The best producer you’ve never heard of speaks on working with said knuckleheads, skinny jeans and how he’s paying the price for being ahead of his time.
You’ve worked with both Poison Pen and Celph Titled. Who is more hazardous to your health?
Probably Pen, because when we hang out together, all we’re going to do is wallow in the mud and get fat together! (laughs)
What’s it like engineering for Celph Titled?
It’s crazy because we don’t actually fuck around too much in the studio. It’s very right to business. It’s like it’s recording with anybody else, where you record, crack jokes and record.
What’s been your favorite song that you’ve done with Celph?
I haven’t done a lot of songs with him. I did “Laugh About It” and I can’t even remember the rest of them. I can’t remember, actually.
You’ve done a lot of work on the production tip with Apathy. What’s it been like working with him?
It’s been a crazy, crazy trip. It’s not all fucking like candy or whatever. It’s been bumpy, but it’s probably been the best shit I ever did for my career. Apathy, he understands shit like my brother. It’s to the point where me and him go somewhere and people think that me and him are brothers. It’s been a big blessing being able to work with him and going places with him.
And a session, we bump heads a lot. A lot of people, when you’re friends with them for so long, you’re going to argue with them over certain shit. We bump heads a lot but we get shit done and we know exactly what we’re doing. Honestly, you’re never going to agree on everything but the end result is always good because once we get over the hump of not agreeing on certain shit, we’re flying. It’s like all of a sudden, boom, there it goes. It’s a lot of fun. We always work shit from the ground up. He doesn’t just listen to my beats. We’ll sit around for three hours listening to samples and work it up with that and while I’m piecing together the beat he’ll start coming up with what he wants to talk about in the song.
How important is it to go back and forth with the artist over a song as opposed to just sending the beats out, which seems to be the preferred method of “producing” today?
Along with that goes the quality of the music. You don’t sit around and ask what do you think about that? When you’re not in the studio working with somebody like that as a producer, here’s the thing. There’s not enough producers. People just make beats and throw them out and they two track it and it says produced by so and so. Motherfuckers didn’t produce shit! The rapper just rapped on it and if the producer doesn’t like it then he’s stuck with it. The whole aspect of the producer and MC thing and trying to make a product is gone. When I’m in the studio working with that artist, we bounce ideas back and forth and we try to make the best shit possible.
I don’t like making beat CDs. What happens when 10 artists all pick the same beat?
You have a lot of different sounds and drums. How important has your versatility been?
It’s dope. It’s cool. I love it, but at the same time, it works against me a little bit because I have a habit for not giving people what they want, but it’s good at the same time because it makes me stand out. I don’t know. It’s frustrating because beats that I made years ago, those kind of beats are getting popular now and it’s fucking frustrating when I don’t have the files no more and somebody wants to use that beat. I’ll tell them I made it back in ’05. It’s a double-edged sword to have a sound like that. People will either use your shit or think it’s dope and then never use it or they’ll be afraid it’s not going to fit the rest of their album or they’ll be afraid the beat will overpower their lyrics. It’s cool, but it’s not at the same time but I can’t help it. I don’t even know if I answered the question or not.
Do you look at yourself like you’re ahead of the curve or just cursed?
Everyone goes through their days when they get depressed or whatever and frustrated and I go through those a lot and I’m like, ‘Shit, I just don’t have luck for shit!’ I have the worst luck in this game because of product placement because my shit might not sound like everyone else’s or whatever. It’s frustrating but then when people ask me for my old beats, I think I must be ahead of the curve. It’s a little bit of both. It’s a little bad luck to be ahead of the curve, I guess.
How do you think your sound has evolved over the last few years?
