Name: Style Misia
From:Long Beach, CA
Tracks You’ve Heard: 50 Cent, “Queens Pimp” , Guilty Simpson “Feel It”Remix
NF: How did you get started with Production?
SM: I got started with production just by being an artist myself. In the mid to late 90’s I started rhyming. I was in a lot of local crews. It all started with me looking for production. I was never getting the right kind of tracks that I needed. And I hate chasing people for tracks. My father plays a lot of instruments for different bands. He told me I should consider producing for myself. I said “oh damn, I didnt even think about that.” So I started producing for myself, and then it stemmed from there. (Laughter)
NF: How did your father help you get started? Did he help you buy the equipment?
SM: Yea, my parents bought me my first sampler when I was 18. They bought me an Ensoniq EPS sampler. They hooked me up! I didn’t know what kind of machine I was getting and how much of a monster it was. I had started off with the Numark mixers that had the 8 second samplers and I glued stuff off of there. But when it came around to my birthday, they hooked me up and got me a straight sampling keyboard. That’s what started my whole shit.
I still got it in my storage. I got so much stuff but I don’t get rid of it because of sentimental value. My parents got me that, and I can never sell it. Even if it broke down and didnt work, I would still keep it because of where it got me.
NF: What are you using now?
SM: I am actually using Reason Software. I was hating for a long time because I am a old hardware head. It took me a while to warm up to it. But when I finally did it turned my whole shit around. Reason is the truth, I can’t even lie. I make everything purely on Reason.
NF: When did you get your first placement with another artist?
SM: I started working with established west coast cats like Peace of Freestyle Fellowship in like 2003. I worked with 50 cent on his mix tape before the The Massacre did the “Queens Pimp” in 2005.
NF: How did that come about?
SM: A dude who was managing me at the time had put in a plug with (Sha) Money. They had a little working relationship and he was trying to put a lot of my material on (Sha) Money at the time. 50 probably listens to a ton of beat CD’s. That one leaked through, he was feeling it and he used it. They told us he was going to use it. I didn’t get paid for it, but thats alright. It was a great resume starter.
NF: What have you learned through all the experience you’ve had, from the business side of production?
SM: I have had a lot of people two track my shit and try not to pay me. Peedi Crack did the same thing. I’m not trying to bad mouth nobody, I’m not even tripping. I just learn. I don’t give no sessions. I don’t care who you are. Unless paperwork is signed, I don’t give nobody a session, no pro tools, nothing. Even email, I send less than a minute of beats. I try my best to get my music through a very credible agent that has a direct connect. I don’t shoot my stuff to random people, who feel they can take my joint, run and not give me nothing.
NF: So do you have a manager who shops your beats for you?
SM: I currently don’t. I have a few people that I’m working with them on a three month trial basis. The managers work for the producers. People get it twisted. They get paid when the track is placed. So I got a couple of guys that want to manage me. If they can give me a placement in these three months, maybe we will do paperwork. I won’t do paperwork with a manager until they show me what they can do for me. Even if he has all this work for other producers, it’s not a guarantee for me. If he got it like that, he should be able to place it in 2 weeks-should be no damn problem. And if it goes down like that, I’ll do paperwork in a heartbeat.
NF: So how did the other placements happen? You did something with GZA, “Illusory Protection.” What were some of the next steps after that?
SM: The thing with GZA never got released. It was always somebody I was working with at the time. I always found my way to get with somebody who was handling on a project. Like with the GZA one, I was working with this guy that was consulting and freelancing with people from Interscope. He now works for Aftermath with Dre. But at the time he was handling some music for GZA and Muggs. They were doing the Grand Masters Project. They were doing a remix album, and was looking for remix’s. They gave me the acapella and told me to flip it. I flipped it, it was dope, and they were feeling it. Somehow, it did not make the final cut.
NF: What about the Devin The Dude track, “What U Like”?
