Interview by Louie Lopez (@ThatzCrack)
Photos by Aaron Reiss
JENESIS links up with Pro Era’s own Chuck Strangers as he talks about when he first started and linked up with Pro Era, working in the studio with Joey Bada$$, and the “young n*ggas takin over” movement.
How old were you when you made your first beat and how did it come about?
I was 12. We all use 2 rap or whatever, and I tried to rap and I wasn’t very good at it so I decided I was going to make beats. I would just be honest with myself like I wasn’t shit at rapping right now, then I started making beats and it just worked.
Who can you honestly influenced you into the producing world
I would say its a few main people like Pete Rock, Kanye, Q-tip, Mannie Fresh like just a bunch of really ill producers. Artist as well like there’s been albums that made me want to make beats like Blueprint by Jay-z, has a shit ton of ill beats on it. To me I feel like I’ve always heard beats differently than everybody else heard’em you know what I mean? I could see as a kid that I would always hear the kick drums, the high hats, like a lot of people said it’s just a beat and a voice you know what I’m saying. To me I always got the bigger picture.
How do you feel about producers now a days doing it all themselves? Rapping, producing, mix & mastering?
I feel like it’s good. I feel like it’s a good thing, it gives you control over your music if you make a beat , write your song all you do is record you know what I’m saying..
What’s a typical day in the studio for you?
Well it depends, I got a little pre-production studio in the crib you know, but like typical day in the studio I’ll meet up with Joey or some other people in Pro Era and well do some beats and they’ll start free styling and then well decide what the song is about, set the structure and then get started. It’s funny cause sometimes in Pro Era the thing is in the studio is not about making songs, it’s about setting the connection that has to be made before making the songs in the future. It’s all about catching each other’s vibe.
How’s the vibe when you and Joey BadaSS are in the studio?
He’s a real particular dude, he likes to relax and he doesn’t like what he doesn’t like you know. It’ll be like when we were working on 1999 it took us a while to kick it off because when I got in and started working on the project it was kinda already almost done and he already had the raps ready and I would send him beats and he wasn’t feeling them, but then I started really listening to him and to old songs he made it and make it sound like that and started matching sounds and flipping beats adding my twist into them to Joey’s liking.
How did the whole Pro Era team come together?
Well how it came about was we all tried to pretty much make a rap group and it just got really really big, it got out of control. We added more and more people, I’m not one of the founding members I’m not going to front. They saw what I was doing and I saw what they were doing and we clicked you know.
How has it been going from just another somebody known on the block to now being one of the hottest groups on the rise out of NY?
It feels kind of like surreal and like I don’t know, it just changes the perception of us you know but like it’s easy to just get big headed but we just level. We haven’t even done shit shit were still not on that level were not even that epic yet, we’re working.
How do you feel about the whole “young niggas taking over” movement?
Oh man, I actually think it’s cool. The other day I saw Earl Sweatshirt tweet, he was like he “give it a year until 90s babies take over everything”. The world is run by young people now. It’s crazy. It just feels good to be a part of that movement, young people putting their music out its ridiculous you know.
Why aren’t you on the Smoker’s Club Tour with Joey?
I didn’t go because it’s just hard for me to concentrate on making beat and traveling, it’s our first tour. I’ll still go to a couple tour dates and show up. But I’m sure we’ll go on more tours I’m just trying to work on my beats and trying to work on my next project.
What can we expect from Chuck in the near future?
Well Joey and I are just working on some stuff for him right now and also I got my own project coming out, but it’s not me rapping and a bunch of shit. It’s just me and other artist I feel who I want to work with. Them rapping over my beats. It’s going to be like a feature series called FREE BASE.
Follow Chuck Strangers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chuck_strangers