Out of all the producers whom we’ve had the pleasure of chatting with here lately at B-House, the man I knew the least about was IMAKEMADBEATS, but over the last two months dude has remained in my headphones. Rightfully so, being that he is, after all the “masked man” responsible for one of the hardest hitting productions of 2009, the appropriately titled “Return With A Mask On”. Only recently have I become hooked on IMAKEMADBEATS’ collaborative LP with the Oxnard, CA’s Roc C (Stones Throw), “The Transcontinental” (Click HERE to purchase). And never in a million years would I have guessed that he an TzariZM are brothers! If there’s one word to describe IMAKEMADBEATS production it’s: FURIOUS. Having already worked with a “who’s who?” list of some of the undergrounds finest, and a dual EP with Butta Verses and MidaZ The Beast right around the corner, IMAKEMADBEATS will soon make you forget about the other dude who rocks a mask. Dude had his decade already, this one belongs to I…MAKE…MAAAAD…BEATS!!
B-House: What’s up homie, give us a brief intro of the “man behind the mask”
IMAKEMADBEATS: Whats good man! This is IMAKEMADBEATS, but for short, many just call me NeMo. I’m a producer/dj/engineer.
B-House: First and foremost, I NEVER knew that you and TzariZM are brothers prior to last week’s interview. I bet brotherly competition with the beats is alive and well in your family, huh?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Ha. I’ll say this until the end of time. I’m only as good as I am at anything, because of the talent that surrounds me. Growing up with TzariZM and being “the little brother,” I definitely had to step it up. I couldn’t just be getting murdered on the beats (LOL). So it just made me work that much harder. Now that we are grown, it’s not so much competitive as it is inspiring. When I hear something so raw, so ridiculous, and it’s not Dilla, Rza, or Premier, but instead it’s my big brother, that’s inspiring. I think we do that for each other now. Somehow we managed to have two completely different styles, so its fun to see what we come up with.
B-House: I gotta’ keep it real with you, prior to the success of “Return With A Mask On”, I’d slept on much of your discography, namely your collaborative LP with Roc C “The Transcontinental”. How did that connection develop? Especially with the both of you being on opposite ends of the map?
IMAKEMADBEATS: “The Transcontinental” project really just came out of nowhere. I was working on my production compilation years ago, and one of the songs is featuring Mic Geronimo. We were recording in Quad Studios in Times Square and I was telling him how I wanted some west coasters on the project. He mentioned he had just worked with Roc C and Oh No out in Cali, and that I should do a song with Roc because he was dope and his work ethic as crazy. He gave me his contact information, and I hit him up. After he agreed, I sent him like 4 or 5 beats to choose from, and after he heard them, he said he wanted to do a whole album with me. Two or three weeks later, all the recordings and guest appearances were done. It was done in a split second it seemed.
B-House: Also, for those that have/had been sleepin’, please share some of your prior collaborations with us.
IMAKEMADBEATS: Word up. I’ve produced songs featuring artists ranging from General Steele, Rah Digga, Pumpkinhead, Surreal, Hezekiah, Beretta 9 of Killarmy, Black Milk, Oh No the Disrupt, Supastition, all the way to music in other genres including “Solo Mio Remix” a dance remix for Anais, the Latin Idol winner, released on Univision Records.
B-House: Was it IMAKEMADBEATS the “emcee” prior to the “producer”?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Yeah man. I was on the mic, spittin’ all kinda crazy verses with complex words. I really think good producers should be able to paint a picture of how to use their productions. This means I need to know HOW to RAP.
B-House: Any desire at all to ever pick up the mic again?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Yes sir, definitely. Man I still write. Somewhere down the time-line, Tzar and I picked the lanes we loved the most, and focused on them. For him, it was emceeing and production. For myself it was dj’ing and production. We’d both spend a lot of time on the beats, but when we weren’t, he was freestyling, and I was practicing my chirps, transforms, etc. But when your surrounded by such vicious lyricists like MidaZ, TzarizM, and Vis Major, you tend to stick to what you do best.
B-House: Who are some of your current and past production influences?
IMAKEMADBEATS: This is the easiest question. Outside of TzariZM and Synopse, my family, Jay Dee all day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jay Dee was my favorite producer when everyone thought I was talking about a short guy from Atlanta. No one had heard of him. I was on a crusade to introduce people to his sound. Currently, I’m really feeling Flying Lotus, Oddisee, and Nottz. I think Nottz is the most slept on cat ever. Oh, and Just Blaze.
B-House: What is your equipment set-up like right now? And what is your “go to” gadget?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Over the years I’ve used many machines man. I’m a gear junky for sure. This list is pretty long, so I’ll stick to what I use most. Mainly the classic, mpc 2000xl, alongside my Boss Sp-303, and Pro Tools. I do a lot of experimentation, re-amping, and analog tracking to get specific textures of sound. I love trying new stuff and I love getting intricate with science of sound. I’m a fan of it.
