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Cleverwon ProdukshunZ
Rap music is a little more structured than rock. I think with a rock band, or any band, you could be a little more creative such as changing tempo on the fly and instrument solos. With rap it's like verse, hook, verse, hook, done. - I.C. Truth
by Josh Davidson
 [Chorus and Verse] Cleverwon ProdukshunZ
P.A.
P.A.

Sometimes it’s a lack of opportunity that opens doors in the music industry. Throughout the world, artists are finding new ways to develop their careers on a small scale in hopes of gaining a large following. A group of New Jersey and New York rap producers have formed a company to help artists along that route.

As hip-hop music continues to become more commercial, they have formed Cleverwon ProdukshunZ, a production company to help artists express themselves without commercial property. The trio, made up of I.C. Truth, P.A. and Bibi, has worked to seek out new artists. The company's vision is to provide them with the musical guidance their careers need. They’ve also combined their producing, sampling and rapping strengths for artists to use to their own advantage.

The company has now begun working with musicians like the North Jersey rapper Sho Serioz and John “Ugly Yukling” Phillips, from I.C. Truth and P.A.’s, Aberdeen, New Jersey-based Dirty Mouff Produce.

“I got into producing because of the lack of originality in hip-hop,” Bibi said. “My college roommate P.A. and myself decided to make a business of making sick beats for artists that were looking for something new.”

If success continues to cross their path, rap artists will have a chance to make music their own way.

How did you get involved in production and how did you start this company?

I.C. Truth: I started production through encouragement from my brother, mostly because I didn't know anybody who could make me music for my songs.

P.A.: I've always had a love of music, mainly hip-hop. I was disgusted at the direction hip-hop was turning when I was about 18 or 19. Everything was going commercial and the actual art form was being lost. As I perfected my craft, I met up with other producers along the way who shared the same feelings about the game as I did. I reached a point when I realized that our talents were well above average, and in an effort to organize ourselves I created Cleverwon ProdukshunZ.

What are some of the differences between producing rap and producing rock?

I.C. Truth
I.C. Truth

I.C. Truth: Rap music is a little more structured than rock. I think with a rock band, or any band, you could be a little more creative such as changing tempo on the fly and instrument solos. With rap it's like verse, hook, verse, hook, done. I've been trying to incorporate more live music into my productions just 'cause it sounds so much better than programming music. It also takes me away from sampling, which can hurt your pockets.

P.A.: I'm not much into producing rock, although I had a brief experience with a rap/rock band back in 2000. I was just beginning producing, so my knowledge wasn't as vast as it is now. The main difference that I see between producing both is that as a rap or hip-hop producer I have full control over the beat that is made. It is a product of my mind and nobody will have a say in its outcome unless I want an outside influence. With rock there are almost always more than one musician involved in the production, although I have known a few people who produced all of it on their own.

How does being a rapper yourself help you in your production work?

I.C. Truth: Being a rapper myself, I think, is one of my biggest advantages. I can listen to music and off the bat I know exactly how I want the delivery to sound. It also helps because I know what type of beat I won't sound good on, but I'll know someone else who will sound great on that same beat.

How important is outside input to a musician or rapper?

P.A.: Outside input is very critical to anybody who is serious about music. You must accept criticism! Without that how will you know where you need work? I am always open to criticism. It makes me a better producer in the long run, although not every critic is correct. But these critics are usually the ones who will be purchasing your product in the future, so their opinions do hold some weight.

I.C. Truth: Very important. You need to know if people are interested and like the music.

What are the main roles of a rap producer?

I.C. Truth: I feel like everybody has a different opinion on their role. I'm an artist as well as a producer and my role is to create a perfect final product. Not just making a beat, but making sure that everything from the vocals to the final mix-down is as close to the artist's vision as possible. Sometimes, the artist just wants the beat and the working relationship ends there. That’s cool, too, even though I like being involved with any project. As long as I get a check, I’m cool, though.

Bibi
Bibi

Can you fill me in on the latest with Dirty Mouff Produce? What are some of your upcoming plans?

I.C. Truth: Everyone right now is currently working on solo projects. Business-wise and time-wise, it wasn't productive for DMP to work together on everything due to conflicting schedules. With everyone only having to worry about their own project it makes everyone more flexible and productive. Right now, the focus is on getting Johnny Budget's [a/k/a Ugly Yukling] project finished. We're all recording, but his record is the first to come out.

P.A.: You can catch DMP the last Sunday of every month performing at Club Centro in South Amboy. Right now, Cleverwon ProdukshunZ is releasing solo EP's for each member of D.M.P. Ugly Yukling's EP will be the first release in early March.

My upcoming plans are to create a legitimate and successful production company and to leave its mark in the history books of not only hip-hop, but r&b as well.

How can any interested artists get involved with your company?

P.A.: Any interested artists can visit our site or contact our promotions manager G-Light at 732.861.7364. Our first priority at the moment is Yuk's EP, but we are still selling beats and studio time.

I.C. Truth: Go to Cleverwon.com.

[ Website: www.cleverwon.com ]

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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