Well just my environment
growing up, I grew up in a music filled household. My
mom, she was a little singer, she used to do her shows and she used to do lip
syncing on the road. She used to do a whole bunch of things for talent shows.
Also, my brother, hes a producer. Hes older than me by like 16-17 years and
growing up all I heard is music in the house. He showed me how to make beats
and all that. So just watching him do his production thing, I learned just by
watching and I took it from there.
did you start with?
Well the first
thing I really started with was my brother's Ensoniq EPS which is
an old keyboard sampler. Its the predecessor of the Ensoniq ASR-10. I watched
him use it and he showed me how to use it which was very interesting to me
because its like more of an analog sampler than what cats got today. Then after
that, I got this Gemini 24 second DJ Sampler for my birthday one time and thats
when I started using stuff on my own. I incorparated that and I used a 4 track
to sequence my beats on and what I would do is since the sampler had no
sequencer on it. I just manually looped em track by track and I would just hit
the the trigger pad manually for each note. I just hit the hi-hat on time. I
had my own metronome. I had how I wanted to do it. So each track I would just
do manually. There was no sequencer, no quantis or nothing, just straight raw.
Thats how I started and from then on, every two years, i would upgrade my
your first beats sound like?
My first beats
sounded like ass because when I used to call myself making beats.
I had this little Rapmaster keyboard, it had like preset sounds on there and
would play notes over it and I would record it through the microphone with my
karaoke machine. Thats like what my first beat really sounded like that I did
on my own. My beats sounded like ass. When I did my first beat, I was like nine
years old. So you know, it was garbage.
your sound changed?
Well my real serious
stuff, when I really started doing beats seriously. My
first type of sound was real jazzy, laid back like a Tribe Called Quest type
sound. Thats when I got my own equipment back in like 98. When I started using
sampler, I was using a lot of jazz samples. My sound has changed in the sense
that my sound got more agressive but I still incorparate jazz in what I do but
its just real agressive but its always been grimey. The way I sample has always
been the same and it will be the same. So the only thing I say that is changing
my sound is the agressiveness.
do you use now?
I've been using
Fruity Loops and Cool Edit Pro but I just upgraded to an MPC.
So, I'm just learning the ropes on that right now. Every piece of equipment
have, I've always incorparated records and turntables always. Its always part
of my setup no matter what I upgrade too.
does it take you to make a beat?
On average, It
usually takes me 15-20 mins to make a beat. The longest it took
me to make a beat is about an hour or two and if I wasnt satisified with that,
I would leave it and go back a couple days later and fix what I wasnt
you know when you're done with a beat?
When I like it.
what sounds do you look for in a sample?
Well I like a lot
of spacey sounds for my samples and a lot of weird, weird
stuff. I like to do my beats left field from what everyone else is doing. If
its something real crazy and just out of it, I look for that type of stuff.
you notice in my beats, I look for a lot of melodic type of stuff. So I try
use a lot of melodys to incoporate in my music. At the same time, its melodic
but its real like grimey and melodic at the same time which is kind of an
oxymoron cause when you think of grime, you think of just just grime, I cant
even explain it. Its two opposites. So, I try to use that together and
incorporate the sounds in my beats.
the best sample you ever found?
To this day, the
best sample I ever found..(pauses to think) is a cross between
Personal F.O.U.L's "Initowinit" and Grafh's "Food" because
both of those
samples on the songs that they originally came from. No one would sample that
just listening to the song because they both start off weird. While the usual
producer and all these producers out here, they get the same type of records.
Everybody's using sped up soul, ya know? Everybodys on that right now. So the
records that I got, no one else is getting and thats the reason why my stuff
sounds the way it does cause I get that crazy type of stuff. Everybodys trying
to get old Bobby Womack, Aretha Franklin, and Black Ivory records which is cool
because I've sampled Black Ivory before but everybody is just so fixated in
and 70s soul. I'm going for the 80's progessive rock and new wave type of
stuff. Thats where I'm going and a lot of 70s dark jazz. I go for David
Axelrod, Gentle Giant, Soft Machine and those are just to name a few but those
are some of the people I listen to where I really dissect their music.
Sometimes it wont even be a loop that I take, it will just be 2 seconds I take
of a sound that they have in their song and I incorparate it into my beat. Them
type of records is where I got those joints from like the "Food" record,
from a rock song. "Initowinit", thats from a rock song. Its not no
nothing like that. So what I look for is a lot of progressive music or
something really left field cause I'm all about doing something different.
