In 2008 you can find the lesser-known third member of OutKast, David Mr. DJ Sheats, doing grown man things. Whether that means exercising his green thumb outside in the yard or sweating in the kitchen getting his chef on, its all about maintaining his peace of mind. Tonight hes multitasking a meal of basil chicken, cornbread, spinach and brown rice while talking with AllHipHop.com about crafting some 90s southern Hip-Hop classics, and resurfacing in the game alongside Common, Mos Def, and another OutKast double album. Its taken the DJ turned producer 15 years to get to this point, and like he points out early in the conversation, things werent always this good.AllHipHop.com: Before you were producing OutKast tracks alongside Big Boi and Andre, you were on the road with them as their DJ. Was there any indication back then that youd be producing hit records?Mr. DJ: Naw man. To be honest, back then I didnt know anything about producing music. I guess deejaying is an aspect of producing in its own right, and Ive always been deejaying. I was about nine-years-old when I started scratching on my moms turntables at the crib. But I had no ideas Id become a producer until about 95, which was based on a lot of inspiration from Organized Noize. Dre, Big and I used to always sit around and watch them make beats starting from scratch, listening to all kinds of records. It just seemed like so much fun and I guess it was the natural graduation.I was the DJ for pretty much all the OutKast albums but the last two. Thats when I turned it over to DJ Swift and started to produce. My first records were 8Ball and MJGs In Our Lifetime album, which I produced half of. I also produced the Goodie Mob on tracks like Black Ice and They Dont Dance No More. Thats what made Big and Dre come back to me like Lets make a production company, which is when we founded Earthtone 3. AllHipHop.com: As the DJ back then, were you already getting the vibe that you guys were onto something big.Mr. DJ: Man, we did a Howard University show in Washington, D.C. That was our first show, and Players Ball had been out for maybe two or three months before we started like a two-year promo. When we did Players Ball for the first time, and we got such a great response we knew were on to something.AllHipHop.com: Fourteen years as a producer and most people probably wouldnt recognize your production name, let alone what you look like. Youve said before that longevity is a lot better than being famous. Do you feel like not being famous helped you achieve longevity?Mr. DJ: Thats yet to be seen. I do understand that it may inevitably be the time people recognize who I am, and I hope that it doesnt curse me or change the way things go. But I dont think it will, cause its all about the person and how you handle it. I do understand that in order to achieve the level Im trying to achieve, you do kind of have to step out a bit. So its a catch-22. But I hope it doesnt affect my longevity. I do think that being behind the scenes has preserved my sexy, if you will (Laughs). It preserved it, because you dont burn out as fast. When the spotlights on you that means people are watching you, and just as soon as your tap-dance starts to slow down then the lights turn on. If nobody even sees me, the curtain is still closed and you just hear me tapping back there, then youre still waiting on the curtain to open. So I hope it doesnt jinx me.AllHipHop.com: You can get away with a lot more if nobody recognizes your face.Mr. DJ: Yeah man, exactly. I can go to the grocery store, I can go to the mall, I can drop my kids off and not have a problem. Ive watched things change for Big and Dre in that aspect, and I just hope that I can somehow make it all happen together.AllHipHop.com: It must be a trip for you when Ms. Jackson comes on somewhere youre at, and you hear a girl say This is my favorite song! Mr. DJ: Yeah! (Laughs)AllHipHop.com: Do you just bite your tongue?Mr. DJ: Yeah I just let it play and enjoy the fact that somebody else enjoys it, because thats what it was when we made the music. When I make music, its cause I enjoy it and Im having fun. I never make it with somebody else in mind. So I never tell people I did it. And surprisingly Im pretty much around the same people all the time, I dont really have a big circle of friends. So the people Im around, they know, and thats comforting enough for me. AllHipHop.com: A lot has changed as far as music production since Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, or even Bombs Over Baghdad. Whats different for you now in the studio as far as equipment and your creative process?Mr. DJ: You would be surprised that I still have a turntable, an MPC 3000 and one keyboard. And its in that order. Sometimes I open up my Reason and grab a few drums at the end of a track to just put a face on it and brighten it up. Because of the computer age, tracks are a lot brighter and sonically sound. Theyre not as full and girthy as the old tracks, because we