Hit Music Producers Sound Off

by Moe Arora on March 20, 2009

producersweek

soundbites

As Producers Week comes to a close, I wanted to present you guys with something big.

I gathered some popular questions that many aspiring producers have, and sent them to a group of producers: some who are currently on their way up & others whose work you’re all very familiar with.

If you’ve ever wondered how producers’ answers differed when asked the same questions; now you’ll know.

These producers have too many hits to list, so for more information on each, I’ve included a link to each of their websites below each of their names.

Enjoy!

NEEDLZ
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

I would say my MPC 4000. I recently tried to make the switch to Logic but found myself going back to the MPC for it’s ease and speed.  Now I use my MPC with Logic so I’m getting the best of both worlds.

What is your favorite song, production-wise (could be your own production or that of another producer), and can you provide a brief breakdown of what makes it so special to you?

That’s hard. I think one of my favorite beats of all time is “Roc The Mic” produced by Just Blaze.  I just love the syncopation and overall feel of the beat.

If you had to work with another producer, who would it be and why?

Hmmm. I’m super picky; I’ve never really been big on collabs.  I would would say my boy Mr. Fingaz out of Queens because he can play every instrument and he’s dope at all of them.

If you had to choose producing for artists vs producing for TV, film & video games, which one would you choose and why?

Right now, I would I would say TV, Film & video games, because there seems to be way more money involved.  These artists budgets are getting smaller everytime we steal their music off of the net.

MAESTRO
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

I can’t do without my Mac Pro. Since converting to a software based production setup, it’s the centerpiece of my operation.

I’ve been able to replace a room full of expensive hardware with that one machine.

What is your favorite song, production-wise (could be your own production or that of another producer), and can you provide a brief breakdown of what makes it so special to you?

One of my favorite songs production wise is Prince’s hit “KISS”. Not only are his signature drums as awesome as ever, the guitar playing is phenomenal.

One thing to note about that song is that it lacks a bassline. Prince decided to remove it at the last minute. That shows the kind of executive decision that a well trained producer makes that can propel a song to its fullest potential.

If you had to choose producing for artists vs producing for TV, film & video games, which one would you choose and why?

My preference would be to focus the majority of my attention on tv/film/video game placements. CD music is steadily losing its value, due to the many methods by which it’s now distributed, but music paired with video is still a hugely profitable industry.

Furthermore, instrumental music for those projects can be far more expressive; music intended for a song has to allow space for the artist.

DERIC “D-DOT” ANGELETTIE
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

The piece of equipment that I can’t do without is probably the drum machine.

It’s the nucleus of my production set-up.

What advice would you offer someone getting into the game now, that you wish you knew before you got in?

For a person trying to get into the game, I would advise them to realize that it’s just that – A Game.

The Game is 95% business and 5% music. Once you understand that, you are more likely to survive and deal with both the positive and negative aspects of The Game.

SHA MONEY XL
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

Reason 4.0 is my shit. I like it cause it is always with me in my laptop. I can do everything I do on my MPC 3000 plus more.

I have an incredible sound library; I can see in folders and don’t have to wait for anything to load on a disk.

What is your favorite song, production-wise (could be your own production or that of another producer), and can you provide a brief breakdown of what makes it so special to you?

Shook Ones, produced by Havoc. The way he put 2 samples together; one actually can be considered a noise and them hard drums & simple hard bassline.

It’s a classic hip-hop track

If you had to work with another producer, who would it be and why?

DJ Khalil; he has a dope ear for sound and arrangement.

If you had to choose producing for artists vs producing for TV, film & video games, which one would you choose and why?

Artists. Ain’t nothing better then creating a classic hip-hop record.

CHAD BEATZ
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What’s the biggest misconception about producers?

Everyone thinks a beatmaker and a producer are the same thing. A person who produces is actually delivering a record from beat to concept, meaning writing the hook and/or song as well.

A beatmaker just does exactly what the title says.

If you had to work with another producer, who would it be and why?

I would work with Pharrell, cause I love any sound that is not usual.

THE INKREDIBLES
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

VSTs or Virtual Instrumentals, because the sounds are already mixed well, and sound very good.

What is your favorite song, production-wise (could be your own production or that of another producer), and can you provide a brief breakdown of what makes it so special to you?

“Ride” by Ace Hood (We The Best/Def Jam South). That’s a record that introduced us mainstream to the world basically. Plus, that is a very complex beat if you listen to the instrumental, not easily duplicated if you break it down bit-by-bit.

Check it here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgOq_jvL_yU

If you had to work with another producer, who would it be and why?

I don’t know what it is , but there is something in the water in Virginia, where we are from, because we would have to choose Timbaland.

He has been so consistent, for so long, and he is very innovative with it as well. I feel what we bring to the table, and what Timbaland does, would make our music (The Inkredibles) ’10 times’ better.

J.U.S.T.I.C.E League
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

Rook: Favorite piece of equipment I just cant do without? Gotta be Logic.

Kenny: Same here, Logic. Hands down. For us 3, it’s indispensable.

