The Rémy Martin Producers Series enters its fifth season with a co-sign theme. Budding music makers from coast-to-coast are encouraged to submit beats and tracks they’ve produced, in order to have a chance to compete for the all-important co-sign.
This year, the winner of the season will have the career-changing opportunity to produce a song with prolific hitmaker Mustard and G.O.O.D. Music superstar Big Sean. “It isn’t about doing one song with me and Mustard,” the I Decided. MC told the crowd at the start of the evening’s event. The judges included Kendall ‘Sav’ Freeman (VP of Maybach Music Group), Steve Carless (A&R Universal Music Group) and Orlando Wharton (A&R Atlantic Records).
“It’s about giving somebody an opportunity to go to a place that they’ve never been able to go and take it from there. Giving them a platform, giving them the confidence, showing them that it’s real, and then just giving them the spotlight to go further and doing their own thing.”
On Jun. 28, the New York stop’s big winner was St. James The Producer, who got the crowd at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom going with a series of eclectic and fresh beats. The winner is originally from D.C., and his musical interest began when he played the saxophone. When he started playing the keys and bass, his production prowess was sparked. One of his productions featured heavy bass and a children’s choir, while another featured old-school soulful flair that wowed the judges. He was awarded a Rémy Martin 1738 Speaker Box trophy and a coveted spot in the Finale, which will be held in Los Angeles.
The Breakfast Club’s DJ Envy, who hosted the event, explains that the bass-heavy way of creating songs is what sets New York City producers apart from other hitmakers around the country.
“They’re known for that 90s tempo, that boom-bap, that Harlem shake,” the native Brooklynite told VIBE at the competition. “New York producers give you that great feeling, although L.A. producers have that as well. L.A. producers have a little more of a smooth side with their bass.” Envy cites DJ Premier, Dr. Dre and Just Blaze as his favorite producers of all time.
What makes a producer stand out in this competition? It’s all about preference. The four competitors during the New York leg of the series brought something very different to the stage. Producer Ramz Of Cncr Czn brought a mysterious and seedy beat to round one, while N88 put a trap twist on an ice cream truck jingle for his first track. DJ Envy is a fan of tracks that get the people going no matter the location.
“As a DJ, I really love tracks that work in a club, whether it’s a regular club or a strip club,” he said. “I like tracks that really get the party started, I need that type of beat.”
Last year’s winner Severe Jones knows exactly what it takes to stand out from the pack. The BX native, who has worked with Swizz Beatz and Jerry Wonda since winning 2017’s coveted competition, calls his win “surreal.” He said that being confident is key when it comes to Rémy Martin’s Producers Series. “Don’t hold back,” was the advice he offers to the musicians in the competition.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things, because this opportunity doesn’t come every day,” he said with a smile.