Remember when producers would just sit down and shut up? When beat makers would just…make beats.
Now it seems every producer worth their MPC must show their multi-talented a** by picking up the mic. Virginia beatsmith Dominick “Nottz” Lamb is no different, yet he's far from the same.
Picking up some of his earliest production credits on Rawkus Records' Lyricist Lounge Vol 1, Lamb would go on to land the first three tracks off Busta Rhymes' 1998 LP Extinction Level Event after Buss got a hold of the producers beat tape. He later became a Flip Mode regular, producing five tracks for Rah Digga's debut Dirty Harriet, several tracks for Busta's next two albums and heat for Lord Have Mercy's debut.
Through the years, he has produced for a who's who of A-list artists including : “Footprints” – G-Unit, “Be This Way” – Ghostface, “Barry Bonds” – Kanye West, “Girl You Know” – Scarface, “That's That Shyte” – Snoop, "Me and This Jawn" - MURS among others.
He also released two group efforts with the group DMP in, Nottz Presents D.M.P The E.P (2004) and Nottz Presents D.M.P The Album (Koch, 2005). The latter spawned the regionally successful single, "Don't Wanna Give That Up." Now trying his hand as a solo rap artist, Nottz is dropping an album entitled, You Need This Music, on his newly formed indie label, Raw Koncept Media Group.
But how can a boom bap producer who admittedly doesn't listen to the AM-FM succeed in a game ruled by radio? By never sitting down and never shutting up.
Nottz recently chopped it up with HipHopWired to discuss his new album, collaborations with J Dilla, Asher Roth and what he knows about Dr. Dre's Detox…
Hip-Hop Wired: You are known as a platinum producer. How long have you been rapping?
Nottz: I started out rapping, since middle school. People wanted to front on me with the beats, so I started doing my own thing because nobody would give me beats. That's how I really got into the beats and it just stuck with me.
Hip-Hop Wired: So when you started doing beats you put rapping on the backburner?.
Nottz: Right. I was working at a hardware store and the day Busta's album [Extinction Level Event] came out my manager called me up on the job and was like, ‘you know Busta's album came out?' I was like, ‘yeah?' I said, ‘look Ima call you right back,' hung up and walked right to the crib. I said this is what I want to do from now on.
Hip-Hop Wired: So after producing hits for everyone from Kanye to Snoop, what made you decide to do a solo rap album?
Nottz: My manager really pushed me into doing it but I really hadn't gotten into it until probably last year. He was like, ‘You should just do it.' And I just did it. He is still like the sole pusher behind this thing. This is something I should have been doing, at least ten years ago. When I started doing beats, I should have just kept rhyming.
Hip-Hop Wired: The title of your album is You Need This Music. Why did you come up with that title?
Nottz: It's a lot of crap out. It is not real music, man. Majority of that stuff, it's like you listen to it and your IQ level just drops. It aint too many kids that are reading and doing their research on music. They don't know what real music sounds like so they are hooked on the flashy Shyte. That Shyte don't make music to me, you know.
Nottz- "The Intro" Feat. Travis Barker
Hip-Hop Wired: So this album will school them?
Nottz: Its Hip-Hop. The thing is, every song has substance to it. It's not like I'm just rapping. A lot of dudes see all these features and they are like, it's a compilation album. No dog, it is an album. The dudes I have on it are people that I Fawk with and people that Fawk with me. I didn't have to chase none of these people down. Half of these people asked me to get on it. This album is a feel good record. Everything came from the heart.
Hip-Hop Wired: You seem like you wanted to make record completely different from today's status quo.
Nottz: Just like the title of the album, You Need This Music, this is good Fawking music. This is some music that you need. This isn't the music that you are hearing on the radio everyday. I don't listen to the radio. I cut that Shyte off. Even in the studio, we don't have a radio in here. I can't get in that lane. I am constantly listening to my own stuff everyday.
Hip-Hop Wired: Will you be doing all the production?
Nottz: Yes sir. The majority of the records that are up there are tracks from major artists that didn't want to Fawk with them. They wanted them, they said they Fawked with them but didn't Fawk with them. So I was like OK, I'll write something to them. Did it and the songs came out right. The album is dope. Not even tooting my own horn.
Hip-Hop Wired: A lot of people turn their nose up when they hear the words producer-rapper but you can really spit. What's some of the feedback you have been getting from other artists that have heard the album?
Nottz: The feedback I have been getting from it is like, Yo, that album is dope. They were like, ‘Damn I didn't know you rap,' then, ‘Let's do a record together.' It's still kind of shocking to most folks. Then I'm like a new artist to the younger generation. A lot of young cats have heard the music but they don't know who I am. I'm not that dude that's gonna be all in your face and all in the videos too tough. Since I'm a new artist I have to do it. You won't catch me with the flashy chain, I'm not that dude.
Hip-Hop Wired: What has the creative process been like? Different than you thought?
Nottz: It was easy to me, man. Like I said, I was always rapping. And the group I had everybody had a different vision of how they would come off, how they would approach the beats, period. I learned from all that.
