Sup mayne, welcome back to the Beat Suite. Our next hit-maker to step into the mix is a young boss coming straight out of Chicago, and he is definitely paving the way for our future generations. His music has been heard underneath the raps of everybody from Action Bronson, Sir Michael Rocks, Boldy James, Curren$y, Topaz Jones, Kids These Days, and the list goes on. His Tastemakers family, and the Closed Sessions recording studio have supplied a firm foundation for this talented producer to make a massive impact on the music industry, early on in his career.
As Pretty Ricky once said, age ain’t nothing but a number – and Thelonious Martin comes to us at the tender age of 20 years old, but his sounds resemble those of someone way beyond his years. Right before my trip out of the country, I was fortunate enough to get a hold of the busy composer, and break bread with the homie over Skype while in-studio. As you will read later on, I’ve been a fan of Thelonious for a little bit now, so I was more than happy to hear about how his entire career has come to fruition to this point. Although still somewhat of a rookie in this game, Martin has put in countless hours of studying to master his craft, and develop his own niche.
Being a young cat myself, it is always a joy of mine to work, and speak with other ambitious gunners who are looking to make a lasting impact in the future as well. Not many producers his age can say that they have accomplished the same feats early on, but Martin still understands the importance of staying humble, and staying relevant. Constantly working on new projects and great music, it’s always a pleasure to hear a craftsman speak on his work with such passion as the kid does.
Although we experienced minor difficulties getting a hold of each other, Thelonious and I spent our time together talking about everything from his upbringing, to music, the Homme Team, working with Curren$y (one of my favorite artists), his feelings towards the music industry, new projects in the works & a whole lot more. The people in this game can be very fugazy at times, so it was great to chop it up with a genuine dude who is strictly focused on his business – and making it the absolute best. Without further a due, jump in below and enjoy our full interview.
Alright, so I’m Thelonious Martin. Producer. Chicago, Illinois.
I wanted to tell you a little bit about how I first heard of “Thelonious Martin.” Last summer I was in LA working for Warner Bros., and I met a film director who put me on to this artist named Topaz Jones…So he played some music off a mixtape called 106 Miles To Chicago and I was like “Damn, he can rap – but who is doing all the production on these tracks?” Long story short, I looked you up and did some research on the name, and I thought to myself, “wow, he would sound great on a Curren$y record.”
Well, come to find out a few months later – you had some records out with Spitta. I was like ahh man this guy is the truth, I gotta link up. With that being said, how do you know Topaz?
Me and Topaz actually went to high school together. So we’ve been working since like our freshman year, he heard my first beats. We’ve been homies making music ever since then.
What part of Chicago are you from?
Well, I was born in Chicago, but I went to high school and stuff in Montclair, New Jersey.
What do you think about everything that went on in Boston? Are you from a part in the citywhere it’s real crazy – not like that, but still?
Yeah, it’s type crazy…As far as where I am at – I can’t tell you man. I stay downtown on campus at the school I go to. You know, you still see or hear stuff going on everywhere.
True. When I come out to Chicago though, what are some things that I should get into?
Ummm, eat deep dish pizza? Go to the record stores, go to a Cubs game – or a White Sox games. Just experience Chicago. It’s like any other native city, you walk around with your people, you walk around, and you will feel like you are a part of the city. We definitely don’t try to make you feel like an outsider here.
Okay word. Lets talk about your squad then. How did the Homme Team originate?
Ahh man, that’s my creative brand G – that’s my branch out. It lets me do all the creative things I wanna do.
How did that concept come about, or originate?
Probably my love of sports, my love of luxury…It’s like, “the home team”. Kids come out and represent from where they are from, and at the same time it’s like yo we can put our own spin on it like this.
How did you link up with Closed Sessions?
I was working really closely with them last year where they would bring artists in, and I would just knock out incredible production for anybody they brought into town.
Was the opportunity with Closed Sessions how you “broke into” the industry?
I wouldn’t say that is how I got my break or whatever, but I mean it definitely helped me progress in general, just getting placements hear and there.
How long have you been taking this seriously?
Well, I just registered for BMI (haha). I’m a registered writer and composer, so now I start collecting royalties off that. You know, just making sure I take the right steps so I can have that publishing company straight – just knockin’ out certain necessary business moves so that I’m not just another producer, but someone to be reckoned with in the game.
What is your opinion on the industry as far as the business aspect of things?
People don’t know how to conduct business (lol). Both of my parents are like business/economic majors, so from day one I’ve understood supply and demand, life cycles of products and stuff – so in the back of my mind you know, whenever I’m involved, there is always a business aesthetic to it like “how can we make this last longer, how can we make more people see this, or how can we sell this.”
See I mean business is business – sometimes it’s slow, and sometimes it’s good. But you have to
capitalize on what you do know, and not worry about other people.
Word, that’s definitely the truth. Did you have a job before music?
Hah. I used to play basketball real serious in high school, before I started taking music super seriously. So my first two years of high school I was like making beats but playing ball foreal, foreal. And when basketball season was over, I’d be making beats foreal.
But I had one job, or two, I was a parking lot attendant (haha), where the car would pull up and I’d let them out…And they would pay me, and I’d park the car or whateva – some times the people gave you tips or whateva, so that was humbling. And then I was an intern at a sneaker store like my senior year.
On some typical hip-hop producer type…
Yeah, sounds like you just walked right into it – you’re kinda young though right?
Yeahh, I’m only 20 now, I turn 21 in September.
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