Even if you haven’t heard of producer Caviar, the Compton-native possesses enough talent to make you never second-guess him music. Mentored and reared by the late great Easy E as well as DJ Train, Cavie’s West Coast connections remain strong, but he’s no stranger to all coasts. The Compton-native has provided beats for a number of rappers outside Cali, including DMX, T.I., Goodie Mob and Cee-Lo Green amongst others.
Cavie, who was once signed to Blackground records, produced Aaliyah and DMX’s “Come Back In One Piece,” as well as the song “Undertaker” from T.I.’s 2006 album, KING. He was also behind Macy Gray’s 2010 hit “Beauty in The World,” which received television placement on shows such as “Ugly Betty,” “What Chili Wants,” and “Law and Order LA.”
Now producing under his own label, Kannon Entertainment, along with his co-producers the Secret Specialists, Cavie is back in the studio lead producing DMX’s new album. He recently stepped from behind his producer boards, and spoke with VIBE about working with DMX again, possessing Pimp C’s last verse laid to wax and why fellow Compton-native Kendrick Lamar is the future of hip-hop.–Natelege Whaley
VIBE: How did you get the name Kannon “Caviar”?
Caviar: Kannon, like a cannon ball. I was born on July 4th, and that’s my real name and so that’s how I got that name. So then Caviar is of course and acquired and eclectic taste. Everyone knows either you love caviar or you don’t love caviar. There’s no in between with that. And my name with Kannon, cannon being the bomb, Caviar being what it is, is being the best Caviar.
So I also know that you’re currently working with DMX, how did you end up linking up with him back in the day?
We’re like brothers. We got the same energy in another way as far as how we all grew up so he connects with a lot of my people. But back in the day that was strictly the label Blackground. That’s how I got my relationship with Aaliyah, Timbaland, and Missy. That was the first label I was really signed to back in late 1998/early 1999 and I was there until Aaliyah passed and that’s how I got to work with her in the “Back In One Piece” on the Romeo Must Die soundtrack.
So when was the last time you worked with X?
Oh we just saw each other recently when we came out and did the Dr. Drew show and came by the studio and we did a couple new joints for the album. We got a “Frankenstein” record. It’s a crazy record. We got another one called “Bam, Bam, Bam.” We got another one called “I Got Your Back.” We’re trying to get Mary J. Blige on that one so we’re reaching out to get her on that. And quote me on this, one of my big records that I would like to see happen on this album is the DMX and Eminem record. One of the other articles said that I said that they did a record already and they quoted me wrong. I’m saying in VIBE to get the record straight that on my wishlist for this DMX album is to have the record with him and Marshall. That would be hip hop history because they both have millions of fans and both haven’t made a record together.
And you have a record done for T.I.’s upcoming album Troubleman. Tell me more about that.
I have a song on T.I.’s new album featuring Pimp C which is one of his last verses that he did before he passed away. So it’s a special record that’s been up-and-coming for T.I.’s new album that I produced. And I didn’t think he knew he was going to pass away, but he told me ‘yo I wanna get Tip on this song.’ So Tip was sitting on it, but he got caught up and went to jail and all of that so T.I. hit me and said ‘keep that shit on ice and we rolling with it. Like when I get out it’s gonna be on the album.’ So that one’s we got for sure on T.I.’s new album.
You’re also in the studio currently working on Goodie Mob and Sleepy Brown’s album, what sound can we look forward to on their albums?
Yea Sleepy’s futuristic soulful sound, that’s all I can say for Sleepy. The whole vibe of this album is like I’m back in love again with the soul music. But it has the twist of the future. The Goodie Mob all I can say just to give a brief a sneak preview I just say, futuristic tribal funk. It’s high energy, they’re gonna be. You know I don’t want to give away too much, but these guys are gonna put on a great show, and people are going to be very entertained by them.
You worked with all these great artists. So do you have any studio stories working those mentioned?
I mean have many memories. I was in the studio when T.I. did “What You Know About That.” When he heard the track, he was like ‘yo turn that up again, turn that up again.’ He turned it up and after that he just went in and it was a wrap and I saw him do the song within like 15 minutes. I was like wow you’re really dope. And he went in and he starting doing that chant “what you know about that.”
He’s like ‘man listen it’s just inspiration, it’s like you feeling good, you pulling up to a Bentley to the studio, your bills is paid.’ And I just saw this incredible magic from him.
Do you have a process you put yourself through when you’re producing?
I think the beat out before I do it and when you think something out you know where you want to go with it. It’s easier and I used to just get on the equipment and just start going, now I don’t do that, I think it out. I get all the sounds and elements together – what I’m feeling from that day and once it’s there I just kind of step away for awhile and I know everything that I want to work with is right there. It’s kind of like preparing your food, and everything is chopped up and you’re just ready to cook. It’s thawed out and marinated. That’s how I do my music. Then I approach with all the ingredients there. I step back to the equipment and that’s the oven and I just cook it on up. And the way I do it is the way Secret Specialists do it. We’re all individual producers but if you hear me do something I send it off to my bro and we all have to touch it in order for it to be Secret Specialists so all of our spirits all of our souls are on and that’s what makes the magic.
Growing up in Compton, you were mentored by Easy E and DJ Train. What did you learn from them that you still remember as an adult and artist in this industry?
What I learned from being mentored by them, is you can really change a person’s life. I wouldn’t be doing music if it wasn’t for them. I was just hanging out on the corner like every other bad little kid with no guidance and seeing them do something, that was positive. They were just making music they weren’t killing nobody, selling drugs or nothing. They were just making music and just telling the stories of what was going on around them and being able to watch that magic and watch all that come to life and watch how they helped me, I felt like I can help more people. So me and DMX just did a Dr. Drew episode and in that Dr. Drew episode we were able to help a kid. I was able to offer this kid an internship and X paid for studio time for the kid. And this is no lie, I just recorded him last night and the kid actually is good. So I’m hoping that we can change his life because someone gave me a shot. So if I could do that and help a kid that’s one thing I did learn from him. Even though I wasn’t that good, they never told me that I was wack or anything. Easy E made a mark. Look how big Dr. Dre is. He discovered Eminem, Ice Cube and all these big people but it was really because of Easy E discovering him. Coming from Compton, it’s almost as if you have no choice, no chance, no way to really win and you’re like hold up I don’t really like that feeling. So we all feel like we didn’t have a way out so he showed us a way out.
Speaking of Compton, it’s only fair to ask up-and-comer Kendrick Lamar who is also from there. How do you feel about his come-up?
Yea Kendrick Lamar is the future. Yea he’s dope. I just got up on him. I heard of him for awhile because his name was K. Dot. Now his name is buzzing out here. I think he’s definitely a dope cat. He’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s lyrical, he has content, and he’s giving you some substance with his music verses, no fast food. I respect him lyrically like a mug. I think he’s giving the kids something; making them have to read; he’s making them have to say something and giving them something to talk about.