Nottz: Another Reason to Vote For Graduation


do we go about defining the hottest producer in the game? How about

tracks on the two most talked about albums of the year? What if they

had that, plus a track on the most anticipated Hip-Hop album of all

time? And in addition to all that, your favorite producer named them

as one of their favorites as well.I

guess you’d have no choice to believe it then, right? Well look no

further, that man is on the set. Nottz Raw, the man from Virginia is packing

more heat than a dozen ovens. He secured placements on both Kanye West's Graduation and

50 Cent's Curtis, even though his track with the former was taken off

after an early summer leak. He’s had a spot on Dr. Dre’s Detox

for what seems like an eternity, and the good Doctor has

been quick to praise the beatsmith for his work on the boards.


heard his work yet? Don’t worry, you will. You’ve more than likely

heard some already, and didn't even know it. But it’s all good, Nottz

doesn’t hold a grudge, unless you’re Canibus, or a cookie-cutter

producer getting famous with no skills. So without further ado, get

to know a man who has been doing it for a minute, and doing it well

at that. Yo Nottz, what’s

good with you man? 

Nottz: Working man, working

every day, trying to stay afloat. We’ve gotta

get to the order of the day off the bat. How did Kanye go about reaching

out to you for the "Barry Bonds" beat? Or did you get at him for that? 

Nottz: I guess Kanye was looking

for a bunch of beats without vocal samples in it, and that came about.

Of course, Red Café had it, and he didn’t jump on it. Kanye took

it, and was like “Yo man, I need that.” It must feel

pretty good, because Kanye produced most of the songs on the album himself or with a co-producers.

Nottz: Yeah man, hell yeah.

I might be doing a mixtape man, talking about “Your producers favorite producer” or some s**t like that. I don’t know, I’m thinking about

it, but I don’t know. So did you even

go into the studio at all, or did you just shop him that beat and that

was it? 

Nottz: Shopped him the beat

man. It was really more like a back and forth thing. First, we had a

sample in it, and then they wanted us to redo the sample. So I got one

of my homeboys to come through with a bass guitar and he replayed the

part and put the keyboards on it. Do you think Graduation is stronger than Curtis, from an outsider’s perspective? There’s a lot of hype about that going on right now… 

Nottz: I mean you gotta look

at it, both of them are two different kinds of artists, they [are] different.

50’s more some hard stuff, and Kanye’s not like that. It’s a beat

thing. 50 got harder beats… …whereas Kanye’s

more chilled out?

Nottz: Right. So it’s no

comparison. It’s no comparison. They’re not the same. You’re the

type of producer that does both types of beats. Did 50 ever holler at you

for beats? 

Nottz: Yeah, I mean we had

one on the album he’s about to put out (Curtis), but I guess that got leaked

and they redid the whole album. And it is what it is, Curtis. So you were

supposed to be up on it? 

Nottz: Right. Well going

back a bit, Lyricist Lounge was the first major album you got

a placement on. How did that feel? 

Nottz: It felt good man, it

felt real good. When the money starts rolling, it’s even better you

know? It felt good to get that first placement, and now you're in the door,

nothing else can stop you. But now they’ve got a lot of new stuff

that’s out right now, that’s making it harder for dudes like me,

Diamond D, and Pete Rock, all the underground dudes. It’s making it

harder because all this bubble-gum stuff is really, really poppin' right

now. It’s much harder now to do what you do. But looking

at your discography, it seems like you must pick your projects carefully,

or at least have some sort of prerequisites for artists that you’ll

work with, right? 

Nottz: With me man, either

we look for it, or it comes to us. That’s how it is, we don’t sit

on our a***s and wait for it. We got to get it, it’s not really like

who we work with, it ain’t on like that. We get it how we get it,

we just do it. We grind, we grinders man. A lot of people get comfortable

with it, they got a record out and they get comfortable, and nothing

else pops. But we gotta keep grindin', we got kids to feed. On that grinding

theme, the second album that you got on was

Busta Rhymes' Extinction Level Event. How did your beat tape end

up in his hands? 

