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Should Rappers Make Beats?

Was browsing the net earlier today and came across an interview with Young Buck. Buck’s one of my favorite artists out of that whole G-Unit/Shady/Aftermath/Interscope/Geffen clusterfuck of a roster over there, but when I hear him say shit like,

“I’m nasty with the tracks my n***a! I’ve been stealing all kind of sounds from [Dr.] Dre and Eminem for the past 2-3 years. So you can expect to hear my production on my first project also, you know what I mean. So expect to hear some of them Young Buck beats.”

… I can’t help but feel like I shouldn’t hold my breath. Not that I don’t think Buck is capable of banging out a few hot joints here and there, shit he might be the next Timbaland or something. I just feel like when artists start producing, the overall quality of their material tends to dip. I cite Eminem as a great example of this. It’s like after they learn to make beats, rappers feel like it’s required of them to rhyme on their own shit, no matter how wack it is, rather than get hot tracks from other people. I imagine it’s also a business thing, not wanting to pay outside producers.

The thing is, if you look at any other industry, this type of shit wouldn’t fly. Say you’re a plumber, for example. Does that mean you can also be a carpenter? Not necessarily. And even if you learn some aspects of carpentry, I don’t see how this newfound knowledge can make up for years of hands-on experience. You hire someone who knows what he’s doing.

I’m a producer, and as much as I’d love to rap or sing or dance or do whatever, that’s just not something I’m capable of doing at a high level. Now there’s no rule against trying, but when it comes down to it, I can’t expect people to run to the store and cop my rap album, because that’s just not what my specialty is. I feel it’s like that with rappers who try producing. And at the same time, as much as I cosign the producer/songwriter as both rapper/singer in 2008, I think people trying to be jacks of all trades is hurting the game. I would rather see people master one craft before heading into another.

But then you have your rare breeds. Like Soulja Boy. He does all of the above so well, proving that it is possible to master everything.

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