featured interview

IMAKEMADBEATS Breakfast with IMAKEMADBEATS There once was a time when producers were anonymous beat suppliers, hidden in their gloomy basement, eating nothing but delivery pizzas and only speaking with their instruments. They were isolated from the outer world. With the internet and its social media, times have changed. IMAKEMADBEATS, a mad talented producer, who recently released his first solo effort with contributions by Black Milk, Steele of Smiff N Wessun, Planet Asia, Sabac Red a.o., has not only mad beats, he also got mad opinions. He often sprays them through the worldwide web, whether it's through Twitter or his blog. Although he's not gonna show you his face, he's always there with something to say. A dream for any interviewer, so one morning we joined him for breakfast.

ABOUT THE PRODUCER

You make mad beats...how much a week exactly?

'It's our secret, never teach the Wu-tang!' Now, I'm not Wu-tang, but I definitely grew up hearing that phrase enough for it to influence my need for secrecy. I can't give out these numbers. A lot, though!

You released a 'DayLight' and 'NightLight' EP...what's the best time for you to produce?

You know, it all depends, man. For most of my life, I would have said nights are the best times, but recently I've come to appreciate the benefits of working within 10 minutes of opening my eyes in the morning. There's a special creativity that comes from using your brain for music before it has to process 9,040 other things, especially for long mixes. Waffles, eggs, and a beat just all go together so nicely. Don't you agree?

If it's Belgian waffles, sure thing... So for making those beats, how much of an inspiration has your brother TzariZM been to you?

Ah man, my big brother was a huge inspiration. From being forced to listen to hardcore boombap hip-hop as a kid, to watching and learning about production, TzariZM has definitely been a catalyst in my growth. Same for my cousin Synopse.

Talking about influential people, the first time we heard about you was through DJ Fisher...

You know I was one of the last in my crew to meet DJ Fisher. I was in NY dodging subway trains ...literally- and some of my homies like Conshus, MidaZ, etc. began to tell me about him and what he was doing. They always said he was an upfront and good guy. You just don't find people that genuine anymore. He had a roster full of talented artists, and after we finally met and chopped it up, somehow found a way to help me out here and there, even though at the time I wasn't on his roster. That meant a lot. Now that I got a chance to do some music in conjunction with Domination, it's great.

A quick look at Twitter learns us that the little time you have left from making beats, you're mostly active on internet. For instance, you posted 20,000 tweets already. How important is this platform for you? Do you always think twice before you post something?

See here's the deal with the net: everyone is there. A lot of my tweets aren't even me. They are scheduled tweets I have set up to promote something I should remember but don't always because there's so much going on. As cluttered as my brain can get, I had to make technology work for me. And other times, I have a random thought, and just tweet it. It could be right in the middle of making a beat, dinner, whatever. I find that the most genuine of thoughts are often forgotten and never said. That's why I like rappers that say the things that people think but just never say. I'm not a rapper, so hey, I'll blog or tweet it. I used to be like 'Man, I shouldn't put this up there' or I'd ask my manager what he thought about putting certain stuff up. But now I don't care as much, mainly because I've found people appreciate honesty. You'd also be surprised how many people will agree with you.

So did you have some weird experiences with it yet?

Hell yeah, I've had some. New lanes of communication seem to make people forget how to approach others. If there's a part of me I have to filter from the net, it's definitely how I want to respond to some people. 'Yo IMMB I'm the rapper you need, son. Let's build on how we can help each other make it. I got that crack son.' I'm like 'Word? That's how you approach? That's horrible. We laughin' at you, son.' Then I call MidaZ and TzariZM and we make a new song.

But it certainly became easier for producers to build a larger network of emcees, and to get themselves in the picture. They can build on more projects, they can put out their own beats. Producers have never been more popular...are producers taking over?

I wouldn't say producers are taking over, and here's a reason why. You need producers for producers to take over. A 'producer' can be hard to find nowadays. I do think that producers are way more appreciated now than they were previously. I love producers that are doing instrumental albums and creating their own identities without the need of a vocalist. That's great.

ABOUT THE EMCEES

You're also taking a lot of time to promote the stuff from colleague artists you've worked with or who you're working with. Do you feel there's a lot of collegiality between hip-hop artists, even if they're not from the same crew? Because there was definitely a time when artists envied each other...

Man, artists still envy each other. I've never been like that. I've always been more about a team than just about myself. Sometimes that's not a good thing, but that's who I am. Indie hip-hop often reminds me of high school. You got your 'cool' people who hang around, shout out, and chill with other 'cool' people simply because they are known as 'cool'. That's how this game is. Some semi-known 'artist' who paid for a feature from rapper X now considers himself 'cool'. And while trying to further succeed, he shouts out those more successful than he, and ignores those not as. Man, f*ck all that. I'm from the bottom of the bottom. I'll never forget that. That's why I shout out the streets. I'm not pulling out ratchets and selling drugs, but that doesn't change what I had to go through as a child. It keeps me humble. That's another reason why I have so many tweets. I try to respond to everyone.

Now about your record. You really have a wide range of MC's on the record...