Nottz: We was at the studio

doing “Holy Water” for Lyricist Lounge, that was with Lord

Have Mercy and [D.V. Alias] Khrist, and Busta supposed to been on that

song. And I guess they didn’t want him on it or whatever, so he was

like, “Look, why don’t you come on my shit?” So I played some shit

for him, and the first three songs that was on that tape ended up being

the first three songs on his album. That’s crazy. 

Nottz: It was real crazy, 'cause

they was like in the same order. He was feeling the way the beats was

on that tape and they flowed right together. So the first three on that

tape was the first three on that album, and it was crazy! You must have

been real deliberate about how you made your beat tapes back then, in

terms of putting it in the right order and putting a lot of thought

into it. 

Nottz: It’s a formula to

it, you go from what you feel. Like I go through my beat list, and I

know my beats, so let’s say we’re at 150. And I be like “Oh, I

have another beat in mind,” and that s**t will be like 72. That’s

how I do it, I know what it is, versus somebody who just comes in and

listens to beats. They don’t know where to start at, there’s so

much s**t. Can you elaborate on the situation a few years back with

Canibus, regarding that Hip Hop For $ale album? The story goes

that he did you dirty and released the tracks early on a mixtape. 

Nottz: Well really, the s**t

that was on the album was like a bunch of old beats. We was still working,

and the shit that I did for him he leaked out. He kept blaming it on

his manager, and his manager blamed it on him, you know what I mean?

It was a bunch of bulls**t! Like we was still working, we ain’t even

get down to the real good s**t yet. It’s like, he did that s**t, and

all that s**t was just cut off. We deaded that little relationship with

that dude. It coulda been better music than what it was, on no battle

rap s**t, none of that. Like making real music, real hooks, all that.

But naw, they f****d it all up putting that bulls**t out. And look what


Nottz. Yeah. I think he would

have been bigger than what he is, 'cause we had him on a whole different

s**t. He wasn’t on that battle s**t, he was making records that had

meaning to them. So you know, it is what it is man. Whatever happened

to the album you and Royce Da 5’9” were supposed to do together? 

Nottz: Oh we still gonna do

it man, it’s just we had things to do, had to handle a bunch of s**t

first. He’s handling his, I’m handling mine. We still [are going to] do it,

it’s in the works. That’s my dog man, we knock s**t down. Even if

we not together in the lab, I send him s**t, he send s**t back. I’ll

tell him what I think about it, he’ll change it up, and it’s perfect. I doubt many

people have heard the track, but you got on a track with J Dilla and

Diamond D call "Coke On Plastic." How did that heavyweight collaboration

come about? 

Nottz: You know what? It was

me and Dilla at first, and it was supposed to be me, Dilla and Pete

Rock. The same day that I did the s**t, Diamond D had came down from

North Carolina or something, so he came down and I was like “Hop on

it man.” So we added Diamond on it, and Pete Rock didn’t put

his verse down, so we kept it like that. So that’s how that came about.

I’ve changed it so much, I’ve changed it around and added s**t to

it. I’m writing a whole new verse to it. I might take Diamond off

and put a couple other dudes on it, I might change the beat up. It’s

gonna be crazy when we do it again though. So is rhyming

something you’ve always been about, or did that develop as you got

involved in the industry? 

Nottz: No, I was rappin' first.

But then I saw nobody want to give me beats, and whatever whatever,

so I did my own s**t. All my brothers did beats, and when they got out

of it, I stayed in it. Having tracks

on a lot of people’s albums, whether it’s Little Brother, or Kanye’s

new one, or working with Swizz Beats for his new album, what’s it

like to have the most talented producers making room for a Nottz production? 