Sometimes, I'll do a sped up soul joint but thats like every once in a blue
moon. What I'm trying to do right now is the Cyrus sound, none of that biting
from other producers. I'm trying to do me right now. Those two joints define
the way my beats are so those are my favorite samples.
MC's mixtape was dope, how did you choose what MC's you wanted to put on?
Well what happened
was, I always thought about people that I wanted to work with, whos album I'd
like to produce on. A lot of those cats on the mixtape are people I grew up
listening to and liking. A lot of those emcees I amired wether it was Royce
Da 5'9" or F.T. Those are the people I grew up listening to on the real
mixtapes that were coming out back then not the pause tapes that are out now.
What me and my man Kas did, we just hustled and hustled. We called up as much
people as possible to get cats on my mixtape. Some cats fronted and some cats
came through. Some of the cats on there, we had to get on em and stay on em
about their joint on the mixtape. For instance, this dude Ali Vegas, his people
were throwing us some shades and we had to deal with that for a little bit and
we had to deal with that with a lot of artists that didnt even make the mixtape.
So, anyways we went all the way down to New York from Massachusetts which is
where I'm from to meet up with Kenny J to give him a beat cd for Ali Vegas and
he was like yea no doubt, i'll have the joint to you by next week. So, we didn't
get that til like two months later and what happened was a week after we gave
Kenny the beat cd, the dude told me that Ali Vegas had already did the freestyle.
So we're like cool, send it and we're waiting for the joints to come in the
mail. It didn't come at all and we're making calls and we are getting answering
machines cause no one likes to pick up their phone. Then, my man Kas hits up
another person representing Ali Vegas whos name is Gotti, yea Gotti. Then hes
telling me Ali Vegas didnt even do the joint and this is two months after the
dude told me that Ali Vegas already did the joint. We had to deal with situations
like that where dudes are lying to us. We had another situation with these dudes
Da Ranjahz, their washed up asses. They lied saying there was something wrong
with their cd burner or something in the studio, some corny shit, just corny
lies man. A lot of these primadonna ass dudes that are washed up in the game
are "too good" for a mixtape. So they didnt make the mixtape for the
simple fact that they were bullshitting on the track. So, Da Ranjahz got cut.
A few people were bullshitting for the mixtape and that shit aint going to happen
again. Then there was Shyheim, we sent him beats and his manager is saying that
they already sent it and we never got it. He was supposed to be on 50 MCs and
thats sad because I'm a big fan of Shyheim, I wanted him to be on it. The god,
Kool G Rap was supposed to be on the mixtape but he never got back to us. There
was a lot of situations where people say their package is in the mail and we
dont get anything. We had to go through a lot of shit as young dudes in the
game putting this mixtape out, we went through a lot of struggle. It took us
3-5 months to do and it was real frustrating but we got it done. There's a lot
of situations I ran into which kind of hit home where dudes were saying they
werent feeling the beats i sent em like these dudes Bang Em Smurf and Domination
who were supposed to be on the mixtape. Their manager said they werent feeling
the beats which is cool cause criticism is criticism. I'm all for that but the
shit I hear them spit on is garbage. I havent really heard much hot shit from
Bang Em Smurf and Domination to begin with. I mean everybody has their beats
but the shit I sent them is better than what I heard them on. The joint they
had with the video is alright but everything else I heard was just garbage.
Slum Village was supposed to be on the mixtape. We sent their management the
beats and their management were saying that the beats were too hard and too
underground for Slum Village's sound and what they were trying to do for their
new album which was Detriot Deli which dropped in June. Around the time we were
doing this was in March and they said the beats were too underground and didnt
fit Slum Village but I'm the biggest J Dilla fan like J Dilla is my inspiration.
So, when I sent my beats out to Slum Village, I made sure that it was catering
to their sound and I know the Slum Village sound. I know all about the organic
soul. So of course I'm not going to send a beat that i would send to F.T or
someone thats hardcore to Slum Village. So I sent some souled out shit, some
organic type of stuff to them. Their people saying its too underground because
they were saying something like Slum Village is trying to do numbers on this
album so they wanted to be mainstream. They wanted that mainstream stuff and
they were saying Slum Village wanted to do TRL and all this type of stuff. So,
they couldnt do my mixtape because the label wont allow them to do something
like that. So, shit like that, the label politics got involved and that Slum
Village shit is killing me for the simple fact that I'm a huge fan since day
one. So, that shit is killing me cause I didnt think Slum Village would go that
route all talking about we want to do TRL, 106 and Park type numbers and saying
the fanbase we are looking to get is not particularlly the fanbase that would
be listening to your mixtape. I dont understand that cause then down the line,
they didnt do no type of numbers on that album which is hard for me to believe
because they had that Kanye West single "Selfish" and that shit was
hot. The album was a damn good album but they didnt get any promotion and I
didnt see that video on TRL once. So, that comes to show you, you cant really
do that type of shit if you already have a certain fanbase. How the hell are
you going to see you want a TRL fanbase and they are on their fourth album?