I definitely tried to include a variety of emcees on the project. Monotony is boring, and it wouldn't have allowed me to really go in how I wanted to when crafting. Big shouts to the UK's Jeye Severe for being on the project as well!

Are there any MC's that were scheduled but didn't make the record?

Yeah. UG of the Cella Dwellas was supposed to be on 'Corporate N Gommorah', but due to scheduling problems it never happened. He woulda killed it. Masta Ace was supposed to be on the album as well, but things didn't work out the way it was planned.

Have you considered working with lyricists from outside of the US more?

Definitely. Jeye Severe is from the UK. He's dope and on the album. Could that be a hint to something in the future? Who knows? I'll leave it at that. I'm a big fan of Jehst. I've worked with MCT productions out in the UK as well, doing collaborations with Marco Polo and Kinetic 9 in the process. I've also produced for Anais, the Latin Idol winner years ago, and the single came out on Univision Records. There's more, too.

ABOUT THE MASK

The mask - where did you get your inspiration? Ghostface, MF Doom,...?

First off, I don't walk around my city wearing a mask. At this point, I don't even have a tangible mask. Only a drawing, that happens to resemble me. I drew what I wanted people to see when they looked at me. Some characters are so strong in people. I wanted people to see what I saw in the mirror, without a word being said. So I started putting that mask over my face on internet pictures and people just ran with it. I'm a big fan of both Ghostface and Doom, definitely, but those who really know me, know I've never been to type to show my face. Long before I had those guys to admire. Just ask my brother, father, mother, whoever. When people see me and my brother's baby pictures, we get two comments the most. First 'Why is there so many more pictures of Tzar than there are of IMAKEMADBEATS?'. Second, 'How come IMAKEMADBEATS always looks like the meanest child ever?' If I had to guess the answer, it's probably because there was a camera in my face.

You want to remain quite mystical but at the same time you're very open and communicative...?

You don't need to see my face to like, not like, love, or hate my music. I do understand the nature of the music game and that people want to learn more about the person behind the music. Honestly man, I ask myself that question from time to time as well. I don't always give the same answer, because there are several. Sometimes it's a psychological thing. I've never been a fan or had tolerance for vanity, arrogance to the point where I think I may have become a crusader for the extreme opposite. Girls specifically tell me all the time 'Show your face, you'll have more fans'. Do I want those kinda fans? What about all the time I put into this music so you could be a fan of that because you think it's good? Should I have just spent more time ordering Proactive and teeth whiteners? As crazy as all that sounds, it's not so black and white. In the past I've definitely had problems looking in the mirror at times. I'm working on that everyday now. When I'm done working on that, you may see my face more frequently.

Who came up with the logo and what's the story behind it?

I drew it first in college in Long Island. I took my drawing to a friend of mine named Alucard. He's a member of the infamous Creative Juices Crew in Brooklyn, and one of the best artists ever. He recreated it for me and when I first looked at, I felt like I was looking in the mirror. I didn't feel like I was looking at it. I felt like it was looking at me.

ABOUT THE FUTURE

What records do you have in your iPod right now?

Roc Marciano - 'Marcberg', Slum Village ... 'Villa Manifesto', Fly Lo's 'Pattern+Grid World', MidaZ's 'AU'.

In our 2008 wrap-up inquiry, you wished a new Reflection Eternal album for 2009 and it happened! In 2010.but anyway it happened! What reunion do you wish for hip-hop in 2011?

Great question. The majority of reunions I want to happen are simply not possible, as many of the participants are resting in peace. But I would love to get a Black Star album. A Tribe album? Can D'Angelo reunite with Questo and make another classic? These would be great.

Or a J-Zone comeback maybe.?

Man, you know I'm a big J-Zone fan! Since like 01, I think. What a lot of heads don't know is, I'm a connoisseur of humor. Plus J's beats are just insane. There are some videos of J promoting his Chief Chinchilla album on the net. What most don't know is that most of, if not all, were filmed by my brother TzariZM. There's one where he's at White Castles ordering some onion rings. You just might see me in the background. That's my claim to fame!

Tell us more about MidaZ...is there another BlakOut album coming out soon?

Definitely. MidaZ is my partner in crime, my artist, and best friend. For the most part, the BlakOut album has been the big scheme all this time. It wasn't my album at all. We wanted to grow stronger individually first. 'It's all a part of my plan' ... Jazz on The Fresh Prince. MidaZ is every competing rapper's worst nightmare. I used to produce for his crew, which included well known Grindtime battle rapper Jonny Storm. We did a couple of songs separately, and it took off from there. I'll let him speak for himself. Check him out on my album, or on the 'Nightlight' EP we recently dropped.

What's next for IMAKEMADBEATS?

Consistency. Hard work. Shows. More Beats. More obstacles. More Challenges. Life. I'll try to be in as many places as possible this year.

Shout-outs?

Big shouts to my team and everyone out there with a low pitched 'IMAKEMADBEATS' somewhere on your iPod or computer. And shouts to Platform for always posting up my responses to your yearly wrap-ups. The first time you did that, I felt like I was famous! (laughs)

It's always a pleasure!

 

POSTED 02|18|2011
conducted by cpf

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