Nitti: The Breaker

They say luck is what happens when preparation meets with opportunity. When Atlanta’s latest production wunderkind met Southern Rap legend Eightball in the parking lot at Magic City, he was more than prepared. That chance meeting led Nitti to production credit on seven of the fifteen tracks on ‘Ball’s 2001 release Almost Famous, including the […]

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They say luck is what happens when preparation meets with opportunity. When Atlanta’s latest production wunderkind met Southern Rap legend Eightball in the parking lot at Magic City, he was more than prepared. That chance meeting led Nitti to production credit on seven of the fifteen tracks on ‘Ball’s 2001 release Almost Famous, including the hit single “Stop Playin’ Games.” A couple of years later, he did it again, producing a hit for fellow A-Towners Boyz N Da Hood, a feat rendered even more impressive by the fact that the Bad Boy artists were a group of unknowns. Freshly in the ears though, it was Yung Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down” last year that certified Nitti’s gifts.

Still, certain Hip-Hop purists would say that Nitti’s success is shear luck, pointing to the simplicity of his tracks as evidence. Yet regardless of what the doubters have to say, he has parlayed his Playmaker Music imprint into a bona fide hit factory. And this self-taught beatsmith, who first discovered the power of music in the church , is certainly not to be underestimated. Now with a Warner Brothers Records co-sign, Nitti finds himself in pole position, ready to continue proving the haters wrong. So what lead you to ink the deal with Warner Brothers?

Nitti: Really, because they came to me with one of the best label deals that I was looking for. And they got like a whole new staff over there, a whole new system going on. So really I felt like it’s an opportunity I could capitalize on. ‘Cause they don’t have a lot of acts over there, they don’t have a lot of movements that’s going on over there. Our sources over there told us the deal is “lifestyle changing.” Can you give us some details?

Nitti: Put it like this: they giving me a lot of money to play with. It’s a spectacular deal. It’s a deal that could change your life. You know with me, I always been a hustler, so money don’t make me, it don’t change me. I been getting money. Now I don’t have to just play with my money, I could play with other people’s money and make things happen. So I’ma put out three to four acts a year, ‘cause I get a lot of people that come to me and want me to do stuff for ‘em. You come from more of a Gospel background, right?

Nitti: Yeah. So how did you get started with Hip-Hop?

Nitti: I started producing up under a couple of producers. One of my homies, he was an Atlanta, he got me on a couple of remixes and stuff. The first record I ever did was a remix for Ghetto Mafia called “In Decatur.” So I did that, it got a local buzz. I went on and kept grinding. I met Eightball, ended up doing one of his singles, “Stop Playin’ Games.” I produced seven records on his album Almost Famous [which] went gold. I just kept on doing a lot of records for a lot of local Atlanta artists and stuff. And I just built my name as a producer in Atlanta, ‘cause Atlanta’s always been a hard market to get. After the “Stop Playin’ Games,” I came with the Boyz N Da Hood single “Dem Boyz” that year. Then the next following year, I came with the Yung Joc “It’s Goin’ Down” single. You know, I guess I proved to a lot of people that I could break new acts, and go in the studio with a new act that ain’t never had a record out and just first singles, they got a lot of love, which is hard to do for a lot of new artists. They don’t get the chance to have an opportunity to have a hit record, ‘cause they’re new artists and it’s hard. People always talk down on new artists. But luckily with some of the artists that I worked with lately, they been getting nice breaks and it’s meant a lot to me. Business-wise, is that something that you consciously did, or did it just happen that outside of Eightball, the artists you were working with were all new artists?

Nitti: I like working with new artists because for a producer to break a new artist, it means more than just working with a artist that’s already established. Anybody can go in with Jay-Z or T.I. or Jeezy and make a record with them, because their name’s already established. But when you come and you present a artist and you produce ‘em a mega hit that goes to number one… A lot of producers they dream about that type of thing: to break an artist with your work. So definitely, it’s a challenge. I’d rather work with a new artist than an established artist any day. Once you get that first hit, a lot of people will tell you they want a “Stop Playin’ Games” or they want a “It’s Goin’ Down.” How do you deal with that?

Nitti: I tell the artists that when I go in and make those records, I make them specifically for the artist. I go with the artist and I vibe off of them at the time. ‘Cause it ain’t like I do a lot of pre-made beats, I do ‘em on the spot and it depend on what type of vibe I get from the artist. It’s not like I have these little microwave beats, you know what I’m sayin’, and they just sitting up there ready. The song has to match the artist. If I got a girl group and they’re real pretty, they gotta have a pretty song. It gotta fit the character. It has to be a total package. Like, some artists might have a song that might be too big for them. And some artists that might be big artists, they need big songs. That’s what it is. A lot of people may not realize that you’re an artist as well. Was that something that you always planned on doing?

Nitti: Nah. I mean, I don’t really look at myself as an artist. I look at it more as I’m having fun, I’m an entertainer. I ain’t never wanna be no rapper or nothing like that, you know what I’m sayin’. I’m not a rapper. But I know how to arrange words where you would think that I’m a rapper. But I’m not a rapper at all. I like to get on the mic and have fun. I like to say stuff to make people move. But that’s just what it is. I like people to feel good when they hear my music. And when they hear me say something, I like for it to make them feel good and change they whole swag, you know what I’m sayin’. I like people to feel good about they self when they hear my music. Especially here in Atlanta: there’s a lot of artists here that you never hear more than once. So how do you guarantee that you’re gonna have a label full of artists with longevity? What do you look for in your artists?

Nitti: I look for artists that know what they’re doing, they’re not just luckin’ up making records. I look for artists that, when they walk in a room, they look at a star, and you look at them like, “Is he a artist? Or is he a janitor?” You know they’re a star when you see ‘em. And when you hear the music, it makes it a plus. When can we expect your first project on Warner Brothers and what is that gonna be?

Nitti: First project I’m probably gonna put out is gonna be Ghettoville, USA, that’s gonna be my project. I’ma have a couple of features on there, a lot of my new artists that I already got signed to me gonna be on the album. And I got a couple of outside surprise guests that I’ma have on my album, I can’t really disclose that right now. I’ma take my time on it. I’m in the studio right now working on it. And it’s just gonna be one of the hottest albums to hit this year. What other projects are you working on right now?

Nitti: Right now I just did this project on this artist named Sunny [Valentine]; he’s signed to Jive. He just got a deal two months ago with Jive. We got a single called “F U Pay Me.” I got him right now. I’m working on new David Banner material, Slim Thug, Bow Wow, a lot of new stuff I been working on. I mean, I’m working with so many artists right now, I’m seeing a different artist every day. I’m just staying busy. As you start to step out from being behind the scenes, what do you think is gonna surprise people most about you?

Nitti: I mean, what’ll surprise them is they’ll see how versatile I am and I’m a people person. I like being around everyday people. It ain’t nothing Hollywood about me, I’ma keep it real with everybody. And I got a lot of surprises. I’m real creative. I don’t have no limits to what type of music I do. I might do R&B, Pop, Country, whatever. Reggae, it don’t matter. I definitely see myself being one of the producers to be around for the next 20-30 years. I feel like I’m up to bat right now. I got my shoes tied tight. And I’m ready.