Exclusive Detroit underground artist Stir Crazy interview by Donna Kshir
Let me start by saying this was an interview of a lifetime, as a journalist and on a personal level. If this was my last interview, I would be totally satisfied. As important as it is for an artist to have a good voice or sound, it is more important who’s putting the song together, who creates the beats and adds the final touches, that make our favorite artists sound so good. I recently had the opportunity to interview a very talented Detroit producer, Stir Crazy. He was above and beyond anything, I could have ever expected. I only hope, I am given another chance to interview him again, in his career! For being so young, only 20, he has more talent and has worked with more people in the game, than most who have spent a lifetime in the business. I can only hope you enjoy his interview as much as I did.
1.) Tell me a bit about yourself and your background?
I was born in Detroit, Michigan. I moved around a lot when young, my mother had family here in Michigan and in New Hampshire. So I was always moving back and forth, from Michigan to there. She worked hard. I also have a sister and taking care of us both being the only parent, we really must have made things real hard for her. My sister and I have different fathers, but hers passed away when she was young. She was always a huge part of my life. Whenever I had the chance, I was at my father s store. He owed a lingerie store. It has a house on top of the business, so I would stay there and visit when I had the chance. Thats when I met DJ Rec, who did a lot of production for Eminem before he blew up. Rec stayed with my dad for a bit and was always on his turntable. That s when I decided I would like to do what he did. Rec taught me a lot and took me to some studios around Michigan. I met Eminem threw him and many others in the music business. One Christmas, I asked my father to get me turntables.
Instead, he ended up getting me a keyboard. Truthfully at the time, I was hurt because I wanted to be a DJ. So I rarely touched the keyboard. I was always watching Rec and just learning anything I could. I studied the music I heard and that helped me a lot later in time. When I was 15 my father passed away due to alcohol related problems. After that, the business was in my name and my mind changed about keyboards. I soon decided I was going to be a producer. And that was it, I started learning computer programs and working with anything music related, I could get my hands on. After getting money together and getting help from others, I started making a home studio where I would create my art (beats).
2.) What or who motivated you to become a producer?
As stated above, it would for sure have to be DJ Rec. Without him I don t know if I would have had any motivation. I used to write rhymes and poetry all the time and figured I would become a rapper if anything,but I’m way too shy of a person and that wouldn t have worked out well.
3.) Making it in the music business is a lot of hard work. What s the biggest challenge you had to face?
The biggest challenge I ever had to get over was my own problems. Being shy and my own worst critic. I didn t play my production for many peopleâ€¦until I met Tre Pound. I went to his home studio so some of my friends could record some tracks and after seeing his triton studio ( a keyboard for production) I went back and used it for one of my beats, and ever since then I ve been an in house producer for him and Super Phat Productions.
4.) Which artist, were you most pleased to work with and why?
I will have to say Tre Pound, as he was the one that took me in and got me started working with everyone he knew. Without him, I probably wouldn t have had the opportunity to work with as many great artists like I have. Being shy it s hard for me to get in contact and sell beats, he taught me to make money off of what I love.
5.) What motivated you to collaborate with each other?
After him helping me, I knew that he would become not just a business partner, but a great friend. I’m a hard guy to work with because I like things perfect music wise and he has dealt with a lot of shit from me.
6.) Which accomplishment are you the most proud of? I have had the chance to meet and/or work with some the best people you could ever imagine. I’m just glad others gave me a chance, that’s why I m always down to help anyone when needed.
7.) I had a chance to review some of your people, Vishiss, Kamal Nassar, Sol, Duece Duece and Tommy Gunn. You are working with some very talented people…Can you tell me a bit about them and any upcoming projects?
Vishiss has been working on a cd called “V for Vishiss. He has a lot recorded for that. I can t go into details, but he once had a huge major label contract and once again has another, as the last didn t work out as planned. Sol is a great guy. Easiest guy to ever work with. He s a perfectionist like me and always ready to get in the booth. He also has a new cd in the works and as I type, he in Cali shopping some of his work to some labels. Tommy guns has a new cd coming out called The Laundromat. So far it s some the best work, I have heard from him and is going to be a classic Detroit album guaranteed. Deuce, he s everywhere and always working on collabs. Yesterday, we had him in the studio recording a track with Tre Pound and Kamal for there collab cd. Track is banging! Kamal has a new mixtape type cd with a few mixtape tracks and other non mixtape audio, called Certified. It was just pressed and about to be in select stores and online to buy.
8.) Tell me a bit about Vishiss and where you see his career going?
I know a lot about his future, but can not speak on that just yet. Just be on the lookout for some huge news later in time.
9.) I was very, very impressed with your work…especially Kamal Nassar’s-certified sampler 1 & 2 … What’s your favorite track and why?
The whole album is great. Kamal has a way with making anything sound great. My beats had nothing to do with the song as I feel without him and the others on it, it wouldn t be anything great, but my favorite track is a song called Heart.
