Rhapsody’s Producer Round Table Discussion

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.


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

    I been saying that for a minute now. Its better to be in the studio with the artist and build on a hot concept and song. Emailing beats and leaving it up to the artist to come up with a song is risky. not every artist can write a song. Me i like to sit with the artist play tracks and throw concepts back and forth til we get something hot. Its time to get back in the studio with the artists.

  • Shawty J

    Produce means to make, or create. If you hand someone a beat and wait for a check, you’re not a producer, you’re a beat maker. A producer should be as creative in a song as the rapper, the singer, or the songwriter.
    If you look outside of Hip-Hop, R&B, and Pop, at those other genres, they don’t have beatmakers as producers. Their producers are involved with the creation of records from start to finish. The people putting the instrumentation together are listed as songwriters and musicians, but not as producers, and there is good reason for that.

  • Kerda

    I miss the era where you had small camps of artists and producers working together and crafting their own unique style and sound. That was back in the early to mid 90s, where it seemed like every group worth a damn was part of a larger music collective.

    You had the Wu-Tang, Boot Camp, The Def Squad, the Native Tongues, Death Row, the Dungeon Family. In each case, you had one individual or group of producers crafting the sound of numerous artists. You had cohesive sounding albums, where there was one production team crafting all 10 to 20 songs instead of “beat from hot producer A, beat from hot producer B, club joint from hot producer C”, resulting in a big, pandering, sonically schizophrenic mess.

  • http://myspace.com/djpdjpdjp djp


  • http://www.myspace.com/uptownempire Trouble

    I Definatly Feel You On This. The Music Suffers, I Read “A Milli”s Producer Was Expecting A Song About A 9 MilliMeter, And Wayne Made It about Money, He Was Pissed. The Best Music Is A Process, Ive Never Worked With A Producer Or An Artist Just Over E-mail, That Shits For The Birds.

    Thats Why I Used To Fuck With No Limit/Cash-Money. In House Production Seemed To Make The Music Better. All Of 2Pac’s Music That Has Been Released Since His Unfortunate Passing, To Me, Just Hasnt Sounded Good. I Think Its Soley Because He Would Have Never used Those Beats, Or Worked With Those Artist. They Took The Authenticity Out Of The Music. :-(

  • http://www.pmpworldwide.com AZ

    Gooch update your PMP bio info homie

  • Brooks

    Reading the comments on this page is the first time I’ve heard intelligent comments about the importance of producers being in the studio with the artist. Most of the time I just run across producers on their moral high-horse talking shit about “I’m a PRODUCER and all these other bums out here are wack-ass “beatmakers!” which doesn’t solve anything. Let’s tell these producers out here to do their best to get in the studio with these artists and explain the importance of doing so. Only then can we start making a change in this music instead of driving another unneeded wedge between fellow Hip-Hop musicians.

    Outty 5000

  • ri067953

    Yo, this post contradicts everything you bitched about in the Dre post the other day. A real producer takes time with artists to produce an album, not just piece together a bunch of hit or miss singles. It is time that fans stand up for true artistry in hip-hop and put their money where their mouth is.