The Lone Star state is home to some of the most influential rappers and independent labels in the country. In the last few months, two of Texas’ own have debuted in top positions on the Billboard music charts. We all know that behind every great rhyme is a great beat. These two brothers have been chairmen of the board whose beats have assisted in propelling artists like Mike Jones to become a household name, and not a mere name on a track. In addition to a solid 2005 through Mike Jones, the boys have recently lined up work with Bun-B, Twista, and Trick Daddy – so get used to ‘em. Salih and Tomar Williams of The Carnival Beats sat down with AllHipHop.com to present to our loyal readers an insider’s look into what it takes to be a success in production.
AllHipHop.com: Can you describe your beginnings in the music industry?
Tomar: We originally began as a family band in 1980’s called Sixx A.M. We used to perform on what most people know as the “Chitlin Circuit”. We played live R&B music, and we did it for either money or beer.
Salih: Then, our popularity grew and created a demand for our fans, and were invited to play on Sixth Street in Austin, TX. We played gigs all over, and then our family unit decided to part ways and pursue our personal goals.
AllHipHop.com: Being that you both have musical backgrounds, what made you choose production over another facet of the music business?
Tomar: I have always made beats and had a sincere interest in producing. Therefore, I decided to start a production company in 1993. However, it was in 1997 that I decided to take it on a professional level. I would collaborate with my brother, and then we would make it a family affair.
AllHipHop.com: How did you get started in making beats for rap artists?
Salih: Tomar always had relationships with the local artists, and felt
that there was a need for Texas artists to be taken seriously. So, we
began submitting beats, and began working with a number of local acts.
Tomar: Wreckshop Records recording artist Big Mo was the first act that made a significant impact for us. The “Bar Baby” received a lot of love in the streets and on regional radio. We then began to work with Wrekshop Records on Da Wreckshop Family Album. We enjoyed that experience very much so, and we later moved on to work with Swisha House. The album would be called,” The Day Hell Broke Loose” and we produced several tracks for a new artist named Mike Jones called “Still Tippin” and another song called “Cuttin”. “Still Tippin” was recorded in 2003, and it got a lot of love on the underground scene. The song caught the attention of Asylum, and the rest is history.
AllHipHop.com: We know Mike’s happy, but how do you feel about Mike Jones’ recent success with?
Tomar: Back in 1989, we recorded a song and one day it played on the radio. I feel the same excitement when I hear “Back Then” or “Still Tippin’,” now as when I heard my first song on the radio.
Salih: It has not completely sunk in to me since we are always working. We do not have a whole lot of time to listen to the radio or watch TV, but when I do, I take a sense of pride because it has been a long time coming.
AllHipHop.com: Music sampling has become a very controversial issue. Where do you both stand in opinion about the art of sampling?
Salih: There is a tasteful way to sample music. We try to steer clear o samples, and choose to play instruments instead. However, the producer has to respect the artist. Give respect and pay the people for what their contributions to music. One producer who does that is Kanye West. He understand the art of sampling well. He almost in a sense resurrects the artists and exposes the masses to forms of music that would not ordinarily be heard.
AllHipHop.com: How important is it for a producer to understand
publishing rights and music industry education?
Tomar: The music industry is at the end of the day is about making
revenue. It is important to understand that publishing is a producer’s bread for the future to come. Never compromise your talent so much that other people exploit your worth. It is important that the producer and artist read through contracts and agreements thoroughly, because they include loopholes that can be detrimental to their career if not careful.
Salih: Read and talk to people. We did not have the same exposure to the music industry that some of my other counterparts did. We almost fell into a deal with a guy from L.A. Who will remain nameless where he tried to take more than fifty percent of our publishing. Know what your splits are. Know that when you sample a beat, you have to wait for it to clear plus pay for the use of the song. Know what points are. Knowledge is key to surviving.
AllHipHop.com: What else can the world expect from Carnival Beats?
Salih: We recently signed a publishing deal with Universal Records back in March. We are currently working with Bun B on his next project. We look forward to working with Juvenile. Twista, Jive recording artist Dirtbag. On the R&B side, we are submitting material for Jamie Foxx’s release and UK recording artist, M.I.A.
Tomar: I would like to thank Manny Edwards and Shawn Sharpe, because they introduced to a new way in publishing. Carnivale Beats would like to create a movement in music. We would like to work and develop new artists and give others an opportunity to do what they want to do. We believe that everyone is entitled to an opportunity. We hope to one day become a full-fledged label.
Salih: Yes, our goal is to become a label. Carnival is a family affair.
We have our sister who is our financial and business mind, and our young brother is an A&R looking for new talent to develop.
AllHipHop.com: Many people often say that family members and friends do not mix well when it comes to business. Do you find that it is true?
Tomar: No, I strongly disagree. We come from a tight knit family, and we support one another in all that we do. If you can not trust your blood, who can you trust?
Salih: I think that working with family keeps us grounded with our feet planted firmly in the ground. And we would like to give our family to enjoy our success, especially since they contributed so much for us to be the people we are today.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have any other words of wisdom to share with our readers who aspire to have a career in production?
Tomar: Stay persistent and know that all things come in their time. The music business is one that can be very difficult for some people, because the success does not come overnight. Always remember people who have helped you along the way, don’t be one to get selective amnesia just because you are on top one day.
Salih: On that note, we would like shout out our family, Michael Watts, T-Fast, G-Dash, the whole Swishahouse family, and Mike Jones. We are grateful for all of the support. To reach us and learn about our body of work, please visit www.carnivalbeats.com.