There was a time not too long ago when the streets of New York were blanketed with young men in oversized white tees and fitted caps tucked over pink bandanas. When the Big Apple’s mixtape vendors and radio stations alike were dominated with “Dipset Anthem.”
“Even though I was in the middle of everything, I never really felt the magnitude of what was going on with the Dipset movement,” recalls Rsonist, one-half of The Heatmakerz production duo. “I was literally locked in the studio all day and night, going from one session to the next, bangin’ out these records.”
Providing the soundtrack to these anthems, The Heatmakerz played a vital role in the Dips’ overpowering and accelerated rise to the top. Their signature soul samples and frenzy-inducing drum patterns brought the group’s diplomatic words to life. With the recent talks of the Harlem quartet getting back together, VIBE tracked down Rsonist to find out where the movement is moving next.
VIBE: It seems like The Heatmakerz name has been off the radar for a while. What have you been up to?
Rsonist: Over the last few years, the music game changed a lot. When we first came into the game the Internet wasn’t as relevant as it is now in the music industry. The artist and producer interaction was way different. I can’t lie, though. At one point at like the end of 2005, I really didn’t like the music industry. It went in a totally different direction for me. It wasn’t until like the end of last year where I felt like I wanted to create music again.
There were also some rumors of new additions to the crew…
Nah, there isn’t anyone new in The Heatmakerz. I put together a crew for a bit called The Crash, but we’re not moving forward with it. It’s still just me and my partner, Thrilla. Everyone knows that we did about 80 percent of Diplomatic Immunity, 12 records off Juelz’s first album, but also we’ve produced records for Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, CNN and the list goes on.
“I know people had problems, but we’re moving forward. Anytime the Dips want to reach out, I’m with it.”
I don’t think many of your fans realize that The Heatmakerz do much more than soul samples.
People don’t understand when we were heavy into the soul samples, that was what the artists wanted. But The Heatmakers do everything, I’ve done records with just an acoustic guitar, and other sounds the average rap fan wouldn’t expect from The Heatmakers. Now you are going to see our full spectrum.
Have you heard that Cam and Jimmy recently patched things up?
Yeah, I actually just spoke to Cam for the first time in about two years just a couple of days ago. We’re going to get back into the studio and make music again. At first, it was a little weird because we haven’t spoke on a personal level in so long. But I sent him some music a few months ago, and he reached back out to me. But it’s still all love. I’m actually supposed to meet with him later on today.
So I take it you are all for a Dipset reunion?
Hell yeah, I still think they’re talented dudes and people want to hear their music. So why not? People are still interested and there’s money to be made there. I know people had problems, but we’re moving forward. Anytime the Dips want to reach out, I’m with it.
What’s your favorite Heatmakerz and Dipset record of all time?
Personally, “I’m Ready” is my all-time favorite Dipset record ever. I actually made that beat two years before I even met Cam. I was just another hungry producer before I met Dipset. All I did was sit in the house and make beats. Every record that you heard on Diplomatic Immunity was one the same beat CD. They bought all 11 beats at one time.
Do you feel like there was an influx of producers that began biting The Heatmakerz style after all the success with Dipset?
Obviously, I think so but people will never give us credit for that because we don’t have the catalog of a Kanye, RZA or certain other producers. But if you go back and listen to the way our beats sound and listen to a lot of new producers today, they took a lot of stuff from us, and I take it as a compliment.
Did you get a chance to check out VIBE’s Greatest Hip-Hop Producer Of All Time Tournament?
My friend called me and told us that Kanye murdered us in the first round [Laughs]. But my favorite producer of all time is DJ Premier and my reason is when I first heard DJ Premier’s music before I was ever a producer, he made me understand that Hip-Hop music was its own art form. I don’t want to say that he created it but the way he produced was like no one before him. What he did with the MPC is what musicians do with instruments. —Mikey Fresh
BONUS: Rsonist’s Greatest Hip-Hop Producer Third Round Picks
Diddy & Hitmen vs. Neptunes – Neptunes
Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland – Timbaland
Kanye vs. Just Blaze – Just Blaze
Dilla vs. Pete Rock – Pete Rock
Preemier vs. Rick Rubin – Premier
Q-Tip vs. RZA – RZA
Dr. Dre vs. Prince Paul – Dr. Dre
Bomb Squad vs. Manny Fresh – Bomb Squad