Hip-Hop’s Top Producers Teach You How To Make An Album
Executive Producer: Organized Noize (Rico Wade, Ray Murray and Sleepy Brown)
Top Credits: OutKast, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
Goodie Mob, Soul Food
Favorite Executive Produced Album: OutKast, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (Sleepy Brown); Set It Off Soundtrack (Rico Wade); The next one (Ray Murray)
Most Important EP Attribute: Focus
Rico Wade: The executive producer has to produce your vision. You have to have the ability, or the creativity, to fulfill what they see, without them even telling you what they see. You don’t even allow somebody to come in and tell you what to do unless you can trust their opinion. It’s about giving the right direction when you get to a certain point. That’s why it becomes about trust, so you know that you’re both on the same journey to make this incredible album, to make this complete project.
Patience is important, but early on it’s really about knowing a lot, having a lot of confidence. You gotta get them excited, keep them excited the whole time about what they’re doing. It’s our 20-year anniversary of being executive producers, 1994 with OutKast’s first album. They were signed to us with a production deal, but as executive producers it was our vision. And OutKast trusted us; Big Boi and Dre trusted us. They were 16 and 17, and we were 19, 20, 21. We inspired and motivated them, and let them know it was cool to represent the A, but at the end of the day, they were the youth. They were just fresh out of high school. So they had the vibe.
Sleepy Brown: We learned how to stay in budget, and we learned to not bring a lot of people to the studio a lot of the time. We learned about each other, growing together as a team and trying to stay focused on music.
RW: We’d be the bad guy, the guy that L.A. Reid would always keep it real with. He’d say something where, I’m not gonna go repeat it to the guys, ’cause I don’t want them getting mad at [Reid], but that’s what built us up into that position, ’cause he would say some real shit, but we would be those people who could go back and sugar coat it. And not in a lame way, but in a creative way. ‘Cause that’s where it gets messed up. When you start trying to make records on deadlines, you’ll get caught up in anything that’s out right then instead of sticking to your formula. ‘Cause once you’re out there, who doesn’t want another hit record right quick? And it shows the resilience of great artists.
Ray Murray: Think of it like this: an artist is in a band, they need a bandleader. That’s what you need an executive producer for. That person has the overall vision. You as an artist are going through a bunch of extremes of personality and feelings, and to not be confined by whatever you personally are going through, but to stay focused on one plan and one vision. So an executive producer is, most importantly, the overseer, the mentor, the head coach.