Big Boi feat. Bosko "Ringtone"

Big Boi & Bosko

Big Boi is back with his new single “Ringtone” featuring yours truly on ElectroSpit (aka “talkbox”) and back ground vocals! I got the call at about 1AM one night from my friend Chris Carmouche, Big Boi’s main engineer at Stankonia in Atlanta. He said “Big wants you to do your magic on this new cut… he thinks it’s gonna be a single!” So of course I arrived on the scene a few minutes later and put down some nasty ElectroSpit tracks to complement the classic Big Boi lyrics…and here we are with Big Boi’s 1st single of 2009!

Bosko rocks the ElectroSpit (talkbox) for Big Boi's "Ringtone"

Dynamic Producer Panel @ BeatLab, Atlanta

dynamic producer banner

I had the pleasure of sharing the stage this past Friday with fellow Super Producers the JUSTICE League (Jay-Z, Rick Ross), Maestro (Lil Wayne, Ice Cube), Needlz (50 Cent) and Linx (Day 26) at the DynamicProducer.com Winter Seminar. Young hungry producers from all over the world packed into the “hip-hop-producer-lifestyle-shop” BeatLab, Atlanta to get some firsthand knowledge on how to come up in the music game.

(L to R) Needlz, Bosko, & Maestro on Dynamic Producer Panel, BeatLab – Atlanta

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We broke it down on a variety topics, beginning with what equipment we started on. I cut my teeth on the Ensoniq ASR-10, but I always used a computer for sequencing (the ASR internal sequencer sucks). So, when Logic came of age, I was one of the first to do serious hip hop production all virtual (year 2000!). I was tired of dragging my racks up to the Bay to work w/E40, and I’m never going back to racks! Needlz and Maestro both started on the MPC and then moved to Logic Audio software (however Needlz has since switched back…). The consensus on the panel was that the gear doesn’t make the producer. With the low cost of high tech today, skill is what separates. Master what you have. I cautioned against becoming a gear/sound collector instead of a beat maker…. or as Maestro put it, ”If you’re a producer, PRODUCE!”

Another topic was how we got our first placements and the role of management. The panelist each had different takes and experiences. Needlz has been managed by the well connected and well respected Folayan Knight allowing him to focus on the music. Maestro and myself on the other hand are both self-managed, which brings the challenge of balancing making music and networking. Maestro felt comfortable on his own with the addition of a lawyer to handle finer deal points. For me, not having a manager sucks…especially considering I’m already balancing being an Artist and a Producer. However, even with a Grammy and over 10 million sold, finding a great manager who is powerful enough to help with placements yet still accessible has always been a challenge…so I feel your pain up-and-comers! We agreed that you just have to hustle, but (especially if you are the shy type) you may need to hook up with someone who will hit the streetz.

The night ended with heated producer battle. The “sweet sixteen” top up-and-coming producers went head to head, beat for beat, in a 45 sec tournament style contest judged by our panel. The production duo “Raw Talent” took home the trophy and it was well deserved. They showed depth and breadth of skillz on everything from dirty south 808 tracks to techno. Look out for them! Runner up “Fuego” from Germany probably had the hottest beat of the night, and Stupid Genius, ManBeast, and Sweat Shop Productions all made strong showings.

Much thanks to DynamicProducer.com’s Felisha Booker for having me on the panel! We will have some video and more flicks up soon! P.S. – if you have additional footage please send me the link so I can include it.

Looking forward to your comments and questions!

NAMM 09 – RETURN OF THE MPC!

The MOTU BPM virtual drum machine
Akai BPM virtual drum machine

The MPC is back! ….kind of. One of the most striking things about all the new gear announced at NAMM this year is the focus on virtual drum machines both with and without real hardware control. Native Instruments the Maschine, MOTU’s BPM, and OpenLabs Bump MP update, all have jumped (back) on the mpc-style pad bandwagon. With old-school hardware drum machines like the MPC, sampling time and more features were the dream. Software Sequencers like Logic & Cubase with millions of plug ins took us into outer space with limitless sounds and sequencing possibilities. Geeks (like me) rejoiced, but it took 10x longer to make beats since you had to audition at least 20 different snares and click through 5 different sub-windows just to truncate a loop (ahem… EXS24).

