BlackoutHipHop.com had the chance to catch up with the NYC producer Ras Beats. He has recently released the full instrumentals of Control Your Own, his critically acclaimed debut project. With diverse beats and a squad of featured lyrical giants, Control Your Own stands out as one of the best underground productions in 2016, a must have for each boom bap fan. Check out the full interview after a jump (continue reading).
Control Your Own is referred to as what Real Hip Hop should sound like today, “The New Sound of New York”. What’s your perspective on the album and how would you define it for somebody who’s just about to press play?
I wanted to give you an album in the tradition of Showbiz & A.G., Main Source, De La Soul, Tribe, Scarface, Geto Boys, Pete Rock & C.L.. It’s up to the listener to grade how they rank my album but I have great appreciation for the art of rap and wanted to add my album to the mix. I took my time with it, I’m danish born, that’s my foundation, it’s in my dna but NYC has been my home for over half of my life and it’s had a big impact on how I listen to music, make it, walk, talk and conduct myself. With that being said, the album is hip hop made on the terms of respecting the tradition of this shit, the fuckin beauty of samples, scratches, MC’ing. That hip hop that make you make that face when you hear it. More of that grit and grime that hip hop used to have more of and that’s somewhat in shorter demand now. At the same time, I always wanna give the listener Ras Beats, I’m never trying to give you anything you heard before. I want to give you some innovation and new sounds as well as keeping the tradition alive. Build on the greatness that was created before I got busy myself.
You have produced tracks for emcees like Neek The Exotic, Marvalous & J-Biz. What made you focus on your own LP and release it independently on your record label Worldwyde Recordings?
It was just time, I had something to get out with my beats. Played with the idea of making an album for a while and just made the decision to do it and took it from there. It goes along with the title, control your own. Make situations happen for yourself, make the music you want to make. I just wanted to sink my teeth into a full length, I’m proud of how it came out and the reception’s been good, glad to see people feeling it and givin me that response. As far as my own label, that’s really just me being on my grown man business, I made the whole album so since I didn’t have a label situation that was undeniably better than Worldwyde Recordings it made sense for me to release it on my own label, especially with the theme of the album being what it is. I love the complete control I have, asked no motherfuckers for any permissions on this one, I have a few people in my inner circle I ran a few things by to see their reaction, but I was the artist, A&R and label owner on this, it was dope. Creative control.
How did the “Galaxy of Queens” contributed to your production?
Mmmm, I’m sure my sound would be different if I never made Queens my home but music is definitely bigger than any one place. My father introducing me to loving music, my big brother being a huge part in me discovering and studying hip hop back in the days was big. The energy and grit of Queens and NYC are def big part of it though, just the spirit of the city man, it’s in the music. Hip hop being born in The Bronx it’s in hip hop in general but I suppose mine has some extra 718 in it. I love Queens and take pride in makin this my home. The Mets, Run DMC, Nas, roti spots in Jamaica, dope borough. Tons of history here. I’ve always been a student of hip hop, from learning to dj, cut, all that, to learning the MPC 60 and on to the 2500.
Control Your Own features amazing lyricists like Masta Ace, O.C., A.G., Elzhi, Sadat X & Roc Marciano and many more. How did you selected and get connected to them?
It was working, some people I knew directly and some I just networked to get to. No magic potion, just worked to connect with people and making a dope album happen. I had a short list of MC’s I wanted to get on the project when I started working and I pretty much managed to get everyone I set out to get. I wanted to balance it with some legendary cats, some known and some lesser knows MC’s. Flexing my production skills and just giving you different artists and makin’ it sound and work as one connected album. With the line-up I have I definitely had to make sure I did my job though, couldn’t come with weak production for Roc, O.C., Elzhi, Ace, A.G. or any of the other artists I worked with. It definitely came with some responsibility as a producer but i welcomed that challenge.
You have just released the full versions of the Control Your Own Instrumentals. What’s the next step? Is there any work in progress you’d like to share?
More music from me, working on a few things. I have one project in the work with one MC… One MC and one producer type of project. What we have so far is dope, definitely putting that effort into this, I always wanna make everything I do as good as I can so you can expect more in that quality of Control Your Own. Also doin some tracks for a few different artists, workin on a few remixes. Keepin the momentum goin after the album. BlackoutHipHop will be one of the first people to hear about it, appreciate the open ears I have gotten from you guys.