Mr. Magicc: The Champ Is Here [Interview]
Toronto, ON – Battle of the Beatmakers has now long been established as a breeding ground for tomorrow’s next hit maker. There’s no better poster boy for the competition than Boi-1da, who since first competing years ago has become its face. Not that going from Battle of the Beatmaker champion to Grammy winning producer is a lock, but it’s also progress that doesn’t go unnoticed by his fellow producers who now apply in droves to showcase their skills each year. But 2011’s champion wasn’t some lucky newcomer. Mr. Magicc’s been rocking beats at BBM for several years now. Back when the competition was divided into categories of production, he won “Best Party Track” in 2005. Nearly five years later on August 27th, judges 9th Wonder, Stalley and Boi-1da crowned him year’s Battle of the Beatmakers Champion.
I had the chance to catch up with Magicc on set of his photo shoot for the Legends of the Fame Canadian Hip-Hop Card Collection. Magicc welcoming smile and down to earth personality was far less intimidating than the thumping beats that won him the crown. Even with his new found notoriety, he spoke confidently, looking me dead in the eyes. The signature charisma he displayed during the competition (Magicc is known for dancing to his own beats) showed through as he often became animated quickly and spoke passionately about his craft and the opportunities ahead. The champ is here.
Battle of the Beatmakers winning beat by Mr. Magicc – “Cathedral”
HipHopCanada: At BBM, you have 45 seconds to showcase why you are the best, most innovative, creative producer. What goes into that 45 seconds?
Mr. Magicc: As many surprises as possible. Have those switch ups, be creative, but still current.
HipHopCanada: How do you prepare for the battle?
Mr. Magicc: Just start making beats. ‘What music would I play if I was going to war?’ Theme music. Epic. I put myself in the mentality of Genghis Khan. I looked at past winners too. But I’ve been in almost every [Beatmakers battle]. I won the party category in 2005. Last year I lost in the 1st round. This year I wasn’t even going to enter, but I just had to get past first round. I really wanted to have Boi-1da hear my music in front of that crowd and get past first round. I knew that God was with me.
HipHopCanada: So Boi-1da is an influence to you? Tell me what inspires you?
Mr. Magicc: #1 God. #2 The Toronto OVO conglomerate [October’s Very Own]. #3 Kanye West. But when I see how Boi-1da and Drake came up it gives me chills when I see these guys. I can’t explain it. It’s life changing man!
HipHopCanada: What do you think might be the difference, between 2010 and 2011, to account for why last year you were out first round and this year you took the title? The judges’ personal preference? Trends in music? Have you just grown as a producer over the year?
Mr. Magicc: All of the above. You have to come with strategy to win no matter what. Every round you have to be comfortable to drop the best track, show your best at any given time.
HipHopCanada: I see you got amped on stage. Do you think your ability to hype the crowd on stage helped you claim victory?
Mr. Magicc: Yea a little. When people are in their basement or home studios and their wildlin’ out to a record, everybody’s snapping. I wanted to bring that same ‘crazy love for music’ vibe to the competition. But the music speaks for itself.
HipHopCanada: Is there much of a difference between the BBM having categories or not?
Mr. Magicc: With categories there is more variety in music but some types [of categories] just dull the night, for the judges, audience. That’s when the crowd needs hype stadium music.
HipHopCanada: How would you describe your production style?
Mr. Magicc: Mainstream. Hip-hop/R&B. Melodic, rhythmic. Musical but not too cluttered. I can pretty much create any style of music plus I’m comfortable with making a hit.
HipHopCanada: Would you consider yourself a beat maker or a producer, in the original sense, where you have input on the whole sound of the record and artistic direction? Are you also an artist?
Mr. Magicc: A producer. I get involved but it depends on the artist too. I work with all kinds of artists, all kinds of music. I write a lot. I sing, rap a little to support the (production, in the background). I play a lil’ guitar and keys, self taught. It’s a process. I love it.
HipHopCanada: Who is your ideal artist to work with?
Mr. Magicc: At this point Drake hands down. He sounds nice, he’s hot on every record. He comes fresh. Kanye West, Jay -Z, Busta Rhymes. R&B wise: Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Melanie Fiona, list goes on. I also do Reggae so a Vybes Kartel and Movado collaboration would be nice.
HipHopCanada: You mentioned preparing as if you were “going to war” and making “epic” music. Do you have an interest in doing gaming music production or music for films?
Mr. Magicc: Oh yeah. Film scores?! Yeah and X-Box NBA, NHL 2011 I love all that. I can’t wait for the new games to come out. Films too. I want to do the next James Bond theme song! [Laughing]
HipHopCanada: So you claimed some pretty dope prizes including $1000 cash. Have you spent that yet?
Mr. Magicc: I put a down payment on my new car. My car broke down the [week of the battle] so it was good timing. So many blessings. The [Rolland RH-D30] earphones are crazy. It’s easier to mix now. And the [Roland SH-01 GAIA Synth] keyboard will take me to another level. But it wasn’t about the prizes, this is my Stanley Cup!
HipHopCanada: And you get a course in the Recording Arts Certificate program at Centennial?
Mr. Magicc: Yea. I can’t wait, I’ve been wanting to take over the colleges and universities. Looks like I’ll be starting with Centennial! Until now it’s been self-taught.
HipHopCanada: Where do you get your drive from?
Mr. Magicc: Failure. Every experience shapes, moulds and changes your perspective on life.
Mr. Magic proceeds to rap Jay-Z’s Justify My Thug:
Foolish pride is what held me together through the years I wasn’t felt/which is why I ain’t never played myself/I just play the hand I’m dealt I can’t say I’ve never knelt before God and asked for better cards at times to no avail but I never sat back feelin’ sorry for myself
You gotta stand up, be bold, not egotistical but bold.
HipHopCanada: Amen! So what’s next?
Mr. Magicc: I’m gonna flood the whole city. Work with everyone in the city. Local and abroad. Shop my songs. Hip-hop, reggae, R&B, even rock and alternative. Commercials. I want to do it all.
HipHopCanada: Any shout outs?
Mr. Magicc: Shout outs to my family, everybody who has a dream and is hungry enough to push consistently. Shout outs to my big homie Boi-1da, Clifton from Sound Supremacy and everybody I’m working with.
Talented, humble, excited about music and focused on long term goals, I’m sure we will be hearing Mr. Magicc continue to make noise.
Written by Linykie Nix for HipHopCanada
Additional contributions by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown
Photography courtesy of Sound Supremacy