Crossroads is the third album that I have mastered for Playa-D, out of Port Arthur, Texas. There is where UGK (Bun B and Pimp C, r.i.p.) are from and Playa-D contributed production work for UGK's third album, "Ridin' Dirty" which reached the #2 spot in Billboard. He has a Gold Plaque to show he took part in shaping Southern Hip Hop, and during a conversation I had with him he lets us know how he's still keeping it Trill:

How long have you been doing the music thing?

I've been doing this thing since the early 90's basically learning my craft understanding the business.

What's in your arsenal of tools, and do you have any favorite gear that you always use in your productions?

Believe or not i still use the asr-10 by ensoniq which is my favorite piece and i love the Roland VS 1824 digital workstation. I get a get a good warm sound coming out of that machine. I usually run my asr-10 through my Behringer composer right into the Roland to fatten up the sound when i'm tracking to my Roland.

What's in your vocal recording chain?

The Mic I use to record my vocals is the AKG 414, I get good clarity and I love what it does to the high on my vocals and it's especially good on female vocalists. I run that through a dbx 386 I get a pretty warm sound with that combination.

Your mixes are always nice and open, with plenty of room to master, what are you mixing on?

Now this is the controversy I go through with my fellow peers in the industry. I actually use my Roland 1824 to mix on, The argument is you can't possibly get a good mix on that machine! Mostly everyone uses the Pro Tools systems which is fine to me, But I love the hands on feel I get from that machine What alot of people fail to realize and I see this time and time again from alot of producers mixing music is you have to separate your sounds individually to get that pristine mix you're tying to achieve, And also use the right sound in the mix or you run into mushy sounding mixes. If you're using a real deep bass your drum kick should be flat and it always depends on who is doing the mixing, And how much experience that individual has and what type of monitors your mixing on.

What monitors do you use to mix?

I'm love with my Mackie HR824's

Do you find that when recording and mixing on the 1824, that you then make a greater effort to get your tracks sounding as good as possible on the way in? I think this has a bit to do with getting the quality you achieve, since a lot of times, people who are new to this think "Oh, it doesn't matter if these tracks don't sound good right now, I'll fix them with effects in Pro Tools later."

Absolutely,Some producers that's just starting to produce and record their own music tend to make this mistake the better your sound is before you start tracking you'll get a better overall mix i always record drums dry and i put a small effect on my vocals not too much because once you over compress there's little Pro Tools' effects can do to fix it, you will have to re-record.

I always find that the people who hone in on their craft don't really care to be up on the "latest greatest", I'm glad you brought this up about people talking about having the latest version of Pro Tools. Whatever gets it done, right?

Yes, that's so true. I feel that once you learn your craft and get comfortable with whatever gear you using you'll produce you best material don't get me wrong Pro Tools HD, they have some nice sound quality but just because you may get your hands on it it doesn't translate to automatic hit records people wouldn't believe how many gold and platinum records were recorded in basements and home studios so I do believe once again it all depends on the person behind the boards.

Who else do you produce music for?

I have produced music for U.G.K, I produced those commercial tracks you hear on the legendary ridin dirty cd another artist in Texas, Big Boo and so many up and coming artists that you will hear from soon.

Did you have the same setup for the work you did on U.G.K.'s "Ridin' Dirty"?

I used the asr-10 to produce the tracks but back then I was using the first of the Roland VS series the VS-880 Ha! Yes sir I used an eight track recorder to lay the tracks and then me and Pimp C went to a Houston studio (Holman Sounds) where he was recording his album and dumped the tracks in Pro Tools. He went crazy when he heard what I did with that machine; he was the one who turned me on to it.

Your new album, Crossroads, has a cut featuring the late Pimp C, please talk about that collab and how that came about?

Sure, Me and Pimp's relationship started around the time when U.G.K. was working on the Ridin' Dirty album, so we always kept contact with each other whenever his number changed he hit me with the new one vise versa so everytime I would see pimp he would say "man I got you D, I'mma come to the lab so we can collaborate", then I did the track to "Like Dat", I called him up he came to the studio knocked that verse out in one take and the rest is history it was a big blow to me personally when I got the news he had passed but his memory always will live on.

Pimp C is definitely legendary and ironically, he passed while he was out here in L.A. How did the news reach you?

I got a call from a friend in houston who told me they heard it on the radio at first I didn't believe it so when I got home and seen it on TV, it hit me hard, I was shocked. I couldn't believe what I was seeing man; Pimp was larger than life man, so full of energy!

I also learned that your mother passed as well during the making of Crossroads, may god rest her soul. How did this impact you when it came to working on music?

Thank you, yes my mother was one of my biggest fans (she) always pushed me and gave sound advice. I was pretty much finished with my project and when she passed, I was so dazed it was so many things I wanted to say so that's when I came with the track "Mamma's Song", and just poured it all out man, everything I felt i just put my soul in it.

What are you currently working on?

I'm mixing this new project for an artist named Rodeo he'll be coming out out later next year so look for that one and of course in knocking out new tracks for my next release to be titled in due time it's never been a better time to be an independent artist man im telling ya nothing but freedom!

Thank you very much for first of all, letting me work on your projects, and for taking the time to answer these questions. Shout out time, and where can heads pick up Crossroads and learn more about you?

No prob L-ROX, thank you for making my tracks bang. I wanna shout out Bun-B, big mitch t-lab the ugk fam my city Port Arthur all my fans for staying true my crossroads album will be out in march 2010 but you can just goole playa-d and read all about me at:

much love!!!






Click to go to the Q&A section Click to go to the Sounds Archive Click to go to the Tutorials section Click to go to the Articles Archive