Style: The same dude that put my music in GZA’s hand was working with an artist from Houston, Texas. He liked the beat, and just so happened he was doing a song with Devin the Dude. Now when Devin heard it, he used the whole track for himself. The version I have, is just with the hook. But I heard there is a whole song out there. It has not been released yet. Remind you, I have done a lot of this with no manager. It is about connecting with the right people. They had their hands on a project or with somebody, and I just had faith that they would plug it.
NF: And what about the Big Pooh joint.
Style: I’ve been working with a group called the Bash Brothers for the past decade. The song we did was called “Rock the Spot”. Last year, they just hit up Sean Price and Big Pooh.. One thing lead to another and they had a full song. When I heard it, I was like “wow thats dope.” There was a big remix to that as well.
NF: What are some projects we can look forward to?
SM: I just did this remix for Guilty Simpson out in Detroit. I hope it gets viewed. It’s for a song he did for this independent guy named Fabio Musta out in Italy. They were looking for remix’s for this song called “Feel It.” I also got a joint thats going to be on the new Superstition album coming out.I’m working with Ill Mind’s group. I got a couple of tracks on their pre-album, hopefully landing on their album.And I just did some music for this TV show on MVT2 called “The World Wide Hip-Hop Championship.” I’m just getting my feet wet with this new TV stuff, its a whole new hustle. I’m working on some new projects with the (BAS) brothers.
I’m also doing a producer album of my own, that includes everything I have done before. I’m even going to drop the GZA record just so people that have not heard of me can peep the resume and get me some more work.
NF: Your hustle is crazy. I run across a lot of producers with dope beats. I want to start letting people know what to do at the next step. Everyone is at different levels of their career, and you’re at the point where your tracks are getting placed. I just wanted to get some perspective from you, someone whos hustle is effective.
SM: The one thing I have learned is that you can’t rely on someone else to get your name out there. You have to really go out there and physically do it. I know a lot of people are stuck on this online hustle. Thats cool, and it works to a certain extent. I moved to New York City for a year and a half and I grinded. I went to every city with beat CDs in my hand. Sometimes you got to bite the bullet. You got to take risks.
Even working with some of these established and some not established artist who have budgets, sometimes don’t want to pay you. And I have let them use it anyway, to get the resume builder. Most people want to be paid, but you can get paid later. Deal with the resume. Straight up- I would rather have my record on with a big independednt, like Superstition. He has a huge following.You gotta get your hands on someone who is moving like that, rather than trying to land big stuff. Thats why I kept hitting a brick wall in the past, because I kept trying to hit big records.
Now trying to be a producer is something everyone does. It turned into a big trend, unfortunately. You have to understand your craft. You have to be versitlie with what kind of tracks you do. If you look at my resume, I work with a wide range of people. From, 50 to Devan, Sean Priceton, and (Rocka Irasira). You have to be able to produce any kind of record.
NF:Going through your collection, I was listening to the Grouch joint Never Die. You used the same sample that J.U.S.T.I.C.E League used in the Maybach music. You flipped it in a different way. How did you come to find that record, and use it?
SM:(Laughter) Me and Grouch did that record way before “Maybach Music” even dropped. I did that beat a couple of years before he even used it. You can’t own a sample, it is what it is.
It’s a dope ass sample, dope ass record. Grouch loved it. It’s a fucking smash. I love that record. I like the Rick Ross record too.I cant even front. I like how they redid it. Its just a co-insidence. As soon as it came out, I saw people made comments online. It’s just inquiring minds think alike, that’s how I look at it.
I think it was only a matter of time that someone was going to jump on that record. Thats a dope ass sample. When I heard the way they flipped it, I said “man thats how I flipped it.” (Laughter) It let’s me know I’m doing something right as a producer.
NF: Who are some of your mentors? When you got the equipment, was their anyone who showed you how to use the EPS?
SM: Nobody showed me nothing. I aint have no manual. There was a couple of dudes in the area that had the same shit, and they didnt want to show me. I taught myself to use it. Of course I got other producers I was listening to, but no one hands on directly trying to showing me how to use it.
I tell people all the time, don’t wait for someone to help you do it. Just do it yourself, hands on. Get on your fingers and your elbows and get into it.