You’ve now done two albums in about two years. How did you put your new one Stick 2 the Script together?
Basically the same exact way. I had a lot of people that I talked to about it before I even started it. It wasn’t that complicated to get people on it.
It sounds like you found your sound more on this album than you did on your first album.
I definitely think so too. I mean, it’s funny because a lot of stuff I’ve been working on in the meantime hasn’t even come out yet, like all these Joell Ortiz records. I’ve literally done 25-30 records with him. Me and Term have more new records. It’s cool that people are hearing this album now because there’s a lot of other stuff. I definitely think it’s a step up from the other album.
What did you do to improve your beat game?
Basically as far as stepping my game up, I changed up my approach to the drums on this one. I definitely have more of a sound on it because I stuck to certain formulas and I used different basses and claps that help people create their own sounds. You know a Primo beat when you hear it because he uses certain sounds and certain snares. That’s how people create their sound. I look at people like him and Dre and the Neptunes, people who created their own sound, and I just try to stick to the script, literally.
Cassidy and Saigon were going back and forth at one point and you got them together on “To the Top”. How did that happen?
It’s like how I got Cassidy and Freeway together. I wasn’t even thinking about that. I didn’t even know that Cassidy and Sai weren’t cool. I asked both of them and they said they were cool. I don’t know if they squashed their problem before that situation, but when I got them together at the video shoot they acted like they had known each other for a long time. And with Cassidy, he’s a really good dude. Anything I’ve ever needed from him he’s helped me out. He’s one of the coolest people in the world. Anyone that got beef with him, it doesn’t really make sense.
Did you get everything you wanted for Stick 2 the Script?
Yeah, definitely. It was hard to get Nas on it. He changed management halfway through so it’s all good. I ended up getting some different artists from last time and it would have been hard trying to clear Nas with Def Jam and all that.
How do you have guys like Freeway, Young Chris, Cassidy and others on your project without having a huge budget?
It’s kind of like a favor for a favor thing. I’ve been playing them on the radio for a long time and not to toot my own horn, but I’m the one of the only DJs that’s really playing that raw hip-hop shit as far as East Coast music goes. I reach out to them and they already know what it is. I have a personal relationship with these guys and half the guys on the CD, I’m really good friends with. They hold me down and I hold them down. It’s trade off shit, really.
Do you ever feel obligated to play their records because of the friendships or favors?
Not really. I play their records because they’re good. I don’t play records because I know cats. They just send me their records and I play them because the music’s there. I’m not saying every artist puts out dope music all the time but I support every artist more than a lot of people do.
How did you get Bun B on the album?
Bun B has got to be the coolest rapper alive. He’s one of the coolest guys on the face of the planet. I don’t know if he’s that way with everybody but he buys a lot of independent music and it all started when he was doing interviews with people and he was saying he was feeling Termanology in every interview. Primo had spoken with him and he said he was really trying to work with Term. Me and Term were out in Texas at South by Southwest and it was Bun B’s birthday party. I emailed him and I reached out to him. He called me right away and told us to come through to Houston and we would party for his birthday. We went up there and we partied with him in the club. His whole family was there and he introduced me to his wife. He’s just the coolest dude. Through that we ended up sending him the Term record “How We Rock” and then I sent him my record and he just banged it out.
Did anything change working with Termanology this time around?
It’s different because now Term’s album was coming out and my album was supposed to drop before his and I didn’t want to overdo it with too many of his appearances. He was on my last album a lot more and he killed it every time he did it. This time it worked out good because he has the only solo record on the album and it gives people a preview of what’s to come on our album. It’s called 1982. It’s on some Pete Rock and CL Smooth and Gang Starr type shit. It’s cool. I’ve been working with him since we were little.
Are you happy with how Term’s album Politics as Usual is doing?
Yeah. It did really well. It did almost 2,000 the first week which is really good. I’ve seen how DJs are being real funny with it. They’re scared to play some of it. It shows me who the herb DJs are. I understand if you’re a program director and you think it’s too grimy and all that but at least play it a couple of times.
