Grinding, man. I’m just making music every day. I'm spending my days at my studio, Cuckoo's Nest in Queens, either recording tracks or making new beats.
You just released your mixtape project, For My Generals. How did the mixtape come about?
The whole idea behind the CD was to bring some of New York's popping artists who are heavy in the streets and on mixtapes onto one CD, all over my beats. We got dudes from ‘90s hip-hop to now, but a lot of these street artists never worked with my type of beats so it wound up being a process. But we got it cracking and eventually came up with 80 minutes of music. Plus I got some more heat in the stash.
What was it like recording "On the Grind" with Uncle Murder?
It was very (pause) smoky! (laughs) Nah, but I’ve known Uncle Murder for years, from when TuneHeadz booked time at my first studio, Da Woodz in Bushwick, Brooklyn. That was during the days with Ruff Ryderz. I let him know about the project and he came right through to the Cuckoo's Nest to lay the joint down. Hei picked out that crazy rock-rap beat and the rest is history. A few days later, he was signed to the Roc.
You also recorded "None Of Us Smilin'" with Grafh. What was it like working with him?
I asked my manager Excel to reach out to Black Hand and Chaz and to send some beats to see how Grafh was vibing to my sound. We kept going about our business on the project and less than a week later we got a full joint back. The shit was kind of crazy. It was like we got a Christmas gift in our inbox! (laughs) Dude went in too. I respect his grind for real. Black Hand definitely has their business together as an independent label, but of course they still keep it street all day.
You've also done some good work with Ali Vegas. What was it like working with him?
Vegas is hands down one of the most professional artists in the game and that's not just in New York. Every day he comes to the studio like it’s another day at the office. He’s productive all of the time. Dude pumps out quality music every time. Crazy work ethic. And plus Illseed Entertainment and Rich Soil Records are extended fam, so we make magic when we come together. It's always a pleasure working with a legend like Vegas, still in his early 20s too, so even with all the work he already put in, he’s still got a long career ahead of him.
Your beats have a different sound to them. How important is that to getting heard and taken seriously as a producer?
Well, first off I don't sample. Everything is played out. I have sampled before, of course, but I think it’s better business not to. I know a lot of artists feel comfortable with a certain vibe, a certain formula...I don’t do formulas. I always put a twist on things. I don't come straight-forward.
Of course some artists need to think outside the box not just with their topics, but their ideas of what they're about. I'm putting rappers over rock beats, synth beats and I'm opening a lot of people's eyes to this shit. I'm hearing Maroon 5 and 50 Cent back-to-back on hit radio stations, so I'm cool with where I'm heading. I'm just doing it with a darker sound to the music. We call it “Fuzion,” a mix of everything.
You call your style "brass-knuckle style." Can you explain that?
Booms, booms and claps that hit you in your mouth. The energy level is always up there and the beats just wind up sounding big.
How did you cultivate your style?
My family was in the music business. My uncle was the lead singer of a band and my dad was the manager. They had a Billboard hit and everything, debuted at No. 7. So I definitely got that rock in me. Then I had a crazy techno phase, had some fun and did some things I shouldn't have. So then when I started producing hip-hop, the melodies and drums always had that extra flavor to them, that different vibe. Then it just took off from there and became its own sound.
Every artist always says to be different, but sometimes artists want something that sounds like a big-name producer made it. From your experiences, what are the negatives to having a unique sound?
Artists tell me sometimes, "I want a song like whatever song is out," but I don't make that. I'm over here making this, feel me? This is why if everybody is on the same page and thinking outside the box, we can make songs that sound big but still different. Then soon it won't be just different. People will know it’s a Mighty Fuzz Young beat.
Have you ever thought of switching up your style for the quick buck?
See, that's the thing, I'm versatile, but whatever genre it is I go for a hit and right now hit music is pop, rap, R&B, dancehall, reggaeton and all that. Real talk, I don't ever think I'm really switching my style up because I make it all. I know music and I know the game, so I can just make solid music and take it as far as it can go.
Can you take us through the making of a Mighty Fuzz Young beat?
I'll hear a song on the radio or wherever and something will stand out and inspire me. Then I usually get right to the studio and filter out what I liked and I get right into it. It could be any type of music, but it’s the same idea every time. I have to hear something to trigger me making a beat. Drums are key of course, but other producers do their drums first. Sometimes I have chords in my head that I have to lay down first, then put the drums after the fact. I always have anywhere from 8-12 sounds outside of the drums. After it’s all in the MPC, I bounce the beat into Pro Tools and arrange it there. I do a few drops but really I hold off on that until the beat has an artist over it. Next thing you know, we got a banger on our hands.
What equipment do you use?
I’m big on Roland products, so I definitely have the Fantom and V-Synth. Then of course I have the Triton and also the Motif. I make the beats on an MPC 2000XL and do all my arranging and mixing in Pro Tools TDM/HD3.
You also own your own studio. How important is that today?
I never could have made any of this music without my studio. I saved a lot of money on studio time and also the crazy sound cards for the Pro Tools really add to the music. And of course I made plenty of connects at the studio that I still work with to this day.
What are your goals as a producer right now?
My goal right now is to always try to make the biggest record possible for each artist I work with. I want every song, every album cut, to be what these artists call their singles. For the long term, I want my career to go down with a hit record in every genre that I produce, so hip-hop, R&B, dancehall, techno and reggaeton.
What's next for Mighty Fuzz Young?
I’m producing for a couple of artists. I’m working with Jin and a sick reggae artist out of Brooklyn named Khari Kill. I got my manager Excel on the grind every day getting new things popping. Right now he’s working on some real big placements and we got some things bubbling but I can’t really comment on that too much until it’s official. We’re also releasing For My Generals 2.0 in stores, which is going have some of the original songs, some remixes and also a few new joints. I got new tracks with Joell Ortiz and Tito Brigante, plus a few other surprises. I’m producing some crazy joints for the First Cousins. They are on Illseed as well. The group has Genovese from Yonkers and Gustapo. It’s some official street shit.
My secret weapon though is my dude B.Stallion from the Darkside, Bushwick Brooklyn. He’s been around the mixtape circuit for a minute under the name “Supreme” or “Preme” and is one of the most versatile, talented artists I’ve ever come across. He’s a street dude but he’s not limited like most of them. Right now he’s the voice behind the “Fuzion” music movement. We got two singles coming out, “I’m Alive” and the club banger “7th Floor.” I'm telling you though, I'm not satisfied with being in the music game. I’m trying to change the game, put my mark on it and that's all I'll say about that.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Get at my manager Excel for tracks, beats or whatever. He’s got it all on smash.