B-House: Where do you see Hip-Hop five years from now? Do you think the underground will emerge to the forefront, much like the mid-’90s?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Five years from now? Hmmm… by then, I think all the “hustlers” will realize this ain’t the greatest “hustle,” if you know what I mean? Those just doing it solely for money, will see its hard to make money in this business. So the majority of those left actually pursuing it, will be those who aren’t doing it for the money alone. This can change a lot in the quality of music out there, and even change what most consider the mainstream audience. The ratio of “hustlers” to “hip-hop lovers” will change back in favor of the latter.
B-House: The question everyone wants to know: Why the mask?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Yeah I get that question a lot and I think about it like this: With any art, you get to put your own spin on things, and even get a chance to recreate yourself. Music can tell great stories and illustrate detailed pictures. For me, music was escape, a different world of adventure and exploration. So with that, I figured I had a chance to create my character. This character would be what I see when I look in the mirror, and would exhibit the heaviest traits in my personality. So yeah, blah…the mask comes from all that (LOL).
B-House: Damn good answer! I feel that Doxside is doin’ big things currently, and has a bright future ahead of ‘em. Please key the reader in on the Doxside “movement”, (for lack of better wording.
IMAKEMADBEATS: Thanks man. Definitely. Doxside Music Group is a record label, specializing creative marketing and innovative promotion. The roster includes myself, TzariZM, MidaZ, Synopse, J Freedome, Phantom Shino, Ponce De Beyond, Rugged, Butta Verses and more. There are a slew of projects soon to be released by these artists also featuring some of hip-hop’s top shelf artists. Right now man, we are just trying to let everyone know who we are, what we do, and how we do it. We’ve been making music for years, but now we do it pushing forward a collective name. Doxside.
B-House: Mandatory question time: Five albums you’d take to the grave with you?
IMAKEMADBEATS: ATCQ -Midnight Marauders, SV -Fantastic Vol 2, Gangstarr – Hard to Earn, D’Angelo – Voodoo and Madvillain
B-House: I’m gonna’ take it even one step further with you, gimme your top 5 “beats” of all time?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Wow! That’s a hard to answer. Hmmmmm…..Depending on when you ask me, this question will probably have different answers for the rest of my life. But lets start here:
Slum Village – Players (Jay Dee…no explanation needed)
Jay-Z – PSA (Just Blaze…I know this sample is simple, but DAMN does Just know how to make a beat just sound so monstrous)
Das Efx – Real Hiphop (Pete Rock Remix…I’ve played this beat at least 3192 times in a row)
Dr. Dre – B*tches Ain’t Sh*t (Dr. Dre…*shrug* Just one of my faves)
Game – The Sh*T (Dj Khalil….easily one of the most mean mug worthy beats I’ve ever heard in my entire life. And its so dope on so many levels: vibe, technically, etc…). Tommorow I’m sure these answers will be completely different. lol.
B-House: On that note, what is YOUR favorite production from your extensive catalog?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Some of my favorite stuff that I’ve made no one has ever heard. Just about anything I do with MidaZ ends up being one of my favs. I’ll just say this: From my self-titled compilation soon to drop, my favorite right now beat is a joint I did with Hezekiah, Keziah and Thomas Clay titled “Whats It Gonna Be Now.”
B-House: Any emcees outside of your camp whom you peep on the regular and wouldn’t mind working with in the future?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Yeah man, I like U-N-I a lot. They bring back the fun in hip-hop. yU from Diamond District was definitely my favorite rapper I was introduced to in 2009. A lot of cats man, there’s mad talent out there.
B-House: What can we look forward to from IMAKEMADBEATS for 2010 and beyond?
IMAKEMADBEATS: I’ve got 3 albums done and ready to go. The first two are the Daylight EP featuring Butta Verses and the Nightlight EP featuring MidaZ The Beast. Those two projects will drop at the same time, and showcase two different angles of production. Just afterward, will be my self-titled compilation featuring Black Milk, Von Pea, Hezekiah, Mic Geronimo, Steele, Supastition, and of course a slew of Doxside artists like MidaZ, TzariZM, Synopse, etc.
B-House: Holy shit! I didn’t realize you did production on Surreal’s “Pardon My Dust” (which we highlighted on Bloggerhouse)? How’d that connect arise?
IMAKEMADBEATS: Man, I’ve known Surreal for almost 10 years now. That’s my homey. I used to live in Orlando aka Ozone, Fl. My homie Conshus from Our Show Radio and I went to Tampa to promote at a show. There, I ran into a group called Double Helix, which consisted of Surreal, Bongo, and Dj Balance. They murdered the show, and we’ve been building since then. Its always great to work with people you go that far back with.
B-House: Outside of music, how does IMAKEMADBEATS like to spend his free time?
Outside of music, whats that….? Nah…lol. Actually man, truth be told, I just started my “outside of music” career. About a year ago, several of my homies, including my right hand man MidaZ, told me that in order to have a balanced life, I needed something more than just music to look forward to. Food came second to music. It was pretty bad. So bad, I ended up in the hospital for while. So, long story short, I play basketball a lot now man, and try to catch a good thriller. Thinking movies, I love em.
B-House: Once Again, thank you homie, and we can’t wait to hear and see what the future has in store for you!
IMAKEMADBEATS: Thanks homey. Big shouts to Bloggerhouse for all the support! I’m feeling what you guys are doing with the site!
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