Music production team Best Kept Secret first gained notoriety from their work with rapper Wale around the year 2006. In four short years Bun B, Chris Brown, Fabolous and Gucci Mane were featured on their tracks. We got a chance to catch up with Craig B. of Best Kept Secret to learn more about the Washington, DC-based music production team.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm Craig B. of the production team Best Kept Secret. I'm a 23 year old producer from the Nation's Capitol, Washington, DC.
Who are the official members of Best Kept Secret?
Producer and genious Ju Ju, super talented keyboard player and producer Godfather and myself, Craig B.
Why did you decide to become music producers?
We didn't. For me, it kind of just happened. I wanted to be a basketball player, but that didn't work out for me. I always loved music though and I always got in trouble for drumming on the desk in school all the time. But in 10th grade, a classmate named Charles Wilson introduced me to a program called Fruity Loops 3. That changed my life. I mean I had a couple of Casio keyboards prior to Fruity Loops, but I was just amazed at the fact that I could put my beats on cd for once. But I still didn't think I was going to be doing production once I graduated. I went to college for a semester and when the semester was almost up we did a record called "Ice Cream Girl" by Wale that got some radio play in DC and when that happened. That's when I knew I wanted to become a producer.
What artists have you worked with?
Artists we have worked with personally are Wale, Young Chris, Rhymefest, Skyzoo, Raheem Devaughn and Tabi Bonney. We have had a lot of artists featured on our beats such as Bun B, Pusha T, Fabolous, Chris Brown, Gucci Mane, Chrissette Michelle and more.
How can producers get there name out in the industry?
I would say most importantly, perfect your craft, go to events, beat battles, shows, release parties, music conferences, etc. Also, network, meet artists, producers, and whoever can help get your talent to the next level.
How effective is participating in beat competitions?
Its the perfect way to see if other people are feeling your music. You never know who is in the crowd, A&R's, artists, etc. Win or lose you can always benefit and they are just plain fun. Its like a freestyle battle for producers.
Describe your studio equipment setup.
Since FL Studio (Fruity Loops) isn't compatible with mac yet, we use PCs. The basis of our production comes from software plug ins, VSTs and soundfonts combined with a midi keyboard. I love software because it gives you a visual of your beat. You can see music. We also use hardware. The motif, as well as vintage keyboards such as the ASR, and TS-10 always come in handy. Top that off with some Yamaha HS80 monitors, and of course a Mac and Pro Tools and whatever live instrument we can get a hold of.
What would you say your signature sound is?
Its hard to describe. We have a few different styles. We try to incorporate Go-Go and live instrumentation as much as possible and fuse it into other genres. We are like the interpreters I guess, but we are always searching for new styles and sounds that we can throw out there. So its hard to say we have a signature sound.
What is your process for creating a track?
Its almost different every time. We do what ever it takes to make the track hot. If its banging on buckets, sampling, live instrumentation, beat boxing. There is really no process, we just go in.
When do you know your track is done?
That's a tough one because you never really know a track can always be spiced up. I guess when the artist that is singing or rapping on it is satisfied and we can live with it... then we know.
What business advice would you give music producers?
From experience I would say READ, be smart, be humble, and don't be afraid to say NO every now and then.
Musically, what is the best advice you can give a producer?
PERFECT YOUR CRAFT, try to be undeniable, study music of all genres, know your history, and love what you do.
What projects are you currently working on?
We have an instrumental CD coming out soon. We just did a couple of tracks on Wale's mixtape called More About Nothing which is the sequel to his much liked Mixtape About Nothing. I just left the studio with Tabi Bonney. We are working on a track from his up and coming project called Fresh. We've got some other stuff we are working on that we just can't talk about, but we are trying to get our hands into any and everything so stay stuned!
Any last words?
Shout out to all the pioneers in DC who paved the way for up and coming producers like us. Chucky Thompson, Rich Harrison, etc. You are appreciated. I'm going to try my best to keep the DMV (DC/MD/VA) torch lit.