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For all you budding songwriters, grab yourself a copy of E-Jay! You dont need to know an awful lot about the rudiments and theory of music to be able to write a reasonably good sounding tune.
The nice people at E-Jay have released this Hip Hop version, which compliments the other musical genres in their series.
The program itself may look very daunting when you first run it, however it is incredibly simple to operate. You are faced with a grid of musical "tracks" (eg Drums, Bass, Rap) and a whole series of samples to drag and drop onto the grid.
The samples are very good quality and almost any sample goes with the others. For those with musical knowledge, most samples are all in the same key so few sound clashes occur.
After a little trial and error, it shouldnt take too long before you have produced a professional sounding song, although please do not expect to be able to release a hit record just yet! There is a facility to convert your music to mp3, should you wish to burn your tracks onto CD.
If you intend to write music with more than say 8 tracks, you will need a high-end spec computer, as the program is very resource intensive
One of the points to note is that all samples are "public domain" and so you are not going to be in breach of any copyright laws with your compositions. It is also useful to know that you can buy additional packs of samples for those who have exhausted all possibilities and combinations of samples (if you are still interested in the program by this time!)