LV (Terror Squad) - conducted by Mildred C. Fallen
LV Got Work
"I got work. And I won't be on the un-enjoyment line…"
Bootsy Collins, "The F-Encounter"
More often than not, producers' names languish inside liner notes. It's really recording artists' names pushed out front, first-served piles of accolades or plenty of criticism. Even with today's obsessive Internet searches for ring-tones and My Space Music pages, people normally don't know who produced the songs they like. With the exception of front-line men like Dr. Dre, Diddy, Master P, Pharrell and Timbaland, many Hip Hop producers stay far away from the mic, and play the back like the second line of a New Orleans funeral march. Somebody's gotta keep the beat.
It's shortly before noon when LV calls. "You'll have to excuse how rough my voice sounds right now, I had a party to do last night," he explains, clearing the early morning rattle in his throat.
Though much of the morning is good and gone, LV is not a slacker. As in-house producer and tour DJ for the Terror Squad, LV "got work," and slowly, his resume is building. Attribute part of that to working for A&R and a founding member of the X-ecutioners, Sean C, where his Johnny-on-the-spot attitude in the studio afforded him opportunities to meet people who changed his life for good—at Loud Records, Sean C introduced him to Big Pun, who needed a tour DJ—Big Pun bequeathed him to Fat Joe—
years later, LV met Diddy while pitching Aasim's promo on Hot 97. "Come, meet," Diddy told him, before he signed the Grind Music artist to Bad Boy Records.
2006 has been good to LV and partner, Sean C, whose production house, Grind Music, is a testament to their work ethic. After banging out several tracks for P. Diddy's new CD, Press Play, (including the prematurely leaked, "Gettin' Off"), Remy Ma and Ne-Yo's "Feels So Good" and Fat Joe's "We Gettin' Money, projects with Ice Cube, Cheri Dennis, Aasim, Freeway and Ghostface, LV and Sean C's names are beginning to ring bells.
Remembering 1996, his first experience in the studio, he watched Sean C and Nobody lace Jigga's track, "Can't Knock the Hustle," and had a jones for the studio ever since. This recollection fully wakes him and LV happily engages himself in conversation about what he does—work.
MVRemix: You started out an intern at Loud Records before it
folded; is that correct?
LV: Yes ma'am.
MVRemix: And then went on to do some A&R for them? How did you get the internship and then move up?
LV: Sean C. Actually I was like Sean's assistant. I was an intern, but I didn't actually have an A&R job, like I was just helping Sean C. out like I do now.
MVRemix: Okay. What's the one thing you took from working at Loud that you apply to your every day grind?
LV: [Pauses a moment] Wow. Hmm. Just really, knowing when you're in a good place and knowing how to keep it like that. Like if I know I got a good opportunity, if I'm in a good place, I keep it. That helped me. I knew me being there, it would help me go other places, so I wasn't messin' up.
MVRemix: Name an example of a time where you're like, 'Okay, if I hadn't learned 'that,' then 'this' probably wouldn't have worked out,' you know what I mean?
LV: (Pauses) I'll give you an example. (Pause) Like, if I didn't go everyday to Loud, I probably wouldn't have met Pun, because Pun used to come to the office a lot. So like, I mean, that opened from just me being there. It was craziness. So I take that as, 'If I wasn't going everyday, I definitely wouldn't have met him.'
MVRemix: Yeah, you would've missed out on that.
LV: Yeah, definitely. That just opened the door for me to be his DJ.
MVRemix: I mean, so did he just like see you in action, or did he hear about you?
LV: Well he seen me and then Sean—Sean was like Pun's A&R and then Sean was like, 'Hey, he needs a DJ,' and he was like, 'Hey, do you wanna do it?' And then [Pun] seen me, and it was like, 'Ohhhhhh! Shit! Okay!' So then, it was just easier from there. That's how that happened.
MVRemix: Now you and Sean C are the production duo behind Grind Music, so I was curious; do you shop your beats as free agents to a record label, and then they decide who gets on the track, or do you handpick who you want on your tracks?
LV: Honestly, right now we're not picky. If you like the beat, let's get on it. It's no—say we have a meeting with the A&R of the label—certain people just call for certain people at times. Like say we got a meeting at Def Jam, they might call for anybody up there. Like they could be callin' for Ghostface, and we got that. So it's like for different things. Like they callin' for Memphis Bleek, they callin' for Freeway, so that's how that goes.
MVRemix: I didn't know this…I didn't know that y'all had produced [Jay-Z's] "Can't Knock the Hustle"--
LV: No, that was actually like Sean and Nobody. That was before my time. I was still a real youngin' at the time. And actually, that was the first time I'd ever been to a studio.
MVRemix: That was from the first album [Dead Presidents]?
LV: Yeah! Yeah!
MVRemix: Yeah! Now see, you done took me back! That's a classic album right there!
LV: Na'mean? You can't forget anything like that! That's a part of my life—the first time I went to the studio!
MVRemix: What was that like, you seeing this unfold for the first time in the studio?
LV: I was like, 'Ohhhh my--!' (stifles the urge to curse) When I walked in I was like a different person, I was like, I mean, excuse my language, but I was like 'Ohhhh, shit!' Like, 'I don't wanna leave here—I know this was where I'm supposed to be.' I just felt like, 'I'm gonna be here, like all the time.'
MVRemix: So when did Sean pull you in to start doing production with him?
LV: It's funny because it really just happened. Sean had bought a new MPC 2000 and he had the old one, and I'm like, "Oh shit, lemme hold that,' and I didn't wanna do beats—that's the funniest shit—I didn't wanna do beats. I was just like, 'No, lemme just learn how to use it.' And one day, like probably like a week later, I just came to his house and I was like, 'Listen to what I did on the thing.' He was like, 'Yo nigga! You be doin' beats!' I was like, 'Word?' And it just started from there. You know like, Sean would just show me little things, but then really what I would do, I just learned from everybody, and watch how different people do beats and things like that.