izotope Ozone 9 Advanced
2x Izotope Neutron 3
5x Izotope Neutron 3 Equalizer
1x Izotope Ozone 9 Imager
2x Izotope Nectar 3
2x Izotope VocalSynth 2
1x Izotope Relay
1x Izotope Vinyl
1x Izotope Insight 2
1x ImageLine Maximus
1x ImageLine Gross Beat
1x Fruity Balance
1x Unfiltered Audio Triad
1x Noveltech Character
Max momentary loudness -10.4 LUFS
Max short-tem loudness -11.8 LUFS
Integrated loudness -14.0 LUFS
Loudness range 6.5 LU
True peak L -1.06dB
True peak R -1.07dB
DC offset L 0% (-180.7dB)
DC offset R 0% (-169.9dB)

Here are lyrics
► Show Spoiler

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »

We're off to a strong start.

Looking forward to more entries. :phones:

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »

A friendly reminder:
Including today, 7 days left to submit your production.

So far we have 1 entry. Please help spread the word on Social Media, Chatrooms and/or your go-to communities.

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Re: SONGWRITING COMPETITION - SWC035 July 2020 - Submissions until 24-07-2020 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by gaurav.talreja »

Hello Mr Fox,
It was fun participating in this competition.Here is my link to the entry !

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MpjMFm ... sp=sharing

Please make a note of the following:
Made using LOGIC PRO
Instruments used In built Logic VST
1x Vocals Sung and Recorded by me using Logic
1x Sample Logic sweeper and electro fx





Used Manny M for vocal ambience and Logic Stereo Delay, PIANO I USED fab-R as ambience, used delay designer for delays of sythns

Used Izotope 7 OZONE for quick summing master

24/44.1 , @ -14 LUFS using WLM plus


Tick Tick Tak , Tick Tok Tick

Its the Sick Sick (66) Politics,
In Gematria all thats fixed,
A number game& a number frame,
If you call that , All thats mixed

Sick Sick Politics , Sick Sick Politics

This that Rap wars with all these words, Bring that back , a uni-verse,
Push it front, A multiverse
Sick Sick Politics

That is Sick , That is Sick, Politics

Heres that matrix and all those tricks ,
Push the button and you'll get jinxed,
Sick Sick Politics , Sick Sick Politics

That is Sick ,That is Sick -Politics

Outro = Intro..


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