Watt’s very own Rappa is not a stranger when it comes to producing! Growing up in South Central he found his love for producing at an early age! With gaining placements for artist’s such as Lil Uzi, 03 Greedo and Boosie he is definitely here to stay!
We recently got the chance to speak with him about the art of producing, gaining major placements, creating a new sound and more!
Check out exclusive interview below:
Mikala: So I know you’re from South Central specifically Watts! What was it like for you growing up there?
Rappa: Growing up in Watts…It has it’s good and bad. You know the good part about it has its own community so everybody knows each other so it’s easy to link up with somebody. Watts has its own structure and it has a certain type of swagg.If you’ve survived in Watts you can survive anywhere.
Mikala: Who would you say helped shape your sound growing up?
Rappa: I will say most definitely West Coast pioneers like Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, producer wise. Music wise…Snoop was a big influence for me. I don’t know if people know but he signed to No Limit and he went to the South and messed with the South folks so he knew where the music was at. He always gave me some musical ideas. Lil Wayne gave me some musical ideas, Cash Money, all of these great musical acts really inspired me to grow my sound that I have now.
Mikala: How did producing come about for you?
Rappa: Producing really started when I was doing music I was actually rapping and stuff. I was dibbling and dabbling into the producer but I came across one of my friends now that I’m really close with his name is Larry Jay. He’s signed to 10 Summers. I was buying beat packages off of him, I was spending money on beats. In my head I was like you know what, the big issue was trying to figure out what good beats that I need or bringing out the sound so I just stayed focused, making beats. I’m here now! The supply and demand for beats really changed me to be a producer all the way and to just go crazy!
Mikala: Being that you are of Latino descent what is your perspective on Latino Artists within Hip Hop?
Rappa: I feel like Latinos have always been in Hip Hop. Big Pun, the whole Terror Squad, they were like the latinos that were really putting into the game, Fat Joe… the list goes on. Latinos been in the Hip Hop the game and the way that I feel now is that it has evolved. Any year, any decade, I feel like more Latino Artists are starting to come out. I want to say… believe in their sound. I don’t know if you paid attention but before Latin Artists didn’t really sound how they sound now. It’s a good thing that everybody’s involved in and everybody is becoming more connected within the music.
Mikala: Do you feel Latinos often get overlooked when it comes to the Hip Hop scene?
Rappa: I feel like it’s not just Latinos. I feel like if you don’t have any type of street cred or any type of folks messing with you that’s connected with the streets or already in the game, I feel like you’re going to be overlooked. It doesn’t matter what race you are. You can be dope as hell too but if you don’t have them connections with the streets and the streets are tied in with the music and stuff, you know, you not gone make it…you gone be overlooked.
Rappa: Some similarities I believe is just like having rhythm. That’s really the main similarities if you have a good rhythm and something that the frequencies have to move people. If it’s a good rhythm then that’s what’s going to move people. So I feel like they both have rhythm in them! It’s crazy that you even brought that up because I’ve been working on this sound. It’s like Reggaeton mixed with West Coast slaps and it’s with my boy Santana 818. He calls this sound Slapaton! This the new sound we’re bringing together. You gone hear it real soon!
Mikala: Wow y’all are about to create a whole new wave!
Rappa: Yeah! A whole new wave!
Mikala: Now let’s get into your producing! With producers I always wonder how they found their own distinct sound so how exactly did you end up finding yours?
Rappa: That’s a good question, so basically just overtime as a creator you start noticing consistency in your sound or you basically want to change your sound but not too much but just slightly to where you’re trying to create something new. I’ve just been working for so long doing music. Like I said before, sometimes I listen to Jazz instrumentals, basically any instrumentals so I try to incorporate that into what I’m creating. Trying to bring a new sound to the people.
Mikala: What is your definition of a Producer?
Rappa: My definition of a Producer is someone who creatively has a good direction and idea on what sound they want to get out of a person. A producer should be able to hear one person rap or the way they sing and have the beat in their head because of your musical abilities…like a music magician.
Mikala: Yeah! It’s the way that y’all are able to really match the sound of an artist. You can observe them and put the perfect project together from your observation of the artist!
Mikala: Who was your first major placement?
Rappa: My first major placement was “Never Bend” with 03 Greedo because that one even got attention from Lil Uzi Vert and he hopped on the track and did the remix to it.
Mikala: Wow! Did you feel any pressure working with him?
