I’m good, man. I just got off the day job. Everything’s good.
Even after working with Snoop, the grind doesn’t stop, huh?
Yeah. Gotta pay the bills. But things are definitely starting to pick up. A lot of positive things have been happening in the past couple of months.
How have things changed for you since getting Snoop on your resume?
A lot of things. I’ve met so many people through his management and a lot of people have hit me up on MySpace. Everybody knows my name know when I go to parties. I get the, “You’re Frequency? You’re white?” a lot. I’m like, “Yeah, I’m Frequency. Relax.” I can’t name any names, but I’ve definitely come across some people who fronted on me a year ago and now they’re asking me for a beat-CD.
How was it working with Snoop?
The actual plan was for me to get in the studio with Snoop, which was kind of surprising to me. I’ve done a lot of independent stuff, but that was my first major record. Snoop two-tracked it, but he told his label he wanted me to come out. When I got out there, he was actually sick and I spoke to him on the phone while we were mixing the record. Things might have been a little different had he been there, but overall, I think it went really good. I met him at some listening parties later on. He’s a really cool dude and he introduced me to a lot of people and wanted to help me out. Even though the song I did, “Think About It”, isn’t the single, he said it’s his favorite song. That’s a pretty big compliment.
Did working with Cam on “Y’all Can’t Live His Life” change anything for you?
Not really. Being on Asylum, I don’t think the song really got out there and no DJ’s were really playing it because of the long intro. He was talking shit for four minutes before the song started. He recorded it and I heard it afterwards.
Would the music be better if artists and producers worked closer together on songs?
Yeah. A lot of it is shopping beats and a lot of people two-track songs. I don’t think it comes out as organically as it should. They record to it and there’s no collaboration or bouncing ideas off each other. That’s what I like about working with Wordsworth and El Da Sensei. That’s a really cool vibe and I really like that instead of sending beat-CD’s and hoping somebody calls you back. I can understand the other side of it as well, but I think if you like the person’s music enough to put them on your album, you should want to get them in the studio. I definitely think that element is missing and I’m hoping more people will do that.
How was it working on “Natural Feel Good” with El Da Sensei?
That was really crazy. I met him through Wordsworth. They’re both managed by the same guy. I gave El some beats and I drove out to his crib in East Orange, NJ and I went over to his studio. The beat he picked was a beat I had done a couple of days before because I knew I was going to work with him. I heard the sample and I knew that would be perfect for him. We were just hanging out and listening to songs. Working with El was a much more collaborative process than I had done in the past.
How is Masta Ace in the studio?
Really cool. I worded on some EMC music with him, which is also Wordsworth, Punchline and Strickland. They’re real cool dudes. I’ve known Wordsworth for a long time and he’s always trying to help me out and shop my beats to other people. It was just natural that I would get up with Ace and them. They’re real artists.
How has Wordsworth helped you?
I was working in the Understudies, which was an underground group on Freshchest. I had also done work with Oktober then too. The Understudies CD was crazy. I was doing shows and all that with them. I met Wordsworth at a Rocksteady event on the Pier in New York City. I gave him a CD and he called me later saying he wanted me on his album. He was the first person with a name who said my shit was hot. He’s introduced me to a lot of people and I’ve brought him out to do shows. It’s a real cool relationship.
And working with him and the rest of EMC, even though they’re big freestyle wizards, they really write. A lot of Wordsworth’s music is really complicated if you really listen to it. He may say a phrase in a different way and all of that stuff is planned out. He’s dope at freestyling, but he can really write as well.
The single you put out as the Understudies did well. Why didn’t the album come out?
It was bad timing. The label, Freshchest, folded. And as a group, we just kind of grew apart. We were real young when we were in the group and once I got to college, it kind of fizzled out. The music we did was really cool. It was real upbeat and real organic. It was a lot of party music. A lot of the stuff we did, I would have probably never done that music but I was in the mindstate of music like Jurassic 5 and all that feel-good stuff. We tried to do different things and it just kind of lost its flare.
I still work with 6th Sense from the Understudies. We did a whole album together. I still work with him. He actually played some keyboards on the Snoop Dogg song.
From working with Snoop and Cam to the top underground artists, you’ve had a lot of different experiences. What’s been the best experience for you?
This past year has been the best experience. I went from being off the radar to doing a lot of things. Every month, new things are happening. A lot of this business is about who you know and your relationships with people. I think that’s definitely helped me. We’re moving ahead. I have a great relationship with my manager Josh Kamen and we’re both working hard.