Thankfully, simplicity and speed are back on the radar and I’m hoping that these new tools can help us get back to knockin’ out 10 beats a day…we need to to keep up with rappers like Lil Wayne! These new tools are a perfect opportunity for Old Schoolers to come out of their caves and experience the ease (and cost savings!) of using a laptop. MOTU’s BPM combined with a keyboard/pad controller like Akai’s MPK25 or Korg’s padKontrol will open up a whole new world to any MPC addict. This is also a chance for laptop only producers to get physical and really bang out like the pioneers (think Primo, Pete Rock).

This has inspired me to take a hard look at simplifying my setup and workflow. I believe successful producers have to remember to be beat makers and not sound/plug-in collectors.

What are your thoughts? Do you like the MPC-style pad trend? Did you work faster on the MPC than you do now on a laptop? Check out the new stuff from NAMM below and tell me your thoughts?

Akai MPK25
Akai mpk25

Native Instruments – The Maschine

Native Instruments -  The Maschine

Open Labs Miko LXD
Open Labs Miko LXD

Cool Nutz feat. Bosko "Black Music"

Remix Produced by Jake One!

Black Music

Thank you to all those who voted for Cool Nutz feat. Bosko “Black Music” in the Jake One remix contest! We have been chosen as finalists and we await the final outcome! In the mean time, you can hear the song right here! Tell a friend. I just did.

Two Turntables?

Hip-hop purists might turn up their noses at this…but there was a time when DJ’s could be banned from the booth for “scratching the record”. The future…it’s coming whether we’re ready or not. This dude is sick wid it on the Monome!! Gotta get me one.


dj64 for Monome – by Bitbasic from simon on Vimeo.

You Stole My Beat Son!

You Stole my Beat Son!

How many times have you picked up a mixtape or checked out a myspace page only to hear Rapper “X” spittin’ 116 bars over your track… without any mention of a check or even a PayPal deposit for your hard work! I know, I know… too many times! Well this sad scenario begs the questions:

Who should you give copies of your beats to?
How can you you prevent them from being used without your permission?
What should you do if they are used without your permission?

Well my friends… the answers are not as clear cut as they may seem. For anyone other than a “Name Brand Producer” like Timbaland, Kanye West, or The Neptunes, the need to get someone to record to your beats can often outweigh the need to protect them. A hard drive full of the sickest tracks ever created won’t earn you a dollar if no one ever hears them….

Let’s back track and look at how a producer gets paid:

#1 The Label Pays Upfront: Never happens see option #2.

#2 The Label/Artist Pays After Hearing a Demo: You submit your track to an Artist who then records a “demo” for his Label. The decision makers at the Label listen to the song and at the last possible minute before they release the Album (if not after!) they decide they want it and offer to pay you half.

#3 The Song Becomes Popular: You submit a track to an Artist (or more often than not the Artist gets a copy from his homeboy you never even met), he records to it and releases it. The song becomes popular on some level at which time his Label or attorney decide they had better get the rights to the song. You finally get paid fairly if not handsomely.

As much as I get sick at the thought of someone using my beats for free, I realize that sometimes that may be the quickest route to getting paid for it. My biggest fear is that Jay-Z will pick a track for his album only to change his mind after hearing it on Lil Boo Boo’s myspace. But let’s come back to reality now… getting Jay-Z to listen to your beat is next to impossible… do you really think he would ever hear Lil Boo Boo’s rendition? And if he did, do you think he would take a song he liked off of his album because of it? What if, God forbid, Lil Boo Boo’s version became a big enough hit for Jay-Z to hear it. I guess that would be terrible having to negotiate your producer’s fee after the fact on a song that is already a hit! You get the idea. The fear of having your tracks stolen is a little exaggerated if not completely imagined…. Don’t forget to copyright those tracks though!

I’m curious to hear other Producer’s thoughts and experiences? This is an important issue for every Producer. What do you think?

New Static Single produced by Bosko!

“Bus Stop Breezy”

My dude Static was one of the most prolific writers of our time (and one of the most humble). When we first met at my studio in LA I had no idea who he was. Just so I could catch his vibe he handed me a CD titled “10 #1’s…” That’s right, my dude penned more than 10 #1 Billboard hits… wow! Of course you know his latest… Lollipop by Lil Wayne feat. Static Major. It was an honor to produce this record for Static. Please support the new single and spread the word about this man who passed too soon. RIP Static Major