I got into production like my last year in college (’03-’04). When you start out making tracks, nothing is good! But once I came home I got up with Godxilla who is currently an instructor at Madison Media Institute and Eddie Nygma (Edward Cayce). Those guys really taught me the art and the technique of beat structure and sampling. I’m not trained on an instrument besides the MPC!
|Your producer persona is named Reason and recently I found out that you don’t actually use Reason the program to create music. What’s the story behind the name?|
I am a Beanie Siegal fan and I had his 1st and 2nd albums (The Truth & The Reason) back then. At the time Paul Pierce was balling heavy and he was called “The Truth”. So with me trying to ball the nickname The Reason came about way before I got into music.
My current weapons of mass production are Pro Tools 8, MPC 2000xl, Omnisphere, Sampletank, Nexus, and other VST’s. I have used the program Reason but found out it wasn’t what I preferred.
|There seems to be an interesting discussion going on in the world of production in regards to what separates a producer from being “just a beat maker.” How do you view this argument and what do you consider yourself?|
A beat maker is someone that lacks the knowledge of making a track without considering the artist. As far as arranging a beat in song format: what sounds should be the hook, what sounds to take out during the verse? Even the experience working with an artist hands on and brainstorming ideas on the spot. The vocals are also an instrument so it all has to blend and be pleasing to the listener.
I feel that I’m a producer. While making a track I can envision an artist or even the type of flow that would sound great on it. So I arrange the track accordingly.
|Your sound to me is quite diverse. You have an arsenal of both synth heavy beats and beats using the sample and chop method. What is your favorite style of beats to make and who has influenced you over the years?|
My favorite style of beat is HOT! I love them both equally. Being in the Midwest I was exposed to all types of music and all regions. In high school I was bumping Redman to Master P, Wu Tang to Twista, Bone Thugs to The Firm, then later Dipset. I’m all over the place with what I like. So I do it all because it’s in me.
As far as production goes I get inspired by producers like Bink, DJ Toomp, Erick Sermon, Dre, Marco Polo, Nottz, Rodney Jerkins and many more! I try to keep my own flavor though.
|Last summer you and KHB released a well received EP that yielded a song called “Danger”, one of my favorite songs from last year. The strength of the EP, a constant presence via shows, some local radio play of “Danger” and a well timed release of the video for “Danger” helped to play a large role in KHB being suggested by 88Nine Radio Milwaukee as somebody people should vote for in regards to their Listener Choice Awards earlier this year, in 2 categories. Subsequently, they won both awards, and deservedly so due to how hard they honestly work. Even though the awards don’t say “Reason” on them, do you feel a sense of satisfaction through them winning the awards?|
I would say a sense of accomplishment WITH them! I have so much respect for those guys and UNI-FI professionally and personally. Their work ethic speaks for itself. I did the beat, they did the lyrics and we created something beautiful! If an artist wins a Grammy the producer is also a Grammy winner! The role of a producer usually is in the background, which I prefer, unless the producer is also an emcee. But I speak with the music so it’s like the 4 of us are on the track!
|What are you currently working on right now? Do you have any artists that are heavily featuring Reason on their projects or do you yourself have a mixtape or album coming out?|
I’m always working on joints. I’m working on the full length album with KHB who are also releasing it on vinyl; I got a joint on the next Akrobatik project; I’m executive producing Lah-Kid’s project “Lamborghini Dreams” due this spring; I have tracks with Adebisi who has some crazy features; Daemon Ellzy of UMG; got a few joints laid down with an artist named Noni Spitz from Cali…he’s about to drop a few mixtapes with DJ Age from the UK; ESSB, who were featured on my compilation “The Pandemic” volume 1; overseeing an artist, Stevie Foti The Mad Sicilian, who got a good following in the Italian Movement; and of course me and JC Poppe have been racking up tracks together! Staying busy is key!
Also I’m working on volume 2 of “The Pandemic” series.
|You do beat battles on occasion and I’ve always been interested in knowing what the process includes when getting ready for a battle. How do you select your beats and do you have a formula you use to create beat specific battles based on what you know people will want to hear?|
I try to get a feel for the crowd or the type of event and bring beats. But, that doesn’t always work! So, I try to have a lot of everything and hope for the best! I do a lot of battles. I do about 3-4 beat battles a year besides the Miltown Beatdown just to network in a different area. But basically everything is in 1 minute format. I try to squeeze in all my tricks and drops within that 1 minute just to try to keep the beat exciting. There are no vocals so you have to keep the crowd interested for that time. That feels like forever if your beat is just looping.
|As a producer who has worked with many different Milwaukee artists, how do you feel about the talent of the MKE Hip-Hop scene?|
I feel that the scene is growing in a great way! The talent has always been there but now I think there is a better understanding that the artist has to invest in themselves and get out the studio. The recording process is the easy part and only 10% of the grind. As you can see the cats that’s really doing it in Milwaukee are not just limited to their area. Some artists might have to wear many hats like being the artist, the promoter, the manager, the street team and so on. I’m glad to see that our city is getting looked at as a place of talented music.
|Any shout outs?|
Shout out to my wife and son.
Hit me up for production at www.4AR.biz. Thanks to Milwaukee UP for the interview.
To hear a sample of Reason’s work in beat battle format, hit the sounds yo!