Over at the Rhapsody blog, my man Toshi got a bunch of the usual suspects behind the boards together for a conversation about where the production game is headed in 2008. The people involved are JR Rotem, DJ Toomp, Danjahandz, Don Cannon, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Sean C and LV (Grind Music), and Tricky Stewart.
A lot of different topics are covered, like songwriters becoming artists themselves, shrinking major label budgets, how T-pain type of hooks make artists interchangeable… etc. Seriously, read the whole article, it’s dope.
But I thought the most glaring quote came from Grind Music’s Sean C, who when talking about the effect technology has had on the production game, said: “People have been complaining about producers just being beatmakers, but that’s what the climate is turning everybody into.”
Every producer that has gotten any type of shine in the past couple years, from the multi-platinum guys to the cats who just place a beat and you never hear from the again, they all talk this “I’m a producer, not a beatmaker” shit. Not to say they don’t know how to produce, I’m sure they do, but it’s about actually getting the chance to do that. How many producers really get in the studio with the artist anymore? Not a lot. Even producers with hits are emailing tracks out left and right. There’s not enough money floating around for them to act like they are too big to do that. And sure vocals may get cut to the track, and if the artist wants it maybe they’ll send a rough mix over to you and ask you to add some things or change the arrangement… there’s a way for the technology to be used tastefully. But that one on one interaction that goes down when the magic is happening in the studio between artist and beatmaker, which is the core basis for actually producing a record, that never going to happen in those instances. And sometimes when the beats already have hooks on them, for the rapper it’s just like “Add lyrics.” Kind of paint-by-numbers when you really think about it.
Speaking of which, Jermaine Dupri just sent out an SOS over the internet that he needs beats for his new artist Q.
But back to what I was saying, yeah man that whole emailing the track back and forth, that shit is fucking gay. There’s no magic to that, no synergy. That’s why urban music sounds like it’s coming off an assembly line and nobody gives a shit about it anymore. No hate for the producers, get your money. This is a business. And trust, no amount of bitching on this blog or even in real life will change the way shit works. This is just the way it is. Technology is here to stay.