made you want to start making beats?
That’s just what God has chosen for me. He’s the musician and I
am the instrument, he plucks my strings and that’s the tune I play.
What equipment did you start with?
Fostex 4 track Recorder, Boss DR 55 Drum Machine, Kramer bass guitar, and a
Casio Keyboard, Later followed by a Yamaha SU-10 Sampler (which is what changed
everything for me).
What did your first beats sound like?
Limited midi drum sounds immersed in heavy keys and live bass lines. I had some
real white guy rhythm when I first started and lacked variation in my drum programming.
How has your sound changed?
My drum sample library is 3000+ and now I am fundamentally better. You eventually
grow to understand every song and sample requires a different type of kick and
snare, I also rarely touch the keys. I am sample based producer now and been
that way since ’95, I can still make original beats, but I think keyboards
sound like plastic and lack feeling no matter how good you play’em or
how much you pay for’em. Plus I started dating black women and Spanish
women; suddenly I became more soulful and had some rhythm
What equipment do you use now?
Everything starts with God and prayer; He is really my main piece. In the physical
realm though my first weapon of choice is the Akai MPC 2000, I add accents off
that with the Proteus 2000 and the Korg Triton 88 Pro X, and then finish out
in Protools. I also use my intellect and instincts, I don’t just make
beats, I produce records and shape artists onto the tracks.
How long does it take you to make a beat?
Anywhere from Thirty minutes to eight hours. Some days the ideas flow quickly
other days you got to put in extra work. It's amazing how many times you can
pass the same sample over and over and then one day it strikes you different.
You decide to use it and then realize you been passing over a banger for years.
How do you know when you're done with a beat?
I don’t think I know. I’m a perfectionist and I find flaws in every
record I make, even the ones I got placements on or the ones they play on HOT
97. Nothings ever good enough for the standards I have set for myself, but you
get to a point that you just got to let it go. Some of the problems I hear and
want to change in the joints are just minor and nit-picky and no one else will
probably notice. My main concern is that I don’t let God down, cuz this
is all for his glory, so really he decides when it's done.
How and what sounds do you look for in a sample?
Well my record library is just shy of 10,000 ranging from Disney to Broadway,
to Rock and Soul. I honestly don’t know what I'm going to make when I
sit down. I just go with whatever the spirit moves me to do.
What's the best sample you've ever found?
I haven’t found it yet, but I will let you know when I do. I guess whatever
generates my biggest payday and/or buzz. That will be the best one. Stay tuned.
You've worked with Tragedy, what's that like?
“Gracious”! The man is a monster with a pen and in the booth. Last
February we were recording for the “Black Market” album (Tragedy
Khadafi, Killah Priest, and William Cooper), and I watched this guy pen a 16
bar life joint in 15 minutes. He rehearsed it twice in the control room, then
went into the booth and nailed it in one take. Trag is one of lyricists that
if you pay attention and listen to what he is saying you will walk away feeling
like you just got your degree. I am blessed for the experience.
How do your beats complement his style?
The joint I did with him is called “Think Market” for the Black
Market album. The beat is real progressive and sound like something out of the
year 2010. Trag, Priest and Cooper all brought some heat to it. As far as my
beat complementing Trag’s style, Tragedy probably did me more justice
then I did him.
How do you get people like Trag to listen to your beats?
My boy Booth aka William Cooper is part of the Black Market. I was already doing
beats for Booth’s album and he basically just looked out and called me
when this opportunity came up. It’s all about serendipity and whom you
What about Cormega? How'd you get down with him?
I met him at in store @ The Cop Shop (A Long Island Hip Hop Shop in Smithtown,
LI). I had just completed two 2pac remixes for Tragedy Khadafi and mentioned
it Mega’s manager Biz. I told him I had more Pac vocals and that I would
make a joint for Mega if they were with it. Shortly after, I delivered the joint
“How We Ride” and we laid it down in Queens Bridge during the anniversary
week of 2pac’s death.
you doing with Cormega now?
Trying to keep the “How We Ride” record working amongst radio and
mixtape DJ’s. I’m still earning my strips with these fellas and
trying to prove myself as a workhorse for them. The big difference between myself
and these up and coming producers is that I’m down to help work the records
I produce. I see it as standing behind my product, so that’s essentially
what I’m doing with Cormega right now!
You work with one of HipHopGame's Artists of the Month, Blackout, where'd
you meet him?
2002 MTV Rap Battle. He was one of over 5000 M.C.’s standing in line to
compete for 1 of the 16 slots (which he got by the way). It was brick outside.
I was walking up and down the outside of the police barricades yelling, “Who
wanna hear beats”. I had a portable CD player, a pair of headphones, and
100 beats on CD. I was telling cats pick any # on the CD and I guarantee fire.
I talked a lot of trash that night too. Some heads was getting fed up wit me,
but I came there to do business. Blackout was just one of the cats I ran into.
Out of all them people I was immediately drawn to him and his camp. Funny thing
is,it was them that fueled the riot that night.
Anything interesting happen that day?
Yeah, Divine Intervention. God created that exact moment in time. He stepped
in and put us all in the same place and in the right frame of mind. My whole
purpose for that journey was to fulfill God’s will to meet Blackout, Marcus
and Rap (920 Ent.). Before that night I always traveled alone, and since then,
this is my family and I make no moves without them. This is my team and I am
a team player, none of us are above the team. Its amazing to me, 5000 people,
I found them, they found me, and God found us.
Who would you like to work with next?
I like a lot of these new kids coming up – Saigon, Immortal Technique,
Stimuli and so on. These guys are the future and naturally I want to be part
of that. Hip Hop is so watered down now and needs a makeover; I guess I’m
trying to Jenny Jones it with my beats. Most of these cats in the game or on
the outskirts of it just follow the trends these ignorant A&R’s have
set. I want to work with anybody who isn’t scared of doing real hip-hop,
but don’t get me wrong – I’m in this to make a living.
What's the last beat you've heard by another producer that amazed you?
Just Blaze. Pretty much every beat he makes. The guy is an animal with drums,
keys, guitars, and samples. From Usher “Throwback” to Jay Z “You
Don’t Know” this guy shocks me every time, and makes me feel like
coming up for you?
Foxy Brown w/Barrington Levy “Pull Up” and hopefully a couple more
records wit Foxy, Black Market album coming out 1st quarter 2005, Sean Biggs
(Universal) w/M.O.P. “No Love In The Streets”, he doesn’t
have a release date yet though. I also got some things in the works wit Jaheim
and I should be doing the Smooth Da Hustla single.
How can Heads reach out to you? www.jrusch.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or just float around to Hip hop events in NYC and look
for the white guy that doesn’t fit in.