As the initial buzz fom Jay-z’s American Gangster album subsided, Hov, like he did previously for the Black Album released an a capella version of the album. Back then, a host of producers rose to the challenge with Grey albums, White albums, and just about any flavor you could imagine. This time around producers took their crack at American Gangster with reduced fanfare. But now, we have AHHmerican Gangster: The Millenium Mixtape.
AllHipHop upon hearing some of the product put out decided to see what it’s Ill Community membership was made of and the results were astonishing. Here’s a little insight into the creative process fom the very producers themselves. Special shout out to God MC for putting in a tremendous amount of work on this project. Stay tuned for more albums in the future from the Ill Community and shout to all producers involved.
AllHipHop.com: For all of our readers, state your name and tell us where youre from.
Nobody Famous: My name is Nobody Famous, and Im coming straight from Los Angeles, California. Originally from GA. MC, producer, engineer & re-mixer extraordinaire.
Hi-Fly: Im Hi-Fly, a Hip-Hop producer from Joensuu, Finland. For those who dont know, Finland is a country in northeast Europe
Meta Maestro:Name is Meta Maestro, born & raised in Brooklyn, New York. Brownsville. Love my town to death got a lot of great memories there.
MAK: MAK, straight out of New Brunswick, New Jersey Exit 9
Amaze: Im Amaze. I was born in Newark, NJ, but Ive lived in Willingboro, NJ since I was twelve, so I rep South Jersey all day Exit 5.
AHH: How do you get into the zone to make a hot track? Whats your usual process & what equipment do you use?(Nobody Famous)
Nobody Famous: My creative process I usually get it jumpin off with a monster, some sunflower seeds and some little snacks. Other than that, I just dig through some samples and go through some keyboard patches and whatever. See what sparks my interest, basically I just use my PC, keyboard, fruity loops, Appleton Live, Pro Tools, a whole gang of plugins, all of that. I’m pretty much software based. It kind of happened as an accident. I was listening to the song and thought let me make a beat to it real quick. I ended up just throwing the a capella on top of it to see if it worked, and sure enough it did. It kind of lead to other things, I ended up doing 6 remixes off the American Gangster album and that Say Hello was actually the first one I made. Truth be told, the Say Hello song that you hear on the album it’s just a accident, simple as that. But accidents lead to some of the greatest things.
AHH: If you had to pick a favorite track made by a producer besides yourself, which one would you go with?
Nobody Famous: My favorite track on the album besides my Say Hello, I would have to say the American Dreamin remix by Hi Fly, that joint is smooth & sexy and it’s just a hot track. One of my favorite ones on the album.
Hi-Fly: I like that Say Hello by Nobody Famous. Thats that sound right there that I like. That remix is better than the original. Theres a lot of other good ones too though.
Meta Maestro: If I had to pick one track out of what I heard, I would have to go with Sweet . That track is smooth and it fits the emotion quite well.
MAK: Amaze’s No Hook. That track was dark and the beat was cold. Ice cold. Ignorant S*** was propane piff though.
Amaze: MAKs Sweet sweet. Fallin and Pray were crazy too.
AHH: Being ranked Finlands #1 Producer, by Myspace and a constant ranked #1 producer on soundclick what do you think are the pros & cons of carrying Finland on your back hip hop wise? (Hi-Fly)
Hi-Fly: I might be from Finland and Ive been pretty successful but the thing is that I havent produced Finnish rappers for years. I pretty much let people here do their thing and I do mine. The market here is just too small for me. I get way more recognition from other countries. Some people from Finland actually contact me in English and think Im from wherever. I guess I need to step up on that, haha.
AHH: Meta, your sound seems to be more classical & jazz with Hip-Hop being an afterthought. Is that the aim of your production?
Meta Maestro: It’s always my intention to bring that type of feel to the track. You always got to go outside the box, you got to go left field but don’t go too [far] left field to the point where it’s foul ball. Go left field just to trick them a little bit, Ill say classical and all that I really love it. Being a child I would sit there and listen to that music, space out and think about whatever. I was intrigued by the melodies and wonder why did they do that and how did they do that. Those a capellas were screaming for that when I listened to them, I couldn’t deny them they were screaming it. Blue Magic, I could picture that song with a 60’s ballroom feel, American Gangster gave me a rush to give it a revolutionary sound. Success, thats one of my favorite tracks, I did that last because I was scared of the track. Like how can I get this up to par with the original, without sampling but at the end it came out pretty good.
AHH: What made you chose the tracks that you picked to remix?
Hi-Fly: (American Dreaming Fallin) I wanted to do tracks that I thought I could make better. Roc Boys is the best song on the album, I dont want to mess with that. Its already perfect. Fallin is one of my favorites of the album as well so I was a bit scared to remix that but it turned out good. I had an idea for it and just did it.
Amaze: (No Hook I Know)I personally had no problem with the production on American Gangster with the exception of one track. I thought the production tight for the most part. But at the same time, I knew there were some songs that I couldnt touch if my production was not on par or a higher level as than original. The ones I could touch gave me inspiration to be creative.
MAK: (Sweet Party Life Roc Boys) First and foremost RIP Pimp C. Party Life was the first track I worked on when I heard that Pimp C had passed. It is obvious that sample was used before by another producer that inspires me, Alchemist. But every time I would play that one part “is you rollin I just heard Pimp C’s voice on it. Not to mention his unexpected passing around the time I was working on the track. That track is more of a tribute to Pimp C. Sweet was my least favorite song on the original American Gangster album. Don’t get me wrong though the least favorite song was still great. But I just heard a different vibe when I listened to the lyrics of that song. I felt the beat needed a two-step vibe to it. So I just got it in and that’s what came out. Roc Boys is tough. I must say that I don’t think that joint can be topped. I think it’s possible to come close to that joint but to top it? I don’t know. The beat, the lyrics, adlibs all blended in perfect. I think I tried though, (laughs) . I tried .
Belows is the tracklising and the production credits:
Producers: MAK, Hi-Fly, Meta Maestro, Nobody Famous, Amaze, Jizza Pro & MsJaylah
A&R: Kev Trip A.K.A.. God MC
1. Intro:- Produced by Meta Maestro
2. Pray- Produced by Jizzapro & MsJaylah
3. American Dreamin- Produced by Hi-Fly
4. Hello Brooklyn 2.0 produced by Nobody Famous
5. No Hook produced by Amaze
6. Roc Boys produced by MAK
7. Sweet produced by MAK
8. I Know produced by Amaze
9. Party Life feat *Tribute Pimp C Verse*- produced by MAK
10. Ignorant Shit produced by Meta Maestro
11. Say Hello produced by Nobody Famous
12. Success feat Nas produced by Meta Maestro
13. Fallin produced by Hi-Fly
14. Blue Magic produced by Meta Maestro
15. American Gangster produced by Meta Maestro