Maja 7th recently did an interview with Ruby Hornet. The interview is below!
Some may say that producers are like a**holes these days, everybody has one. To separate yourself from “my homie that makes beats” to a legitimate producer in the music industry takes skill, patience, and the ability to take criticism, and seize opportunities. Chicago’s Maja 7th is someone that’s been able to do both, as he navigates the world of hi-hats, thumps, and eager emcees. Over the last 6 months, Maja has been crafted a full length LP, The Break Out, which features Chicago’s top artists laying their paint brush to Maja’s canvas. We put Maja under the microscope in this week’s RH First Look.
RubyHornet: You have a lot of accomplishments under your belt but used to formally go by Maestro, what caused the name change?
Maja 7th: One of my good friends, Jesse Tobar, used to call me Maestro when we were in school and actually deserves the credit for the first name. About a year ago I was in a Biggie Remix contest on Allhiphop.com and I won. People were on the site like…”YO!!! Maestro is DOPE!! NYC stand up”. I’m like…NYC?!?! So I did a Google search and there were over 20 different Maestro’s so I changed it to Maja 7th (pronounced MAJOR).
It seems that your largest accomplishment and what you pride in the most is your iStandard award grab. How did you manage to accomplish that?
Maja 7th: I heard about iStandard Producers through a friend. Their first visit to Chicago was in 2007. So I decided to submit, made the finals and won the contest. They also invited me to NYC to battle in the tournament of champions. I was the featured producer at this year’s battle as well. I still stay in contact with J Hatch from iStandard. He and Don Di Napoli have a great thing going on over there. A.O.K (The Chicago Rep) was a big help also. It has definitely put me in a few positions that I wouldn’t have been in if I hadn’t won the contest.
RubyHornet: Being a native Chicagoan what do you feel you are contributing to the scene that’s always changing?
Maja 7th: Well…I’m actually from Indiana but I’ve always had family and friends in Chicago. I’ve been up here a long time so I consider it my second home and represent Chicago everywhere I go. Originality is what I feel I’m contributing. I try to focus on creating my own lane and being original with “MY” sound. There are a lot of talented people in the city and I want to be considered one of the best because of my style and original sound.
RubyHornet: For those who don’t know, who are some of the artists that you surround yourself with and work with?
Maja 7th: The main artists I work with are Pete Sayke and Papi Jamon. They are 2 of the best up and coming MC’s in Chicago (in my opinion). I’ve recently worked with Y.P, Mic Terror, GLC, Pugs Atomz, Mike Schpitz, Freddie Gibbs, Mikkey Halsted, Mick Luter, Pill, Phil G, Jap City and L.E.P. Bogus Boys, Dave Coresh, Sulaiman, Hinx Jones and a few others…
RubyHornet: Do you feel it’s important for a producer to care more about the comfort of who they’re working with, rather than just looking for the biggest placements?
Maja 7th: I think these days it depends. It’s very hard to get into the studio and actually work with the artist and craft the song. The internet has totally changed the way we go about producing the records. You used to be able to get one on one access with the artist and build something truly special. If it’s a major artist these days they are more than likely going record to your track and send it back to you. If you’re an up and coming producer those are the breaks. I think in the beginning you might have to do a couple of records you’re not crazy about in order to build a relationship and get your foot in the door. It’s all personal preference. I was always told you might have to do some things you don’t want to do to get where you want to be.
RubyHornet: How do you think the producer of 2009 will involve into the producer of 2010?
Maja 7th: I think producers will have to continue to think two steps ahead of the next person. Incorporate more sounds, try different mixes or do anything that will separate them from the pack. In case you haven’t noticed…EVERYONE MAKES BEATS, AND EVERYONE RAPS AND THAT ISN’T A GOOD THING! So they have to find out what makes them special. You have to ask yourself…”What makes me stand out”?
RubyHornet: How did your remix of Skyzoo’s “Strung Out” come about?
Maja 7th: That came out great! My management team sent me an email about the contest. I submitted the track and ended up making the final 8. The judges included Matt Diamond from Coalmine Records, Skyzoo and Illmind. I didn’t win the contest but I received some great feedback from the judges and built some great relationships.
RubyHornet: Is it important to participate in every opportunity that you get as opposed to passing up contests like Skyzoo’s remix one?
Maja 7th: Very important. It’s a must that you take advantage of every opportunity to be heard and to be heard by new people. You never know what can happen from entering a contest. You could lose the contest or battle and still impress someone. You never know who is listening. I’d rather take the chance than be mad at myself for not trying or at least making an attempt.
RubyHornet: What are some constant changes that you find yourself making to keep up with today’s standard of production?
Maja 7th: Experimenting with new equipment and working on the little things that can make a good track great! I also try not to listen to what everyone else is doing because subconsciously you get sucked into doing what’s hot instead of doing what you feel.
RubyHornet: Who do you aspire to work within the Chicago area?
Maja 7th: The majority of them are on my album…but Twista, Add 2, Rhymefest, F.A.B.L.E. Marvo and United Center are a few that come to mind right now. I think they are all dope artists.
RubyHornet: How about in just in the general scene?
Maja 7th: Blu, Curren$y, Skyzoo, Little Brother, Joell Ortiz ,Common, Ludacris, Nas, Nippsey Hustle are some artists that I think my sound fits perfectly.
RubyHornet: What’s one thing do you recommend to up and coming producers who are aspiring for the position you are in currently?
Maja 7th: Build tough skin and you’ll be fine.
RubyHornet: If you could describe your music in a few words what would they be?
Maja 7th: ME