It kind of just gets bigger and bigger. As you get older, you’re supposed to get old and progress. Regressing is ridiculous. I just feel like it’s getting bigger and it’s getting stronger. Plus my style changes with the wind too. One month I’ll be making shit that M.O.P would slay and annihilate and then six weeks later I’m making shit that M.I.A. or Spank Rock would be all over. Then all of a sudden three weeks later I’ll go down in the studio and I’ll make this shit that Phonte would annihilate and then I’ll make some shit that Pen would kill. It’s really all over the place but it evolves and all that shit just kind of affects the other beats that I make. It’s like a constant evolution. It’s kind of crazy. I don’t even know how to explain it. I’m bipolar when I go down there and make a beat.
Do you have a style that you prefer over others?
These days, I’d have to say it’s more of the dance and electro shit. I’m actually doing a lot of that shit these days. Plus I play a lot of it more when I DJ. Everyone just wants to go out, dumb out, have fun and look like an asshole and not care about it. In hip-hop everyone’s trying to be cooler than the other person and not look like an asshole, where no one wants to be the first person on the dance floor. In electro, they’ll dance looking like a jackass with stupid jeans on and shit. It’s just a more positive thing and more fun to do, but I still have fun doing the regular hip-hop shit. It’s all about whatever’s fun to do. If I’m having fun doing it, I’ll do it and if I’m not having fun doing it, I’ll just leave it alone until I have fun doing it again.
You’ve been producing for a long time. Are you happy with your place in the game?
I’m happy with it, but I’m frustrated with it, especially with the way things are these days. It’s real hard to capitalize off of this shit and make money and do things the way you want to do it. I’m happy with where I’m at because I like what I’m making right now. At this point in my career, I’ve never been more happy with the kind of music that I’m making and the people I’m making my music with, but I’m also real frustrated to the point where I feel like I should be out there more than I am now. I should be getting more calls and I should be getting more attention and I should have more placements. But at the same time, what can you really do because I don’t force shit down people’s throats. That’s fucking annoying. I hate getting email blasts from artists I never heard of telling me to listen to their shit. That’s why I don’t go to MySpace anymore. It’s disrespectful. It’s better when people stumble upon it. So I’m frustrated but I’m not mad about it but I’m happy about it at the same time, if that makes any sense at all. (laughs)
What’s your creative process like when you make a beat?
I don’t know. It varies. I’ll go down there and I’ll go sit in the chair and I’ll go through sounds, whether they’re drums or samples. There’s no real formula to it. It’s whatever catches my ear and sounds cool is what ends up happening. If I’m having a shitty day, I can guarantee you that it’s going to sound like some angry shit. 90% of my shit sounds angry! But I could be frustrated at something like I didn’t get placed on someone’s album that I wanted to be placed on or I could send a beat to someone and they don’t use it so I’ll say fuck them and make ten beats that they would sound good on and send them to other people! Or it could be a stupid song on MTV or someone driving by and listening to some bullshit on the radio and I’ll hear a bastardized version of some electro shit so I’ll go and make something stupid. But if I’m in a fucked up and funny mood and I’m bored and shit, I’ll make a little electro jam.
What’s your favorite equipment to use?
I used to use the ASR 10 until it broke. Now I’m pretty much exclusively on Acid Pro. Pretty much everything that everyone’s heard I’ve produced in Acid Pro. A lot of people get shocked by that, but I’m a fucking wiz. (laughs)
What track are you most proud of?
One of my favorite songs, it’s hard to pick one, but one of the favorite songs that I’ve done most recently is “Magnifique” with Pen and M.O.P because Pen and M.O.P is hands down my favorite group ever, of all-time. I was gassed off it and then “The Winter” by Apathy is one of my favorite tracks that I’ve done because working with Blue Raspberry has been a dream of mine since I first bought Tical back in ’94. Hearing her voice on “Release Your Delf,” “Sandman” and “Stimulation,” I thought that was the illest voice I ever heard. Those are two of my personal biggest highlights of songs that I’ve done. It’s hard for me to pick favorite tracks that I’ve done.
What was it like working with Icon the Mic King on your group project Flavor Ade?
