The good news for Play-N-Skillz is that they have a day job. The Dallas duo are Grammy-winning producers who have laced the hottest of the hot in Texas with beats and now they decided to lay tracks down for themselves.
But while the brothers normally work with gritty rappers (Slim Thug, Bun B, Chamillionaire), for their self-produced debut, Out The Box, they decided to go, well, out the box.
“We’re producers, number one, but we come from a DJ background and that’s where we wanted to come from [with this project],” Play told XXLmag.com. “If I was a DJ spinnin, I’d want to play a little bit of everything.”
According to Play, Out the Box will consist of hip-hop, R&B, house, Chicago bass, and reggae sounds.
So far they’ve locked in collaborations with Sean Kingston, Bun B, Krayzie Bone, and Talib Kweli.
“[Talib] told me we were dope, and this is coming from ‘Mr. Hip-Hop,’ so I took that as a compliment,” Play explained. “I never worked with a guy in that type of category. [Our collaboration] might be over the head for our regular audience, but I think it will definitely open us up to a new audience.”
Prior to Kweli and Kingston, Play said the album was mostly Texas based. At the time the project was titled Titanic, but once the material began to open up they changed the focus and the name. They’re working on securing The Dream and Slim of 112 for the album.
“Its’ really [going to be] A to Z,” Play said. “It’s going to be a little bit of everything for everybody.”
Play-N-Skillz are looking to release their project by the end of the year, but in the meantime the pair has signed on to work on Krazyie Bone’s next album through their production company. They also recruited Tum Tum into the fold. And they still have their band Red Rooster in tact.
“If people don’t embrace us [as artists], I’ll just fall back behind the desk and continue producing,” Play said. “We’re also DJs, you don’t have to be one thing. Kanye is an artist, he’s not just a rapper. He’s more than that. The guys that are really successful aren’t just rappers. They channel their talent though different outlets and that’s what we’re striving to be.” —Anthony Thomas