SHAWTY REDD - A Beat Machine

Shawty Redd

By: Keith Kennedy –

Have you heard of Shawty Redd?  If not, the last time it was checked he was the man on these beats.  For years, he has provided the musical backbone for numerous hip-hop megastars such as Young Jeezy, Snoop Dogg, Juvenile and so many others.  So, the chances are you have heard this multi-platinum producer long before you ever heard his name.  But, with an upcoming album and a hard earned understanding of the game, the Shawty Redd name will be echoing through the passage of time for many years to come.

What was your first breakthrough?

I was with a company called Twinn Productions and Raheem the Dream [CEO, Tight 2 Def] came through one day looking for beats with an artist named Drama and we came up with “Left Right Left.”

How did you get started making beats?

I was focused on doing beats to keep me out of trouble.  I already knew the piano and drums from playing in church.  So I started doing tracks at the crib and people started coming through.  Whenever I would get a check, I would buy equipment.

Did you expect the Drama record to breakthrough?

I wasn’t expecting to drop a song in my city [Atlanta] and have it blow up the way it did.  One day me and Drama were passing out CDs at the high schools and then they called up talking about a deal. 

How did you link with Jeezy?

I linked with Jeezy right after working with Drama.  We did a song as soon as he got out called “G8” but they never released it.  In fact, we did a few albums before “Thug Motivation” came out.  So, we’ve always worked together.

To tell the truth I was a studio geek.  I had a studio in a club called NV so me and Jeezy was always together.  We hung out every day.  It was like big bruh, little bruh at the time so we was always on the strip club scene.  When he was in the studio, I was in the studio.  I’d do a beat and go to the club and he’d be still in there working cuz he really wanted to do the rap thing.

How did you two come up with the concepts and sound for “Thug Motivation?”

We knew how each other work.  He knew I’d like to make custom beats, so me and him would sit down and I’d play something for him.  I already knew what beat pattern he wanted so that part was easy.  As long as I hit the right keys and played something that hit him like on some street stuff, it was all good; it’s a hit record.  We worked really hard on that album.

If you two worked so well on the first album, why didn’t you have as many tracks on the second album?

To be honest, Def Jam wanted to have Jeezy reach the people that he didn’t on the first album.  We tried to come so hard to match the first album but the label didn’t want to use the songs me and Jeezy came up with because they were too hard.

In retrospect, was it a good decision?

Tell you the truth, I think it was a good business move because he was able to catch people he didn’t the first time.  But we gotta go hard on this third album.

Who else have you worked with?

Juvenile and so many other cats that I can’t tell you.  I just did the Snoop record called “Sexual Eruption.”  That was a good blessing.

That’s a big tune, how did that come about?

Snoop heard my “Drifter” song and he tried to buy it but I was like “man, I gotta keep this one for myself.  You can get on it or I can make another one for you.”  He said, “do what you do.”  An hour went by and I sent him the [“Sexual Eruption”] record.  He said, “I love it.  I’mma auto tune this up and keep it just like it is.  I ain’t changin’ nothing.”  Two more hours he hit the studio, sent it back, and I had it playing in the strip clubs that night.

How long does it take for you to make a beat?

It only takes me about 15 minutes to make a beat.  The beat part is nothing, that’s the easy part.  I like dealing with the artist and once he tells me he likes something, it’s a wrap.

Once I can find a good drum track for an artist that they can ride on, I’mma put my keys on it and blend what my style is with theirs so we can make a hit record.

What is the difference between a producer and a beatmaker?

With a beat maker, you shoot me a check and I’ll send you a beat and we call it a day.  But, I’m a producer, I’ll sit and work with you and say you should come in like this.  You’re representing me at the same time and I got something to prove so I try to make it a hit.

What are you trying to prove to the world?

I want the world to know that I’m a real producer.  When I did the Drama record, a lot of people didn’t know that I produced the whole album.  So when the game changed, the labels try to say that I was just a dirty south producer and they wouldn’t fuck with me.  So this is my second chance and I don’t want to get caught up in the same predicament so that’s why I did tracks like the Snoop record to show that I’m a real producer and not just a Southern producer.

What makes you want to keep a track or give it away?

To be honest, it depends on how big the check is [laughs].  I done gave out a couple of hard beats to your favorite rappers, but I’m not doing that no more cuz I’m working on my own album.

Tell us about it.

It’s called “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.”  It’s coming out of Atlanta like a Kanye but a little more grimy, ya know?  I’m giving the people what they expect of Shawty Redd and I’mma give them the unexpected.

Speaking of the unexpected, word is that you are searching for other producers to lay the tracks for your album.  Why is that?

I wanna give good producers an opportunity to get out there with their own production.

What is considered success for you?

I want to get my recognition as a producer, writer, and artist.  Success is when I’m sitting in one of those big offices like a JD or LA Reid.  I want one of them positions because a lot of executives aren’t working these artists the right way.  There’s a lot of good artists out there and they need somebody who can show them how it’s supposed to be done.  I can link with the streets as well as with the industry.

How would you direct a project?

I’mma give it a 110%, I’m a producer so I know what a hit record sounds like.  When you have an artist with a good work ethic that wants it like you want it then you’re gonna get that hit record.  A lot of artists have a hit record, but the label is scared and wants to hold off until they get that come behind record.  I feel like you should drop a record while it’s hot.  They’re messing with people’s dreams.  We came out the streets to do this music and they’re not doing it the right way.  See, I came from the streets and I know the business.

Who would you have on your album living or dead?

I’d put Prince on my album [laughs].  Or Al Green, Marvin Gaye or somebody like that and Tupac.

Word is you were just in a car crash.  How are you holding up?

Yeah, I was just in a head on collision on October 25 so right now I’m on these crutches.  Right now, I’m trying to record, finish my album and still be in the strip club trying to keep these ladies satisfied [laughs].

Has the crash changed your outlook on life?

It’s made me more focused.  I really wasn’t taking my business serious.  But, I didn’t really have faith before now but I feel like I must be here for a reason.

What is the power and allure of Atlanta strip clubs for you?

In the Atlanta strip clubs, it’s outrageous.  First, the DJ just puts the record on because it’s hot.  It’s not like in the regular club, you can test your records in the strip club any time you want if you tip the girls to dance on it and look out for the DJ if need be.  That’s how all my records done blowed up first, from the strip club.

Is that how “Drifter” started blowing up for you?

The Drifter record got leaked right after they debuted “Turn It Up” and the radio started playing it.  Plus with the Jeezy records it was like the Shawty Redd show.

As an artist/producer how do you prevent leaks of your music?

Now I keep everything with me, I keep my hard drive with me so I won’t worry about leaks.  But, if it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have a number one record with Snoop right now.  So everything happens for a reason.

What do you do in your down time to relax or get inspiration?

I get inspiration from video games.  I just listen to the music, there’s some crazy music in the background like from Devil May Cry or Assassin’s Creed.  I’ve got all the systems.

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers out there?

Stay focused and know your business before you get in this music game.  Thanks to all of the DJs for playing my records.

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