I brought a sample of a beat I made into the studio, and right away Tre Pound and Kamal decided to use it. I didn t even have breakdowns or anything in the beats its just 4 bars looped over and over, because they didn’t want me to take the time to finish the track. They decided to record right away and it sounded great as is. Then Sol, was over and he wanted to lay a verse on it, after that we had offers of having many others on it, but in the end its just them 3 as that’s all it needs.
10.) Which artist haven t you collaborated with yet, that you envision to work with in a close future and why?
I d love to work with Obie Trice one day, I feel that he is very under-rated. I had the chance to work around and with some people from Psychopathic Records, I’d like to talk more about it, but cant really get into that right now- wait until the Super Phat Compilation comes out to understandâ€¦ but I d like to work with them more in the future. I always respected to legendary Detroit producer, Mike E Clark and hearing his beats on there cds in the past really made me step up my production.
11.) Tell me a bit about Super Phat Productions? Super Phat Productions, AKA SPP, was the label/production team started by Toxsick (Tre Pound, Deuce and Tommy Gunns) and is what everyone on the label drops there cds under.
It s just a team of people making music. It s just friends and a family like environment. I fit in perfect with everyone on the label.
12.) You are so young and have worked with some of the best people in the game. As a producer… Where do you see yourself in five years?
By then the lingerie store will be sold, and I will have worked with everyone I ever dreamed of. I want to be making the money that people like Scott Storch, Timbo, J.R. Rotem and Neptunes are making. Living off music is hard right now for me, but my promotion tactics and pushiness has helped me a lot.Speaking of J.R. let me just state without Vishiss and working with him, He wouldn’t be making beats for 50, or any of them and last I heard he’s with Britney Spears,maybe one day he will step out and give more thanks to Vish!
13.) As a producer, is there one producer you look up to or base your skills on?
I don’t listen to much mainstream artists or the radio much, if at all. I don t have time, I don t base my production off anyone or try to copy any style. I have a style of my own for the most part. I like some things people are doing. Timbo has changed the music industry for the better in my opinion.
14.) What is your thoughts on Detroit s underground Hip Hop scene?
Detroit s underground scene right now, is drama. Too many trying to prove themselves. I think that we need to come closer together and step up as a team. I love the fact that so many Indie labels are combining forces and right now Super Phat is working with Ponyboy and Movement Records, another label with some great artists. We re kind of combining, and forming a stronger team.
15.) Where do you see Hip Hop going in the near future?
Hip hop is so crazy now, I really dislike groups like D4L, and others doing the snap type music. I think they are killing the music industry. I could elaborate, but I don t have enough hate to ever put people down. I let them be them and wish the best. To be and do what you love is all that matters in the end and if these people I feel are ruining the scene are happy with themselves and there work that s all that matters.
16.) As a fellow Detroit-er…Detroit has been under fire, since Proof s death…What s your thoughts?
This stuff happens everyday, it s just sad to see it happen to one of the best people/things Detroit had. I had the chance to meet Proof a few times, and he was a great guy. He was really into the underground scene and was helping and doing collabs with people that would and could never imagine having someone on his level on there cd. He was there for the people of Detroit and the fact people are looking at us now because of this, what about others in the Detroit scene that have passed…Bugz, Blade, among others. We will have no one left to help bring/keep Detroit to the top, if this keeps happening.
17.) Since the release of the Eminem Presents: The Re-up there has been many mixed opinions, some like the album and more seem not to like the album. Many blame it on Em’s selection of rappers. Others blame Em, and his courageous venture into the world of producing.
What’s your opinion?
I have a few things to say on this topic. Eminem has a lot of talents, production is not one of them, I feel. He has done a few nice beats, but most are repetitive and I feel they sound the same. The fact that he likes doing it is great, but maybe step it down a bit and do less. I liked only few tracks on the new cd, but we never know what to expect from him with the next material.
18.) If I had to describe myself, I would say… I’m a leader not a follower. How would you best describe yourself?
I m a leader because of the fact I had to become one. I had to do most of this on my own with the exception of the few that helped. I worked my ass off to get where I m at now and everyday new projects are coming. I m a busy person and always doing work in the studio or promotion. I do have to admit it s hard because everyone I work with is a leader and in may ways that helps, but also gets in the way when a disagreement comes around.
19.) With you being so busy in the studio…What do you do when you get some free time?
I hate to say it, but most everything right now I do is music related in some sort. I have a problem with not being or living my life up when it comes to getting away from what I love. I like to read articles about music and try to check out other music whenever I can. I wish I had time to see friends not involved in music more, but I feel like I m slacking when not working. I don t really enjoy video games and don t watch much TV. Concerts are great and family is wonderful to be around at times, but right now my main focus is music and I dont let much get in my way of it.
20.) If you could invite anyone to dinner tonight—past or present–Who would it be and why?
I owe a dinner to my friends not involved in music. They are all such great people and anytime I get the chance, I make sure they know that. I few weeks ago, I took my ex-girlfriend out for putting up with all my shit in the past. She deserves it. Right now I don t have time for friends, let alone a relationship, but my past and friendships mean a lot to me.
For more information on Stir Crazy or Super Phat Productions, visit the following place.
Copyright2007 by Donna Kshir and Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved
Exclusive Detroit underground artist Stir Crazy interview by Donna Kshir