Nottz Feat. The Alchemist "The 1ne"
Hip-Hop Wired: What other artists are you working with on the album?
Nottz: Travis Barker, Bilal, Black Milk, Dwele, Joel Ortiz, Asher Roth, Mayer Hawthorne, Snoop, Royce [Da 5'9”], it's a record.
Hip-Hop Wired: I saw a YouTube video of you and Asher in the studio. Is the music from that session going to be on the album?
Nottz: That right there is for an EP me and Asher have coming out this year called Rawth. Its gonna be dope, like a seven song EP.
Hip-Hop Wired: How did that come about? Just you and him vibing in the studio?
Nottz: That is just how we do. Our chemistry when it comes to this music Shyte is incredible.
Hip-Hop Wired: On your first single “Shine So Bright” you give a shout out to J Dilla. What was your relationship with Dilla?
Nottz: That was my dog, man. A lot of cats be like they knew Dilla, but that was my dog. We were supposed to do an album together. It was one of those things where the timing was really messed up. We were sending hundreds of beats back and forth but we never got a chance to knock it out.
Hip-Hop Wired: The album is coming out on your own indie imprint Raw Koncept Media Group. When did you put that together?
Nottz: Last year. I already had the label Teamsta Entertainment. I had my production company DMP, Durty Music Productions. Now we have Raw Koncept and that's taking care of everything. That's the label, the outsource of all our music. Its gonna be crazy outcome when we start dropping all these projects. www.rawkoncept.com
Hip-Hop Wired: Did you not want to mess with a major label?
Nottz: No. Too many hands in the cookie jar. When you are doing an indie, its less headache. You don't have to answer to this, that and the third. You make your own decisions.
Hip-Hop Wired: Did you have the label in place before you started to make the album, or was that one of the reasons you decided to establish Raw Koncept?
Nottz: Damn man, it's like it was developing while we were doing the album. Really we were like we need an outlet to put this record out. Then we kind of ran into a couple of interviews that really opened our eyes up and we were like this is the same stuff we are doing, why are we not doing it? This is something we could have been doing back in the day. Now we are on board and its gonna be crazy when we drop these acts?
Hip-Hop Wired: What was it like linking back up with Rah Digga who is also on your label?
Nottz: I always wanted to do an album with Digga but she kind of got out of it for a minute. It's crazy because she still spits harder than I don't know what. It's a lot of new people that are coming out that are still not touching Digga. Digga is destroying most chicks, she destroying most dudes…and its kinds crazy because she hasn't had an album out in 10 years. At first she was kind of if-y about doing the whole project. Lucas, the guy who does some A&R stuff for us, he kind of convinced her. She realized when we started recording that this is gonna be something big. I really think this album that she has is a classic. Not just going off the title but it's gonna be a classic record. I think everybody is gonna dig it, especially young folks too. We need that in Hip-Hop. It's too much crap coming out now. Everyday we have a new dance. I'm getting too old for that. Lets make music.
Hip-Hop Wired: Why do you think the both of you have such a good chemistry?
Nottz: I don't know what it is. Even back then, we were like we need to do a project together. Over the years, we just never got to it. Then 10 years passed and it's like damn we think about it again and it just happened.
Nottz- "Shine So Bright"
Hip-Hop Wired: What are some of other thing you are working on production wise?
Nottz: We got the first song on Busta's album, the intro on Detox and a couple of other joints on there. I got a joint on Bilal's album. I got two joints on Dwele's album, and [Raw Koncept] artist named Derek 32zero. Me and Asher are working on an EP. [Raw Koncept artist] Stacy Epps is ‘bout to drop. Snoop, he got a record about to drop. He got a group called Hustle Boys I did a whole album with them. It is a lot a stuff.
Hip-Hop Wired: Beats on Detox? That's major. Do you ever think they will see the light of day? Do you have any incite as to whether Detox ever come out?
Nottz: I think it is. I really do think it is gonna come out this time.
Hip-Hop Wired: If it drops or not, along with your joints, I am sure you've heard some other stuff the Doc is cooking up for the album. Is it sounding like it's worth the wait?
Nottz: Man, I'm waiting for the joint to drop. Like come on man. You have been recording for years, let's do this. He got records, he got records that will shut people down. Make you don't even want to do records no more. Like, aw man, I'm doing this for no reason. Its dudes like this that makes me want to just quit. But he got some records man, its crazy.
Hip-Hop Wired: You seem to be a producer's producer. Dre is copping beats from you, you have done beats for Kanye and 9th Wonder was even on Twitter a little while back saying you are the best out…
Nottz: I responded to 9th Wonder about that. I told him thanks for the comment but I'm not the best dude walking. The majority of us are just great at what we do. Then I saw a bunch of reckless comments up there. People don't understand this is what he said; this is how he is thinking. But I gotta make it known to some of these cats that be making these lame #ss comments. Like, dog, this is all I do so don't get me Fawked up cause I will smash a n*gga. This is how my kids eat. This is all I do. And I treat it like this is all I got.