1500 or Nothin' is a music production company that we can definitely call a musical ensemble. They are comprised of producers, songwriters, arrangers, musicians, and videographers. Larrance, Charles "Unc Chucc" Hamilton, and Lamar "Mars" Edwards, three childhood friends from Inglewood California, formed the all-star collective in 2006. The team has now expanded to eight members, Kenneth "Bam" Alexander, James Fauntleroy, Brody Brown, Carlos "Los" Mc Slain, and Jeret "J.Black" Black.
Nine years later, they have three divisions: 1500 or Nothin' music, 1500 or Nothin' video, and 1500 or Nothin' ancillary. The company partnered with Peer Publishing to create their own publishing imprint with plans for discovering and developing unknown songwriters and producers.
1500 or Nothin' have already caught the attention of some of today's biggest stars including Jay Z, Kanye West, The Game, Faith Evans, Kendrick Lamar, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Marsha Ambrosius, Bobby V, Anthony Hamilton, Justin Timberlake, and many more.
The band also won Soultrain's Musical Director award three years in a row and is currently working on a debut album, docu series, and a clothing line. So as you can see, 1500 or Nothin' is constantly on the move and will continue to flourish in the entertainment industry.
Singersroom spoke with 1500 or Nothin' CEO Larrance Dopson about their musical style, working with top-notch artists, upcoming projects, and more. Check out our interview!
Coming Up with the Name 1500 or Nothin': Well, we started off as a church band. When we were kids, we were playing for a lot of big churches. We met this guy who happened to be Bobby V, who did a church gig with us, and we became friends. This was around the time when the song "Slow Down" came out. We showcased for him so he can get his deal with Def Jam. And so for the first month, we were doing a lot of rehearsals for free and then Bobby started getting some money. He started going on tour with Rolex and stuff, and he asked us to do his showcase. We told him you have to give us 1500 dollars or nothing. That's how much we charge, and that's how much you have to ask. He was like alright, alright, "what's the name of y'all band," and we said 1500 or Nothin'. We started a handshake, and it became a musical game changer from there.
Working with Mainstream Artists: Well, Bobby V helped us get started; we were like 18, and Bobby V's album was the first record we ever really worked on as producers. His self-titled [debut] album opened a lot of doors for us despite the fact that we started out really young. I was fresh out of high school; I went to college for like maybe a semester. Then, I met up with Terrace Martin, a hip-hop producer, and he needed a driver for a Snoop [Dogg] show. Snoop started playing "Murda Was the Case," and I got on the stage and I just performed the song like I knew it. Ever since then, Snoop asked me to go on four world tours with him. It opened the doors to travel all over the world and meet new people.
But at the time, we were teaching each other how to play different instruments because everyone was still doing their own things. Mars was working with Mary Mary and T.I. At the time, all of us was working with Tyrese. Tyrese has a studio in Hollywood at the Edmonds building, and The Underdogs were on top of us; we were making so much noise in the Tyrese studio. Then the Underdogs started hearing about us and a lot of the Underdogs writers left. At the time, James was the main writer for them. James started working on Jordin Sparks' song, "No Air" with Chris Brown, which was his start on the pop scene.
Now with Marsha's "Far Away," Just Blaze and I have been working together; basically, we started working together when I was in high school. We did Jay's "Show Me What You Got," "Why You Hate the Game" with Nas and The Game. And ever since then, whenever we work with Just Blaze, Marsha wants to work with us. We did the single in Hollywood, and we got the phone call that it was a huge single that was nominated for a Grammy. The calls just kept coming in after that; people really start recognizing our talent as producers.
Musical Style and Other Genres: I think we have a signature sound because our parents taught us good music. They schooled us! There was this one time when this man Steve Lindsay taught us all of the hits from the 50's until now. So we had to sit down and ask ourselves what do we like about this record. So we studied all of those records from back in the day. But now it's in our head whenever we play something because that was our baseline. Basically, we know what works from studying music our whole lives. I think it's also from us performing live in church and seeing how the crowd respond to the music. We were able to figure out what coordinates certain emotions. And once you've mastered that concept, it's pretty easier at this point. Keep studying and memorizing your art! I mean, I can't even tell how many songs we've learned; Every song that you can think about from Dione Warwick to The Temptations. We just know how to play everything.
Working on Justin Timberlake's album, The 20/20 Experience: Actually, that was my production partner, James Fauntleroy. I am the CEO, and he is the president of 1500' or Nothin'. James co-wrote all of the songs with Justin Timberlake for the album. Like I said, back in the day, through The Underdogs, there was a time that they were working with every person that you can think of so when we were young, we were building our relationship with them, Justin, and other artists. Justin reached out to James and asked him to be a writer on his album. We just try to make the best music we can, and that's how artists started reaching out to us again.
Future Artists to Work With: It's crazy because we worked with a lot of people (lol). I'm really trying to think of another artist. I would love to work with Celine Dion.
1500 or Nothin' Documentary & Other Projects in the Works: It's going to be a docu-series and it's basically about our whole life, how we started, all of the trials we went through dealing with the church, going into rap music, and where we are now. The story is crazy. The story is letting everyone know that if we can do it, you can do it. We came from the hood of LA; everybody is from a different part of LA. We come from a crazy area. We still have a studio in Inglewood, and we do a lot of things for the community. We're building a studio at Crenshaw High School, and building studios all over the world is our plan. We are starting a music and art school in Inglewood, and we are writing a curriculum on creativity. We are about 80 percent done with the curriculum, and we teamed up with the Grammy university last year. The curriculum talks about brain activities, writer's block, and everything else that you can think of while you're making music. We are doing a college tour soon to promote the idea as well.
State of Mind at Coachella 2015 (Music and Arts Festival): Coachella was an amazing experience. Azealia Banks killed it, and we just had a ball acting a fool. Watching Azealia perform her music, it was awesome because it was just SIMPLY her.
Labeling Yourself as a Musical Movement: Absolutely! We just encourage positivity, being creative, and of course, having God first in your life. It's not really about the music; it's about your state of mind and what you think about every day. You have to be in the right state of mind before you can even think about the music. Help others and believe in yourself. We believed in ourselves without anyone else believing in us.