I dont understand that. So we got backwards rappers, backwards management that
dont know how to do things. This mixtape would have helped Slum Village out
for the simple fact that it would have been free promotion but I guess they
didnt feel like that and it would have been better for me cause I'm a big fan.
All these things I had to go through and I know its pretty long what I summed
up but thats what we had to go through to pick up rappers to get on this mixtape.
was it for you to get a drop from Tony Touch for that project?
Put it like this,
if I didnt get a drop from Tony Touch, I wouldn't put out the mixtape because
I wouldnt feel right. Tony Touch is the originator of the 50 MC's mixtape and
the whole thing is his concept and his idea. If I didnt do it the right way,
I wouldnt do it all. What I mean by doing it the right way is getting Tony Touch
involved wether its a freestyle, scratch, interlude, intro, or whatever. I had
to get his voice on there because Tony Touch is the man, the originator. If
it wasnt for him, I wouldnt even have that idea. So I had to at least pay homage
in that way to get my man Tony Touch up on there.
the mixtape do for you in terms of getting your name out there?
I mean the mixtape
did ok for me to get my name out there. It wasnt what I
expected it to do but it did alright. I had some situations which held me back
such as some distributors not wanting to distribute the mixtape but you know,
sometimes theres some shady business going on and some people reached out to
but there wasnt no lucrative things going on where people were talking
finacially. The promotion could have been better but thats what we could do
with the budget we had for the mixtape. Its picking up right now and its
picking up kind slow but its gonna get better because this mixtape is a very
innovative mixtape I must say. Its not no pause tape with DJ's screaming all
over everything. Its 100% me, my production on every track, exclusive joints.
think its a mixtape thats worth a listen. I think its a pretty decent mixtape
far as the production goes. I did my thing, all the MC's came through and I
think its pretty good, ya know?
good with your group?
My group is Personal
F.O.U.L which consists of me Cyrus Tha Great, the DJ and
the Producer and my man Spit Supreme who is the emcee. Its a duo on some Gang
Starr shit, you know, you got the one producer/DJ who does all the production
and you got the MC who rocks the crowd with the lyrics. Our album is coming
in March 2005. This is our second album and its called Attack 2: The Trenches.
Our first album "Attack" came out in April 2003. So, this is going
to be our
second album but to many people, its going to be our first because not many
people know of Personal F.O.U.L. Matter of fact, we're dropping two albums next
year. We are dropping Attack 2 in March and Attack 3 in November ending off
trilogy kind of like how they did the Matrix dropping two movies in one year.
Then, in June of 2006, we're dropping the Contra album. Our next four albums
are already done because as far as being an underground group, you gotta stay
on the grind as much as possible and you gotta keep your name out there
constantly. We arent just going to put out anything, we already know how we
going to put it out. Everythings in order. Once you do it indepdently, its more
freedom, however we want to do it, and all that good stuff. So, Personal
F.O.U.L is definitely in the building. I'm holding down the beats and as much
as I can on my end and Spit Supreme is holding down the lyrics and doing what
he can on his end. The album that we got coming out is real crazy, for real.
worked with Grafh, what's that like?
Well Grafh is an
extremely incredible emcee. When he did the "Food" record, I
wasnt with him for the mixing process but I had went down to New York and gave
him the beat and he liked it. Matter of fact, that was the first beat I played
for him and he liked it a lot. I didnt know what he was going to do with it
cause Grafh, I could imagine, he must get so much beats. So, I didnt know if
was going to do anything to it or nothing like that. So he called me and told
he did something to it. Bammm, I heard it and I loved it. I think that the
"Food" joint is real bananas. I think thats one of his hottest joints
ever did. Not to take away from Grafh cause I think the dude is a beast but
that joint just showed me his song writing abilities, I loved the hook and the
song is just banging.
"Food" for Grafh, how did you go about making that beat?
