Ultimately a novel way of turning a one-shot sample library into a 'performance' plugin, Crate Digger wraps 800 crusty, dusty (but, crucially, original and royalty-free) hip-hop sounds, organised into 50 preset banks, in a simple MPC-inspired interface.
"The instrumentation is classic 90s hip- hop: keyboards, funky brass, guitar, vocal cuts, strings - you name it"
Each bank is mapped to the 16 pads, the first 12 holding melodic clips, stabs, short loops, etc; the last four firing off FX.
The instrumentation is classic 90s hip- hop: keyboards, funky brass, guitar, vocal cuts, strings - you name it - and playback can be mono, poly or legato.
Volume and pan are adjustable globally and per-pad, while Pitch is used to apply varispeed-style timestretch/pitchshift (80-100bpm) to the whole instrument. There's also a suitably subtle one-knob (depth) reverb for instant ambience.
Crate Digger's GUI is functional rather than innovative, but the concept works well enough and the samples are absolutely gorgeous.
Approaching it from a 'beat making' perspective, rather than as a weighty compositional tool, is obviously key, but if old-skool hip-hop is in any way your flava, this is essential.