HOW KENNY BEATS CAME ONE OF HIP HOP’S NEW ELITE PRODUCERS

Photo cred. Sway’s Universe

“WOAH, KENNY!” At this point, if you’re a big hip hop fan, there’s no way you haven’t heard one of the multitudes of bangers with this producer tag. Over the last two years, Kenny Beats has become one of the most sought after producers in hip hop. Although he does not technically have a signature style, you can usually expect to hear heavy distorted bass that will blow your speakers. His hip hop music is loud and hard for the most part. Kenny did not just emerge as a top producer out of nowhere, though. Kenny Beats was actually a part of an EDM Trap duo called LOUDPVCK. Kenny and LA-based DJ Ryan Marks started making remixes to popular EDM songs in 2012, eventually becoming associated with Steve Aoki’s DIM MAK records and coming out with some very popular original songs as well. In 2017, when LOUDPVCK disbanded, he used the knowledge he gained from producing EDM and his music connections to become one of the hottest new producers. Kenny has produced a lot of my personal favorite songs from the last couple of years, so I am anticipating anything he has coming next, and you should too.

Kenneth Blume III has been obsessed with music his whole life. He has been making beats and producing since high school. He would produce for any local rapper that would let him while he was growing up. He eventually went to Berklee College of Music and continued to produce for anyone in the area who would let him. He eventually got production credits on a few songs from rappers from a rising label called TDE. Although he made music for Schoolboy Q, Smoke DZA, and Ab-Soul, he was not making enough money producing, so he had to sell weed on the side. While in college, he met another DJ named Ryan Marks, who convinced him to make EDM trap music with him. This type of music was huge in the college music scene at the time (I would know because I loved a lot of this music) and it gave these two super talented producers an opportunity to get their foot in the door of the music industry. They started making extremely popular remixes to the top EDM songs and touring the world opening for the biggest Electronic music producers. After a few years of doing this, both Ryan and Kenny decided this wasn’t the kind of music they wanted to keep making, and LOUDPVCK was no more. Kenny had always wanted to work with rappers as a hip hop producer and decided to get back into doing what he loves.

Photo cred. Aris Chatman

Kenny dove back into the hip hop industry by finding unique rappers that he loved with a not as big of an audience. He wanted to take what he thought was cool and different about these artists and hopefully introduce them to a wider or at least different audience. He started this by collaborating with experimental trap rappers like 10K.Caash, Key!, JPEGMAFIA, and Rico Nasty. Kenny’s collaborative album with Key!, ‘777,’ really helped put him on the map as a producer on the rise. His work with these artists has produced some of my favorite songs of the last couple of years. Rico Nasty’s ‘Rage’ and ‘Smack a Bitch,’ JPEGMAFIA’s ‘PUFF DADDY,’ and 10k.Caash’s ‘Aloha’ have been some of my most played songs over the last year and a half. These phenomenal collaborations led to him doing full projects at the end of 2018 with Vince Staples and ALLBLACK, as well as him producing hits for 03 Greedo and Freddie Gibbs. 2019 saw continued success for Kenny, with him producing the trap banger ‘Square Up’ by rapper and comedian Zack Fox to kick the year off. In April, he released a collaborative album called Anger Management with Rico Nasty, which is my favorite album of the year so far. He also had a couple of production credits on Gucci Mane’s album Delusions of Grandeur. The two songs that Kenny produced for this album, ‘Proud of U’ and ‘Us,’ are my two favorite songs on this Gucci Mane record, and are two of the more unique and experimental instrumentals that Gucci has rapped on in a long time. Kenny’s biggest song to date is another collaboration with Zack Fox called ‘Jesus is the One(I Got Depression). This song was initially made as a joke for Kenny’s YouTube show called “The Cave,” a show where Kenny invites rappers to his studio and makes a full song in a limited amount of time. To Zack’s excitement and Kenny’s dismay, this joke song has become one of the biggest underground trap bangers of the summer, playing in clubs all over the country and being featured on the prominent music YouTube channel called Genius. Whether Kenny likes the track or not, I guess it proves he really can’t produce a bad song.

Photo cred. Hoodvish

One of my favorite things about the production of Kenny Beats is the fact that he really doesn’t have a specific style he sticks too. For example, you can usually guess when you hear a Zaytoven beat because typically it will have a very pretty piano melody and very clean cut trap sound. If you hear a song produced by Metro Boomin, you can probably expect a very moody and dark melody with a hypnotic and crisp trap beat. You can’t pinpoint Kenny’s production in this way, though, because he seems to try all sounds and styles. As shown on his YouTube show “The Cave,” Kenny will genuinely ask what sound and style the artist wants to make. He doesn’t even want to make beats for people without them in the room. Very rarely will he produce for anyone unless they are sitting in a room with him and telling him exactly what they want to do. This is what makes him so great. Every instrumental is tailored for the particular artist and brings out a side of them that usually has not really been seen. The best example of this is probably his work with Rico Nasty. Rico told Kenny she wanted to make heavy metal style music, and Kenny came up with insane instrumentals for her like ‘Smack a Bitch,’ ‘Rage’ and many other experimental tracks(like ‘Guap’). Through him trying to make these unique instrumentals tailored to Rico’s strengths, these two created a totally new and awesome style of trap music. Gucci Mane is another artist who has benefited from pushing their boundaries with Kenny Beats. As I mentioned before, my two favorite songs off of Gucci Mane’s new album were produced by Kenny. These songs have heavy and distorted bass, as well as minimal melodies and structure. These stripped back but hard instrumentals really emphasize Gucci Mane’s voice and flow. I love how Kenny is able to bring out the best in artists in this way. I hope musicians continue to go to Kenny to help them push their boundaries and make different sounds than they are used to.

Kenny Beats has had a pretty crazy trajectory to his career over the last several years. From starting out making beats for some of today’s biggest stars when they were no names and becoming on the top EDM Trap producers to becoming one of the most sought after hip hop producers around, Kenny has had to put in the work to see his current success. I am excited to hear Kenny push his favorite rappers even farther, and continue to make revolutionary and unique sounds. If you want to check out some of his music, check out any of the artists mentioned in this piece, or check out his Spotify linked below!

https://open.spotify.com/artist/1rHOtdmGNr5vcYNw5v7QGC?si=BEktHJ12SBiC7pSjKliKvg

Source: https://pitchfork.com/levels/kenny-beats-is-hip-hop-productions-prodigal-son/

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