Interview with producer and OFWGKTA affiliate BrandenBeatBoy

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By: AlexKoenig

Of all the Odd Future affiliates, among the most overlooked is producer BrandenBeatBoy (real name Branden Martin). Martin, who is 17 years old, has been collaborating with OF as early as 2008, and his production credits include Stapleton, the final track on Earl Sweatshirt’s classic debut LP, Earl, as well as the underrated Hodgy Beats banger “Diggin’ in my Pocket.”

Listen: “Stapleton” by Earl Sweatshirt

Unlike the producers of Odd Future, BrandenBeatBoy hasn’t developed a signature identity to his beat making just yet. But while he isn’t on the same level as Tyler the Creator or Left Brain in terms of having a fully developed production aesthetic, his talents certainly shouldn’t be slept on.

Rap Genius contacted BrandenBeatBoy to talk about who inspired him to get involved in beat making, his future collaborations, and his experiences with the members of Odd Future, including the enigmatic Earl Sweatshirt.

Rap Genius: Which rapper would you like to produce for the most?

BrandenBeatBoy: Damn, which rapper would I like to produce for? I would have to say Slim Thug or Fabolous because they were the two first rappers I ever bought an album from. First it was Fabolous' Real Talk album and Slim Thug’s Already Platinum. I was in elementary school when I bought them and they were both the edited versions, haha. Those were huge influences on me. The production on those albums is gold in my eyes.

RG: Which rapper so far has been the most fun to produce for?

BBB: I would have to say Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Mike Almighty and an upcoming artist of mine, but that whole project is in the works. I give the rappers my beats, and what I mean by my beats is that I want people to be able to tell my beat from someone else’s beat without me having to put my tag on it. Hopefully my beats will become my own genre.

RG: Who inspired you to get into beat making?

BBB: I would have to say my uncle. He’s been DJing since he was a teen and ever since I was three or four I would chill in his room with him while he played music and practiced DJing. Around the age of four or five I learned how to DJ but it wasn’t enough. After that I started to write rhymes but it wasn’t me nor wasn’t what I was looking for. After that I picked up playing the drums around 7-12 then after that I picked up the trumpet my freshman year in middle school. I would say the summer between 6th and 7th grade I downloaded the Fruity Loops demo and just taught myself everything and kept working on getting better each day.

RG: Who are your favorite producers of all time?

BBB: My favorite producers would have to be Battlecat, Drumma Boy, Dj Quik, JellyRoll, Warren G, The Neptunes, Timbaland, Danja Hands, Focus, Nottz, Lex Luger, Polo Da Don, Disorganized Noise, Cool & Dre, Justice League, Dj Khalil, Tha Bizness, Matt and Hal (Super3), Left Brain, Tyler the Creator, Syd Tha Kyd, L.T Hutton, Dr. Dre, Irv Gotti, Nitti, JakeOne, The Alchemist, Kanye West, Boi-1da, The Olympiks, J.R Rotem, Yori, Just Blaze, Missy Elliott, and Jermaine Dupri. There is a whole lot more but they all just have their own unique style, sound, time measure, or just a certain pattern where you can be like “Oh, yup that’s most definitely a (insert producers name here) track.”

RG: Who are favorite rappers of all time?

BBB: This question is hard. I can’t even say… I never have my albums on repeat and I try to keep everything in rotation and nowadays I set my iTunes up by composer so it’s more a question of who’s my favorite producer of the now, but I have been listening to Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80 project since he dropped it. I know by next week it will be someone else.

RG: What are your favorite/least favorite memories with the members of Odd Future?

BBB: My favorite memories with Odd Future were when we all use to hang and skate, sit in Syd’s studio and just do music all day & night, just doing fun things. This was way back in 2008 when it was just a local thing. I guess my least favorite memory is the jokes I had to take but it was just it was all love and respect and at the end of the day I got over it.

RG: Do you plan on collaborating with Odd Future in the future?

BBB: Yes I do plan on doing future collabs with Odd Future. They’re my peoples.

RG: When was the last time you spoke to Earl and what do you remember the most about him?

BBB: Man the last time I talked to Earl was the day that he, Taco, Tyler, and Jasper went skating in a school in the beginning of last year. The thing I remember most is his drive for music. He has the most talent in his age group for rapping and even better than some older cats. Also he was someone who was down, like we could go do anything or try something new and he would be right there too doing the same thing.

RG: Do you think that the media/bloggers are blowing this whole Earl thing out of proportion?

BBB: Yes I do. I think they should just stop with everything and just wait for his return like the people who really knew him. We all miss the homie but he’ll be back.

OFWGKTA’s Earl Sweatshirt:

RG: Do you plan on making a career out of producing?

BBB: Yes. Producing is the thing I want to make a living off of because I love it and what’s better than a job that you love? Music is my life I just have to keep up with it and perfect my craft then hopefully it will be my career.

RG: What was it like for you to work with Vince Staples?

BBB: Vince was something different. The first day I met him he was at Syd’s with LaVish and some other people and I had this beat so they all wanted to record it. When Vince laid his verse I was just blown away. And it wasn’t even the type of beat you would hear him on now either, but was just something that wasn’t the same cliché L.A rap. We sparked ideas between each other ‘cause I like to be on a different note and he wasn’t the same old Nikes rapper. But just wait, there’s a lot more that people will hear from us.

Vince Staples:

RG: What is your future plans for making beats?

BBB: My future plan for beat making is just to continue to make progress and good music!

RG: What is your ultimate goal as a producer?

BBB: My ultimate goal is to have that one song where it never gets old, or that everyone always hums the melody from a song I produced, as well to have the title of being a multi-platinum and/or Grammy Award-winning producer, and finally, I want my name in the credits of movie scores.

RG: Anything else you want to add?

BBB: Just a shout out to everyone that’s has been down with me since day one and to those who have helped me recently, especially my parents and God. Also, this quote from Pharrell: “You can do it too!”

To get a taste of BrandenBeatBoy’s work, check out his Bandcamp page.