I'm living it.
you want to introduce yourself to HipHopGame?
I'm 29 years-old,
but I'm not an old cat. My beats are soulful. That's the first thing that
I can say about my music. My movements are soulful with the guitars, and
the bottom is Hip Hop. The drums are always going to be there. It's like
Donny Hathaway meets Outkast. Stevie Wonder meets 8Ball and MJG. I just
did two songs on Chamillionaire's album. If you listen to them, they're
full of guitars and hard drums.
you get your start in the game?
I got my
start with Dallas Austin and his brother, rest in peace. His brother came
to me and he wanted me to hook up and build with Dallas. He came to me.
I lived over in the hood in Southwest Atlanta. He brought me an SP100
and an MPC-62. He brought it to the hood. Everyone in the hood was like,
"Why are they going to see Messiah?" He brought that as a gift
and we started working together. That's how it happened. Dallas Austin
has his company, but I was never a signed producer because I never wanted
to sign with anyone. I was a drum major, which is why I did so much drum
programming. I worked with Def Squad, EPMD
a lot of producers from
back in the day had drums from me. I was making drums sounds. I worked
with the big R&B groups, TLC, Boyz II Men, Madonna, Monica
had a team of producers and DJ's and we put those things together.
your most memorable experience working with artists like that?
so many. Working with Dallas, you see everybody. Nothing surprises me
now. You walk into the studio and you're liable to see Michael Jackson
or Bjork. I worked with Bjork. I did a remix for the song "Possibly
Made It." What's dope about Bjork is that she's a very experimental
artist. I had an SP1200, a turntable, and an old James Brown record. I
was trying to figure out how I could make a Hip Hop record for this girl.
I took the James Brown record, slowed it down, and played it backwards.
It sounded weird, but Dallas came in the room and said, "That's dope!"
That was my most memorable experience because I was being experimental.
I like playing stuff backwards with live cuts and hard drums. Good ol'
you learn working with Dallas Austin?
He had all
top-shelf stuff. He had all of the nicest equipment and we always had
two or three of everything. I learned Pro Tools when it first came out.
All of this helped me learn how to get the quality of my music sounding
nice. I learned how to tweak snares and kicks. I learned how to sample.
There is a science to sampling. It can't be too loud
there are a
lot of things you have to do.
after you left Dallas Austin?
with Dallas up until '95 or '96, when I felt it was time for me to go
out and do my own thing. One of the first things I did was hook up with
the basketball player John Salley. He was out of California at the time.
He wanted to do a label with me. I had a group named Mozae from Decatur.
I had done an album on these kids. John Salley wanted to do a label and
put the album out. We had distribution through Navarre. I was out in California
a lot with him. It did pretty well. It was a very slept-on album. We did
do a nice number for independent in 1997. That was real good for that
time. After Mozae, I had a girl rapper that went and got a deal at Warner.
Her name was Black Rose. That never came to fruition because they didn't
know what to do with a Southern female rapper. All during this time I
was still doing projects with Dallas and drum programming for some people.
Around '99 I found this group called Jatis. They were like Outkast reborn.
They were young cats from Southwest Atlanta. They had rhyme skills. We
started putting dope songs together. Soon enough I landed a production
deal on Loud. Steve Rifkind called me and wanted to do a deal for Jatis.
Then Loud folded and Sony decided to take on the project. In that shuffle,
we decided we wanted to leave and try to do it ourselves. We ended up
leaving Sony and the guys started doing solo stuff.
you see in Bobby Creekwater that makes you want to work with him?
of the better MC's in Atlanta. Sure enough, people will find out soon
because he's a pure artist. He's not running around in the streets claiming
he's a gangster. He's an MC. He writes. He's a very prolific writer, he
has good sense, and he has a great voice. He's a dope rapper.
you look for in an artist to make you want to work?
I look for
hunger. Jatis called me all the time and got on my nerves asking me to
work with them. They are hungry artists. You find a lot of new rappers,
and you ask them to rap, and they're rapping off the paper and it still
takes them five hours to do 16 bars. If you rap, you don't need all that
time. If you're battling, you have to rhyme on a dime. If you rap, you
have to spit. That's what I liked about Jatis and that's what I look for
in new artists. If you claim to rap, let's hear you rhyme. It can't just
be words put together. It has to have content. If you're describing somebody,
it has to be vivid. I want to know what you're about and what you're bringing.
are you working with today that you're excited about?
He's a real dope MC. That dude is a prolific writer. I did the song with
him and Bun-B called "Picture Perfect." Bun-B is like the governor
of the South. Scarface is on the other song I did with Chamillionaire.
I also did a song for David Banner with Talib Kweli and dead.prez. It's
talking about the n-word. It's real crazy. Those cats are MC's.
it working with Chamillionaire on "The Sound of Revenge"?
I'm not going
to front. I didn't know he was as big as he was. I met him through Tahir.