Do you think even with a few spins here and there it would really affect the album?
Yeah, of course, because that’s how retailers order units. The more spins you get in the area the more units you get ordered. It’s doing well in Houston but in Chicago, the spins aren’t crazy but if they’re more, they’ll definitely order more copies.
Why would DJs not play the music?
Realistically it’s reminiscent of an old ‘90s hip-hop record and I think a lot of DJs think they’re too cool or they’re just scared to play records like that because it doesn’t fit the format of radio nowadays. I know all about it because I’m syndicated and I deal with my program directors. Cats have played it and the spins are all right but it’s not as much as we expected at first. His album came out fucking great. It’s a dope record and “Hold That” with Pete Rock is great. That wasn’t on the album. I’m happy with the way it came out and it’s just a taste of what’s to come in his career.
Getting back to your production, have you been able to learn some of Primo’s tricks?
I mean, I've definitely learned stuff from watching him, just like technical stuff and how he gets certain things to sound. For the most part I think I’m learning the most when I’m in the studio by myself at 4 in the morning when I’m drunk. That’s when I’m finding new sounds and stuff. I’ve never had the time to do that before. The last album was really on some free time shit and I don’t have free time now. I literally have to make time just to get in the lab and make beats. Now I have a whole different approach than I did prior to this.
When you were trying to establish yourself as a producer there were songs you produced coming out every other day. Did you slow down on who you work with as more people become aware of what you do?
I’m sitting on some crazy shit. I’m pretty happy with the way things are going. I’m going to keep on learning but I have a lot of music about to come out. It’s crazy because the last month alone I’ve given beats to Jada and Kanye gave me props and 50’s people have reached out to me. It’s crazy because Kanye was really giving me props on the record I did with Consequence, “Mr. Popularity”. He’s even posted our music on his blog. I met him at the GOOD Music party with Q-Tip and Consequence. I’ve met him in the past but he really didn’t know me. He said the shit we did was disgusting. He gave me a really cool compliment on that.
Are you more established as a producer today?
Definitely. I’m not happy yet. It’s hard to break out because you have people like Clinton Sparks and Green Lantern who have produced platinum records and they’re still labeled as “DJ producers.” It’s hard to break out of that.
What’s coming up for you?
Joell Ortiz’s album is coming out soon. Reks’ More Grey Hairs is about to drop soon. I got a lot of beats right now that I’m just waiting for the final word on. I did a couple of joints for Skyzoo. I’m going to be working with Torae. I’m trying to expand myself with a lot of these New York guys. Obviously there’s more work with Term. The album that we’re about to do as a group is probably my best work to date. I’m also working with this cat Josh Exantus, who just dropped a record with Jadakiss. He’s an R&B cat and he has the potential to be the next Ne-Yo. The dude is incredible. He did a 5 minute record for me in one take. The dude is amazing. It’s like R&B with hip-hop beats. And I’m not trying to do too much other than hip-hop and if I do R&B, it’s going to be a hip-hop beat. Getting into rock and roll and stuff like that would be far away if that was to happen.
For those who haven’t done it, how much work goes into putting out a compilation?
A lot. This one took three months. I would make the beat and send it to the artist and have it in a day or two. But as far as the album goes, it’s crazy. You have to do radio and interviews. I’m doing the Kay Slay show next week and NYU next week. I’m doing the Launch Pad in Boston. It’s crazy, the whole schedule. And then you have your release parties. I don’t have management and I’m setting up my release party at the Nike ID shoe. It’s crazy. That party is some red carpet shit with MTV coming and all types of people coming. I got another party in New York at the CMJ Festival. I got release parties in Boston and New Hampshire and all over the place. The schedule has me all over the place.
What’s going on with Reks?
We’re finishing up More Grey Hairs. We have some records that didn’t make it on the album and we’re using them now. We also have the 1982 project with Termanology and Lil’ Fame’s album that we might be putting out on Showoff. And I have to shout you out because you show me so much love that other dudes think I blackball them. I had a dude on radio in Boston dissing me for not being on HipHopGame. That’s crazy.