I made that beat five months before I gave it to Grafh. Thats one
of those joints I just made sitting in my dorm room, just chopping up records,
just coming up with ideas and I just made it. Initially when I make beats, I
name my beats after the rappers that would rap on that type of beat. So I
called that beat, my M.O.P beat because that beat reminds me of something M.O.P
would spit over. So I just made the beat, heard the sample, chopped up the
sample, got the drums, throw the cymbals over there, did the bassline, threw
the 808 kicks over there and it was a wrap after that. Five months later, I
to NY, show it to Grafh and the rest is history.
your beats compliment his style?
The type of stuff
I would give to Grafh would fit perfectly for the simple fact
that when I work with any emcee. I just try to give em something that would
compliment their style. As far as beats for Grafh, in the past, I heard Grafh
spit some amazing, amazing shit on mixtapes and stuff like that. I feel that
sometimes on some of his songs, he wasnt getting the type of beats that he
deserved for such an incredible emcee such as himself. I think that he needed
soundscape to compliment it. So, I figured I would do my best to get in contact
with dude and just show him what I got to bring to the table cause me, i'm the
type of person that feels if you cant do nothing to try and fix the situation,
dont speak on it and I think that Grafh is such a nasty emcee and I'm a
producer. So why not reach out to give him some of that crack? Thats what I
and thats how "Food" was born. That beat right there really complimented
very well and I plan to work with him more in the future.
you get people like Jean Grae to listen to your beats?
whole thing with Jean Grae was through my man Kas whos cool with
Block Mccloud and my man Kas sent out the beat CD to Block Mccloud and you know
Block? Thats like fam to Jean Grae. So you know, one ear to another, thats how
it went down.
artists are you working with now?
Well I got two
beats on the Perceptionists album who is Akrobatik, Mr Lif, and
Fakts One. I did their first single "Memorial Day" which is out now.
album is coming out right around the same time the Personal F.O.U.L album is
coming out. I'm working with my mans and them, GMP which is my super crew. Its
like a big super crew like four producers, five emcees. Its real big and our
album is already done and thats coming out in May 2005. I'm working with my
Byg Sev, hes a beast. When I say beast, I mean hes a beast. Hes got something
coming out soon, so look out for that. My man Mingo, I'm doing his whole album
and thats coming out next year. My man T-Max whos on the joint "Queen"
Pete Rock and A.G. from D.I.T.C which was on Soul Supreme's Saturday Nite
Agenda. I'm doing a whole EP with him. Also, my man Crisis, I'm doing his
album. So I'ma be a real busy man. My label, Backcourt Records that I got with
Kas doing it indepdently. All these albums I just mentioned, they are all
coming out on Backcourt Records except for The Perceptionists album which is
coming out on Def Jux but the albums I am working on are all coming out on my
label. We're dropping like eight albums next year so be on the lookout.
you like to work with next?
I would love to
continue to work with Grafh, thats a real talented dude. I
really would like to work with a lot of the ill cats coming up on the mixtape
scene like Saigon, Papoose. I'd like to work with them cats because they're
hungry and I think I can bring some heat for them to the table. I like them
cats especially the new cats but a lot of cats on mixtapes are garbage but them
three dudes, Grafh, Saigon, and Papoose stand out to me. I'm young, they're
young and hungry and I could def. make some good music for them. I def. would
like to work with them in the future.
the last beat you heard by another producer that amazed you?
I'd have to say
The Neptunes "Drop It Like Its Hot", I think thats the hottest
shit out right now.
coming up for you?
We got the Personal
F.O.U.L album dropping March 1st, 2005. My man Byg Sev's
album, T-Max's album produced entirely by me, my man Mingo's album produced
entirely by me. Also, I forgot to plug earlier, my man Apathy is dropping his
mixtape at the end of November. Its called "Wheres Your Album", I
"Checkmate" joint on there which is fire. Apathy rips it. I'm also
going to be
doing a lot of stuff for Apathy in the future. Thats my man, so be on the
lookout for that. The Crisis album coming out next year. GMP's album coming
in May and thats about it. I dont know if I'm forgetting anything because I
a lot of albums coming out next year that I'm producing entirely thats coming
out under the Backcourt label. So just be on the lookout for Cyrus Tha Great,
Backcourt Records, and Personal F.O.U.L. All you fake MC's that fronted on me
on the 50 MC's mixtape, yall are going to be begging for beats in the future.
I'm only 18 years old, I'm not even in my prime yet. So yall hating, keep
hating. Yall are going to be riding the bandwagon in a couple of years.
heads reach out to you?
Just holla at my
man Kas, (978)852-9597 or firstname.lastname@example.org and the rest will be
taken care of from there. Also check out http://www.backcourtrecords.com