Dan the Automator
Dan "the Automator" Nakamura is a hip-hop producer most known for his work in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s. Nakamura's most well-known production work includes The NBA 2K7 video game soundtrack, the commercially successful Dr. Octagon project with Kool Keith, and the widely successful anime influenced trip-hop project Gorillaz. He is also renowned in underground circles for spearheading the critically acclaimed underground projects Handsome Boy Modeling School with Prince Paul; Deltron 3030 with Del tha Funkee Homosapien; Head Automatica with Daryl Palumbo and Kid Koala; and Lovage with Mike Patton and Jennifer Charles.
From San Francisco, his early 1990's debut 12" "Music To Be Murdered By" that sampled Hitchcock and was released as "the Automator" earned him radio play and a serious street rep. Nakamura became a major figure in the somewhat higher-brow rap underground that developed while mainstream hip-hop integrated its successful gangsta image with the also-popular Miami Bass party-jam style, with heavy borrowing from its ignored soul music roots. Avenues of rap which pursued more introspective, creative, and esoteric angles became brushed aside, admired by fans with more eclectic musical tastes and appreciation for dense lyrical constructions and obscure or off-beat musical inspirations.
Nakamura's work tends to integrate significant amounts of overlooked 1970s and 1980s kitsch, cult classics, and B-grade 1990s television material. His work also tends to make heavy use of classical music and science fiction overtones and references, the latter with hip hop roots in the space jams of Parliament. Sci-fi also pops up in the hip hop oeuvres of RZA and Jedi Mind Tricks, among others, both in and out of collaborations with Dan the Automator.
Trained in classical violin as a child, Nakamura was more attracted to early electronica and hip-hop. After dabbling as a DJ, he gave up on the skill and instead worked on musical production, taking on small gigs until getting his major break working with Kool Keith.