Rappa: So me and Greedo grew up in the same area in Watts and he’s from Grapes, a lot of people know he’s from Grape. I lived a couple of blocks from Grape St. long story short my boy Fucka free Fucka he was always telling me “Man you need to need to link up with Greedo he’s dope” so my boy Fucka went into the pin and Greedo happened to come out serving his time and stuff and we just linked up. It was this studio that people use to go to it was called The Kitchen in Watts and it was in the Grapes so everyone use to record so me and Greedo started linking up here since 2013 when he got out.We just started to create music until 2016 I want to say is when he started getting connected with people in the music industry. All the stuff that we produced he didn’t have a tag, some stuff I wouldn’t throw my tag on, some stuff I would…that happened to be one of the songs I didn’t throw my tag on and it just happened to blow up and go crazy. Even people till this day say “Ay man that song got me through a lot of stuff”. Soon as the beat comes on it gives me chills. That’s a good thing you know and I want everybody to feel positive about themselves.
Mikala: What is something that doesn’t get talked about enough when it comes to producing?
Rappa: I feel like the producers, at this point… we create half the song already, so we already bring the vibe to it. I feel like one thing producers don’t get credit for is we should be as important as a producer such as Dj Mustard, or someone like Dj Khalid because we actually produce the song. We took the time to put ideas together so I feel like artist should start including producers as a featured artist because we need to build our repertoire and discography, stuff like that on Spotify pages and Itunes. Every producer should be considered an artist and to have their own artist page and given artist credit as well.
Mikala: Yeah I feel that! I would also like to add that whenever producers step into artistry they don’t get taken as seriously as an artist like they would with being a producer.
Rappa: Right! That is so true!
Mikala: When it comes to you creating how do you get yourself in the zone?
Rappa: It’s really easy. I have to be in the right state of mind. I can’t be angry or upset about something trying to create music. I have to have my head clear probably, you know, smoke something real quick. It’s rare but sometimes I might take a little shrooms to clear my head spiritually to get away from people. Catch some positive vibes and energy.
Mikala: You’ve worked with so many different artists from damn near all of the regions, starting off with Uzi. How did that placement come about?
Rappa: Basically he reached out. Greedo did “Never Bend” and Uzi is the type of artist, he’s like on his Drake tip. When he hears somebody with a dope song he tries to get on it and do his thing. He heard “Never Been” and ran into Greedo. I saw Greedo post it on Instagram saying he got something in the works. He played a snippet of him and Uzi’s verse. It was hard as hell! I was just amazed like… Damn that’s dope!
Mikala: That’s so awesome! You recently linked up with Boosie and we all know a little crazy (laughs) How was it working with him?
Rappa: Yeah, so basically that connection with Boosie came from my boy DJ Flipp, I’m a part of 808 Cartel, that’s a music production group label that Dj Flip has. Him and Boosie are really connected with each other. I was in the Hospital in October and Flipp told me to send him some melodies because Boosie was coming. I sent him some melodies from the hospital bed and Boosie ended up getting on one of those joints so we just made magic, creating. Boosie came back to the studio two weeks ago so we ended up creating another hit for him and that one was another banger. As of now I have two records with Boosie!
Mikala: What are those two called?
Rappa: The first one I did with Boosie is called “Hood Stories” and the second one I did with him is called “Ghetto Babies” .
Mikala: When can we expect those?
Rappa: I know “Hood Stories” for sure will be on Boosie’s next album and the second one I’m not sure about that one!
Mikala: I know it’s going to go crazy!
Rappa: Most definitely!
Mikala: What would you say are some goals for you this year as producer?
Rappa: Keep working, keep creating a sound and to really take over with the Slappaton sound that I’m creating right now, currently as we speak. By the Summertime have everybody ride that wave!
Mikala: Who are some future placements you’ll like to get?
Rappa: I want to get some more stuff with Sada Baby. I engineered for him before in 2018. I want to get some stuff with him. DrakeotheRula, basically dope talent, any dope females, anybody who’s trying to develop their sound.
Mikala: What advice would you give to any up and coming producers?
Rappa: Don’t box yourself in. Don’t get labeled as a certain producer, and always listen to new and old music. It’s kind of weird to explain but you have to literally spiritually connect yourself with the music, you really have to feel the frequencies and feel the music. Learn more about music and listen to different genres to create your own sound!