I met him and he was a dope rapper. He was at Stankonia. He was cool.
I started researching him and he had a cult following. I started listening
to his music. The kid was nuts. He called me and said he wanted two joints
from me and it came out crazy. He's mad busy out there doing his thing.
it finding out Bun-B was on your beat?
it back to me and I went nuts. I was real happy to see them on it. I didn't
know he was going to put Bun-B and Scarface on my songs. This kid is almost
wish you could have been there for the recording of it?
But what it does, regardless of that, is it opens the door for me to work
with these cats now, because they wouldn't have rhymed on the beat if
they didn't think it was dope. The beat I gave Chamillionaire had the
same Isley Brother sample from a UGK album, so it made sense to give it
to an artist from Houston.
were you in dead.prez's "Hell Yeah" with Jay-Z?
much as far as Jay-Z being there. I missed when he came in to spit his
verse. I heard he came down to the hood to do his verse. I was living
in New York at the time. DP is my family. I did a lot of their underground
albums. I did "When Mama Cries." "Hell Yeah" is like
a rock song with a Southern feel. I used a lot of guitars and rock shit.
I wanted it to be cutting edge because it was Jay-Z with dead.prez. People
didn't think Jay could get on that level.
you get down with dead.prez?
We ran in
the same circles. I was in the Rocksteady Crew and I'm head of the Zulu
Nation in Atlanta. Being a part of Zulu Nation, you run into a lot of
politically active cats. I did a show with Jatis and dead.prez was on
the bill. I got to meet up with them. My wife also went to college with
them and Common. I wanted to connect with these cats and I gave them some
music. From that point on, we kept in touch and I would shoot them music.
I'd see them if they came through and vice versa. We had a studio together
in New York. We have that vibe when we work.
dead.prez's music sounding now?
I moved back
to Atlanta from New York, and so did stic. M's stuff is dope and it's
getting ready to drop and stic's music is getting ready to drop. Stic
has a more universal sound. He's from Florida and he also sings. He has
that Southern feeling. He's working closely with The Outlawz. I think
people are really going to love it. They are serious individuals and that's
why I work with these cats. I love the music and anybody that loves music
like I do, I'm going to be down to do music.
you responsibilities in the Zulu Nation?
When we started
it down here, it was to give kids direction. We have meetings every Wednesday.
I would bring together young people from 13 to 40. We would deal with
certain subject matters in the community or Hip Hop or in the planet.
We'd do parties, go to Zulu anniversaries in New York, go to Rocksteady
we'd arrange for the kids to do and set up some businesses.
A lot of the young Zulu's came up and are in big positions right now.
you've seen a lot of positive effects?
It's great to see kids doing positive things for themselves. A lot of
them were influenced by Hip Hop, whether they grew up here or went to
Hip Hop and politics mix?
You can't get by it. Listen to KRS and PE. It's a responsibility. You
seldom hear about it today. Some MC's have a voice, but you don't really
hear it from rappers today. If you're not talking about your community,
then you're not doing justice to the people that listen to you. We're
the voice. The strongest voice on the planet is Hip Hop. You could hear
a rap on a tampon commercial. That voice should always be together. If
you're not saying anything, what's the point?
are you rocking on today?
I use one
of the original SP1200's from back in the day, and the MPC-2000XL. I use
the Triton Extreme. I have a lot of guitars and bass guitars. I have some
percussion to get that live feel. I record to Pro Tools. I have a lot
of live instrumentation. I always keep my turntables near and a stack
of records because I'm always digging in the crates.
the most important element in a Sol Messiah beat?
If it doesn't move you and I don't move you and make you say, "This
music makes me feel good," then it's not my beat. It's very soulful.
It's not too abstract. It's the movement and the soul. Stevie Wonder's
movements make you feel a certain way. That's the most important element.
MC's want to work with you?
to get a song. If you wear 34X30 jeans, you wouldn't buy 36X28. I'm going
to tailor the song to fit you just right. The beat is going to be fit
perfectly to that rapper or singer and it's going to match. It's not going
to be purple shoes with a green shirt. I make songs for the artist.
coming up for you?
I got some
songs coming out on this Bobby Creekwater album. I also have an instrumental
album that's just now dropping. It's called "Supreme Beats."
I also did an album called "No Wrappers." Rappers were getting
on my nerves for shooting and pimping all the time. I wanted to make an
album that you could clean up to on Saturday morning. I got a deal with
INGrooves. It should get a lot of places. It's a lot of live instruments,
hard drums, hard basslines
The next one is called "The Art of
Instrumental." That's just what they are.
you want to say to everyone?
If you love
music, if you actually love music and what we do, because music is the
the reason they call it soul music is because soul music is
the people. If you really love the music, support it. Some people only
deal with one type of music. Good music is good music. If you really love
music, support the music, because music is the soul.