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Producer Caviar Talks Producing New Music for DMX, Goodie Mob, and T.I.

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.

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Malcolm X’s Assassination To Be Reinvestigated After Docuseries Raises Questions

A documentary on Malcolm X’s assassination has prompted authorities to reexamine the case. In Who Killed Malcolm X? historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad explores the many questions surrounding the death of one of history’s most pivotal figures. The six-part series originally aired on Fusion but has been gaining popularity since appearing on Netflix.

This February will mark the 55-year anniversary of Malcolm’s murder. The former Nation of Islam leader, who left the organization and changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was gunned down inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965. Three members of the NOI, Mujahid Abdul Halim, Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam, were convicted for the murder and sentenced to life in prison.

As noted by the Innocence Project, Aziz and Islam always maintained their innocence, while Halim confessed to partaking in the fatal shooting. In 1966, Halim testified that Aziz and Islam had “nothing to do” with the murder. In 1978, Halim identified four other men as co-conspirators. His confession was supported by FBI documents obtained by civil rights lawyer William Kunstler. Prosecutors in the original trial claimed to have been unaware of the documents and New York State Supreme Court Judge Harold Rothwax ultimately rejected a motion to vacate Aziz and Islam’s convictions. Rothwax died in 1997.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has since met with representatives from the Innocence Project “and associated counsel regarding the matter,” a spokesperson for the DA’s office said in an emailed statement, per NPR.

Although Islam died in 2009, Aziz, now 81, continues to fight to clear his name. He was freed on parole in 1985. The Innocence Project joined forces with civil rights attorney David Shanies to re-investigate Azis’s conviction. “We are grateful that District Attorney Vance quickly agreed to conduct a review of the conviction of Muhammad Aziz. Given the historical importance of this case and the fact that our client is 81 years old, we are especially encouraged that Mr. Vance has assigned two highly respected prosecutors, Peter Casolaro and Charles King, to work on this re-investigation,” the Innocence Project and Shanies said in a joint statement. “We look forward to working cooperatively with them to see that justice is done.”

Casolaro worked on the case of the Exonerated Five and King is a member of the Conviction Integrity Program of the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

As noted by the Innocence Project, there was no physical evidence linking Aziz or Islam to Malcolm’s murder. In fact, Aziz wasn’t even at the venue. The day of the murder, Aziz had returned home after being treated for a leg injury. He heard about Malcolm's assassination while listening to the radio that day, and has doctors and witnesses, to corroborate his story.

Watch the trailer for Who Killed Malcolm X? below.

 

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Ava DuVernay Named Director Of Nipsey Hussle Documentary For Netflix

Ava DuVernay's next cinematic feat will center on a hometown legend. According to Deadline, the acclaimed director will lead a documentary on Nipsey Hussle for streaming giant Netflix.

The announcement was made on Monday (Feb. 10), two weeks since DuVernay presented a musical tribute to the late rapper at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards. Hussle won two gramophones that evening: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap/Sung Performance.

In tribute to his birthday on August 15, the Emmy-award winning director shared a message on Twitter that expressed her gratitude for the interactions they had. "Grateful that he existed. Grateful we walked this vast earth at the same time," she wrote. "In the same city. Grateful that our paths crossed. Grateful for the work and wisdom he gave us."

For Nipsey. Ermias. Son. Brother. Partner. Friend. Artist. Champion. Grateful that he existed. Grateful we walked this vast earth at the same time. In the same city. Grateful that our paths crossed. Grateful for the work and wisdom he gave us. We miss you. Happy Birthday, Nip. xo pic.twitter.com/cNEZHUhiao

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 15, 2019

On March 31, 2019, Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was fatally shot outside of his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles. His death rattled various communities and prompted supporters and new fans to take a look back at this trajectory within music and entrepreneurship.

According to Billboard, other streaming services in the mix included Apple and Amazon. Alongside Hussle's family, the entrepreneur's Marathon Films will also helm production duties.

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Eminem performs onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
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Eminem Performed "Lose Yourself" At The Oscars And Everyone Was Confused

When it comes to soundtrack songs, it doesn't get anymore classic than Eminem's "Lose Yourself." The song from the film 8 Mile was a huge hit, even by Eminem's superstar standards: it was his first Billboard Hot 100 single, stayed there for 12 weeks in a row, and was the first hip-hop song to win the Academy Awards' Best Original Song. After making history 17 years ago, Eminem surprised Oscars viewers with an unannounced performance of the song on Sunday (Feb. 9).

The performance was preceded by a speech that saw Lin Manuel Miranda paying homage to "examples where a song has transformed a film, and where a film has transformed a song." A montage showed clips from Risky Business, Hustle & Flow, Purple Rain and more, before ending with a clip from 8 Mile that showed Eminem's character B. Rabbit pulling up in his car and walking toward the hallway before the film's climactic final battle. Then, to viewers' surprise, Eminem took the stage to perform "Lose Yourself" with a live band.

The performance took social media off-guard – the song "Lose Yourself" or the award ceremony that gave the award aren't celebrating any particular anniversaries, and Eminem wasn't announced to appearing at the show. But that didn't stop Em from giving a pinpoint performance of the song – which is largely seen as the best in his career – or from members of the audience from singing along.

EMINEM AT THE #OSCARS 🤯pic.twitter.com/enMWCOsWif

— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) February 10, 2020

After the performance, Eminem posted a video from the 2003 Academy Awards that saw Bette Midler announcing "Lose Yourself" as the winner for Best Original Song; Eminem didn't show up to the ceremony that year, so collaborator Luis Resto accepted the award in his place. "Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity... Thanks for having me @theacademy," Eminem captioned the photo. "Sorry it took me 18 years to get here."

 

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Look, if you had another shot, another opportunity... Thanks for having me @theacademy. Sorry it took me 18 years to get here.

A post shared by Marshall Mathers (@eminem) on Feb 9, 2020 at 6:39pm PST

Eminem also posted a photo with musical target-turned-friend Elton John, who took home an Oscar himself that night for his and songwriter Bernie Taupin's "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," from the film Rocketman.

 

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I got to see my Uncle Elton tonight at the Oscars. Congrats on your win too, Sir! @eltonjohn

A post shared by Marshall Mathers (@eminem) on Feb 9, 2020 at 9:07pm PST

Eminem released his new surprise album, Music To Be Murdered By, in January.

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