used to record on two-inch. So now I have to go in and put some brighter drums on top of my drums, but for the most part I still go in and do it the same way.AllHipHop.com: Do you mess with a lot of live instruments too?Mr. DJ: Yeah. When I make a track, I start with sounds from records. Not necessarily samples, but sounds for inspiration. There may be somebody that hit a crash and blew a trumpet at the same time on a record, and Ill just get that little part and then go play it. That along with other noises makes music, and I just improve on all of it with live instruments. I play a little bit of everything, but Im not the best at it. I can make an MPC sound like anything though. Ive got all my same guys that do instruments that weve always had play on the OutKast records, except for when I went and lived out in LA for the past two years.AllHipHop.com: What was going on out in LA?Mr. DJ: I was out there for two years doing the West Coast Camp David, but I just shut it down. At first it was very productive, but then it turned into a party everyday, no sleep and girls all the time. So I had to shut it down, and come back to Atlanta and get focused (Laughs) It wasnt all in vein though, cause I met Common out there and thats how we got that thing going. And my next door neighbor out there was the guy who draws Family Guy, so him and I and a guy who does the scripts for The Simpsons got together. We put together a company called Camp Tune and were doing a Camp David cartoon right now also. Weve got the mock-ups right now so hopefully well be able to bring it soon. I cant say too much about it right now, cause I dont want anyone to steal our ideas. It took a big leap forward around the time the writers strike came into effect, cause nobody was working. AllHipHop.com: As far as publishing goes, have you learned and changed any of the ways you do things now?Mr. DJ: You know what, I was blessed from the start to have a great attorney that has always looked out for my best interest. Cause to be honest, for the first six years I was doing music I didnt understand publishing and didnt take an interest in it until I started to see how big the royalty checks were and how much the publishing companies would give to sign you. It started to make me wonder, Hey, why are they giving me this much money? So I started to pay more attention to it, but thankfully I had a great attorney that had me pretty straight on that end. AllHipHop.com: Because of the variety and I genre-spanning style of your music, you must get calls from a wide range of artists, whether Hip Hop or R&B or whatever.Mr. DJ: Yup, I do. Ive worked with everybody from Lenny Kravitz to Michelle Ndegocello, to the Backstreet Boys and all the way down to Eightball & MJG. Im looking for some country though, Im ready for my first country person to call, cause I can do it!AllHipHop.com: Alright, lets talk about Common. Youre producing half of the new album?Mr. DJ: Yup, about half.AllHipHop.com: His last two albums were influenced by a lot of Kanye, so what do we expect from this one?Mr. DJ: Man I think Im just giving him a little bit of my pizzazz. Its kind of electricish wait, I dont want to call it electric. Its more trip-hoppy to me. Hip-Hop on crack maybe. Yeah, thats what I would say it is. Its dope. It reminds you of an OutKast album in that its timeless music. Sometimes you listen to an OutKast album and you dont get it for two years, then youre like Oh s**t, I just figured out what he said! or it takes that long to just really start to understand it. I definitely feel like people will be able to tell I had a lot to do with it.AllHipHop.com: Is there anything about working with Common thats different from the other artists youve worked with?Mr. DJ: Well I was surprised by just how down to Earth he is. I had pre-conceived notions of what he would be like, but hes a cool dude and he understands good music. Hes a real melody type of person. Not to say thats different from Big Boi and Dre, cause theyre like that. But his process is different. He doesnt sit there and write then and go in and put lyrics down. Hell pick a track that he likes and go in his car and ride with it. Hes definitely a perfectionist as far as his vocals go, hell lay them like 13 times. At first I didnt understand it, I thought the first time was good. But after he goes back and does it again and hes finally done with it, I understand why he goes back and does what he does.Ive been on tour with him, going from city to city. I met him in New York and we worked there for a week. Then I went back to California and worked with him there, and we even went to Miami and worked in Miami a little. So weve been moving around catching different vibes. Its cool cause some of the verses he laid have been in different cities, and you can tell hes catching a different vibe in each city. And the music is really dope, Pharell got down on the music he did for the other half of the album too. It all ties in together real well.