It’s not much of a surprise that when CES Cru stepped into the studio to record their debut Strange Music project, the 13 EP, that they would have producer Seven to assist them with some beats for them to destroy. The Kansas producer has been lacing Strange Music with cutting edge soundscapes for almost a decade now.
What was surprising were the beats themselves: huge, abstract and booming creations unlike any that Seven has made before.
We sat down with Seven to get his perspective on CES Cru, the 13 EP and the two insane beats that he provided for the project.
Now, I wanna talk about the work you have on this new CES Cru EP 13. You produced two tracks on this. I know you were eager to work with them, just as you are with anybody who’s talented and dope, as they clearly are. What was it like when you guys finally got to sit down together and kind of vibe out in the studio?
It was dope. And by the way, I’m actually working on more shit for them right now. But it’s dope to work with them cause they have different ideas than everyone else on Strange. They think about music in a different way than everyone else does. You’ll hear it when you hear the EP. It sounds very different than anything else that’s been released. Even though I didn’t do a lot of tracks on it, the beats that I did do for them are different than anything that anyone’s done before on Strange. They’re definitely really unique. It’s dope to work with them. I mean with them I get to use drums and stuff that I don’t normally use, you know? I’m starting to figure out my drum kits and stuff that I like to use for CES Cru. I kinda got my little batch of drum kits for them that no one’s ever heard before. Yeah, it’s dope to work with them.
Yeah, and everyone out there will be able to hear it cause they’re doing this music video for “Colosseum” and those drums are like “boom!” You certainly did your thing. Was that something you had already made or did you make that for them?
That beat was already made, I mean I didn’t make it specifically for them, but it was right before we started working on the EP. I don’t even think anybody had heard it at the time, you know I kinda just made it and sent it in a batch of beats for them. It kinda fit with what we had discussed, you know?
Right, so you were like, “I have one here that probably you might like.”
Yeah, it was a very new beat. Like I said, no one had really heard it, and it worked perfectly for them. They killed that song. The video’s dope, too.
Yeah. I would have to say, you know, from what I’ve heard, your production on this is unlike anything I’ve heard from you before.
Thanks man. It is really different, you know? I wish I could have done more, you know, everybody has deadlines to meet and everything, and it just sort of came together how it came together, but I wish I could have done more. Hopefully I’ll get to do more on the next one.
Oh for sure. Well i think anyone who hears the EP, it came together very well. Have you heard the whole thing?
Oh yeah. I helped them figure out what’s gonna be on it, what’s not gonna be on it, the playlist of the songs and everything.
What do you think about it?
I love it. They’re really dope, you know? They’re really – I mean if you like a rapper’s rapper, you know, that’s what they are. They can spit, and it’s a really dope introduction to them. I still think that the best is yet to come with them. Not saying that the EP’s not good or anything, I just think it’s a solid introduction to them.
So you said they’re dope spitters. What do you think they bring to Strange Music?
Well, of course everyone can rap on the label. Tech and Krizz and Lynch, everyone can rap, you know? But to me, they fulfill that, anyone that’s really hungry for lyrics, and hungry for just bar for bar, I think they fulfill that lane. I’m sure that they wanna make hit songs and everything, but I think that they’re really focused on rapping, for real. Which is good, you know, cause that lane to me hasn’t really really been fulfilled and they kinda fill that lane.
For sure. With the other song “It’s Over”, how did that one come about?
Oh, that one was like really last minute. That one wasn’t even about to make the album. That was just something that – man I think that they were on the last day of recording, they were still deciding whether or not they wanted to even use it. The beat was always, to me, it was like a really unique beat. It was just an extremely last-minute decision. Probably the most last minute decision that’s ever been made on an album. The song has some features on it, and I think it sort of depended on whether or not those features were gonna come through. I guess everyone knows.
Right, Krizz and Tech. They’re on the track. That information is out there. This beat, though. I don’t know man…what were you thinking? And I don’t mean that in a bad way, but what was your approach going in on this? I’ve never heard anything like it.
Dude, I just try to do some different shit. I remember when Tech and Krizz came and did their verses on it and everything, CES already laid their verses for it. I remember them being like, “Damn, there’s no snare in it!” you know what I mean? There is like a snare, it’s just a really weird peculiar sound. I don’t think I ever used that sound for – I don’t even think it’s supposed to be used for a snare. I thought it sounded dope, so to use the sound, some kind of weird percussion sound. I think it fits really – it’s a very 808 driven song. 808s are the rhythm of the song.
Yeah, for sure. Cause on top of that there’s this sound â€“ I don’t even know to describe it. Do you ever just create a sound and then you’ll be like, “You know what? This is something interesting. I can probably make a whole beat around this.”
Yeah, that’s what normally happens. I mean, the beats always start with – I mean I never do the drums first. Sometimes I did a long time ago, but anymore it’s kinda like I need that sound. That beat started off with that sound. If I didn’t come up with that little pattern with that weird sound, the beat would’ve never been made, and I always do the 808s last so I can tune them around the rest of the beat, but it always has to start with some kind of weird sound or just the main melody. So yeah, those are completely important to the beat.
Definitely. Now, there’s also quite a bit of production on four or five beats from Info Gates, who I’m sure you got to meet when you were in the studio. What did you think about his production?
He’s dope. We talked for a long time about what kind of equipment he uses and what he does to get his drums punchy. He’s a really cool dude. I hadn’t heard a lot from him before I listened to the songs on the EP, and he killed it. The thing that’s dope about him is not only does he fit CES Cru really well for what he did on the EP, but he’s a producer that Strange hasn’t used, so it really makes the album unique. It really makes it stand out and makes it different – it’s not the regular producers. He’s dope, though.
Now, if you could play God for a second and lace up CES Cru with a collaboration or something, put them in the room with somebody, not producer but MC wise, do you have any ideas of who you would do?
They need to do a song with someone new, like the new dudes that just came out, you know? You know who would be dope? I just heard this mixtape from Domo Genesis from Odd Future, you know? He did a whole mixtape with The Alchemist. It’s a really solid project. I think that if they could collab with anyone, CES Cru could do a song with like Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt or something, I think that would be really dope.
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