In the second and final part of Wat You Sayin’s interview with rising Canadian Producer High Klassified, he talks about his rapper brothers, his love of The Neptunes and why upping your swag is important in this age.
In the last two years, there seems to be a very strong Southern hip-hop element across electronica and hip-hop itself. What’s your take on it and has it subconsciously influenced your music?
I used to listen to a lot of A$AP Rocky and I had a laidback beat flavour a couple of months ago but now I just go with the flow. I don’t know if I had a lot of inspirations but I used to listen to a lot of Neptunes and use their chords. I don’t really like listening to EDM Trap which sounds like Hardcore. I’m more into keeping that real Trap flavour from the US, as there’s a hip-hop trap and there’s a dubstep trap but I listen to a lot trap artists like Waka Flocka and Gucci Mane.
It’s funny you mention the Neptunes as they’re my favourite producers too. What are your favourite tracks from them?
Toni Braxton and Loon – On The Freeway?
[laughs] Yeah Yeah!
Toni Braxton & Loon – On The Freeway
That’s a sick track. You know The Neptunes Presents Clones is almost ten years old?
It’s making me feel old man!
You’ve worked with rappers BB-Boy and Green Hypnotic and I’ve listened to k-os, K’naan and the more obvious example in Drake. What’s the rap scene like in Canada and is there anyone I should be looking out for?
BB-Boy and Green are my brothers.
Yeah. Actually Green is pretty much doing his thing now. I don’t really follow the hip-hop scene, there are a couple of local artists and don’t know about anyone whose about to blow but there is a pretty good artist in Montreal called I.Blast and he’s doing his thing.
I.Blast – Money Is A Drug
Your recent beattape artwork evokes an ethereal feel almost like you’re a glutton for the galaxy.
I’m more into world stuff that looks like the galaxy and a greater space image.
That personifies itself on the following tape ‘Neo ReFlexion’, which was shorter than Flexury as well. Was that more a case of you wanting to release music or just to keep eardrums fresh about your output?
I had some mixing problems with Flexury, as I had just started using Ableton and there were a couple of problems with the software. There’s a normalizer when I render my beats and shit, so Flexury had some mixing problems concerning the mastering. I just dropped Neo Reflexion to show that there was an improvement in the mixing and to have a tape which was a laidback flavour. As Flexury was a taste of both, there are quick beats, slow beats, hard beats, soft beats and my next one is going to be more aggressive.
High-Klassified – Neo ReFlexion
When you say aggressive, does that entail more rappers being involved or improving the vocal sampling?
I’m gonna do both. I’ve got this track called Scopola which is a really hard upper Calyptic track and I’m gonna do a visual for it and drop it. I’ve got some beats with voice samples too but right now I’m really into faster trap beats.
When will you release something new?
Actually in two weeks, a beat called the BabyFace. It’s a kinda soulful trap and I might drop it, as it’s getting a bit warmer. It’s Summer Trap and hopefully next month drop the visual for my next beat Scopola.
Have you already filmed it?
We just had a meeting last week to film it, so we’re gonna start this weekend and I’ll shortly be doing a 20 min mix for Music Is My Sanctuary.
When are you crossing the pond i.e Flexin’ in London ?
I’m playing in LA at Low End Theory next month with Beat Cinema but it’s not confirmed yet. So from there, I’m gonna peep for bookings in London after that!
Are you doing any festivals in the summer?
I’m doing all the festivals in Montreal and Quebec and that’s about it.
No doubt someone will pick you up.
Word. No Doubt.
The producer is gaining more prominence than a vocalist in recent times and people have a genuine interest in finding out a great deluge more information on those behind the scenes. How do you feel about that?
With the internet now, it’s harder to be an artist as you gotta be a good artist and a good-looking artist [laughs]
[laughs] Is that why you got the swag going on?
Yeah my agent is really making me understand how important it is for an artist to have a good image and to be musically good too, as this is what will make me look different from the others. There are a lot of good artists but there are also a lot of SoundCloud stars too. So you have to show yourself, make visuals for beats and take good pictures for people to relate to me.
Are you still in college?
How do you balance the books and the beats?
It’s pretty hard…I don’t sleep a lot. Music is my job too, so I have to finish beats for clients and then wake up and go to school at like 6 in the morning and I come home at 6 at night to work. It’s kinda hard but I’m almost done with college, so I just can’t wait to get done with that.
