Words: Raeven Bostic
The mastermind behind some of your favorite songs, southern hit producer Bangladesh has been on a roll for the past ten years. Emerging on the scene in 2000 with Ludacris’ Back For The First Time, the producer has steadily created hits for Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, R. Kelly, and more. No stranger to saying what’s on his mind, Bangladesh speaks candidly about what he’s quietly been up to these last few years, his upcoming album Flowers & Candy, Keke Palmer, and of course, his perception on the business of music and the direction its heading in!
IMC: So how are you?
BANGLADESH: I’m good. Thank you.
IMC: Great! So to start off, I know you’ve worked with a plethora of incredible talent Beyonce, Lady Gaga, R. Kelly etc. What would you say has been a career highlight for you so far?
BANGLADESH: I guess the highest is to have somebody that you wanna work with in a sense, speaking it into existence, like Beyonce or Andre 3000, and stuff like that. Believing in something and seeing it manifest into something that really happens.
IMC: Considering your past credit list, who is someone that you haven’t had the chance to work with? I know you’ve recently worked with Ice Cube, but is there anyone else?
BANGLADESH: Prince or somebody like that. Or Pink!
IMC: That’s pretty dope. So you’re currently working on your album Flowers & Candy. I read somewhere that your idea behind the album has something to do with turning a cheek to those who don’t understand what you’re doing and what you’re about. Is that theme still present in the material now, as the project’s been in development for some time right?
BANGLADESH: I mean that wasn’t the highlight of the title. That’s probably just one thing from it, you know. But it’s really about having substance. Having something that’s potent. Addictive. Like drugs is a substance, it’s addictive. Flowers and candy is a metaphor for dope. Flowers and candy is a metaphor…. well it really ain’t a metaphor. With flowers and candy, girls love flowers and candy. It’s kind of a woman’s best friend. It has many meanings to it.
IMC: Ok. And for the new album, are you trying out different sounds? Or are you sticking to your typical and original sound?
BANGLADESH: No, it’s some new sounds. I mean, it’s not new to me, it’s just what I do. But as far as sound, it’s an alternative fusion of hip-hop and rock. It’s an eclectic sound. It’s not your typical Bangaladesh track.
IMC: What about rapping interests you enough for you to take that leap? When was that moment that happened when you decided, ‘Yeah, let me start rapping!’?
BANGLADESH: I mean, I grew up singing in the choir. My whole family sings or plays instruements. We’re all talented. I’m from a talented background, but I just never wanted to be in the limelight. It’s more of a branding mechanism. It’s not ‘I’m trying to be famous’. I don’t strive for fame. I strive for the art and the artistry of it. I have many other things that I can do, just like any other producer, like Timbaland, Pharrell, or any other producer. They have different styles and different places they can serve. He can do alternative. He can do hood music. He can do pop. And for me, there’s all types of things I can do, so I might as well just do them all.
IMC: Ok. I feel that. So how do you feel about people’s opinions of producers turning into artists? We know about Kanye West and Pharrell who’ve successfully crossed over but on the flip side, critics have dissed other big names like The Dream and Rico Love. Are you concerned about getting the same reception?
BANGLADESH: If producers and writers worried about people tell us, then we wouldn’t have become producers and writers. The same thing if you’re working at the grocery store or you’re cutting hair and you want to be a producer and people telling you, ‘Man you a grocery store worker or you a barber. You can’t do that!’ That’s dumb’. No. I feel if people don’t talk about you and what you’re doing, then you probably not doing something right. Sometimes when people talk negative about what you’re doing, then you’re probably doing the right thing and you might be on the right track. I don’t even think about people. I just do what I do and that’s why I’m a trendsetter, that’s why I have my sound. That’s why I am who I am. That’s why I dress the way I dress. That’s why I live how I live. I don’t live for other people, I live for me!
Atlanta runs music and that’s how it is. The east coast ain’t running music. The west coast ain’t running music.
IMC: Switching gears a bit, how do you feel about the Atlanta music scene now? You know back in the 90s and early 2000s, you had TLC, Usher, Monica, Ciara, and all these people who were birthed there. Now it seems like the focus is more on the east and west coast. Do you feel Atlanta is still the place to be for up and comers today?
BANGLADESH: You know, I don’t really agree with what you’re saying about the east and west coast winning. I think Atlanta is still the focus of music. Everything is still coming from Atlanta. The new and hottest rappers are coming from Atlanta. Who are you talking about?
