Knxwledge. Flexes Production Muscles on ‘VGM.30,’ the 30th Installment of Video Game Music Series

Knxwledge. © 2024
Knxwledge. © 2024
Beatmaker Knxwledge. flexes an adoration for video game music on ‘VGM.30,’ a nostalgia project rooted in innovative sample flips.
Stream: ‘VGM.30’ – Knxwledge.

Nothing quite goes together like video games and hip-hop.

Although crafting beats with video game sounds is nothing new, some of rap’s biggest stars have boasted their love for gaming for decades. Heavyweights like Drake and MF DOOM can be heard rapping over Nintendo soundtracks while artists like Doja Cat reference Final Fantasy in their lyrics. Perhaps in a fit of obsession, producer Glen Earl Boothe, AKA Knxwledge., shows us that his love for gaming runs much deeper.

VGM​.​30 - Knxwledge.
VGM​.​30 – Knxwledge.

Often crafted live on Twitch, the beatmaker’s Video Game Music series (VGM) finds the Grammy-award winning beatmaker grinding through a massive crate of SNES, PlayStation, and Sega soundtracks to flip as samples in a long running collection of instrumental hip-hop beats. The 30th addition to the VGM series, VGM.30 (self-released on Bandcamp on December 1), is a short, concise, immensely creative hip-hop instrumental project which exhibits the sonic stylings of classic games in a love letter to video game culture.

The VGM series has been ongoing since early 2020 with well over 250 unique tracks attributed to the project. Always looking for a challenge, Knxwledge. creatively flips samples from 90’s gaming classics the likes of Mega Man, Chrono Trigger, Bomberman, and much, much more. VGM’s buzz led to Knxwledge. being involved in the soundtrack for 2022’s Capcom Fighting Collection, remixing six classic Street Fighter tracks in a dream come true for the beatmaker. To this day, you can find Knxwledge. streaming rounds of beat ‘em up fighting games on their Twitch channel in between rounds of music production livestreams.

Knxwledge © Jake Michaels, 2018
Knxwledge © Jake Michaels, 2018

A deep cut even for hip-hop fans, Knxwledge. has quietly been one of the most prolific producers of the modern music era.

No stranger to mixing genres, the producer has fashioned dozens of instrumental projects riddled with skillful sampling, refined timbres, and a keen attention to detail. Their instrumentals can be heard backing up underground rappers the likes of Quelle Chris, Joey Bada$$, Westside Gun, and, most notably, Kendrick Lamar on “Momma” from the genre-altering To Pimp a Butterfly.

Acting as one half of the band NxWorries with Anderson .Paak, the producer crafted one of the smoothest albums of the last decade in 2016’s Yes Lawd! Another nostalgia project, the duo pays homage to the days of smooth, seductive ’70s and ’80s funk and R&B. Knxwledge.’s lush sampling coaxes .Paak into an alluring performance which seethes with sensuality – sexy is an understatement. NxWorries fans were treated to a new single earlier this year with “Daydreamin’,” a passionate slow jam teasing a much anticipated 2024 return from the duo.

Knxwledge. © 2024
Knxwledge. © 2024

VGM.30’s opening track “legit[INST]” feels like a start screen, the calm, chunky drums and glassy piano setting a somber tone . A soft sample of what sounds like a Dance Dance Revolution track is layered into the mix creating something that is as head-bobbing as it is atmospheric. “antiks” acts as a dreamy interlude which precedes the explosive “imwaiting” whose flurry of 16-bit synths and a glossy piano melody which sounds like a bustling city in the midst of a snowstorm.

Keeping the energy rolling, “eskargo” has a catchy Bossa Nova beat which nicely contrasts the epic “bakthin,” a standout cut from the project. As immersive as it is impressive, the beat exhibits crisp drums, heavy chime sounds, and a sample of a harmonica from what sounds like something from Animal Crossing. The calming, elegant jazz piano on “proof” winds the project’s energy down before the closing track “gottaway,” whose nocturnal subtlety acts as a nice credit roll for the project.

Knxwledge. © 2024
Knxwledge. © 2024

Clearly, Knxwledge.’s adoration for gaming is unmatched.

The producer breathes new life into dozens of compositions from the very large and underrated catalog that is video game music. Not only a fun listen for hip-hop fans, the VGM series acts as a vessel to reinvigorate the spirit of classic gaming while maintaining Knxwledge.’s creative artistry.

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:: stream/purchase VGM​.​30 here ::
:: connect with Knxwledge. here ::

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VGM​.​30 - Knxwledge.

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