So I upped a short video of Percee-P’s ‘Nowhere Near Simple’ joint on Instaglam a while back and the producer, Shazam-X messages me showing love. We get talking and Shazam, we made it happen. So here we have a dope, 8-tracker, including some extremely hard to find pieces as well as a couple unreleased bangers for your noggin.
For more info on the man like Shazam-X, peep this short interview we did:
Where did you grow up? I know you rep BK – but what specific neighborhood?
Actually I’m originally from East New York Brooklyn and then later on moved to Harlem NY. When growing up in Harlem I’m originally from 139th & 5th ave. I grew up with and also knew artists like Herb Mcgruff, Big L, Mase, Cam’ron, DJ EZ Rock, Rob Base and plenty other Harlem artists.
What are your earliest recollections of the culture ?
Funny thing is my earliest recollection of hip hop didn’t start in the USA for me, it started in Jamaica WI [edit: where he moved at the age of 5]. I’m also half Jamaican and my first hip hop experience started in Jamaica. That’s where I first heard King Tim the 3rd and Rappers Delight. As a little boy I use to always love hanging around DJs and watching them set up the equipment. I was fascinated with the lights & the knobs, so that’s kinda how it all started for me. Just a kid fascinated with equipment.
Did you have older cats around you, cousins etc who exposed you to hip hop music/culture?
Once I came back to the America’s one of my grandmother’s best friends son use to babysit me and he was a dj and he basically taught me how to blend records together and the whole timing approach to being a good dj. Then my family moved to Flatbush Brooklyn and while in school my cousin introduced me to this dj guy named Tony Tee and he taught me the basics of more blending and also he taught me how to scratch. After being around Tony so much, I got really good so my mom asked me one year what did I want for X-Mas and I said a dj setup and she bought me one. After that the rest in history.
I read you started off as a dj in 84.
When did you get yr first paid gig and what was it?
I actually started my dj career around 82-83. My first paid gig was a basement party in my building when I lived at in Flatbush, BK. Me and a few of my friends threw the party and charged people to come in. Eventually the cops shut us down because of complaining neighbors lol. I might’ve made $150 that night and that’s how the whole party dj thing started for me.
When did you first get into producing and did you come up with anyone else? And what was the earliest recording gear you copped?
I actually got in to production because of my boys Ultramagnetic MCs. I was really tight with them and use to go to all the shows and studio with them all the time. Sometimes I would even dj shows for them. Well, being in the studio with them all the time kinda sparked my interest in production. The lights, the faders, the mix board all caught my attention. So when they were recording Critical Beatdown I was there for the whole process and my boy Ced Gee would teach me things about production. A lot of people don’t know Ced was a beast with the production. He’s the one who actually produced BDPs first album but keep that on the low, lol. So basically because of Ultra that’s the beginning of my production career.
What was your first record out and how did that feel?
My first record I ever made was with a group called Two Tuff MCs, there were 4 of us in the group. The song was called Cold Crush (Manhattan Rock) members were Body Rock (RIP), Kay Bee, DJ Irv and myself Shazam X. The song was on PMP records but eventually we got jerked, this was back in 84-85. Even though we got jerked and all, it still was a fun experience and we got noticed throughout Harlem from it. Now my first piece of production equipment I ever copped was the DMX drum machine, it was a big deal back then. Then I purchased the Booss Dr Rhythm drum machine, the same one Schooly D used for PSK and all his other hits. I got kinda nice with that machine but soon got rid of it and the DMX. Now my very first sampler was a SP 1200 and that machine is what took me to the next level. I learned how to use it from a friend by the name of Raheem, he was real nice with the SP and he taught me the basics. We use to go over to Salaam Remis house and that’s how I would get familiar with the SP. Salaam is a close friend of mine and he would show me different tricks with the machine.
After hanging around Raheem and Salaam I kinda broke away and started doing my own thing, It was really hard to make a real name in the production scene by myself and around 92 is when I met my boys Kenny Dope and Todd Terry. Thanks to those two brothers that how my solo career as a producer started. I have a lot of love for all my teachers through my musical journey but Kenny and Todd and Will Sokolov really believed in me and let me do my thing. Much love and respect to all of then for all the time they took out to teach me some good lessons.
Shazam X – The Producer Project EP [VINYL]
A1 Pos-Neg – South Bronx
A2 Sistar Act – Death List ft Waltbaby
A3 Sistar Act – I Want The Riches ft Waltbaby
A4 Sistar Act – Killer Instinkt ft Waltbaby
B1 Sick Lyrical Damager – Getting Sick
B2 Sick Lyrical Damager – Makin Millz
B3 TDK – Streetlife (A World Of Crime)
B4 TDK – Streetlife (A World Of Crime) [Unreleased Remix]
All tracks produced by Shazam-X
Art by S-Code