BRANDEN BEATBOY: SELLING HIS FIRST TRACK AT 15 AND WHAT IT'S LIKE TO WORK WITH PROBLEM

JONATHAN TATE: Where did the name Beatboy originate from? BRANDEN BEATBOY: BeatBoy originated when I was 12 years old after having a conversation with my mom when I downloaded the FLTSTUDIO demo. We were in the car talking and I was telling her how I decided that I was going to do music. She asked what I could call myself and I said "Soundman or Boy" because at the time I was the sound guy for my church. I finally thought 'sound' with 'beat' - then I stuck with Beatboy.

You're not new to the beat game. How long have you been creating records for? I've been creating records since I was 15. I finally had gotten good enough for a local L.A. artist to reach out and want to work with me.

 Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

Would you consider music production your passion? Music production is indeed my passion. I love everything about producing a track. There are unlimited possibilities of creating a song even out of the same sounds. It's a cool ass puzzle that you create and finish at the same time.

How old were you when you sold your first track? I think I was 15… It was for $175.00. You have to start somewhere but some artist out in Kansas actually bought it. He didn't do anything with the beat though, so I got over that.

Does your family support you in your music endeavors? Yes, thankfully - especially my mom. She really rooted for me and kept faith in me even when I felt like I couldn't do it anymore. 

 Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

The demand for BeatBoy instrumentals is growing. Can you name some of the people who have had the pleasure of working with you? I've worked with TeeFLii, Tank, E-40, Too Short, The Game, Killa Kyleon, Niko G4, Jay 305, Nipsey Hussle, Terrace Martin, Polyester the Saint, Jake&Papa, Kay Cola, Skeme, Vince Staples, Omarion, Tank, Iamsu, Loverance, J. Valentine, Mani Coolin', T.I., Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Speakz, Casey Veggies, Wiley Eskiboy, A2THAK, Graze and many more. But to save the best for last - Problem, Bad Lucc, Casha, Danny B.

Do you remember the first beat you made? How old were you? I made my first beat when I was 12. It was horrible. I actually still have it.

  Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

You've been doing a lot of traveling lately… I haven't traveled out of the country yet, but I've been all over the map. I went out to Pittsburgh with Problem the week after my birthday last year. After that I went up to the Bay with the L-Gang, Oakland and San Francisco. I went down to SXSW for my first time with my big bros Problem & Lucc, Pun & DJ Looney out in Austin, Texas. I also went to Atlanta after that with the team (Diamond Lane) and then I caught the last show of Problem and IAMSU's MDA Tour in New York… That was my first time out there. Real cool shit… My East Coast family (Outta They League) showed us love. We went back to Atlanta after that and now I've just been home. Atlanta has to be my favorite place I've visited so far because of the great food and the great hospitality that the black community shows out there – and it's a fun city to be in. There's always some cool shit going on. Basically, it's my second home.

Can you name the songs you've produced that have been played over radio waves, such as L.A.'s' Power-106 and 93.5 KDay? "Twerk" by Problem featuring Bad Lucc. It actually got a world premiere drop on Power-106. They ran the song back and everything. That was the best feeling I ever had...

  Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

How has it been working with Problem and Diamond Lane Music Group? Working with Problem and Diamond Lane has been one great ass experience. Problem is one of the few artists I know of whose worth ethic matched my work ethic. I can make more than one beat within an hour and he can write to each and every one of them. Same goes for Bad Lucc as well.

How did you come to know Problem? I met Problem through the CEO of DLMG. My mom actually introduced me to the CEO, so that's how I got the connection.

Is there a process or ritual you go through when creating beats? I don't have much of a process or ritual when it comes to making beats. I just go in and start knocking them out. 

I heard you listen to a lot of older tracks. What oldies do you like to bump? I really like to listen to Roy Ayers, Donald Byrd and the Black Byrds, Stevie Wonder to name a few.

Do they influence your style at all? Yes they do. I love big music; entire orchestras, choirs, and bands, I love it. I try to include at least one big sound/instrument into each of my songs.

How did you find out about some of the songs that were made before you were born? Through my uncle Dre. He's has been a DJ since high school. When I was a toddler I would always be in his room while he practiced his sets or just played music. I soaked all of that music up as I got older.

What is it like being only 19 and working/hanging with people like Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, T.I., etc.? It's a blessing and a dream turned into reality. I've been a fan of certain artists since I was younger and have been heavily influenced to do music because of them. I'm just fortunate to be surrounded by these guys. Everyone's a legend in their own lane.

What about when artists are performing your songs at 21+ venues? Personally, that would drive me insane not being able to get in. When artists perform my songs at 21+ venues I'm usually not there unless I'm with my team and Problem or Bad Lucc are performing. I'm usually good with them. Just got to have finesse, the real kind, aha.

  Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

Branden Beatboy, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Tate / SUSPENDMAG.com

Every time I see you, you're draped out head to toe. Care to share some of the apparel/shoe brands you enjoy rocking nowadays? Yeaaaah… "Every time you see me I be on", aha, word up to my big bro, Prob. You'll usually catch me in some Margielas, Lancios, Adidas on my feet, and some Japanese, or waxed, denim. I want to give a shout out to my people at Diamond Supply, Crooks & Castles, The Hundreds/RSWD, PHLO, and The Divinities for keeping me laced in some cool shit!

It seems like everyone has a stylist to pick out their 'fits, do you have one? No I don't have a stylist, but when I do need one I hit up my big sis Jin from Azeez Baker.

What is your favorite era of music? Surprisingly I actually don't have a favorite era of music. To me that's being boxed in because you'll need to take something from every era of music to actually become great.

What's next for BeatBoy? Growth, progression, greatness, and cool shit! 


Interview and Photos by Jonathan Tate

Listen to Branden Beatboy on  SOUNDCLOUD / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / DIAMONDLANEMUSICGROUP

Jonathan Tate Jonathan is the Senior Staff Photographer at SUSPEND Magazine. He is also an avid cheesecake lover.