AraabMuzik Talks Launching License Lounge, Producing Joe Budden's Drake Diss Tracks & More: Exclusive
AraabMuzik is looking to change the way producers do business for the foreseeable future. With more problems permeating the industry due to the digitization of music, beat makers are also getting hurt. The MPC maestro has become the ambassador for the newly launched License Lounge, which looks to become the premier marketplace for producers.
"It's like a one-stop shop, you got a little bit of everything. It's like the Flight Club for producers," said the 28-year-old. "If you want the industry exclusive stuff, go to License Lounge." As more and more producers speak up about issues, Araab hopes to inspire other creatives to stand up for what they rightfully own. "We deserve just as much as what the artists are making," claimed the Rhode Island native.
The "Streetz Tonight" artist is still hard at work in the studio, as he expects to collaborate with the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, Cardi B and Jadakiss throughout 2018. Araab also will be releasing the sequel to his 2011 magnum opus over the summer, Electronic Dream 2.
Billboard caught up with AraabMuzik to get his thoughts on launching License Lounge, potentially creating a union for producers, crafting Joe Budden's Rage & The Machine album, and possibly collaborating with Jadakiss on his next mixtape.
Visit License Lounge's official website for more information.
Explain what you've helped launch for producers in the License Lounge?
License Lounge is pretty much a beat website for established producers. Artists all over the world will have access to producers' music instead of going through a third party. It's like a producer's marketplace in a way. You get paid through the site.
This was actually brought to my management through my agent. He brought this up with the License Lounge people and they started going through ideas of the goal to launch a site at the top of 2018. I pretty much became the ambassador and face of it. It's the year of the producers. We deserve just as much as what the artists are making.
What are the major problems facing producers in today's music marketplace?
It's gotta be the business end of it. It's always about the [money] and the lawyers getting involved. It all falls down to business at the end of the day. The placements and the recognition is all there. We're all established and we know who it is, but it's always the business that the people need to get right. I think a producer's union could work. We all come together and start our own J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League.
You could end up wanting to leave, but you're under a bad contract. I'm not signed to a major label, but I could see how frustrating it is for major label artists to be getting played around, especially when the artist is touring and making a bunch of moves, but is still waiting on getting paid.
What do you tell younger producers as far as the best way to get visibility?
SoundCloud is definitely the No. 1 spot where a lot of people are getting recognized. YouTube as well, if you have the content to go with the audio. License Lounge is like SoundCloud, but for producers to put your music up. Artists can put their sound kits up and people are able to purchase them and their tracks.
It's like a one-stop shop, you got a little bit of everything. It's like the Flight Club for producers. If you want the industry exclusive stuff, go to License Lounge. I think it's going to be the spot because nobody wants to be grappling over regular beats, because they can get one from a producer they like. It's growing as well, we're always going to be adding people to the roster.
DJ Booth recently reported on how Atlantic Records had been ripping off producers in the past by telling them their beats were for mixtapes, but then they'd end up on an artist's album.
If it's on an album and you got a beat with a crazy sample in it, I don't think they can let it slide and play it off like it's on a mixtape. I don't know how they'd be able to finagle that. Nowadays, a lot of people are doing original work, which is always the best way to have one hundred percent of your rights.
I actually just ran into Cardi B and we chopped it up in [New York City]. I pulled up on her in the store and said, "Listen, I did this beat you freestyled on." "Red Barz" is my track. She didn't even know, that's why I couldn't even be mad at her, she just went on YouTube. That's how old the track is. [Cardi B] goes, "We got to get that on iTunes." Now we can work something out and plus work on new stuff. She's hard at work on her album.
Last week, I ran into Lil Uzi Vert. I'm ready to work with these top notch artists. I got studio sessions planned. I'm actually flying out to Atlantic Records in a couple weeks to record with a bunch of artists.
I’m Looking forward to album placements. I'm on the Tory Lanez album -- the outro. It's like an outro to a good old film. Swizz Beatz got his album coming out, Poison, I got a handful of tracks on there, which is definitely coming out this year. Busta Rhymes has his album coming out too, but there's no release date. These are just things I got going on so far in 2018.
