|Count Bass D|
|Born||August 25, 1973|
|Origin||The Bronx, New York|
|Rapper, record producer, multi-instrumentalist|
|Labels||Fat Beats, High Times Records, Chaos Recordings|
|MF Doom, MF Grimm, J. Rawls, Snoop Dogg, Beastie Boys, STS9, Madlib|
Dwight Conroy Farrell (born August 25, 1973), better known by the stage name Count Bass D, is an American rapper, record producer and multi-instrumentalist who resides in Atlanta, Georgia. His production style is characterised by layers of short MPC samples and film snippets complemented with live instrumentation, and eccentric lyrics laid atop. A.V. Club writer Nathan Rabin once wrote, "If talent were money, Count Bass D would be richer than Nelly, P-Diddy, and Jermaine Dupri combined."
Count Bass D was born on August 25, 1973, and was raised in The Bronx and Canton Ohio. At the age of four his father, a West Indian minister, encouraged him to play music at his church. He first learned to play drums at age four when a visiting choir at his father's church gave him a chance to play at the end of a service. "Towards the end they gave me an opportunity to try and I was keeping a beat," he said in an interview. "This is the reason why I haven't really abandoned Christianity as my spirituality. I continue to musically experience these miracles that can't be explained, that are really supernatural."
Count thereafter learned to play the piano, organ, and bass. He picked up the piano during a religious trip to London with his father in 1982. "By the time I came back from fooling around on a piano I could play all my triads, all inversions, and play the 1, 4, 5 progressions in all twelve keys," he said in an interview. "I just figured this out in fourth grade, in six weeks."
Count stated in an interview for the release of his Dwight Spitz album that he believes being proficient with the piano is an essential part of being a musician. "I've always believed that the ability to play the piano is mandatory for all who claim to be a musician," he said. "Now you don't have to be Marcus Roberts, but you do have to have some sort of working knowledge."
He then started gaining interest in hip-hop, becoming better at rhyming while rapping with friends. Before turning 10, Count started participating in hip-hop culture by learning to beatbox while living in Canton. "I started to beatbox first when I heard the Fat Boys in 1982," he explained in an interview. "Beatboxing was something that no equipment was needed to do at nine years old."
Count produced his first record between 1988 and 1989 for an artist named Kenny K in Tampa, Florida. In an interview Count stated, "I had no gear only records," and that he made the song for Kenny K on an EPS sampler. Count credits Kenny K for "helping him out with a lot."
The first record Count bought for beatmaking and DJing was A Tribe Called Quest's single "Bonita Applebum", which he purchased in 1990.
Count started "making music for money" at age 19 in 1992. In his late teens, Count Bass D enrolled at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, to take advantage of the school's instruments to finish his demo tape. He then broadcast his first hip-hop video on campus. One of his demo tapes ended up with 3rd Bass member Pete Nice. His demo tape caused a bidding war and several lawsuits.
His demo also led him to getting a record deal with Chaos Recordings where he released his first studio album, Pre-Life Crisis in early 1995. The production on Count's first album consisted of live instrumentation. While explaining the recording process in a 2008 interview he said, "Back then, I would just start a click track with the TR-808 in my headphones and play drums first, play bass second, and play my keyboards third. That's pretty much how I did that whole first album."
The label found it difficult to market the album, and Count was dropped from the label. While reflecting on the experience in a 2013 interview Count said, "I had a very distant relationship with my record label. So as a result of that, there were thousands of copies made, but not many sold. A bunch of those records went to scrap places or just a bunch of different warehouses."
In 1997 Count released his first EP, Art For Sale on independent record label Spongebath Records, the album was later released in 2005, in Japan on Octave Records. Around the same time he also worked at a record label and had a radio show with Egon on Stones Throw and Now Again Records.
In 2002, Count decided to make a more Hip Hop themed album, so he bought an Akai S-3000 sampler, and an MPC-2000 drum machine and quickly learned to create new sounds. Count later said he decided to move away from live instruments and use sampling because he, "didn't have the money to record traditional instruments correctly." He credits MF Doom and VIC, who he called "masters of the MPC," with teaching him how to use the machine.
With these tools he released his second, and most critically acclaimed studio album, Dwight Spitz. It features appearances from other well known indie MCs, such as MF Doom, and Edan. Although Count later said that the album didn't generate much of a profit, he also said "most people know me because of that album."
In 2004, Count produced a track ("Potholderz") and guest appeared on MF Doom's MM..Food. In 2005, Count released his second EP, Begborrowsteel on Jazzy Sport Records. Count described the album in a 2005 interview as, "me borrowing drum machines to stay afloat." He borrowed an MPC from musician Van Hunt and other equipment from a producer named Nikko.
Act Your Waist Size - his third studio album - was released on Fat Beats Records in 2006. In 2008, Count released a sequel album on 1320 Records, to Pre-Life Crisis, called L7 (Mid-Life Crisis), he was 35 at the time of release.
He also released the album Robbed Without A Pistol in 2008. He originally gave the album away, saying "Everyone cannot afford to purchase music in these days and times so here is my gift to all those people."
Count relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in 2009. In 2010, Count teamed up with old friend, producer and rapper DJ Pocket, and made two collaborative albums in the same year. In the Loop, and Activity, both released on Domination records. In 2011, Count and rapper Insight the Truncator, released a collaborative record called The Risktakers. On August 25, 2011, Count self-released his 5th studio album, #FULLCOUNT, on his personal website, CountBassD.com.
In 2015 Count was a member of the Respect the Architect Tour with Blueprint and DJ Rare Groove. It was the longest tour of his career to date with 60 total concerts.
After many years of experimenting with a mixture of live instrumentation and sampling, Count said, "At this stage in my career, and after working with some of the best musicians in the world, I feel the drum machine is my primary instrument," in a 2015 interview.
On June 30, 2017 Count released the single "Too Much Pressure" with Snoop Dogg. In a review the New York Times praised his production by saying, "The only type of production mid-to-late-career Snoop Dogg should be rapping over is the sort the indie-rap survivor Count Bass D gives him here: luscious, velvety, soothing, slow funk."