Confidence. The name can refer to several ideas and concepts. Apply it to the world of beat-making and you have a term that exudes high standards and carefully composed compositions. What a fitting name for a hip hop producer who has just that! When Confidence was around 16 back in 1993, his brother decided to cop some Technic 1200’s the first summer he started working. If you couple that with hundreds of hip hop records, the beginning stages of Confidence’s career was about to take off. After dabbling with scratching for a while, sampling came into the picture. Bob James was a big influence and after copping one of his albums, “Heads,” the sample game was next in line. From there, it was all about a 4 second Gemini sampler and some records/drum breaks to get an understanding of how hip hop music was produced. This would provide Confidence with the framework on where he is today.
At the end of 2010, Confidence released a 16 track remix album of 90’s classics. This album was received with open arms and garnered a lot of attention from people far and wide. With over 6,000 downloads and features on KevinNottingham.com and 2dopeboyz.com, Confidence’s work is finally getting the praise it deserves. One of the biggest breaks for Confidence came in 2011 when he linked up with the CEO of Ill Adrenaline Records who has a recording artist by the name of Beneficence. He put out one of the top underground records for 2011.
2011 was the year of Rashad & Confidence. Rashad linked up with Confidence online after listening to one of his remix tracks off of Recon. From there the two discussed doing more than just recording a track. A classic was in the works and after numerous months of putting in work and crafting masterpieces, “The Element of Surprise” was made. This epic record hit worldwide November 29th, 2011…Distributed through Fatbeats and put out by Ill Adrenaline Records. As of January 2012, The Element of Surprise is the #1 seller for December on Undergroundhiphop.com receiving a Five Star review from listeners worldwide. Recently I caught up with Confidence to touch upon his recent acclaim, influences and future projects, ‘Con is a good dude man….
Eric: So why a producer? Why not an emcee? Also, who were some of your
earliest inspirations that led you into production?
Confidence: I’ve always considered myself musically inclined. My parents forced me to play piano when I was four. At the time, I didn’t know that would lay the foundation for where I am today. Emceeing was cool, but I was always drawn to the music first, then the lyrics. I still am to this day.
Coming up in the 90’s there was a lot of inspiration to draw upon. I’d say some of the earliest influences were the music of EPMD, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Gangstarr, Beatnuts, Diamond D, Lord Finesse among plenty of others. The beats and the rhymes all influenced my love of the music which carried me into the production side of things.
Eric: Wow man! You learn something new everyday! I never knew you got your first “placement” with the Almighty RSO back in ’02. Can you share how that came about?
Confidence: Yeah, my man Big H hooked that up. I was living in Boston, but just moved back to Philly when I got the call that Twice Thou was looking for beats for his first solo album, “Long Time Comin.” I submitted a handful of beats and he picked three joints to appear on the album. To this day “Show Respect” still hits pretty hard and that was my introduction into the rap game officially.
Eric: Aside from the RSO, tell the few of us who’ve been sleepin’ some of the other emcees you’ve laced throughout your production career.
Confidence: I’ve worked with various artists over the years. I’ve either done beats for or recorded with Beneficence, Rampage, MDOT, Twice Thou (E-Devious), Big Shug, Last Emperor, Born Unique, Red Eye, Jaysaun, Slaine, Wise Intelligent, Edo G,Elemental Zazen, Tulsi, Naeem Oba, The Camp, G. Dot and Born among others.
Eric: Damn, quite impressive to say the least! I’ll have to re-familiarize myself with your discography. So, “The Element Of Surpise” with yourself and Rashad, you’ve gotta’ be pleased with the acclaim and reception that the album has garnered thus far?
Confidence: We’re very pleased with the reception so far. The album is doing a lot of big things right now worldwide. I’ve got people hitting me up almost on a daily basis giving the album praise. It was the #1 selling five star album on UGHH for December 2011. People really appreciate this kind of music and it’s refreshing to see that it’s still relevant because I don’t think it will ever get old.
Eric: The connect with Rashad, also “Element of Surprise” is the first I’d ever heard of him, how and when did ya’ll link up?
Confidence: He hit me up on Myspace at the end of 2010. I had only gone on to check my account here and there and one day Rashad had sent me a message asking to buy a beat. I first went to his page to listen to his music and I was immediately hooked. From there I suggested that we scrap the beat and just work on a whole album together. He was in agreement and the rest was history as they say.
Eric: Dang, Myspace, huh!? Are there any plans on a follow-up LP/EP?
Confidence: I’m working with Ill Adrenaline Records, shout out to my man Benny. Beneficence is releasing his follow up album this year and I’ll have about five tracks on there. This is going to be a big record with a lot of dope features and producers. I’m also working with Born Unique on a few tracks as well for his album dropping this year as well. Just finished up a track with these cats from Boston, G. Dot and Born. We just shot a video the other day with them and Edo G. That joint will be dropping at the end of January and it will be classic.
Eric: Can you share with us some of your early and current influences?
Confidence: My influences go back to all the greats in the game. Pete Rock, DJ Premier, K-Def, Large Professor, Diamond D, Beatnuts, etc. There’s really not a whole lot of new influences these days. 9th was doing it a while back but he hasn’t been that consistent to me anymore. I’m a product of the 90’s and my music will always reflect that.
Eric: Yeah man, I feel on 9th for sure, you share the same sentiment(s) as me, lol. With the implementation of both the “Substitution” and “Skull Snaps” break(s) on “The Element Of Surprise”, is it safe to say that Boom-Bap is still alive?
Confidence: Of course there are a lot of copy cats out there jumping on the bandwagon thinking they can make a quick buck. The world doesn’t work like that in any profession. It takes innovation hard work and focus to try and come with something original. Until people figure that out the mainstream hip hop will never progress to an acceptable level to me. As far as that “authentic” hip hop, there are a lot of cats doing it but they’re not being creative enough. There’s no time for looping samples anymore. That style has been played out for quite some time. In order to keep the 90’s alive, you got to put your own spin on it and try to come with something more updated.
Eric: Gimme 5 albums you’d want to take with you to the grave and 5 of your unexpected “guilty pleasures” (i.e, Kwame’s earlier work or maybe Hammer’s first LP)
Confidence: Let’s start with the basics. Diamond D “Stunts Blunts and Hip Hop”, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth “The Main Ingredient”, Gangstarr “Moment of Truth”, EPMD “Unfinished Business”, Big Daddy Kane “Long Live The Kane”.
No guilty pleasures, only the essentials…
Eric: BH: Alright, answer the following in 5 words or less:
Confidence: Favorite producer of all time
Eric: Illegal Downloading
Confidence: Love it or Hate it
Confidence: The New DeGrassi High
Confidence: Weapon of Choice
Eric: Iight man, thank you so much for your time and a great LP with “Element of Surpise”, any final shouts?
Confidence: Thanks to Bloggerhouse for showing love and having me on the site. Appreciate that. Also what up to my man Benny at Ill Adrenaline for believing in me and Rashad. Without your help I wonder if our album would even be out at this point…Be on the lookout cause 2012 is already getting off to a great start…In the meantime, you can check me out on twitter @confidencebeats or facebook @confidence.beats