Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis City. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His newest project War Machine 2 was released on June 5th and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For The Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get War Machine 2 here. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get War Machine 2 here.
I've decided to start a new segment called "Inside The Studio." Every week with my column I try to give a voice to the voiceless. The hip-hop producers of our city are the men and women behind the curtain keeping the culture alive but almost never getting the credit they deserve. I decided I wanted to do something special by interviewing some of the biggest Saint Louis hip-hop producers alive. I'm not sure how often we'll do this but I wanted to start off with Basement Beats, the Grammy Award-winning trio behind some of the biggest records St. Louis has crafted for a world-wide audience. Basement Beats consists of crew members Koko, Wally Beamin, and Jay E, who've worked with mega-stars like Nelly, P.Diddy and DMX as well as smaller upcoming indie acts such as myself, Rockwell Knuckles and Shotta G.
Tef Poe: Who are you favorite producers?
Koko: Dr. Dre, Rick Ruben, DanjaHands, Skrillex, Justice League, Rza, Timbaland, Quincy Jones...it goes on and on. It's hard to choose a "Top 3" because there are so many that possess their own genius in their sound..
What local hip hop record do you wish you produced?
Koko: We have produced 'em! Ha, kidding. I think Taylor Made's "Whirlwind" or Da Whole 9's "Nina Pop" are classic records that never really got their due on a bigger level. Locally them songs killed it ,and if you play them now the crowd still reacts.
Whats the biggest record you've produced?
Koko: The biggest record I have produced to date is Nelly & Tim Mcgraws "Over & Over". I still hear this playing in elevators, in restaurants, in the malls, on country stations and so on. Crazy.
Jay-E: "Country Grammar" for sure.
Wally Beamin: Nelly's "#1".
What artists have you worked with and what artists would you like to work w/ in the future?
Koko: We have worked with a lot of artists locally and on a major level. We have worked with Nelly, St. Lunatics, Bubba Sparxxx, P.Diddy, Avenged Sevenfold, Raekwon, Waka Flocka, Royce Da 5'9", Good Charlotte, Joe Budden, Kool G. Rap, 8 Ball, Mystikal, B.O.B., Tech N9ne, Chingy, Huey, J-Kwon, Stevie Stone, Three Six Mafia, Matisyahu, Big Gipp, Frankie J, DMX, Tim Mcgraw, Peter Morgan, Master P, Twista, the Game. We can go on and on. We have been blessed with a lot of opportunities to work with a lot of major artists and local artists that are making noise.
In the future hopefully we can make that Eminem collaboration happen, maybe get our hands on an exclusive unreleased Tupac or Biggie song that we can reproduce. We love working with up and coming artist as well...Shotta G, Doorway,12-6, Kenny Knox, etc.
What have you personally contributed to the expansion of the Saint Louis sound?
Koko: I think we are diverse in our sound. We all have came from different backgrounds. Like, different types of music, and are influenced in our production by all the different genres. We are mainly hip-hop/rap based, and have had major success with it. When you talk St. Louis hip-hop, I think it's safe to say we are in the conversation. Not being full of ourselves, but I think we have showed STL that it is possible to go from making beats for fun in a basement to making it a career on a world-wide level.