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J.J. Brown - conducted by Hugo Lunny  

J.J. Brown

March 2002

These are the transcripts of an interview with J.J. Brown. The interview was conducted by Hugo Lunny on March 13th, 2002. J.J. Brown is a well known talented producer. He's worked with the Demigodz and Mr. Cheeks amongst others.

MVRemix: Give us a little background information on yourself for those that don't know you. Where you're from, how long you've been producing, how you got your start, etc.

J.J. Brown: I'm 23 now, and I started making beats when I was like 13 years old. Back in the day the old stereos used to come with a little turntable on top, so I used that, and this Tascam 4 track my father invested in for me. I was doing more with that set up than some cats were doing with full blown studios. I kept adding drum machines, little samplers, whatever I could find, and it just sort of grew from there. I live in Brooklyn, New York, and my style reflects that NYC inspiration, but I actually feed off a lot of what comes out of the "Dirty South" as well.

MVRemix: What are your goals?

J.J. Brown: My goal is to take all these artists I've helped develop, and people who's careers I've been a part of, like Louis Logic, R-SON, the1shanti, my man Celph Titled and Apathy, I wanna take all these cats and bring them into the right situation so they can properly shine. I really want to have like a Bad Boy or Cash Money situation where I can have the power and financial backing to give this game what it wants and needs. If I had that type of situation for ten minutes I could give this whole industry a face lift. I just need that chance, you know? I'm working on making that happen...

MVRemix: Would you consider doing production for artists of other genres - i.e. R&B, Alternative, etc.?

J.J. Brown: I actually have done some work with some up and coming R&B cats, but I grew up on the greats... Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Daryl Hall, and I love listening to Jodeci. The problem is, these artists really have a God given gift. You don't find voices like these everyday, and me being the perfectionist I am, I've just never been happy enough with any singers I've worked to pursue doing anything with the product. No disrespect, but my shit's gotta be right, you know?

MVRemix: What equipment do you use when making your tracks?

J.J. Brown: I use just about anything I can get my hands on, but I don't like to share too many of my secrets. My setup is perfect for me. Each producer is totally different when it comes to what they need around them when they sit down to create. I do have to give crazy amounts of respect to the people at Sonic Foundry for coming up with ACID Pro though.

MVRemix: What upcoming projects do you have in the works?

J.J. Brown: We just finished sequencing Louis Logic's first official debut full-length, Celph and I are mixing his album track by track as they become completed, I'm working on joints for Apathy's first full length- also check the new joint "School" I just did for his next 12" dropping any minute. I got a track on the Demigodz EP dropping in May, I did work on the new Dutch Massive and Majik Most singles, I got a new joint dropping in the spring with Skitzophrenics... I mean, 5G is an empire kid! I got so many artists in development it's kind of sick... R-SON, Ad-liberal, NYC, Liberation, KAT, Dynasty. My thing is discovering fresh talent. I would love to keep doing stuff like I did for Cheeks, but that's more or less to get my foot in the door, I really want my own shit.

MVRemix: How do you feel about the growing number of strictly software-based producers?

J.J. Brown: To each his own.

MVRemix: What are some other artists you have produced for?

J.J. Brown: I've been fortunate enough to work with so many artists along the way... Of course at the top of my list is my nigga Mr. Cheeks who personally gave me my first major label break. But some other stand outs I've done work with in one way or another are people like J-Treds, L-Fudge, Kimani of the Masterminds, K-Skills, Walkmen, Clockworx, really the list goes on and on.

MVRemix: Who would like to work with that you haven't already?

J.J. Brown: Cee-lo, point blank. He is my favorite MC out there, he's got one of the illest singing voices I heard too. He's just at the top of the game in my book. But I love all those Dungeon Family cats. I would love to bring back out a few my personal favorites from back in the day. I would do it right though, cause some of these dudes tried coming out again and failed miserably cause they linked up with the wrong people. I'm talking about cats like Young MC, Speech from Arrested Development, Dres from Black Sheep, the list goes on. But it's tough for someone today to impress me the way these guys did.

MVRemix: Who are you feeling production-wise, outside of the Hip Hop realm?

J.J. Brown: Hands down, the most amazing producer in the game right now is Timbaland. He is untouchable in my opinion. I would love to meet up and work with him someday. That's really another main goal of mine. But I love Earthtone III too. Every once in awhile I get into the Neptunes, especially their work with Kelis. Of course I still learn a lot from Primo and Pete Rock.

MVRemix: Keyboards vs. Samplers: What is your stand and why?

J.J. Brown: Samplers really don't have enough power for me, they're really limited in functionality. Keyboards give you a lot more freedom and allow to add more of yourself, more originality to your product.

MVRemix: Do you have any tips for upcoming producers?

J.J. Brown: Determination is key. That's really in every aspect of life. If you stick with anything you're passionate about for long enough, you'll start seeing everyone get fed up and drop off all around you. One day, you'll be the only one left, and you'll find the pay off. Oh, and stay off my dick, I'm really getting tired of all the emails.

MVRemix: What is your take on the Alchemist/Ras Kass situation?

J.J. Brown: When your trying to make a name for yourself, you really don't have the time or patience to deal with industry bullshit. There was probably some mix up with paperwork, or some sort of label hold up, Alchemist knew he had a heater on his hands, and did whatever he had to do to get it out to the public. I can't blame him. I really don't know the whole story, but my man at Capitol said he was in the same studio as Ras Kass on the day he first heard the Jadakiss joint, and dude was furious!

MVRemix: What do you think of producers who try to rap, but obviously can't?

J.J. Brown: As a producer/rapper myself, I can tell you that sometimes when you make a beat, you automatically start to imagine the type of voice and lyrics and flow that you want on it, and sometimes you don't think you would ever be able to describe what you want to anyone else, so you just do it yourself. I actually started out making beats strictly for me to rhyme on... I always thought my strong suit was on the mic. But it's true, some heads got no business trying to rap, no matter how talented they are as producers.

MVRemix: How do you feel about producers who use previously used samples, knowingly?

J.J. Brown: I love it, but the rule for me is that the sample should be flipped or used in a unique and new and exciting way. It's almost like paying your respect to the producer who originally used it if you do it justice... not just loop it in the same exact way. It's not unlike Primo cutting off a record from one his favorite MC's for a joint. It kind of lets the audience in on what has influenced you over the years. Fuck it, I'm all for it.

MVRemix: Is there any beat, any mistake you made, any opportunity you passed on, in your musical career, that you wish you could have back?

J.J. Brown: No regrets. I'm a smart man though, I learn from my mistakes and move on.

MVRemix: PS2 vs. Xbox vs. Gamecube: Which is better and why?

J.J. Brown: Gamecube... I will always be a Nintendo head.

MVRemix: Any last words you'd like to put towards fans?

J.J. Brown: Go out and buy anything with J.J. Brown or 5G Productions written on it. You're sure to get your money's worth. Thank you for the support. And to all you dudes out there who can't hang, muthafuckers that stopped coming around cause they think I'm hard to work with... I'm not an asshole, I just play one in real life, and it's really hard to see you from way up here.

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