We’ve got the key and we’re checking back into ‘The Beat Suite’ today with LA’s own, Tae Beast. Now you might’ve heard of his name before or you might’ve not, but you’ve for sure heard his production if you’re a frequent visitor of this site. Tae Beast is the mastermind behind cuts like Kendrick Lamar’s “Cut You Off”, “Ronald Reagan Era”, Ab-Soul’s “Turn Me Up Some”, “Bohemian Grove”, “Pineal Gland”, ScHoolboy Q’s “iBETiGotSomeWeed”, “Druggy’s Wit Hoes” and the list just goes on. While he’s been producing for a few years now, Tae is still on the road to solidifying his place as one of LA’s most promising upcoming producers but at the rate he’s going, things are looking bright. Just recently he was dubbed by Complex Magazine as one of the ’25 New Producers to Watch Out For’ alongside his TDE in-house production crew members Dave Free, Sounwave, & Willie B, collectively known as digi+phonics. With a distinctive sound and groove to his production that even feel complete with no words, it’s clear that Tae Beast is for sure next up.
It was in July 2010 when he released his first beat tape, “The Tae Beast Tape,” which included 18 original tracks and last week he followed up with the second installment “The Tae Beast Tape ll”. I have to say, the improvement from then to now is highly impressive. After reading this interview, I’d suggest you give the first one a listen, followed by the second, and then you tell me what you think. To me, Tae Beast is simply – a beast on the boards.
In this exclusive Q & A, he talks about the moment he knew he wanted to become a producer, his creative process when composing a beat and the Tae Beast Tape compilation series, how he & the digi+phonics crew came together, the impact of Kendrick’s major label debut ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ and more.
You’re now checking into The Beat Suite.
AO: Introduce yourself to our readers….
Tae Beast: Yo, whats up….I’m Tae Beast 1/4 of TDE in house production team digi+phonics 1/2 of the WeirddPeople with fellow producer Skhye Hutch…from Los Angeles, I’ve produced such records as Kendrick Lamar’s “Ronald Regan Era”, “Keisha’s Song”, “Cut You Off”, “The Heart Pt. 3″, ScHoolboy Q’s “Druggy’s With Hoes”, “#iBetiGotSomeWeed”, Ab-Soul’s “Pineal Gland”, “Turn Me Up Some”, “Bohemian Grove” to name a few
Tell us about that moment when you knew you wanted to become a producer..
I met this producer Ricky Lewis years back, just watching him create really pushed me in that direction. Prior to that I always use to research rap music my dad listened to. Like Dj Quik, MC Eiht, Eazy-E and inside the covers I always use to see “this song contains samples of” and it was crazy because my pops had all these old records, so when I learned how to use this equipment Rick and my cousin had, I use to try to duplicate the songs I heard by Quik and the others, they were wack now that I look back but I got better over time lol
How did the name ‘TaeBeast’ come about?
lol, I always been a skinny guy, all through high school and everything but I always ate like a 300 pounder lol so people used to say I eat like a beast….so it kinda stuck….added that to a part of my name which is Donte
Who are your influences?
I’m influenced alot by Kanye, probably one of my favorite producers, outside of him The RZA, Dilla, Digi+Phonics…(we’re real competitive with each other), Juicy J (since the 3-6 days), and No ID
What’s your creative process like when creating a beat? How long does it usually take you?
I really work off moods, however im feeling that usually comes out in the beat. I’m real sample heavy so the craziest part of that is having to listen to record after record to find something that catches my ear…as far as creating it could take me anywhere from 15mins to weeks just to get a beat right
Now let’s talk about your latest project, The TaeBeast Tape ll. You dropped the first installment back in July 2010 so how do you feel you’ve progressed from then till now?
Since the Tae Beast Tape 1 I think I expanded my sound alot..I couldn’t see myself producing a record like “Pineal Gland” back then, the guys at TDE really challenge the producers to step out of their normal
How long have you been working on this tape?
Funny things is that I’ve been working on this tape for almost a year….The first beat I made for it was actually the “Keisha’s Song” beat…then I was like nah, this not a beat tape record…so after that everything I was doing was really dark..I guess I was trying to be to different from the first tape….so after I just started working on it once a week for a few months, and started adding small features here and there to records I felt needed them, I officially wrapped up the tape the night of Halloween
The project includes a solid 14 original tracks. How do you choose what order they will go in as they all seem to blend sonically, giving me no urge to skip around….
I try to treat beat tapes like albums, every producer honestly can probably rap or sing, maybe not good, but they can…I’m horrible at both lol….so if I was a rapper or singer, my beat tapes represent “these would be the records I’d but on my album and in this order” if I was a artist
With no upbeat, bass booming, tracks present – why’d you choose to make this one a complete smooth sailing?
I’m real laid back, so alot of my beats are like that, plus to me…as a listener I couldn’t find myself listening to a tape full of instrumentals all based out and too amped….Rappers would love it, but I want to reach out to more then just people who rap…
So of course you put these tapes together for listening pleasure, but do you mind when artists take these beats and spit some verses over them?
lol it depends, I hate when people say “Oh TDE’s Tae Beast produced 14 tracks on my mix tape” no….you took 14 beats from my beat tape and rapped over them. I cant stop people from doing it, but at least reference the tape, I’m tied to TDE so people want to throw the TDE name around that aren’t associated with it for extra downloads…that’s weak
Do you plan to continue The TaeBeast Tape series?
I would love to do 1 more tape, but who knows…if I do hopefully it would be sooner then later
You represent 1/4th of TDE in-house production crew Digi+Phonics. How did all 4 of you come together and what’s the competitiveness between you guys like?
We’re all different musically which is great because we always hear something that might help the other, Dave thought of the name and the idea of putting us all together, we hear each others beats and almost go back and try to out perform the other, me and Wave are usually like that all the time and we need to be competitive amongst each other to compete period we respect each other to tell each other if something ain’t dope enough
You’re also ½ of production duo TheWeirrdPeople with producer Skhye Hutch. How do you separate the two as well as do your own work?
Me and Hutch been working together for years, that’s like my blood brother, we work solo musically to build music and build connects….He’s cool also with all the digi guys also I bounce ideas back off of him, hes been producing longer then I have, hes like my mentor
With the success of Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” what are your thoughts on the future of TDE as a whole?
GKMC set the tone for TDE, I’m sure all the guys want and have to put out a product that stands up to the album, for the producers also we have to step up continuously with beats, the GKMC release is gonna further push TDE into being a powerhouse in my opinion
What does music mean to you?
Music to me is my way of speaking to the world without words, its like I want to paint pictures with my music and also do something that would have longevity and not just a “right now” its also my escape from reality just put my headphones on and zone out
Where would you like to see yourself in 3 years from now?
3 years from now I just wanna be successful well off financially, not famous face wise, would be great for everyone across the world to know my work and my name but I wanna be normal at the same time. I want to be able to walk around free without getting stopped and demos tossed at me lol, would love multiple Grammy awards also…that’s the push for me right now, clocks ticking