One thing we love to see is someone remain true to their grind. We’re not talking about your average local rappers, singers, and producers that sizzle out after a mediocre 5 year career. We’re talking about the true hustlers that eat and sleep their craft. That being said, we’ve contacted producer Kelvin “KLVN” Brown who has been putting in work for over 10 years. He was one of the producers on Dej Loaf’s “All Jokes Aside” mixtape that had over 100,000 downloads. Though Brown has been at it for a while he’s just now getting his due. So who better to ask about the come up?
Where you reppin’ OG (like we don’t know lol)?
“I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I moved from Ohio to New Orleans to go to Loyola University New Orleans for Music Business and just stayed.”
When did you start making beats?
“I started producing music in 2004 on Fruity Loops. Now it’s called FL Studio. I’m old I know.”
What Got You Into Producing Hip Hop Music?
“What drew me to producing music was hearing my favorite song and wondering how they made it. That turned into wanting to duplicate the feeling that my favorite song gave me. So that’s how I found music production.”
Who’s In Your Top 5 Dead Or Alive of producers?
- Mannie Fresh
- Dr. Dre
- Just Blaze
- Kanye West
What must you have in the studio at all times?
“When I’m producing, I need to have my Native Instruments Maschine Studio with me at all times. I can put my ideas down really quick. Also I have to have my keyboard with me. I’ve been focusing more on keys and bridges in my production so I have to have my keyboard present. Lastly, Dej got me hooked on color strobe disco lights. She brought one in the studio and it really set the mood and vibe. I Copped mine from Amazon the next night. Can’t live without it. Those are my essentials.”
Are your beats “Life imitating Art” Or “Art imitating Life”?
“Life through Art.”
What’s it like working with Dej Loaf?
“Working with Dej is dope because of the trust and bond that we all have. There are three other producers that Dej works with other than me. One is DDS. He produced “Try Me”. One is iRock. He produced “Back Up”. The other is Jason Vaughn. He co-produced “Hey There” with iRock. Each of us being something completely different talent wise to the table. However, when we’re in the studio we have one goal of making the best music possible. Dej trusts us to do us and we trust her to do her. There’s no egos, just work. It’s a dope experience having a hand in creating her sound.”
Any tips for upcoming producers in the game?
“My advice for upcoming producers is one, learn as much as you can. Read interviews from other producers, go to beat battles, read articles on the music business, learn the business. Keep perfecting your craft. Music production is a career choice. People study to be doctors for over 10-15 years. Producing music takes the same amount of dedication. Also, stay humble. No matter what level you get on, you need genuine humility. Everything is EARNED in this game. Nothing is given. Lastly, Mannie Fresh told me something I’ll pass along to everyone. When it comes to negotiating contracts, you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.
Producers you should own these books:
“The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing”
by: Randal Wixen
“All You Need To Know About The Music Industry”
by: Donald Passman
These books will give you the insight you need to maneuver in the business with your production.”
How do you feel about the Grammy’s deciding to begin nominating “Stream-Only” (mixtapes) projects?
“The Grammy’s including stream-only projects is a good idea. In my opinion, it’s just continuing the shift from the download model to the streaming model. The move legitimized streaming for the industry as a whole and it will only be included in the selection process of nominating Grammy’s rather than changing the entire process. Popular streaming projects that are nominated will be sold and capitalized off of in new and different ways. I don’t see anything wrong with the move at all. I’m one of those people who is excited about change rather than scared of it.
For producers, we don’t get paid A LOT in the streaming model. However, I think it’s going to change the way producers NEGOTIATE their payments. For example, I can see myself in the future wanting a bigger fee upfront if I know the project is going to be stream only. That way I guarantee I’m going to make something from the project label wise and then I’ll let the streams run up my publishing revenue.”
What are your predictions for the future of hip-hop?
“To be completely honest with you, Hip-Hop is boring right now. It’s too formulated. New artists drop mix tapes, they get signed they do an album, they go on tour REPEAT. There are only a handful of artists who push the envelope and continue to GROW hip-hop. Everyone is exploiting the model and not changing the model. If everyone involved in hip-hop doesn’t take that seriously, I could see hip-hop as a complete genre fading to the back or losing its essence. It’s not so much about the labels as it is the artists. I don’t think the newer artists know better. They just go with what they see and that’s cool. But, there’s definitely a respect element that should be there with hip-hop.
Everyone doesn’t have to be a staunch hip-hop purist because frankly that doesn’t exist. But, people should look at legacies people before them built and want to build off of that. They shouldn’t settle for what’s easy or been done already.”
What can we expect from you next?
“I’m working HARD right now on Dej Loaf’s album.
After her project is complete and out, I look forward to working with new artists and other producers. I’ve had so many eye opening experiences working on this project that I’m chasing the feeling. So more music. More music and more music.”
We have to thank KLVN for taking time to drop some jewels and we urge everyone to keep a look out for this rising star’s next move.
Article By: Daniel “Flash” Carter // Photo Credit: Facebook.com