The Heatmakerz: More than the Movement

      The Heatmakerz are no strangers to change. After developing a form of music described as “crack,” that amassed an almost cult-like following for Dipset, The Rsonist and Thrilla were forced to change courses. The addiction to that “crack” spread far beyond a young, innocent fan base, and into the ears of rabid producers trying […]

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      The Heatmakerz are no strangers to change. After developing a form of music described as “crack,” that amassed an almost cult-like following for Dipset, The Rsonist and Thrilla were forced to change courses. The addiction to that “crack” spread far beyond a young, innocent fan base, and into the ears of rabid producers trying to obtain a foot in the door by way of imitation.  After compiling a string of album credits for Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, and The Diplomats, the production duo pumped the brakes on production work for the rising crew, and began to provide their services to other artists.     With a progressive sound now described as “aggressive soul music,” Heatmakerz are aiming their proven track record at much larger targets.  In an industry where artists often hit a glass ceiling, they are on a new path to surpass their status as platinum producer and enter into the ever competitive executive arena. With a solo rap career from Rsonist on the horizon, and hopes of a solid in-house production deal, The Heatmakerz are eager to prove that their worth to the industry goes beyond a hot track. What’s up man? Tell me about the mixtape album you have out now…Rsonist: Basically what it is, it’s just a lot of the Heatmakerz’ artists on one album, and we got some unsigned people. We got Peedi Crack, J.R. Writer, Papoose, Jim Jones. The majority of it is like the Heatmakerz artists like G and B, myself, Dox, Why did you decide to do an album?Rsonist: It was kinda just to get our name poppin’ again. Like, we did a lot of tracks for other artists, but people might forget that we actually produce. Like not just make a beat, but really produce a record. So on this album we really got a chance to showcase that we could make songs as opposed to just making a track for Is it safe to also say that this is the Heatmakerz’ attempt at getting into the executive side of the industry as well?Rsonist : Exactly. This is like a mixtape album. I don’t want people to think that this is like an album. We put this together, honestly, in about two and a half months. What we want to show is that we can actually put out a product that people will like and respect at the same time. But with the right amount of money behind us we can turn our artists into stars. Are you finding it difficult as a producer to move up to that level of the game?Rsonist: Of course. It’s just a little harder because anytime you try to step outside of your lane it’s gonna be a little harder. But you know, the more we do it the more it’s gonna become like second nature. Okay, well you also stepped into a new realm by rapping on this mixtape. What made you decide to go there?Rsonist: It definitely is stepping outside of my lane. I’m not going to make it seem like I’ve rapped forever. You know Charlemagne, another producer from The Bronx? He came to me and he was like “You know, you should rap.”  And I was like “You know that ain’t me. That really ain’t my tone.” He was like, “Nah, you got to think about it, every producer that ever came in the game kinda got stagnated after a certain point. No matter how big your music is, no matter how good you are doing what you’re doing, you still gotta take it to that next level or else you just gonna be stuck in the same position.”  He made a lot of sense and I made some songs and the songs were coming out good. Every song I made was coming out better and Do you think that you trying to rap might hinder the Heatmakerz as a production team?Rsonist: Nah, I think it will hinder me until people hear the music.  Once they hear the music, they’ll understand what it is. Like I said, I’m my own worst critic. So if I didn’t sound good on any of the music, I wouldn’t do it.   To me, a lot of producers make the best rappers because they know how they want to sound on top of music; they know how their voice should sound, how they should flow on a certain beat, how the beat should break, and how they should attack it. So you know, if anything, a lot of producers give advice to artists so it only makes sense that you take some of that advice yourself and put it to music and you know, just be true. Like, I’m not coming out on these records talking about shooting people, killing people, things [that are] out of my lane. Anything you hear on the records I talk about is me, so you know it’s authentic. I think people will appreciate  How do you feel, personally, about rappers that move into production?Rsonist:  I think some people are made for it and some aren’t.  It goes both ways. It’s like a basketball player that tries to rap or the rapper that tries to be a ball player. Some people can do it, some people can’t. Or the rapper that tries to turn actor, or vice versa.  