Just Blaze might be best known as one of hip-hop’s signature producers of the last decade but in a recent interview with technology magazine, Wired, Just Blaze opens up as his past as a “hacker.” As a kid, Blaze would modify and alter technology around the house. “I was very much a tinkerer as a kid,” Blaze said. “I was doing things like hacking or splicing extra battery packs into my mother’s cordless phone to try to get the battery to last longer.”
Blaze would also speak on how his passion for modifying technology would be vital to breaking into the music industry. Before becoming one of hip-hop’s most sought-after beat makers, Blaze built a successful business programming early versions of lo-fi ringtones of hit songs like Biggie’s “Whot Shot Ya?” and Busta Rhymes’ “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” into Motorola 2-way pagers.
“I got my first bit of industry-wide notoriety programming ringtones for those things,” says Just. “Back then, there wasn’t such a thing as ringtones for your phone, at all. But Motorola included an app that allowed you to make customizable tones…It was funny, people I had never met would hear my name and go, ‘Dude, I have all your ringtones on my phone!’ There was a rumor floating around that I learned to make music by using the two-way, which was insane.”
You can read the rest of the article here in which he discusses learning to program computers, leaving his undergraduate career at Rutgers University to intern at the famous Cutting Room studio and more.