A lot of people in hip-hop are assholes. They don’t return calls or emails and they think they’re superstars. We stay humble and that really seems to get us ahead because people like working with us. There’s a lot of A&R’s that haven’t bought beats from us yet but they still give us meetings. I’m starting to meet people and I’m realizing that I’m good at interacting with people and maintaining relationships.
There are a lot of jerks out there.
Yeah. That’s why I keep the day job. I’m moving full-steam ahead but I don’t think people have realized my full potential yet. You just have to keep moving.
What’s the most important thing a producer can do to protect his beats in today’s game?
I don’t really think it matters if someone two-tracks it because if it’s good, it’s only going to help you. No one’s going to take it and put it out on a major label album, sell millions of records and leave you in the dark. If it makes mixtapes, that’s only going to help you. If you get 50 Cent to record over your track or someone else, it’s only going to help you. I don’t really stress too much on that. I used to put a million drops over my music but it annoys people so I stopped. No one’s going to do an official release on a two-track, so I don’t think you have to worry about that.
Your beats all have a different feel to them. How important is that diversity to you?
I know it’s important. Even though my stuff may be diverse, there’s still a certain sound that goes through all of them. Certain people have certain things that they’re really good at. I’ve found that the sample thing is really good for me. I try to make sure everything I do has a strong musical element to it. I do non-sample beats, but I try to make sure there’s a strong musical element to it and I try to have a lot of changes in every beat I do. I listen to the radio and I try to recreate the big songs in my own style. When I was really into Slum Village and Jay Dee, I tried different types of beats. That’s why I like to experiment. You need to have more styles when you work with artists.
How important is it to not follow trends in production?
I think it’s really important. Timbaland is a perfect example of that. Every year he reinvents himself. It’s always his music, but compare what he does with Justin Timberlake to “Dirt Off My Shoulder” to Aaliyah and Ginuwine. He reinvents himself all the time to stay on the radio. He dictates what’s going to be hot. He’s not out there making crazy Lil’ Jon beats because that’s what’s hot.
I think you definitely have to stay true to what you believe in and what you like. There’s a lot of music that’s hot right now that I just don’t like. I’m not going to spend time making beats where I won’t like the product at the end of it. There’s a lot of beats I do that I just don’t send out because I don’t like them. You have to keep trying new things and reinventing yourself. If you’re popular, there’s a reason for it. You have to keep doing your thing. I heard Primo talking about what he did with Christina Aguilera, and he was worried how people would think of him, but he still did him on the beat.
You won Scion’s King of the Beats competition in New York. What was that like for you?
That was really cool. Prince Paul was a judge. It was pretty crazy. Everyone seemed to be really into my beats. I thought I was the best one there and I was right. I went against J-Zone in the first round and he did some crazy shit where he pulled out a rubber tit and was licking cream off it. He won the first round. I knew I wasn’t going to come out like that. It was a great experience. I met a lot of people through that.
What equipment do you use?
I stick with mostly what I started with. I just keep building on. I first started making beats on Cool Edit Pro. I use Cool Edit Pro to edit my samples. I have an MPC2000XL. That’s my main go-to girl. I’m starting to use a lot more software. A lot of my earlier beats used to be just straight samples and now I’m starting to add more layers. I have a couple other sound modules as well. I just started using Miroslav Philharmonik made by IK Multimedia. It works as a Pro Tools VST. It’s kind of expensive, but the sounds on it are real live orchestras and brass. Sometimes that stuff can sound fake and cheesy, but it doesn’t here. Plus I use a bunch of records.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming producers?
You have to always stay humble. You can’t get too full of yourself. You have to keep that mindset. I really think it’s about relationships and next to that is talent, but if you don’t have talent, you’re never going to make it anyway and you should just do something else. If you do have talent, you will be discovered. If you do have talent, you’re going to make it. It may not be tomorrow and it may not be next year, but you will make it. And keep your day job too because you never know what’s going to happen. You don’t want to end up on the streets telling people you make beats.
What’s next for you?
I have a few things lined up. I just did two joints with Ras Kass. I also have the EMC album which is coming out soon. I’m also starting to move into more R&B stuff and I’m working with more songwriters. I have something maybe happening with Red Café. That’s it. I have a lot of little things that I can’t really talk about, but a lot of people are starting to check for me now. I do have more stuff coming from within his camp as well. I’m also working with O.C. on his project and with A.G. on some stuff.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I appreciate the support and hopefully you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. Hopefully everyone who heard me with Snoop will check the stuff I did with Words, El Da Sensei and 6th Sense. The 6th Sense album is crazy. He got all my good beats besides the Snoop Dogg song. There’s going to be a lot coming out in the next year.