When you’re a producer with the name like Stu Bangas, you have no choice but to live up to your name. Thankfully that’s exactly what the Boston product does, whether he’s producing beats for his numerous solo projects or he’s teaming up with partner J Scrilla as one-half of the production duo Guns-N-Butter.
Most recently, Stu put himself on the map for producing half of Reef the Lost Cauze’s critically-acclaimed album Fight Music. While producing cuts like “Three Greats,” which featured Reef alongside Kool G. Rap and R.A. the Rugged Man, he also stayed busy forming his own label Brutal Music and working on an album with Queensbridge legend Blaq Poet. The up-and-coming producer sat down with HipHopGame to discuss his latest endeavors and why he’s going to be a household name in the very near future.
Your last project was Fight Music with Reef the Lost Cauze. What was it like working with Reef and your production partner J-Scrilla on that?
Oh, it was great. I’ve been working with Reef since ’04 when he would come through doing shows. We’ve done tracks with him and Krumbsnatcha, Slaine and Ill Bill for various mixtapes. I’ve known him for awhile and he’s very easy to work with. The way we worked was he came up to Boston and did about half of the album. We were bouncing ideas off of each other and were getting fucked up in the studio. Then he went out to D.C. and did a show and did the rest with Scrilla. I wasn’t involved with that but it all came out great. Then me and some of my boys went out to Philly to mix it all down. It was good to chill with Kamachi and Paz and Doap Nixon, partying and mixing the record down at the same time. A good time was had by all.
What was your favorite moment recording Fight Music?
It’s hard to point out a specific one, but drinking booze in Boston at 10 in the morning was surreal at the time. I always wanted to do a project with Reef, so that was good too.
How do you and J-Scrilla work together as Guns-N-Butter?
It’s not like we worked together on the beats for this album. We did it on our own. Calling us Guns-N-Butter is a collective name for us and a way for us to tie the project together.
What kind of a sound did you want to give Reef on this?
He wanted to call it Fight Music so I just wanted to keep it gully and gutter for the most part and go with some loops and samples that hadn’t been flipped yet. We also wanted a little balance on the record because some people wouldn’t like talking shit all the way through. We tried to give it a little balance all the way through, which is good. We tried to make it aggressive and have some dope samples and loops that hadn’t been used before.
How did “3 Greats” featuring Kool G. Rap and R.A. the Rugged Man come together?
I got at Kool G. Rap through another kid that knows Domingo and then we hooked that up, which was awesome. I just had the track and I was actually going to use it for a mixtape that Vanderslice and I are doing together but I was like, Fuck it, it would be cool to put it on this album. Then J approached R.A., who’s a big Kool G. fan and he said he was down to get on the record without hearing the beat. R.A. and I kind of butted heads on mixing the record. It was all respectful though. He has his vision of how he wants the song to go down and so do I as far as the mixing process, but it’s all love. I respect that dude to the fullest.
What was it like working with Vinnie Paz on “Monsters Ball” off his solo album Season of the Assassin?
He’s a real cool dude and he has a great track record. I was going out to eat with him and just chilling and I was able to just pick his brain the few times I’ve hung out with him. I was trying to soak up all that knowledge and as far as the level I’m trying to get to, his track record is impressive and I respect that. Whenever I’m with Paz I don’t talk that much. I just ask questions.
You’re starting your own label Brutal Music. What made you want to start your own label?
Besides my 9 to 5 shit, this is my passion. Of course everyone is trying to get placements on records, but in between we need to be able to release the tracks that we’ve done and get our shit heard and make money off it. We just want to keep our music going out. We got plans to do a Reef CD in 2011 as well. That’s the only reason. I’m trying to get my music out without having long time periods in between. I got shit on Jus Allah’s album and Chino XL’s album but I don’t know when they’re going to come out.
I hear you’re working on a Blaq Poet album.
We got an album with Blaq Poet and Vanderslice, my partner in this. It’s pretty crazy. It’s dope. It’s pretty murderous shit, but that’s what you would expect from that dude. There’s some good features on that, like Chino XL. Ron Artest is going to get on it. Poet’s pretty cool with him. Paz is actually going to get on that and I think I’ll have Slaine get on that. There’s a couple other dudes that said they would get on it too.
What other projects are you looking to do? We’re going to do a compilation album with guys like Roc Marciano, Un Pacino, Twin Gambino and others. We’ve got joints done with Slaine and other shit with Reef. We got three singles with A and B sides ready to go. We’re just fine-tuning the mixes and figuring out how we’re going to do it, if we’re going to give it away for free or charge for it.
What are you most proud of producing so far in your career?
Definitely the “Ruck and Roll” off the last Heltah Skeltah album. They really went hard with the song with the video. It was cool seeing them perform it live. A lot of people hit me up about that song and it really stands out for me. Working with Paz too. Working with Vinnie is a close second.
You’ve done a lot of work with artists from Queensbridge. Why do you think you work so well with artists from that borough?
I don’t know. Blaq Poet is a great dude. I think some dudes can’t relate to the artists. I’m not from the streets and shit, but it’s like we both have the same kind of taste in the beats and the music and I keep everything upfront. If dudes feel your beats and you like their raps, that goes hand-in-hand. That’s like the common ground.
How have you grown as a producer over the past couple of years?
I’ve definitely stepped my drum game up and my overall mixing to get my tracks more banging. I’ve been digging for a long time. I learned from Panik of Molemen and he taught me a lot and then I got with Vanderslice and learned a lot from him. I just got my drums harder and learned a lot about overall mixing. At this point I don’t want to put out any half-ass mixes. I would definitely say I improved on my mixing and I got my drums sounding harder.
What equipment do you use today?
The MPC 2000XL and a bass guitar and a keyboard for the basslines. I don’t do too much with the keyboard. I mostly use my MPC.
What’s the best way for a producer in the digital age to collaborate with artists and make things happen?
I don’t get out that much. I should get out more and mingle at parties but I’m really anti-social. I think it’s just from sending tracks out and I definitely got lucky. Keep making up beats and just keep sending shit out. You’ll get feedback. People will pick shit, sometimes they won’t pick it. I’m making music constantly and always sending music out to dudes. I also try to be a good dude and not be a shady dude as far as using people.
Is it hard to trust MCs when you send out beats?
Not that I’m aware of. I haven’t had too many problems with that but I know Vanderslice had that problem where his credit got taken from a record. I remember where something happened where a producer didn’t get credit for working with Tragedy. But that hasn’t happened with me. I’ve been lucky.
Who do you want to work with next?
I would say Prodigy. That would be awesome to work with him. I would say Tragedy Khadafi but he’s probably going to be on the Blaq Poet record. I would also love to work with Jadakiss and the other dudes from New York. I’ve worked with Infamous Mobb and those dudes, but I definitely want to get at Prodigy. I also want to get some shit on Capone’s next album. Cormega would be dope. I’m trying to network with some dudes through Poet. I would love to get some beats for whatever Paz is working on. He told me to keep sending beats and whatever he’s working on I want to get involved in. It would be cool to work with bigger name dudes, but I don’t feel like I have the sound they’re looking for. It would be cool to get that money but I’m cool with what I make.