“That Ain’t The Way It’s Supposed To Sound!”

You know what the worst feeling in the world is, when you have this incredible beat that you’re shopping around to everyone in the game, and you just know that it’s a hit record waiting to happen, and the one artist who records to it and actually has the bread to pay you for the track spits some horrible shit on top of it. And I don’t mean just bad lyrics, I mean the whole concept of the song is wrong, the way they deliver the rhymes is wrong, they don’t ride the beat right, they put some horrible ass singer on the hook. Truthfully, it’s like your beat is your baby, and someone’s fucking with your kid. But you gotta eat, right?

It’s really a touchy situation when this happens, particularly when you’re a newer producer and you’re sort of just breaking into the game, because one hand you wanna get the best possible song out of the situation, but on the other you don’t want to say something that will a) make the rapper not like the song anymore b) feel like you’re some young ungrateful dude who is too opinionated and c) start earning a reputation as being someone who is hard to work with.

So what do you do?

In my opinion you’ve got a few options, and they all differ depending on what your attitude is. If you’re like me, and generally think that most artists with record deals are hot steaming garbage, you’ll probably dislike anything you hear done to your beats. That’s not cause it’s wack, it’s just cause you’re pretty adamant about knowing what’s good and what isn’t, and let’s face it, most shit that industry artists do isn’t that good (why else would the industry be 3 album flops away from foreclosure at this point).

You can just flat out tell the artist that you think they can do better, that time and money permitting, the song should be re-recorded, and that you envision it being in X fashion. Do it in a nice way, don’t tell them their version sucks. You gotta always be ego-stroking in this biz, at the end of the day it’s an industry full of dick blowers. Offer any assistance you can in making it a better song, whether that be reproducing parts of the beat for them, or coaching them through the vocals. This is part of being a producer, and not a beatmaker.

You can just keep quiet, take the money and run. Which isn’t always the worst idea. It is a business, and depending on how much you’re being paid, it’ll probably dictate how much time you want to put into the song. You can make a million more hot beats.

Have some dialogue with the artist’s creative team- management, executive producer and A&R. Ultimately, these guys may have a vision for the song that differs from the artist as well. So you may not be the only one who thinks the artist’s version is weak. Songs can go through many incarnations before the final version is settled on, and if the artist is hesitant to re-record, usually their creative team can talk some sense into them.

Trust the artist. Hey, the guy got a record deal somehow, he must sort of know what he’s doing, right? Well, not always. But still, there’s a certain amount of respect you should have for the artist’s craft. Let them do what they do, and don’t try to impose too much. When you’re at superproducer level and the artists are all coming to you, that’s when you can really call the shots.

And finally, what I think is the best option, just don’t give your hits to anyone. Either be very selective with the artists who’s albums you try to place them on, or find an artist who can articulate your vision the way you want them to and put the records out yourself. If you think that isn’t the driving force behind great songwriters like Sean Garrett, Bryan Michael-Cox, The Dream, Neyo putting out their own records, you’re mistaken. Doing things for other artists is cool, but everyone gets frustrated when their vision isn’t executed properly. So either record the songs yourself, or find someone who is talented and have them do it. Worst case scenario, you end up selling the whole idea- beat and lyrics (100% publishing, woo hoo!!!)- to another artist, and that’s generally a win-win situation. Because you can always go back and make more music, whereas a generally untalented pop star or rapper who can’t play an instrument or write a song to save their life can’t do that.

  • daz_oc

    First……………I always wanted to say that shit…ha

    I was hoping you would have given some examples of hot beats with wack lyrics. ima think of some and post them

  • http://myspace.com/phantom916 phantom

    This used to happen to me on a small scale all the time until I seperated myself from the people making the music suck worse than it had to. The trouble is this one dude was a real good friend of mine, (before he dove a little too deep into the drink, which is another reason why our relationship is not as tight as it once was), and it is hard to tell him his shit is, well, shit and not the shit. It might be easier if he wasn’t ultra cocky and impressed with his off beat flow, phony voice, lack of rythym and the biggest cry baby slash momma’s boy to think they were a bad ass, but this just is not the case. So I know exactly what you mean. You must be going through it much worse though if you are trying to sell the shitand build a reputation but we were too and thats why I go solo now. Hey, at least youre getting paid. How do you tell someone to back off of a certain style and try something else with out bruising their ego? Maybe I’m just not subtle enough. We still kick it from time to time because we’ve been friends for so long but every time we get to making a song, I’ll be damned if he doesn’t pick the hottest beat on the list and kill it, and not in the sence I would like. Good post. Thanks. Peace.

    myspace.com/phantom916

  • W.Harris

    Need an example of hot productions and weak lyrics…Group Homes first album…lol..Premo gave them heat!

  • http://www.myspace.com/sinistahmoneybagz Sinistah aka 7Body Sin

    lmaooo, wow!

  • gooch

    totally cosign on Group Home’s first LP. Was actually just listening to it the other day, wow those were serious. The MCs, not so much. Still and all, even with the lyrics that album is pretty incredible. A testament to how hot those tracks were. But yes, in a sense, that is exactly what I was talking about with this post. How the fuck with Premo let them get away with rapping like that?

  • avenger xl

    Group home was to week I remember the end of a Malaki verse as being the worse signed rap shit I heard at the time pre LAffy Taffy and stupid boy.

    Malaki said

    I might jump off the roof sike then I wouldn’t be living proof.

  • flo-rida evans

    that’s cold but it’s still not a coors lite. ‘Yes the group home is thick and we don’t eat beef’-o-kaaaayy…

  • http://www.xxlmag.com jackpot

    Chuch, Tabarnacle, Preach! Well done, Gooch!

  • http://www.myspace.com/onemanprod ONEMAN PRODUCTIONS

    Yo this was a good blog man. you hit it on the nose. do you say something because damn its a check and you need to eat. now or days your not even in the studio with them so you can even try to correct the problem on the spot before it gets mixed. so what i usually do is i just take their simple corny idea and just upgrade it make it better. so now its still there idea but its just more down to earth and more marketable and HOTTER lol.
    Yeah i have a few tracks that when i go out and network some people get the red cd with the A beats and some get the orange one with the B beats cause you signed but i dont know you like that lol.

  • http://www.pimpinpens.blogspot.com EnzoE

    very thought provoking. well done.

  • Ali

    examples woulda been funny lol…here are some

    Weezy – Got Money

    but the #1 most wasted beat ever, even tho this rapper is on my top 10 list is…..

    Eminem – Rain Man

    he shoulda spit some legendary shit on that…I mean that song is coo its funny but I wish he tried 4 real to use it…woulda been my favorite song ever par none

  • TheCo!!inB

    speaking of Preemo….i still can’t get how Guru fucked up “All 4 Tha Cash”….that was a Biggie classic waiting to happen.