It just depends on who’s doing it. You got somebody like Eminem who’s a rapper that, as far as in his movie, did a good job. Ludacris is a good actor, DMX is a good actor. Certain people can do it, and other people can’t. It just depends on who does it. I don’t really want to pinpoint anybody and say, “You know this person, they can’t do it,” but like I said, it depends on the individual. Some people got the talent to do both. As a production team, you guys worked very closely with Dipset. Recently, it appears as if that has fallen off a little. Why is that?Rsonist: I just think that we both got bigger, company wise. Dipset branched out where they had another six or seven new artists, and Heatmakerz started getting more outside work. I mean, we still work with each other, but as far as the way we used to, like 10 tracks on this album, 11 tracks on this album, it just changed a little because the bigger Dipset got, the more producers started attacking them. When Dipset was brand new a lot of producers didn’t know how big they were gonna be so they just went for the bigger artist.  Now that Dipset is bigger, everybody wants a track on the album. With us, it’s sort of like people know what we can do, and we can always get tracks on a Dipset album. That’s not really a problem.  We want to show people that we can do more than just produce for Dipset.  What do you think of their sound now?Rsonist: I think a lot of their production derived from us, but a lot of people producing for them now, I think, I don’t want to say, have a one dimensional sound. They think Dipset can only rock one way so that’s the sound they give them. I look at the stuff from Diplomatic Immunity, production wise, and I just think that the producers aren’t where they need to be at. That’s just my personal opinion.AllHipHop: Was sample clearances an issue with you guys moving apart?Rsonist: We did have problems clearing samples sometime, but that wasn’t really why we didn’t do as much work with them.  It’s just that we became more in demand and they became more in demand. We got pulled in different directions. I wouldn’t say the samples had anything do to with it because we did original songs before. “Killa Cam” was an original song. “Juelz Santana the Great” was an original joint. We had original songs when need be. That was just our sound. If need be, we didn’t have to  Do you feel underrated in the industry in light of the amount of hit records you’ve produced.Rsonist: Of course. I just feel like we deserve our chance like the Cool and Dre and the Track Boyz, and the people who got production deals or label situations. They passed us up for all of that. We never got a label deal or a production deal.  To be honest with you, we never even got a song deal.  The industry kind of acts like we didn’t put out the amount of records that we put out. To date, we’ve put out 68 records [that have] been in stores. A lot of people think we just did Dipset Why do you think the money doesn’t flow to the Heatmakerz despite creating an entire sound?Rsonist: A successful sound. I mean it’s one thing to make up a sound, but a successful sound… It’s only a few producers that have created a sound for an artist. You look at the Timbalands, you look at the [Dr.] Dres, you look at the Neptunes. A lot of producers don’t create sounds, they make beats. Think about a lot of the big producers, they haven’t molded a sound, they just made successful beats. It’s one thing to come up with a sound that people know, it’s you when they hear it, that’s something that you can’t duplicate. The problem is the industry looks at producers the way they’re supposed to look at artists. They look at “I’ve never seen him before. I don’t know his face, so I can’t give him this label deal because I don’t know what he looks like.” If I was to jump in every video I did production for, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’d have a label deal So are you relating it to just an exposure issue?Rsonist: Yeah, it’s a popularity contest. It’s not about who makes the better music, it’s about who’s more recognizable. You see Dre, from Cool and Dre, and you know his face. You see Pharrell. A lot of them producers that got production deals, I think it was the Track Boyz that did J-Kwon, you see them in the video and a couple months later they pop up with a label deal.  That’s just the way it happens. I’m not hatin’ on anybody, I respect all of them for doing what they did because they had to hustle to get there. But I just blame the industry for not doing their homework. Is talent enough anymore?Rsonist: Nah. People don’t buy your CD because the music is good anymore. Years ago they did. People buy your music now because they feel like they know you. Now people will buy an artist’s [CD] because he had a reality show and they know something about him. Like, his mother lives here, and he chills with his brother and sister and he likes to eat this and he does this or does that. Nowadays, having a hit single doesn’t mean nothin’. You could have a hit single and still sell 80,000 your first week. The climate of the game changed. It’s so different the way everything is, the way the industry is, the way TV is. What do the Heatmakerz have on tap for the rest of this year?Rsonist: We did three songs on Papoose’s album coming out. We did a couple of tracks on Juelz [Santana] and Lil’ Wayne’s album coming out. I’m going in with Lil’ Wayne on his solo project. I got my project that I’m working on, my solo project. I got Juelz on there, Lil’ Wayne on there, I got Jim [Jones] on there, I got Mario Winans on there. We’re just working man. The official Heatmakerz album should be out in the summer or the beginning of fall.  Look out for the Heatmakerz in ’07 and ’08, we gonna have a label deal in a minute.