Growing up in South
Side Queens, NY, music was everywhere. You had cats with boom boxs, cars with
bumpin systems and dudes spittin in the school yard. I just soaked that all
in and set my mind that producing music was gonna be my thing. Then my mentor,
Supa Dav West came along and put me on the path to production.
did you start with?
MPC 2000XL and
my grandmother's turntable (laughs.)
What did your first beats sound like?
I don't think they were too bad, maybe that's because I was raping records,lol.
Man, I was taking big samples and just throwing a drum,snare and a bass line
to them. The people I would play them for could see the potential in them, so
they weren't that bad.
How has your
There is a big change in my sound now ,because I do a lot of piece work now,
which is chopping a record to its fullest.. A lot of people think most of my
sampled beats are original beats. I chop samples like piano keys and play it
out. I am also producing a lot of original tracks now
do you use now?
MPC 2000XL, Proteus 2000, Yamaha y55 and Numark turntable
How long does
it take you to make a beat?
Any where from
a 1/2 hour to 3 hours. I never look at how fast I can bang out a track, but
I do look for the quality in it.
How do you know
when you're done with a beat?
I know i'm done
when I'm marinating on my main sequence that has all sounds in it. From there,
I start creating other sequences from the main sequence and then it's a wrap.
How and what sounds do you look for in a sample?
I look for those mesmerizing sounds, more preferably a hard guitar, piano, strings
etc; im more into sampling old school groups like, Joni Mitchell, Seals &
Croft, Private Audition and that's all the groups I m gonna' say because every
producer knows what could happen if I keep naming groups.
What's the best
sample you've ever found?
Man. I got a lot
but for now I would have to say the record I did with Grafh ft. Shalone called
"Fire It Up IT". It was the type of sample I always wanted to flip.
It has a rock type feel to it but yet, still full filling the hip hop chemistry.
Sorry, but if you want the name of the group I sampled from, you got wait till
Grafh's album drops. Sorry dogs..
to bring Craig Mack back, how's that going?
I'm not gonna lie, it's tough because Mack has been quiet for a minute but I
love the challenge given to record a couple records with him to get him poppin'
again. I had the opportunity of producing a song for him called "Mack World",
which is the name of his label. Its poppin' in Canada and over seas in places
like Japan, Germany , England etc. Its crazy because HMV picked up the single
over in those countries.
Do you think
Hip Hop Heads will be receptive to Craig Mack now?
I think the fans
who knew Bad Boy records from the very begin will be more receptive to him than
any one else.
What's it like being in the studio with Mack?
Mack works fast
and knows what he wants. He's a "one take" type dude. He's not really
into dubbling his voice or anything like that. He's real energetic. It crazy
because I m sitting in the studio thinking to myself, this is the dude who made
me stay up late just to record his new songs from the radio show "Future
with Grafh, what's that like?
Grafh is an animal
in the booth. He usually never wants anything changed on a beat. He takes it
as is which is a treat for any producer. He's also not just a rapper either.
He's business man. Believe him when he says "I got a white collar under
this hoody". lol.
How do your
beats complement his style?
Grafh is into those
"Hip Rock" tracks with heavy guitars and samples and that's what I
bring. I can keep his songs hood but yet still radio play.
the situation with Shalone and Grafh now?
Them dudes are
still tight. Ain't nothing really change even though Shalone has ventured off
to other things. They still banging out tracks together. As a matter of fact,
I produced 2 joints with them on it. One of the songs, "Ryders" is
on HipHopGame.com. I'm also producing a couple joints on there mixtape they
are doing together.
a lot like Nelly in terms of voice, do you see that being a problem until people
get used to his voice?
It's always going
to be a problem until people except Shalone for Shalone. Look at Fabolous. When
he got in the game people were saying that he sounded like Mase and the same
thing goes for Shyne sounding like BIG .However, the songs I did with Shalone
is blowing A/R;s minds right now. Labels are definitely hollerin' just off the
strength of the " Around The Way Gurl " which was on Hiphopgame.com
and getting airplay on a couple stations in NY.
favorite Grafh song?
"Fire it Up". It's not out yet but my favorite song that's out right
now from him is "Damage is Done". That song is out of here, shout
What MC's are
you working with now?
Right now it's
Miri Ben -Ari (Hip Hop Violinist who just won a Grammy) ,Shalone, Phife Dog,
Infa Red & Cross (Ruff Ryders), Tash(Alkaholics), Rakaa(Dilated Peoples),
GodWon, J.L. Cotter
You just got
back from overseas, where did you go and what did you do over there?
I was over in Germany
with my man DJ Riz. He was playin' some gigs out there and I was shopping tracks
out there. Hip hop is big out there!.They are big on studying rappers lyrics,
line for line. Underground Hip Hop is big out there.
a Broadway charity for the cast of "Wicked" now, can you talk about
what it is and how you're going about making it?
Yeah it's crazy
because my man Marty, from the cast of the Broadway musical "Wicked",
approached me on this project and I jumped on it. "Wicked" was nominated
for 10 Tony Awards and is in the top 10 of the current Broadway musicals. I
produced a parody version of "Wicked" in which it makes fun of Britany
Spears. This charity raises millions of dollars a year for AIDS so its pretty
ill to be apart of something like this. Working with the cast is incredible
because these actors/actresses come straight to the studio after all day of
rehearsing the play and then doing a 2 1/2 hour performance in the evening.
They are just a different type of "animal". Producing for a Broadway
play is very different from recording a song. Its all about timing when comes
to scoring a play. A lot of changes to the beat come about if the choreography
is not in sync with the beat . I was loving it though because we are aiming
for perfection. Hopefully this project will open a lot more doors to producing
beats for video games, movie scores and more Broadway plays. Steve Schnur holla
Who would you like to work with next?
John Mayer, R. Kelly, Amerie, Fleetwood Mack Mobb Deep, Nas, Nature, Styles
P, G-Unit and anybody with a budget. lol
What's the last beat you've heard by another producer that amazed you?
Common ft. Kanye-" Go" produced by Kanye..The elements are perfect
in the track. Feel good music
up for you?
Right now the team is finishing up recording Grafh and Shalone's Mixtape, My
Partners (Hate, Young Depp) and I have a 4 issues of our comic book called "Fantasm"
in comic book stores across the country, working with Miri Ben-Ari, Shalone's
Album and getting my film productions "Ink Still Wet" going.
How can Heads reach out to you?
You can holla at my manager, Hate: Q9Faculty@aol.com516 852 4932 and definitely
hit up the site @ Q9PRODUCTIONS.COM, where you can listen to beats.