Are you at all surprised by the reception Kaytranada has received?
He has worked for it and really deserves it for real. He’s a really good DJ and a good producer.
Are you guys going to collaborate again soon?
We collab a lot and we’re playing a night together soon. We’re really good friends and I think he’s doing a Euro tour next month too.
I’ll have to get down to that. Are there any new tunes I should be on the lookout for?
Dilemma by Mr Carmack and LongliveASAP (Lakim Trap Refix)
Dilemma – Mr Carmack
A$AP Rocky – Long Live A$AP (Lakim Trap Refix)
Hopscotch by him is a banger as well.
Yeah he’s good.
Is he from America?
I think so but his Twitter is not so clear.
You’ve got an agent and dress fly too but some producers prefer to be anonymous and let the music do the talking. Do you reckon you’ll ever do that?
I’m really like into having attention and fashion, so I like playing with my image differently from other producers. Some like to be low-key, others like to have good swag but not a super fashion swag like me. I just like to go out and when I play I just like to go nuts and vibe out which is cool.
Thanks for giving me your time after this long Tom & Jerry chase.
Word Man. Take it easy.
Unless you’re an utter plank or had P-A-Y-G London Electricity where you’d press the emergency button copiously back in the day (am i on my one’s?), the Neptunes are a production duo that consists of Pharrell “Skateboard P” Williams and Chad “the Unsung Hero” Hugo. The Virginia natives (who also form two-thirds of cult group N*E*R*D) are renowned for their terse drum kicks, swoon inducing synths and versatile instrument capability.
SWV – Right Here (Pharrell in his pre-Neptunes days chanting “S…The double…The U…The V!” in the song)
Kelis – ‘I Want Your Love’
N.O.R.E – ‘Superthug’ – Landmark song which heralded the group’s divergent sound…WHAT WHAT WHAT!
Usher – U Don’t Have To Call (Remix)
My obsession over these two males *insert prerequisite term to reaffirm my sexuality* began back in school whilst borrowing (see below) an earphone to the Clones album from a playing device that was sometimes slim but mostly chunky…Sonia from Eastenders if you will.
Ma$e – Lookin At Me in his pre Pastor days taken from old fave Harlem’s World
Clipse – Grindin
Ludacris – Southern Hospitality
The Neptunes presents Clones (Cop. It.Now.) still remains a favourite for me not because of the duo’s assembly of a Motley Crew on the 18 track compilation but their versatility with regard to embracing the genre and giving hip-hop as well as indie fans and anyone in-between an invitation to their Gangsta nation. “Infectious use of Star Trak and the Vulcan salute entered my subconscious” and the rest as they say was history.
Snoop Dogg – It Blows My Mind
Spymob – Half-Steering
N.O.R.E – Put ’em up PERCY
A decade ago this year saw the birth of Star Trak Entertainment which was a natural cycle of progression for Williams and Hugo, with a small if not steady artist roster which previously included their first lady Kelis, Southern rapper Slim Thug, rap legend Snoop Dogg and Clipse. In recent times, smooth crooner Robin Thicke, prep- pop band Chester French and underrated Kenna are a testament to the duo’s attempt at diverse invention as well as incorporating their rock roots. Kelis’ debut LP Kaleidoscope in ’99 which fared well this side of the pond received a Gold classification for record sales.
Babyface – There She Goes
Justin Timberlake – Last Night
The Neptunes doing their ting on the track:
As with most artists the duo moved into the mainstream channel via Britney’s universal hit ‘I’m A Slave 4 U’ and brushing their inimitable gloss on ‘Rock Your Body’ et ’Like I Love You’ for JT’S (not that diiiiiiiiiickhead no. 26 for Chelsea) Justified
(Borrowing – 1. Acquire temporarily with the promise or intention of returning. UK colloq. Asking a fellow being if you could admire their Nokia 3310 with a neon light interface and then proceeding to take their SIM card out for extra curricular activity i.e. linking numerous galdem all ironically named Jezebel)
Forthcoming production is stated to involve The Smeezingtons, Santigold, J.Cole, Avril Lavigne, Beyonce and Travis Barker to name a few. My favourite original composers and their upcoming discography proves they are still one of the most in-demand worldwide.
Live, Long and Prosper
STOP PRESS: If your bang on getting a large chunk of their discography click the link http://rapidshare.com/#!linklist|6CR6NH||| and type nep as a password