DJ Premier, Alchemist, Swizz Beatz & More Give Tips To Upcoming Producers In Arizona
Producers from the United States, England, Germany and even Africa attended the two-day event, which featured a number of panels, workshops and beat battles.
Seasoned veterans like DJ Premier, Hi-Tek, Alchemist, Havok, Fredwreck, No ID, and others gave several hundred aspiring producers tips on navigating through the creative and business side of the production industry.
"I was nominated for a Grammy for my work with Christina Aguilera, but I chose to be here, that's how important this is," said DJ Premier, who was also honored at the conference. "Its important to share what we've learned with a new generation of producers coming into the business."
Producers attended several panels, which included informative workshops on topics like how to find management, what A&R representatives seek in a new producer, how producers collect royalties and get compensated and tips for sonic engineering.
"When you make music its meant to have an effect on the listener," seasoned Chicago producer No ID explained. "Mixing and recording are important to the feel and emotion of your song and as a producer you have to know the importance of a good mix."
Super producer Swizz Beatz gave aspiring producers tips via a live satellite feed.
"They can't change the game without us [producers]," Swizz Beatz said. "Break the rules and make the rules. That beat that cats said was wack might be your biggest hit. I went through it 100 times."
Swizz, who also noted the importance of unity, announced that there was no beef between he and G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo.
An argument between Swizz Beatz and Tony Yayo on a Busta Rhymes video shoot allegedly sparked a fatal shooting in 2005, which took the life of Busta Rhymes's bodyguard, Israel Ramirez.
"The vibe among the producers was one of unity, which is rarely seen in this day and age," added Shady A&R guru Riggs Morales. "Some future legends will come from this event, guaranteed. There was camaraderie at the event that hasn't been seen at any hip-hop event in recent years."
Morales, along with A&R's like Lenny S. (Def Jam), Conrad Dimenche (Bad Boy), D-Prosper (G-Unit), Dave Lighty (Jive Records) and others explained their duties as A&R representatives and what steps producers can take to succeed from a production stand point.
A consistent theme throughout the week was a producer's work ethic. Each of the established producers explained the struggle to achieve their goals in the music business.
"I used to take trips to New York to see [Talib] Kweli with the MPC60 and I would just the shop beats. It's about how much you love the beats and the music, and how hard you are willing to work."
For Havok, production became a necessity, because of his stature in the rap group Mobb Deep. "Rapping forced me into production," said Havok, who revealed "Shook Ones" was his favorite production.
"People were charging us $50, $100,000 for a beat," Havok explained. "I knew I had it in me, so it was a natural progression and a smart business move for me and the Mobb."
Other notables in attendance like G-Unit's Young Buck, Tony Yayo, Olivia and Lloyd Banks mingled with the producers and snapped pictures.
Industry veteran Wendy Day of Rap Coalition attended the conference.
Day herself frequently produces events designed to educate burgeoning artists and producers about the pitfalls of the music business.
"It was beneficial for me to learn from such key producers and managers," Day continued. "I don't often get to attend an event as an actual attendee, so I really enjoyed this event. It was affordable and worth every penny I spent."
The weekend was highlighted by a beat battle judged by Young Buck, Tony Yayo and others, where numerous producers had their music rated and critiqued by an all-star panel that included In the end, UK producer Soul Nana took first prize.
The producer now has the option of signing with Sha Money XL's Money Management. Soul Nana's music will also be played directly to 50 Cent, who is working on his new album, Before I Self Destruct.