KANE BEATZ: FL’s Next Hurricane
Swapping his dreams of becoming a rapper behind the mic for a career behind the boards as a producer, may have been Orlando native Kane Beatz’s smartest move yet.
Within a stones’ throw of the prestigious Georgia Tech campus in the Midtown section of Atlanta, Hot Beatz Studio is one of ATL’s stashed Hip-Hop treasure chests. A known haven for some of the A-Town’s most revered rap artists, Hot Beatz is also the creative laboratory for Orlando, Florida native and production wiz Kane Beatz, who was relatively unknown just a few years ago. Having since curated the boom bap on such hits like Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” and Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up”, Kane Beatz catapulted himself from new jack to super producer almost overnight. Yet however unexpected his rise, Kane’s moves seem on the mark (Young Money remains on his client list), aggressively strategic (management mogul Gee Roberson protects his interests) and winning.
Through Hot Beatz’s dimly lit hallways and waiting rooms that are saturated with the stench of “loud” (read really good) marijuana, is a tight studio booth which Kane has chosen for his hit-making brainstorm sessions. Donning a camouflage Braves fitted, fudge colored hi top Nikes, and a dope boy fresh icey, white tee, the 24 year old Beatz lets loose Stark on why he gave up his rapping aspirations to produce, his new work with Nas and the battle over his biggest smash to date, Young Money’s “Bedrock”.
What sparked your switch from rapper to producer?
I was in a group with my homeboy Demetrick, and we were recording songs and we needed beats. I started making beats, then I realized at the time that I was way better at making beats than I was rapping. I kind of just pulled back and let him do the rapping, and it just popped off that way.
What was the key catalyst to you being recognized so quickly in the industry?
It was a mix of everything. I was at the point in my career when I was like, “I’m here, I’m knocking at the door, but I just need that little extra push.” I remember when Gee [Roberson] actually came and met with me. He came to the smallest studio in his big warehouse, so I just played him records and he was just feeling the music I was doing. Around that time, I had just done “Steady Mobbin’” [feat. Lil' Wayne]. The key was just having the right people around me to help put me on the right projects.
Your first nationally known hit was “Bedrock”, which seems to have a lot of controversy swirling around it these days. Was that song sent over the net or did you actually record it in the studio with Young Money?
It was a mix of both. A friend of mine who was Wayne’s engineer at the time played the beat for him here at Hot Beatz, I think because he used to work here all the time. Once he played him the record, Omarion actually wrote the song in the studio that day and then I’m not sure what happened. Lloyd did a version of it, Neyo recorded his version of it, Pleasure P did a version of it..it went through a couple of different people. The “Bedrock” record kind of leaked and took off on its own. The people chose it. I’m not sure what you mean when you say “controversy”. There’s rumors of lawsuits, but I haven’t seen anything. I don’t really know what’s going on with that. I heard somebody had the same song…
Yes, it was actually a group from Georgia that said that they originally made that song and that the song contains elements of their original version.
There’s a lot of bottom feeders in the world. When you have hit records, you meet people like that. I’ve never heard of that. It’s not the type of record where it could’ve been made before because there’s so many different elements made in different places of the world. I made the beat in Atlanta, Omarion wrote the record with Lil’ Wayne, Jasper and Lloyd ended up doing the record in another city…people are crazy.
Don’t you think that it’s a coincidence that the people who claim to have made the record first just happened to be from Georgia where you originally made the beat?
I mean, no. I don’t know what that is. I never even heard of them; I don’t know anything about them. What’s their name?
Done Deal Entertainment.
I think you’re the only person that knows anything about it. You really did your research! [laughs]
Being that you came into the game during the Internet age, have you ever made a beat on an MPC or a conventional drum machine?
No, that’s not my style. A lot of people use drum machines, but I use drum pads. There’s a difference. When you think of Fruity Loops [digital audio workstation], it’s just an MPC with a screen. With the way I work, I can’t use an MPC. The way I make beats and the way I see music, it’s a lot different for me creatively.
What is your formula when putting a beat together?
For me, it starts with the keyboard. I play around on the keyboard until I find something that inspires me. Once I’m inspired, from then on, it’s pretty easy. I already know what it’s gonna sound like in my brain and then I just make it come out the way I hear it.
Tell me about the songs you’ve been working on with Nas.
We’ve completed three to date, but there’s one that I know he’s keeping right now.
How can you as a producer who has blossomed in this new era adjust your sound to update a “golden era” MC like Nas?
Nas really didn’t want beats I had. I was here for a week and I knew in that time we could get something done. Just being in the studio, he told me what he wanted and everyday he would come by while I [was] making different beats. This writer that he messed with a lot was in the studio with us everyday and he knew what Nas wanted. It was more of a sense of me wanting to work and just giving him what he wanted. After we figured that out, it was easy.
You produced Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass”, which has been recognized by Billboard as the most successful single by a female in a decade. How does it feel getting that type of recognition?
It’s really big because I got to be a part of her early career. This is her first album and I got to do like three records on her album and “Super Bass” was a bonus record on the album. We didn’t think it was going to be that huge. I love being a part of a new artist and I love being a part of the history that the song made.
Who are some of the people behind the boards that have inspired you?
Mannie Fresh, Kanye West, Polow Da Don…people I listened to when I was younger. Lil’ Jon even, but Mannie Fresh was a really big inspiration for me.
If you listen to a lot of my early beats, [there are] a lot of snare rolls and just elements that I learned listening to his stuff and I tried to apply it to my sound.
Are you planning on doing any music outside of Hip-Hop?
Oh yeah, definitely. “Super Bass” is one of those records that kind of records now. I’m merging electro records with Hip-Hop, I’m doing a whole lot of different sounds and it’s just coming out crazy. It’s a lot of stuff that I can’t really talk about yet. I don’t want to just do electronic music because there are so many people that already do it, but I want to work my sound with it. I’m in the process of just getting that to make sense.
Do you feel there’s a need to fuse your sound with other genres of music in order to stay relevant?
It’s not a thing of staying relevant. It’s a thing of doing what I want to do. I don’t want to just do Hip-Hop for the rest of my life. I love Hip-Hop and I want to do Hip-Hop, but I want to do all types of music. I don’t want to copy anybody’s style. When I’m talking about merge and fuse, I’m talking about doing me. Does that make sense to you?
Image courtesy of Kane Beatz.