Name: Tony Benjaminz
From: Hartford, CT
Your Talib remix is hot. How did you make it?
I frequent a lot of message boards. One in particular (what up PML!) has a monthly sample battle. The moderator posts an original song up, you have to make a track using that joint and the best joint wins. This one happened to be “I Want You” by The Beatles. I know the sample will probably NEVER get cleared, but I figured it’s just for the battle, I’ll chop it up. But when I finished the beat I knew that particular Talib song would sound hot with it. So I dug for the acapella and dropped everything in Pro Tools.
When did you first start making beats? What were you using?
I messed around with it for a while, but I didn’t start seriously making beats until ’97. My first board was an ASR-10.
What was the hardest part about getting started?
The hardest part besides getting the money for equipment, was learning how to get what was in my mind to translate to what you hear through the speakers. I spent a lot of years rapping, so I can vocalize what I feel, but to put that feeling into the beat itself is much different.
When did you finally make something you felt comfortable playing “in public”?
I finally knew when my boys started asking to make their beats!
I’m most impressed by your drums. They hit hard. How do you EQ them?
I appreciate that brother! I keep a hard drive full of nothing but snares and kicks that I saved from all my old drum machines. I EQ and compress them a little, save them to a new file then stack them as I need to, depending on the beat. I let the melody dictate the drums most times.
I see you pictured with the MPC, do you use it exclusively or do you mix it with software?
I used to use the MPC a lot, but I recently made the transition to software. So I do a lot of my work in Reason and Pro Tools.
Why do you think it’s been so hard for CT to break out of NY and NJs shadow in northeast hip-hop?
For one, there’s a lot of competition out there in NY and NJ alone. I’ve noticed that a lot of cats feel the need to step on and over each other to try and get some shine. I think it’s counterproductive. It just makes you look like a hater. Second, I think too many of us set unrealistic goals for ourselves. Just put together the best music you can possibly make, keep grinding and networking, leave the hate aside. People will have no choice but to notice CT if we’re consistently putting out hot music.
Do you have any independent projects in the works?
Currently I’m working on my man Sinis’ project, and trying to finish up my own album. I’m also working on some things with my dudes from D.O.S. Media, and a few other cats whose names I don’t wanna drop… you know how that is!