Interview: Ras Beats Discusses His Project "The High 5", His Go-To Beat Making Equipment and Much More
DCWS's latest exclusive interview is with NYC-based artist and producer Ras Beats who recently released the track "What I'm Connected To" featuring Ralphiie Reese, off his upcoming project “The High 5”. During this Q&A we ask Ras Beats about how he got his start producing, what his go-to production equipment is, who his favorite producers are and much more.
After this interview, be sure to follow Ras Beats on his social media streams and head over to Rasbeats.com for the latest news, free downloads, and to cop some exclusive merch from his store.
Tell us about how you got started making beats. Do you remember your first instrumental? Did you sell it to an artist or stash it away?
I started like most people from my era. By listening to hip hop and studying the masters of the music, Marley Marl, 45 King, Premier, Pete Rock, Bomb Squad, Muggs. I was already DJ’ing with my older brother and we started looking for old records. Isaac Hayes, James Brown, War, all that good shit. Just trying to find samples and learn as much as possible about music and in particular old records. At first I emulated what I heard from hip hop production and worked on creating my own sound.
I don’t remember the first one but my early instrumentals were simple loops, wasn’t really ready to be sold or really made into songs at the time, just figuring out my craft. First song I made was off a single 2 bar Bob James loop, matter fact I think I still owe the studio for that session.
What software/equipment do you use for your production? What is it in particular that you prefer about this software/equipment that you work with?
Akai MPC 2500, Pro Tools. My set up at the crib is simple, I can get right to work when I get an idea ofrhear a record I wanna mess with. Easy to take those protools files right to the studio for the recording of the vocals, mixing and all that. Definitely a set up I’m comfortable with and do my thing with.
For new producers just getting started, what software/equipment would you recommend they invest in?
I love how you do things on the MPC, a lot of people love that Maschine, but for me you can’t beat an MPC. Whatever you can do good work with, don’t get too caught up with what machine you use, it’s about what you can do with it. As long as it doesn't restrict you from getting busy.
Describe your creative process for us when it comes to laying down a beat. When do you know that a beat you have been working on is ready for an artist to jump on?
Mmm, it’s different, sometimes it’s strictly from hearing a groove, a sound, a mood of a record. Other times I just wanna sit down and make music. I may with the groove, then add drums. Sometimes the drums are first. It really just depends on how that inspiration comes. It's some form of a zone, when you're in it you just go with it.