Grammy-Winning Producer Focus… On Working With 50 Cent, Game And ScHoolboy Q

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  • focus
    Grammy Award Winning Producer Focus is a multi-faceted beat-maker who has transcended the essence of music with his seamless productions. After being enshrined in the history books for his Grammy-caliber production on Beyonce’s critically acclaimed album <i>Dangerously In Love</i>, Focus continued to prove his credentials into hip-hop. By teaming up with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label, Focus showed that whether he dabbled on the pop scene or the rap scene, he had the capabilities to stand with any producer on any day. His production resume includes work with Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera in addition to dishing out beats for 50 Cent, Game, Busta Rhymes, Slaughterhouse, ScHoolboy Q and more.<br /><br />As you can see, Focus isn’t a one trick pony. The producer’s immaculate body of work has earned himself countless phone calls from artists dying to tag their vocals over his beats. The producer sat down with us to break down the origin of some his more notable rap records and his overall score on the totality of the song as a whole. Hate it or love it, you have to respect his conglomerate. —<em>Carl Lamarre</em>
  • Busta Rhymes
    <h2> Busta Rhymes</h2><strong>Song:</strong> “Respect My Conglomerate” featuring Lil Wayne And Jadakiss<br /><br /><strong>Album:</strong> <i>Back On My B.S.</i> (2009)<br /><br /><strong>Focus:</strong> I was working in the studio and my brother Ty was in there with my engineer Oscar. My brother had a friend of his come over. They were pushing people around, knocking stuff over. They just got me kind of angry. And when she finally left, that was the outcome of that visit. [<em>Laughs</em>] If it wasn’t for her, that record probably wouldn’t have been made. You know, I’m not gonna lie. Busta had the beat for a while. He kept telling me it was gonna be a movie. He just wasn’t telling me who was gonna be on the song. When he first gave me the copy of the song, it was just him. And then he was like, “The movie has been painted.” When he showed me the video, I didn’t realize he got Wayne and Kiss on it. So you know, that was all Busta’s vision.<br /><br /><strong>Rating:</strong> 10<br /><br /><strong>Why:</strong> “Respect My Conglomerate” was a 10. That was one of those records that I was proud of because of what was going on on the radio. We went the total opposite direction and had one of the hottest records of that summer.<br /><br /><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/sECIm3QaFSI" height="380" width="670" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0"></iframe>
  • Game
    <h2> Game</h2><strong>Song:</strong> “Where I’m From” featuring Nate Dogg<br /><br /><strong>Album:</strong> <i>The Documentary </i>(2005)<i></i><br /><br /><strong>Focus:</strong> It was one of the last beats I did before I brought a bunch of records to Dre. That last one he heard it. He liked the beat and rolled with it for a few months before he gave it to Game. Once he got on it, it was a wrap. That record came to fruition really quick.<br /><br /><strong>Rating:</strong> 8<br /><br /><strong>Why:</strong> I wished they would have pushed it a little bit more because I had one of the last records with Nate Dogg on it. So that was a record that was definitely more emotional for me.<br /><br /><iframe width="670" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ubfXreMKug0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  • slum village
    <h2> Slum Village</h2><strong>Song:</strong> “Summer Breeze”<br /><br /><strong>Album:</strong> <i>Evolution </i>(2013)<br /><br /><strong>Focus:</strong> Oh wow. That was just a groove I was literally in. I found a sample and I really just wanted to make a groove behind the sample. So I just spliced it up. And for some reason, it was really weird, but it really just sounded like something Dilla would have done. The funny thing was that I wasn’t even going for that. It really was something that just came out of the music. What’s funny was that when [Slum Village] heard it, they were like, “Yo. This sounds like Dilla.” I said, “I just wanted to keep it raw and let you guys really do your Slum Village thing, because right now, you guys are kind of everywhere.” And people didn’t really hear the essence of what the song really was. So it was really a hit or miss thing. I guess we hit with that one.<br /><br /><strong>Rating:</strong> 8<br /><br /><strong>Why:</strong> I wished it was a little more me in it, but the fact that people felt what they felt with the music was good.<br /><br /><iframe width="670" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/L6ilm0qOJi4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  • 50 Cent
    <h2> 50 Cent</h2><strong>Song:</strong> “My Crown”<br /><br /><strong>Mixtape:</strong> <i>5 (Murder By Numbers) </i>(2012)<br /><br /><strong>Focus:</strong> The funny thing about it is I made that record almost a year before 50 heard it. It was just one of those things that with that song—I’m a New Yorker—was indicative of New York. It was really one of those things where I wanted to try something new and try something different. My brother Ty got the record to 50 and he ran with it. Like he literally got excited about the record and ran with it. I wished it was mixed a little better. But, I know when we gets excited about stuff and he starts pushing the button, that it’s a wrap.<br /><br /><strong>Rating:</strong> 7<br /><br /><strong>Why:</strong> Because I hate the mix, that one is going to have to get a 7. I wished he would have attacked it harder on the lyrical side.<br /><br /><iframe width="670" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Q6dltrle-H4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  • slaughterhouse
    <h2> Slaughterhouse</h2><strong>Song:</strong> “Lyrical Murderers”<br /><br /><strong>Album:</strong> <i>Slaughterhouse</i> (2009)<br /><br /><strong>Focus:</strong> Man, all of them dudes are family. That’s my family right there. So Royce and Crooked, and even Joell, he was signed to Aftermath for a minute. I got to know all three of them pretty well. You know, I had them on my project, the <i>Pay Homage</i> project. In return, I just gave them that beat. It was just one of those [songs] that was in my catalog of stuff that I was doing for Aftermath and it never really caught on at Aftermath.<br /><br /><strong>Rating:</strong> 10<br /><br /><strong>Why:</strong> They killed that record. When they gave me that record back, I was like, “You gotta be kidding me.” When you respect and kind of look up to all of the MCs on there, that one definitely gets a 10 for me because, how do you turn around and get all of your favorite MCs on one record? When you’re able to do something like that, it supersedes everything else.<br /><br /><iframe width="670" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hX25LvU0h10" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  • schoolboy q
    <h2> ScHoolBoy Q</h2><strong>Song:</strong> "Light Years Ahead" featuring Kendrick Lamar<br /><br /><strong>Mixtape:</strong> <i>Setbacks </i>(2011)<br /><br /><strong>Focus:</strong> The TDE camp has always been cool with me as far as prior to their commercial success. I used Kendrick on the <i>Pay Homage</i> joint before his commercial success as well. So Punch and my brother Ty were in conversations, as well as Terrace Martin. Terrace brought my name up to Punch. I gave them a bunch of music and that was one of the outcomes. That was like, they heard something on the catalog and they made it what it was because that record wasn’t even completed. The track isn’t completed. But they made it a free hit because when I play it now, people look at me like, “You did that record?”<br /><br /><strong>Rating:</strong> 8<br /><br /><strong>Why:</strong> They definitely saw the vision in that record and made it what it was. So for that I’ll give it an 8.<br /><br /><iframe width="670" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RP_0ZW_NjNM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Previously: Veteran Producer Bink! On Working With Jay Z, Rick Ross
50 Cent’s Producers Break Down The Making Of Animal Ambition
6 Producers Break Down The Making Of Rick Ross’ Mastermind