Fly by Night is the latest project from Minneapolis rapper Vision the Kid. Tag teaming with his once-high school producer, Fly by Night is hip hop’s pop-inspired love child with American music. Technically-not-illegal samples of Queen, Bob Seger, Imogen Heap and Albert Hammond, Jr. never sounded so good. Vision the Kid’s first release since 2015’s well received Golden Era mixtape (TheSource.com called it “extremely promising and occasionally brilliant”), Fly By Night finds the rapper with the same smooth-but-lyrical style over samples from some of the biggest, and unlikeliest, artists of the last 50 years of pop music.
It took a few years before coming to fruition, but “Fly By Night” was well worth the wait. I got involved with this project once it got to the vocal tracking stage. I had helped record vocals on Vision’s debut album “Lost Summer” back in 2011 and have been a fan since, so naturally I was pretty excited to work with Jordan again. I heard the instrumentals they had been working on prior via Nick Schmidt, a freelance engineer at Droptone. Each track had a unique genre-bending production element that caught my ear immediately. Recording vocals was a pleasure. Vision never disappoints lyrically, and his flow was impressive each time. We worked out the songs section by section, and I sorted through every take for the best moments and most character. After just a couple sessions, the recording element was finished. The hard part was finding a way to make the mixes shine.
Densely arranged and heavily relying on samples in the choruses, these tracks needed to smoothly transition between original programming and fully-mastered, sampled songs. My first step was to peel back any redundant arrangements to get to the critical layers and make those work alone. Sometimes that involved re-programming drum samples and re-writing bass-lines in order to simplify 3 ideas into 1. Drums and bass are everything in hip-hop so once I felt good about the foundation, it was much easier to know how to handle the rest of the pieces. The producer, Peter Netzel, was incredibly flexible and trusting to let me experiment with some re-ordering and new ideas to condense some sprawling 3rd verse and bridges into more concise pop-oriented arrangements. Jordan’s verses dictated most of the changes, calling for the music to follow his lead instead of the other way around. I worked incredibly hard on these mixes and I’m proud of the result. It came a long way and I feel good about what we accomplished. Between Peter’s fantastic production and Jordan’s impressive flows, it’s hard to fail. Definitely take a listen, it’s free to download, and check out Vision’s other work while you’re at it.
All songs produced by Peter Netzel aka DJ Crab Rangoons
All lyrics by Jordan Sandvig aka Vision the Kid
Vocal Recording, Mix, and additional Production by Stephen Helvig
Assistant Engineer: Nick Schmidt
All vocals recorded at Droptone Studio