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
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!