Colione: Logic. But to be different then the guys – my Mac and my Adams A7 Monitors. Love em!

Whats one of the biggest misconceptions about producing?

Rook: I would say that the biggest misconception about producers is that we only make beats…we make the song into a RECORD!!

Colione: I would say people think that good music can be made just as easy as the rest – in 1 hour. Classics sometimes take time.

Kenny: People on the message boards and so forth tend to over-mystify and over complicated the process that we (JL) use to create our sounds; trying to break down our beat making process into a much more technical process then it really is for us.

Of course it’s technical but for us it’s more of an organic process.

KAY GEE
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

It used to be the MPC 3000, but now its Protools used in conjunction with my MPC 3000 as a controller.

What’s the biggest misconception about producers?

I think the biggest misconception is that we can’t become executives.

Many of us can’t because we would be too critical of other guys tracks, thinking we can do better. But many of us can put that aside and not let the ego get in the way.

If you had to work with another producer, who would it be and why?

Teddy Riley! Simply the best to do R&B, hip-hop and pop music.

There’s plenty of guys that are great but not many that had successful songs, artists and or albums they produced, in all fields like Teddy.

If you had to choose producing for artists vs producing for TV, film & video games, which one would you choose and why

Artists, because there’s something about taking an artist from day 1, and having a vision and actually carrying it out, to the end.

DJ MONTAY
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

My favorite piece is the MPC 2500

If you had to choose producing for artists vs producing for TV, film & video games, which one would you choose and why?

If I could, I would do both, but if I had to choose it would be tv, film & video games.

I think there is more money in that, then an artist. Artists, you have to wait til they blow up, or if the song is a hit, to see any real money. That’s why I would do film tv & video games.

CHRIS N TEEB
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

Chris: My favorite piece of equipment, that comes with me everywhere I go, is the laptop. I have a Macbook Pro with every program, VST, and soft synth you can imagine.

We usually create on Garageband and Logic.

What’s the biggest misconception about producers?

Teeb: I would have to say people don’t know the difference between a producer and a beatmaker. A producer makes sure that the full record is a master piece. That’s what separates the men from the boys!

But we are definitely producers. No need to worry about that! LOL

If you had to work with another producer, who would it be and why?

Chris: Well, I always count it an honor to be working with Rockwilder!

We talked about it before. I have a wishlist of producers I want to be in the studio with and see what they do, how they do it and what they use.

Timbaland, and Tricky Stewart! I’m very intregued by their sounds. Then you have the Legends like Quincy Jones, Babyface, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Stevie Wonder, etc. The list goes on & on.

Teeb: Well, we are huge fans of Rockwilder. We were basically raised on his music. LOL

Also, I would have to say Swizz Beatz, Timbaland & Polow da Don. Also, you can’t forget about the greats Chris mentioned.

DJ NASTY & LVM
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What’s your favorite piece of equipment that you can’t do without?

DJ Nasty: MPC 2000XL!! I love the Akai products; ever since Akai came out with MPC 60 I been into it.

That’s my favorite to date ya dig!

LVM: Roland XV 5080 for the most part. I get all my main stuff from that; strings, horns, piano and bass. So, for basic instruments, I get it from there to create, say, an R&B song.

If you had to choose producing for artists vs. producing for TV, film & video games, which one would you choose and why?

LVM: I would rather score movies and produce for soundtracks. Because I’m a straight pure musician, I don’t listen to lyrics or songs, but I vibe to the beat and melodies. That’s what I do.

If they had a genre just for “instrumentals” I would be all over it, I love instrumentals, that’s all I listen too. Like Dr. Dre had Chronic 2001 of just instrumentals – it’s a great album to pick up.

DJ Nasty: I gotta work with an artist that gets me hype & excited. Getting new music keeps me going, getting new albums – I love it.

Some rappers delivery is dope and might not be lyrically nice , but if it’s ill, I could care what ya saying, I will listen.

What’s the biggest misconception about producers?

LVM: In the rap world, people think producers are guys who makes beats. It goes further than that, working with a rapper is one thing, but an R&B singer is different.

I produce vocals, and that’s more complex. You gotta get the best out of their singing capabilities.

Producers don’t only make beats, its more than that. Plus, I play instruments. Normally most guys hire instrumentalists (session musicians). Luckily for us, (Nasty Beatmakers) I can do that.

DJ Nasty: First off, you hear “a beatmaker isn’t a producer… producers aren’t beat makers”. Man, listen: I don’t knock the hustle.

Doing this, it’s a hustle. Everyone starts as a producer and/or a beatmaker. You got to start somewhere. You’re gonna make beats; then that’s what you do.

I salute everyone on their grind. Eventually, they may turn into a super producer, where they can be in sessions where they can become a “producer”, but they got to get that opportunity first.

If you’re a beatmaker, and doing your thing – cool. But, I wont knock that person; cuz they might not have a opportunity to be in the studio with Lil Wayne or Jay-Z.

A lot of cats send their stuff through the internet, and cant be in the studio to “produce” and get a full record back through the internet.

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