Hip-Hop’s Top Producers Teach You How To Make An Album
Executive Producer: DJ Khaled
Top Credits: DJ Khaled, We The Best Forever
Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don’t
Fat Joe, All Or Nothing
Rick Ross, Mastermind
Favorite Executive Produced Album: Rick Ross, Mastermind
Most Important EP Attribute: Strength
DJ Khaled: The role of an executive producer is basically all around everything. Not only helping the artist musically, [but] also handling all the business dealing with the album. Executive producers are also the A & R. The title is bigger because you’re overseeing everything. I’m both [EP and A & R]. It’s basically about helping make the music for the artists, handling all the business. Making sure all the marketing is right, the rollout is right, as well as the all-around creative to help the artist’s vision come to life. We add steroids to the artist’s vision. We deal with the artists through the good and the bad. It’s so many roles that people don’t know.
It’s also mixing the album. Overseeing that. It’s also coming up with ideas to present, and really just executing every single thing. The executive producer is as important as the artist that’s rapping or singing on the album, because it gotta be right, artistically, as well as handling the full project. You’ve gotta be experienced. You also have to have patience. More importantly, you have to be strong. Nobody ever said it was easy to win and be a winner and continue winning. Your expectations get higher and your goals get bigger. You have to make sure that the product is potent enough to meet your expectations, and well-rounded [enough] where it’s beneficial to everybody.
The toughest thing is the responsibility. The artist relies on you just to make sure everything is good. You have to know that you’re not going to be able sleep or see your family. Dealing with roadblocks some people might not want to make happen, and you have to make it happen. When you put out good music, you get recognition from your peers and fans. They respect you. I came up in the game a fan of hip-hop, and to be one of the biggest moguls out there right now…it’s letting you know if you work hard it’s gonna pay off. It just feels good to be respected by the people you respect, and to become a young icon.
Music comes first, business comes later. You make sure the music’s right, but you also want the music handled right. People don’t realize the responsibility behind the scenes. We gotta deal with the samples and all the clearances. All the legal stuff. People think you just make music and put it out there. Nah. You have to clear shit. You gotta clear samples. You gotta clear side artists. You have to negotiate situations. You have to do a lot of stuff before you can put a record out in the store. And that’s the hardest part—it’s a lot of stuff there. Nonstop.