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Interview: Q&A

Hitting high notes: Industry GOAT producers share words of wisdom

Hitting high notes: Industry GOAT producers share words of wisdom

Maricel Joy Dicion & Just Blaze

We have had the opportunity to interview some notable names in the music industry this year, including some of hip-hop’s most notable producers — Illmind, Mannie Fresh, and Just Blaze.

“In a world full of ‘Lils’ and ‘Youngs’ be a ‘Kevin.'” – Mannie Fresh

During this year’s Battle of the Beat Makers competition in Toronto, we had the opportunity to chat one-on-one with them about their careers and advice they had for all of the competitors and aspiring and up-and-coming producers. Battle of the Beat Makers is a Canadian-grown international competition and the go-to battle for producers looking to carve path for themselves in the industry.

Its networking opportunities are invaluable and the sessions offered to new producers not only helps refine skill set, but also feeds the mindset.

As we close off this year, many of us go into reflection mode and we wanted to share this piece to give you some inspiration and motivation for 2019.

Mannie Fresh: In a world full of “Lils” and “Youngs” be a “Kevin.”

HipHopCanada: What advice to have for artists and producers entering the industry?

Mannie Fresh: Be different! Back in the day, when you went to the club you could tell what was the rapper — he was the swagged out one with the chains and the sunglasses. Now, go to a club and I can’t tell who’s a rapper; can’t tell who’s an artist. Know why? They all look the same. Look at guys like Cole and Kendrick, they’re plain. They wear white tees, plainclothes, no flash, and they stand out. Be different, don’t try and look or sound like everyone else.

Illmind: Remain a student of the game.

HipHopCanada: How important is it to stay a student-minded in this industry?

Illmind: It’s everything. I think people that feel like they have mastered a particular craft are blocking themselves from becoming great, really great and are blocking themself from actual happiness and fulfillment. When you think about Swizz Beatz, in a lot of his interviews lately he’s [saying] the same thing – he’s done so much in his career in the past 20, 30 careers and he’s telling himself “I just started, I feel like I just started” and I feel the same way… you don’t become complacent because you feel like there’s so much more that you can do.

Just Blaze: Learn from those that have gone before you.

HipHopCanada: What are some of the pitfalls, the “watch outs” that the next generation of producers and artists should be aware of?

Just Blaze: I have been blessed in my career and had a good path, but here’s what I would say. Early on, surround yourself with people you trust. Early in my career I surrounded myself with people who had my best interests at heart. They may not have have been the most influential or powerful people in the industry at the time, but I knew they had the best in mind for me.

Two, you have to put hard into this always — they pitfall is thinking it’s easy. People see the end result, but they don’t see the process and some people think that because they did one or two things, they’re entitled to something.

Third, believe in yourself and be honest with yourself in regards to your craft. Be smart and humble enough to hear criticism and then put in the work to get better.

Mannie Fresh, Just Blaze & Illmind offer words of wisdom

Illmind & Maricel Joy Dicion

For more information about Battle of the Beat Makers visit the official site,

Written by Maricel Joy Dicion for HipHopCanada

Maricel was the host of HipHopCanada's "The Narrative Of..." and "Unplugged" series. She focused on sharing timely feature stories and thought-leadership content – the kind of stories that make you think, change and challenge perceptions, and provide valuable industry and culture-related information. Maricel covered select artist interviews, select music/video releases, events, as well as industry and culture trends and news.


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