Nottz: It’s overwhelming

man. But on the second hand it’s like “Damn, n****s is recognizing

it now?” Like damn, I’m 30. As long as I’ve been doing it, you

recognizing it now? I mean it’s cool, it’s real cool man, I love

it man. But you know, I’ve got my negative side about it. Like n****s

s*****d on me before, but now n****s want to f**k with me. Not saying

Swizz did it, or Kanye, but it’s like a lot of cats f****n with me

now, it’s crazy. But it’s cool, keep f****n with me! But people know

who they are, they didn’t want to f**k wit me before, and now they

f**k wit me. Yeah? You turned

anybody down lately? 

Nottz: Naw, I don’t do that

man. It ain’t never been me to be turnin' people down, I work with anybody.

It ain’t even about the paper man, I just love to work. Like whoever

respect the game like me, I respect it back Speaking of

respect, can you walk me through your mindstate when Dr. Dre not only

told you that he admired your work, but that he wanted you to be a part

of his Detox album? 

Nottz: Oh yeah, that kind of

f****d me up though. (Laughs) That really turned me like…like “Damn,

I must really got something.” For the Doctor to say something like

that, I don’t know. It’s cool though man, it’s like me, Hi-Tek,

[and] Denaun (Porter). I’m cool though, I like the Doctor man, the Doctor’s cool.

(Laughs) Hell yeah, that was some real cool shit to be like “I want

a track from Nottz.” You gotta tell

me whatever you can about the Detox project up to this point. 

Nottz: Man, it ain’t too

much I know about it. He wanted the beat, and a week later we had a

check for it. He had that beat for the longest, and that one track,

everybody wanted that track. Stat Quo did some s**t to it, Busta did

some s**t to it, Snoop wanted the s**t. A lot of m*********s wanted that

s**t. That beat has history behind it. That dude is not letting it go.

(Laughs) N****s did s**t to it, and he was not letting it go. But some people

might pop up on it when it gets on the album. 

Nottz: Right. What it was supposed

to be was the first song on the album. It was supposed to be him and

Game on it, but I don’t know what was up with it. I never heard it,

but people told me the joint was hot. You still haven’t

heard it? 

Nottz: I still haven’t heard

that song he did to it! I still haven’t heard it. And he’s played

the beat for mad m*********s. Like I was at a show, a Jay-Z show backstage,

and Just Blaze came up to me like “Look man, that joint you did for

Dre was hot.” And I’m like, “What are you talking bout?” He’s

like, “The joint you did with them harmonicas in it." He played that

s**t for me, and Dre was snappin' over the s**t. That’s his s**t.”

So that was the first song on the album, but I don’t know how it’s

gonna play out now. He didn’t play the record for me the last time we

was out in Cali, so I don’t know how it’s gonna play out man. I hope

it’ll still be the first joint, but I mean that was years ago when

he got it. Well you got

the check, so let’s hope it sees the light of day because I know you’re

waiting for it as much as me. 

Nottz: Hell yeah. So what’s

good with Virginia these days? It’s not a whole lot of noise coming

out of there particularly right now. 

Nottz: It’s a bunch of hate,

that’s all. Don’t nobody want to see you do better than them. I

ain’t gonna name no names, but it’s a lot of talent here man. Everybody

wanna rap, everybody wanna produce, but it’s a lot of good talent

here. It’s like people just stop at Atlanta. And it’s a lot of bulls**t

comin out of Atlanta. Like when I think of Atlanta, I think of T.I. ,

I think of Luda, Jeezy, real shit. But it’s a lot of bulls**t that’s

comin' out and it’s winning, and it shouldn’t be winning. I think of

Goodie Mob when I think of Atlanta, I don’t think of that other bulls**t.

And it’s taking the world by storm man, and it shouldn’t be that

way. People letting it in with ease, with open arms, and it’s making

it harder for everybody else. I thought it was gonna be a fad, but I guess

not. It’s a long a** fad, huh? (Laughs)