IMC: Well I guess your Kendrick Lamar‘s and people like that. I’m not saying no one’s coming from Atlanta, but generally, commercially, everything is coming from the east and west coast. Not down playing and saying nobody is coming from the south, but…
BANGLADESH: I’m not saying you are, I’m just saying that I don’t agree because I feel Atlanta is still the nucleus of music. Atlanta runs music and that’s how it is. The east coast ain’t running music. The west coast ain’t running music. There’s more artists that are coming into the game that are getting a good look from the west and east coast and stuff like that, but a lot of it is motivated from the south. Andre 3000 influences a lot of it. He’s one of my favorite rappers right now, but as far as your question, Atlanta is the place to be. It’s still the nucleus. It’s still the sound of everything. If you listen to Kendrick’s album, it has that southern feel to it. If you listen to east coast music, it’s still that southern feel in there. A$AP Ferg and Ace Hood, it’s a lot of southerness in there. They can be from different places, but they still have that southern sound.
As far as A&R, they’re people who’s A&Ring who shouldn’t even have A&R positions…
IMC: Ok. I agree with you to a degree on that part. So are there any producers or artists that we should be looking out for?
BANGLADESH: Oh yeah. I have artists that are definitely on the rise. I have a 16 year old chick from Madagascar, Brenda Mata. We should be signing her deal this week. So be on the lookout for her. She’s a young up and coming talented artist, with a 6 octave range. She can dance, sing, play instruments like the guitar and piano. She’s a rare-talent. Also, be on the lookout for Keke Palmer. She’s not only an actress but a great vocalist. She’s the next thing. I think people are going to have a hard time believing she’s a real artist, but she was an artist before she was an actress. Being an artist really got her into acting. So yeah, look out for them.
IMC: Alright! We’ll be looking forward to their work. So you know in this day and age, social media and interaction is very important. With your label are you still going the organic route and going to shows to find new talent, or are you discovering on the digital end?
BANGLADESH: Social media definitely has an effect but it can also hinder you. It’s all about how you play anything you’re doing. There’s no one way. Just because you’re big on the internet and big on social media doesn’t mean it’s going to translate into record sales and into who you are as an artist and your sound. As an artist, you have to know who you want to be and do that sound and your style and stick to it and just be consistent with it.
IMC: With that being said, do you feel social media has taken the place of A&R?
BANGLADESH: As far as A&R, they’re people who’s A&Ring who shouldn’t even have A&R positions, but a lot of that is relationships. Like this is my uncle or this is my nephew or my friend. It’s really not that many people who know what they’re doing. People tend to hire “Yes Men.” People who’s going to be there telling you yes all the time or agreeing with you. These people don’t really have an opinion on something and people tend to shy away from what they really think and just go with the opinion of whoever’s higher than them. I think you just need to have your own experience in music and develop a skill in knowing what’s best for yourself so nobody is steering you the wrong way just because they’re in a powerful position. It’s a catch 22. People in powerful positions kind of do what you to tell them to do anyway. They really want you to say ‘Nah, Nah. This is what I’m doing.’ Not in a disrespectful way but they’re looking to see that you know what you’re doing. They’ll throw out ideas to see what you come back with. To see if you’re going to agree with it or be a sucker for whatever they’re trying to get you to do. To see if you have a backbone, to see if you’re really committed to see if they can invest in this idea of who you are.
IMC: We all know that you’re very fashionable! Are you working on a fashion line or venturing to do anymore projects to expand your brand? What do you have up your sleeve?
BANGLADESH: I’m working on the fashion line right now as we speak. I feel like people look at me for those reasons so I think it’s important to have my own. I’m really not a big label fanatic. I try to avoid that stuff, so a lot of the stuff I wear, a lot of people don’t even know what it is and that’s what makes my fashion great. I don’t have a whole Versace outfit or Givenchy outfit. Anybody can put an outfit together, but who can create it from scratch? I just started working on it at the end of last year. I’m coming out with different pieces and I’m starting from the bottom to the top. I like the progressions. I don’t have to be on top off the rip. I like to see progression with whatever I’m doing. It’s cool to fail. It’s cool to win. It’s cool to take chances. That’s why we’re artists.
THE IMC: When can we be expecting new music from you? You’ve already released “Trixxx’ but when are we getting more?
BANGLADESH: Yeah. It’s going to be more records I put out. I’m definitely building this record up. It’s a slow process and I’m independent. I like the organic grind, making something out of nothing. I’m investing in my own self and I put the sack behind this record, so this record is going to be a slow come-up. It’s not a label possessed record. I don’t have a big building behind me, but you’re gonna hear it in the clubs, the strip clubs, the streets, the radio, everywhere. It’s a slow process but yes, I’m releasing more records before I put the album out.