It was great. It’s like the prelude to the album we have coming out. I’m excited about that because it’s a new sound for the both of us and it’s musical. We’re not just making backpack hip-hop. We just got to the studio and made some fun music. We got a track with Slug, Elzhi and Has-Low.
How’s Apathy’s new album coming?
It’s called Honkey Kong and he’s going back to the hard shit. Everything on it is going to be straight bangers. I’m also working on Pen’s next shit. I’m excited about working on that.
What project that you’re involved in now are you most excited about?
I’m probably most excited about my instrumental album. It’s called Beat You to Death. It’s still in the early stages but I was sitting down with Ap one day and he was telling me that now might be a good time for me to start working on it but I told him I was already three months in! I’m trying to put beats together and figure out who I want on it. It’s going to have the line up of the usual suspects, everyone that I’ve been known to work with and is a part of the circles I work with, like the Demigodz, AOTP, and Pen. The usual suspects are going to be all over it. And calling it Beat You to Death, you know it’s not going to be some pansy-ass shit. It’s not going to be pansy shit. I don’t like making pansy shit.
What can you do to get rid of some of that?
I think we should bring it back to the days when motherfuckers would get PM Dawn’ed and shit. When motherfuckers suck and they’re doing some faggot shit onstage, rush that stage and knock them off. That’s fun to do, man. It really is. Bumrush the stage and knock that faggot off the stage.
Fuck all that other shit. This is hip-hop, man. It’s not about flowers and sandals. It can be about love, you know, but loosen up your fucking pants and put a shirt on. Don’t be all girly about it. These fucking dudes look like fucking women out there and they’re making songs that sound like women on their periods. Leave that shit for the girls. I’m not saying don’t make a fucking love song, but do it on some real shit. Don’t put your fucking manhood on the line about it. Don’t act like those skinny jeans completely cut the circulation off to your nuts. Be a fucking man about it.
Hip-hop sucks so bad right now. Everyone is either making super overly-sounding street shit or…Here’s the problem: dudes from New York are rapping the same. They’re rapping on songs like they would on a Smack DVD, talking the same old shit over the same old beats. The beats are terrible. They sound like shitty down south beats or they’re just on some faggot shit. They sound like 808’s and Heartbreaks.
Don’t get me wrong, the shit that Kanye did before that album, I loved it, but what he did with 808’s and Heartbreaks, now you got dudes like Drake! Dudes are coming up and requesting “The Best I Ever Had”! Dudes are requesting it for themselves and I’m asking them if they’re gay! That’s a chick song. That’s some faggot shit! That shit is gay. Don’t get me wrong, dude can probably rap his ass off, but that shit is gay! I don’t have a problem with gay people, but it’s like, come on, man, be real with yourself and if that’s what you do, go do it. I don’t know. But hip-hop really lost its real machismo. Motherfuckers are afraid to be themselves. If that faggot shit is you, let it be you. If you’re on the shitty state that East Coast is in, if that’s you, go do it and jump off the fucking cliff. Slaughterhouse did it right. They put fucking machismo on that album.
What’s the last album you really felt that met your standards for dopeness?
I’m going to have to go with La Coka Nostra’s album. That shit is hard. Everyone killed it on there. Slaine is my dude, but it’s like something came over him when they recorded that album. He attacked every song on there like it was his first album. He annihilated everything. That album was so fucking hard. Hip-hop needed that album.
What’s next for Chum?
No pansy music! You know, I’m making fun music. I’m working with dudes like Icon. I got a comedic side project I’m doing called Stupid Animals and I got a song called “Tacos and Burritos.” I pretty much rapped the whole Taco Bell menu in two verses. It should not be taken seriously. I’m also working with Ninja Sonic, new shit with Ap and the Beat You to Death. I’m just working on good fucking music, whether it’s hard or it’s fun music. Just have fun and make good music. That’s what I’m doing.