Are producers privy to project release dates that they have a placement on?
You know once the contracts are sent. If you don't hear anything, then sometimes it means the track blew past. You know how artists are, they keep getting sidetracked and you gotta keep reminding them and pop up here and there and say, "What's going on with that track?"
Walk me through the creative process for Joe Budden's Rage & The Machine. What do you remember most about the project from 2016?
It all started with a phone from Joe breaking the album down, telling me his ideas and letting me know what he wanted. I went up to New Jersey and started playing him some tracks he may have wanted for the album. I traveled back home and to his house and he was recording a lot for a couple months.
We linked around April 2016 and worked until September and the project released October 2016. [Joe Budden] gave me the Tevin Campbell sample to flip on "Idols" and everything else I did on my own. That was a handpicked sample. It was definitely a good project, but then again.
The most bullshit interview -- which was a waste -- was Hot 97's Ebro in the Morning. [Joe Budden] walked off set. Ebro wasn't even trying to hear it. [Joe Budden] was there to promote the album and I was just sitting next to him and it wasn't going the way I wanted it to. They were off topic with a lot of things and Marisa Mendez was getting upset. It was a mess. It happened -- Joe did what he had to do and made a statement.
[The album] came out and people liked it for those that were waiting -- you know Joe Budden has his fan base. [Joe Budden] was talking about doing a part two, but this time around [would be different]. I'm putting all the marbles on the table. [Artists] always say they're [retired].
What did you think of the Drake diss tracks you produced for Joe Budden as well?
I mean I don't care -- it's whatever, but it was kind of just benefiting him. I just gave him the tracks. It didn't really shake any cages. The other diss came about because he heard that a lot of people knew about "No Shopping" with French Montana and Drake had that line.
What was Joe's energy like in the studio when recording the diss tracks?
[Joe Budden] was on a thousand, he was not sleeping. I don't know if he took seventeen Adderall. [Joe Budden] was on something that was not from here. I don't know what planet it was shipped from, he must've ordered that pill in 2000 for it to come now. [Joe Budden] was wilding out and going in. [Joe Budden] must've had this planned for centuries.
How did Lloyd Banks get ahold of your beat for his "Young & Restless" freestyle?
[Lloyd Banks] always uses my beats. [Lloyd] always goes on YouTube. [Lloyd Banks] won't have to do that anymore with License Lounge. We can send him a direct link and he can get all the AraabMuzik beats he wants.
I don't produce anything for [Lloyd Banks] directly, Banks just takes it and raps on it and puts it out. Then someone will at me on social media and I'll know it's out. There goes another freestyle to a beat I put out eighty years ago. Music is timeless. I've always been ahead of my time.
I was expecting to hear you on Fabolous and Jadakiss' Friday on Elm Street project, was there potential to that?
I was working for sure. One of the beats that was going to be on [Friday on Elm Street], Swizz Beats ended up taking for his album. So we had to take it back out. I had to break the bad news to Fabolous that he couldn't use the beat after he put vocals to it and everything. We have at least three albums worth of records, if not this tape, I'll get on the next.
Jadakiss actually wants to do a mixtape with me. He called me and said, "I want to do a tape kind of how Metro Boomin' is doing with all these artists. I think a tape with me and you on it and we'll go on the road with merchandise." He came to me with that. I told him, "Listen man, I'm here and these beats are ready to go." Jada goes, "Let's lock in for two or three days and bring your machine." It's all on the artists. That would be crazy.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2018?
I got a new project I'll be releasing for the summer, Electronic Dream 2. I'm going to revive that and bring it back. It's going to be the beats with the transient samples. Electronic Dream was a very classic and legendary time. I put that out and didn't even think it was going to do what it did. I went to Europe for the first time off that.
A lot of new stuff is going to be coming out. This year is going to be a great one for music. I think this License Lounge thing is going to be huge. I'm pretty sure people are going to want to become a part of what we got going on once they see it working. It's like a vending machine.