Skillzbeatz [Prolific Profile]
Vancouver, B.C. – Skillzbeatz finds his second home in Vancouver, but is based in the UK where he works with a variety of artists and styles. He was recently in town to collab with local artists Defenders of the Faith, and HipHopCanada got some words from the up and coming producer.
HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?
Skillzbeatz: To define hip-hop would be to define a way of life, many people outside of hip-hop just see it as another form of music but it is way more than that, those of us involved live it, I feel I fit into it perfectly because even without the career I would never stop doing what I do, first and foremost I do this for the love of the music.
HipHopCanada: What drives you to stay in a business that is rarely profitable and highly competitive?
Skillzbeatz: It depends on how you define profitable, sometimes I get contacted by an artist that I grew up listening to and the buzz you get from that outweighs any money they could give me, that to me is another form of profit. Regarding competitiveness I know I work harder than most of the competition so that doesn’t worry me.
HipHopCanada: Where are you based specifically?
Skillzbeatz: I am based in London, United Kingdom but my second home is in Vancouver.
HipHopCanada: How has living there influenced your sound?
Skillzbeatz: London is such a diverse and multicultural city that the influences spread far and wide, we have very different musical scenes here which I draw from, also we have the majority of the world bring their music here i.e from the USA/Canada so im also heavily influenced by North American hip-hop too.
HipHopCanada: Who is your primary fan base?
Skillzbeatz: My primary fanbase would actually be in the USA. I’ve worked heavily with US artists for a while now so a lot of my attention comes from their fanbases. Reason being that my style of music is more suited to North American style hip-hop as opposed to the UK scene. Having said that, I’m now partner to UK rap legend Kruga and since then the UK scene has really got with team Skillzbeatz.
HipHopCanada: What tips would you give young artists coming up, or what do you wish someone would have told you when you first started out in the hip-hop industry?
Skillzbeatz: Well, its a bit of a cliché but just be yourself. Everytime there is a new hot mainstream artist, along come a hundred thousand clones. What they don’t see is that the artist has been done so there is no call for another, just be yourself and work harder than the rest.
HipHopCanada: In which ways do you interact with your community?
Skillzbeatz: I use the usual online mediums of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace & Reverbnation, but also at shows and on the street, I’m very approachable.
HipHopCanada: Which artists have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?
Skillzbeatz: There are a few for different reasons but I’d have to say my man Doitall from Lords of the Underground. For someone of his success to still be so humble and down to earth is fantastic. Most of all though, I’d have to say my partner Kruga. Again, the same reasons as above but, added to that, we are not only colleagues but good friends too.
HipHopCanada: Which Canadian artist would you most like to collaborate with?
Skillzbeatz: I’d have to say at this point in time Drake as he has reached superstardom, but I am currently working with Defenders of the Faith’s Checkmate and Concise which was a personal goal.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about past and present successes, as well as future projects?
Skillzbeatz: There’s a lot going on right now actually. Myself and Kruga are working on his next mixtape followed by album at the end of the year. Between both we have collaborations with Defenders of the Faith and also Jigz Crillz, from Canada. From the US we have tracks with Doitall (L.O.T.U.G), Erick Sermon (E.P.M.D.) plus others. From the UK we have tracks with Sway and arguably the world’s biggest Drum & Bass MC, MC Skibadee. We’re in talks with almost the whole UK scene.
We have also just launched our company Gridlock Music and this week we started promo on Kruga’s official single “Shake it” which features California rising star iamCAM. We also have the video releasing in two weeks (available below) which was shot in Miami, Barbados and London. DJs worldwide have been going crazy for it… it’s such a big track for the clubs so I ask the readers to request it wherever they can. We will actually be in Vancouver in the fall involved in a big show, details coming soon. If there are any promoters that want to book us contact GridLocMusic@gmail.com.
HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada online community?
Skillzbeatz: I feel Canada doesn’t get the recognition it deserves on the world market and as Canada has a special place in my heart, I want to do what I can to bring it to the forefront. I’m a humble guy with big connections and I’m very reachable. So for any Canadian artists that want involvement in what we are doing, follow me on Twitter and get in contact. I do reply.
Kruga – Shake It ft. iamCAM (Prod. by Skillzbeatz)