Although their talents brought them to begin both a DJ and Rap career separately, they both agreed that beats were where their hearts were and in 1995, Soul Diggaz Productions was founded. Their goal was simple: to get tracks on the radio, and to be identified by their edgy sound. They knew however, that to achieve that they would have to get a well-known artist to sing on one of their tracks and get the placements they would need in order to be successful.
What were some of your influences when you first started out?
Soul Diggaz: My influence when we first started out was pretty much Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, they were pretty much who inspired us. Along with RUN-DMC, like all the old school artist like the Fat Boys. On the R&B side we listen to New Edition, back then we were fascinated by the youthfulness of coming up in the game. We were just fascinated by a lot of old school artist like Isaac Hayes. We just liked good music.
Being brothers and business partners, does that make your success more enjoyable?
Soul Diggaz: Yea, because that?s who you want to deal with, you want to deal with your family. It?s best to come up with people you know already. Being as though that is my stepbrother, it feels good to be sharing and breaking bread with my brother, keeping everything in-house. We don?t have to worry about meeting all these new and different catz, and getting to learn them. I rather keep everything in-house and grow successful with my family.
Does the saying ?keep it all in the family? fit into y?all motto?
Soul Diggaz: Definitely, ?keep it all in the family? because at the end of the day that is who is going be on your side. All these catz who come around are going to break camp at the end of the day when sh*t falls down, but your family will be there to support you.
What is the meaning behind the name ?Soul Diggaz? and how are you trying to establish your company?
Soul Diggaz: We pretty much are just trying to set the name Soul Diggaz. It is pretty much music that touches the inside. Music that inspires you from the inside, that?s why we called it Soul Diggaz. Our music digs in your soul, so we make sure that we do soulful music that touches the spirit. You can feel it more when it comes from the heart. That?s why we made sure we had a good name that everybody can relate to, that?s why we came up with ?Soul Diggaz.?
You say that you guys make ?feel good? music, how would you describe that sound?
Soul Diggaz: Feel good music is soulful music to me. Music that is not depressing music, that comes from the heart and soul. Not someone that thinks that they can just get a MPC and laptop or a piece of equipment and piece music together. You got to understand, know it, learn it and vibe with it; that is what I mean by feel good soul music.
How did you guys hook-up with Missy Elliot?
Soul Diggaz: Well, we hooked up with Missy Elliot through our third partner by the name of Corte. It is his cousin and they both are from Virginia. We were working on his album and she heard the stuff we were working on his album. She liked the music and wanted to meet the producers. We hooked-up with her and a month later she wanted to do a deal with us. We signed with Missy and we been doing production for her for about three years now.
What was the first breakout song y?all produced, that put your name in the headlines?
Soul Diggaz: Well our first break through song was on the ?Fighting Temptations? soundtrack, it was a big soundtrack with Missy and Beyonce. We worked on the ?Honey? soundtrack?and also the Gap commercial with Missy and Madonna.
With technology moving at a fast pace you guys were one of the first production teams to start producing ringtones. How did you get into making ringtones?
Soul Diggaz: The company is called Blingtones; we got with them when their only carrier was Sprint. John Darka the president of the company said he had been following our tracks for a minute. He was feeling our music and he wanted us to be one of the first set of producers, along with a few other producers who got names out there, to do the Blingtone thing. For almost a year we had the number one ringtone out of everybody.
How do think the blending of musical genres is impacting and influencing today?s music?
Soul Diggaz: As far as the blending of the music game, Hip Hop makes a lot of different types of genres merge together. Like the Hip Hop, R&B, even Rock, it?s like everybody wants to be part of the Hip Hop movement. So when you have Rock guys being with the Hip Hop guys, and everybody is being featured. We always liked different types of music, so it?s a good thing that the game is turning the way it is, because now it is giving us our chance to shine for all the different things we do. A few years ago people would have looked at us weird like damn they?re trying to do Rock music or this and that. That?s why we know right now is our time, because the way the music game is merging.
Do you guys use live musicians when you are making a track?
Soul Diggaz: Yea, we use live musicians all the time. Sometimes it might be a sample that we are working and we might want to flip it a certain way but the sample only allows us to go so far. We don?t really sample a lot but sometimes we use a lot of different live instrumentation in other music besides Rock music. We love instruments.
Is there a key sound which makes the Soul Diggaz distinct from other producers?
Soul Diggaz: Pretty much the Soul Diggaz sound is a dirty sound; it is real dirty and soulful. Real grimy. It is not a clean sound? but even our clean sound has a dirty feel. Not dirty as in nasty, it is street. Straight street, even if we?re going for the clean sound it still has fifteen or twenty percent street in it. It is like the sun is out by the shade is still on.
What?s your favorite song you guys have produced?
Soul Diggaz: I don?t really have a favorite honestly. Pretty much I like everything we do. I can?t even answer that question. I?m not egotistical or anything I just think everything we do always put me in that zone. I am just happy that we are talented enough to create it and to get it out to the world. I wouldn?t put it out to the world if I didn?t enjoy it.
I agree with my brother but one of my favorite things is our artist Yung Kuntry and Name Brand. Our girl group and Yung Kuntry are definitely going to be classic records, it is some of our best work and it is going to be crazy when the album drops.
What do you think makes a classic song?
Soul Diggaz: A good friend of mine told me one time a classic song makes you want to dance, f**k, or sing. Those are the different things that makes a classic song. If it does all that and ten years from now you still get that feeling, it is a classic song.
What projects are you guys working on currently?
Soul Diggaz: Right now we are working with our artist Yung Kuntry, who is signed to Universal Records. We?re working with our group Name Brand that is signed with Atlantic (Records); we did a joint venture with Missy Elliot. We are in the studio with Whitney Houston right now, and we are working on records for Christina Milian. We also have a new artist we?re about to sign called J. Fairchild, we have her in the studio now and Miss Nana orchestrated by Newark Illustrated. We are just trying to stay focused on our own projects.
The whole Soul Diggaz family
Big up everybody in the world
—— By: Interview by: Adeniyi Omisore