Bizkit BNB has a message for all creatives in the world: don’t work for free! The 4x Grammy-nominated producer turned artist has created one too many hit records for him not to try it himself, which is why “The Bag” arrives in perfect timing. Read more…
From playing piano and saxophone to making beats to rapping, the Philly native is here to keep instrumentation afloat in the ever-changing realm of hip-hop. Producing alongside his partner Butta and working with the likes of John Legend, Miguel, Ne-Yo (just to name a few), the talented dynamic duo pride themselves in putting on a good show.
Bizkit states, “We like to see people dance, that’s all.”
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
Well our strong point is R&B when it comes to being producers, just understanding the structures of how R&B are supposed to sound. Hip-hop is a little different now then it was back in the day, kind of the character and the vibe. I feel like we’re filling a void that’s missing in hip-hop right now, like the musicality. Just music in general because I do play the saxophone as well.
You’re from Philly, how does that play into your life and career?
Being from Philly, you have a mindset of a grind. You’re used to the crabs in a barrel mindset, so you’re used to seeing those kinds of people come into your life. Then being in LA, you deal with all kinds and types of people. [laughs] It’s definitely a crabs in a barrel mentality out here, so it was an easy transition when we moved out here.
You’ve been in LA for 6 years now. Favorite part about the West Coast?
The weather, the green, the women. Of course. [laughs]
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
The best thing to do is to come up in your city. Get your talent, hone your skills and your craft at home. Then once you make enough money, move out here. Because this is not an easy place to live or remain living.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
I used to tour with John Legend playing the saxophone in his band, his nephew was on the road with us. The first day when I walked in, the tour manager called me Bizkit. Don’t know why he called me Bizkit, but he did. The kid heard the name and ran with it for about 2 weeks, and it’s been stuck with me ever since.
What’s the dynamic between BNB?
BnB is Butta and Bizkit, or Bizkit and Butta, whoever you meet first. We’ve known each other since 9th grade, just been rocking with each other since the jazz band. Now, we’re a production team.
You produced for John Legend, Miguel, Ne-Yo. How did that happen?
I started working with John because I was in the band number one, his brother was an artist at the time too. We were in Tokyo one time and I was working on his brother. He said John wanted to come to the studio to write a song for his brother. I’m like “okay cool,” went in the studio with him. A little while later, he decided he wanted to sign me and the team to a publishing venture. We ended up producing the song “Tonight” by John Legend featuring Ludacris, then we did Miguel, Ne-Yo, Ledisi, a lot of stuff.
Talk about transitioning from producing to your own artistry. What’s been the best part?
Just being able to be creative and have fun with it. Especially now and when I first started doing my artistry, everyone was in this emo, melancholy vibe of music. Nobody wanted to have fun. I wanted to try to be different and just have fun with it. Hopefully people will gravitate towards that. That’s the only thing that was kind of missing. Nobody was giving people that. That’s why we perform live and just bring a party.
What’s been the hardest part?
Getting more eyes and ears to it. The hardest thing in the world is to make somebody wanna push play. [laughs] It’s starting to work now, people are hearing the music more and more. I’m talking to you! We’ve only been doing it for a year. I’m very sober when it comes to this because I’ve been around it for awhile. I know I’m not a young guy or anything, but I’m young at heart.
You just released the visual for “The Bag.” Talk about your mindstate in creating this record.
Been doing this for a while as a producer now, we used to get paid BIG money for producing records. Since moving to LA, people think you’re supposed to just give them the sauce for free. They think they can talk to you any kind of way, treat you any kind of way, and you’re supposed to just do it for no reason. After a couple bad experiences, I just said “fuck it, I don’t wanna do that shit no more!” [laughs] ‘Cause we look at it this way: if you do it for free or if you don’t do it at all, that’s the same money. So how about just don’t do it? Until they got the bag. Ever since we had that mindset, it’s been a lot better.
Talk about bringing the record to life in Miami.
We were in Miami for a performance at a fashion show for autism with the homie Smiley Jones and his company Burning Guitars. Great fashion line. We were out there for a couple days during Art Basel. Got with a camera guy and decided to put together some visuals. We ended up shooting 2 songs out there: a Christmas song in Miami, then we did “The Bag” the next day. That was really dope, ended up on the yacht. It was a great day.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
I just wanna teach people to be different. Everything’s starting to sound the same. That’s not going to give you a career of longevity. You’re doing it now, someone else is gonna do the same thing a year later and you’re going to be forgotten. People who come out with these one-hit wonders, they can’t get another one. I wanna be able to get that first one and keep it moving. That’s the type of artists we wanna produce for, kind of using the artistry as a catapult to turn into an empire.
What can we expect from you music-wise?
More bangers. More fun stuff, more videos. Some really cool features coming up.
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
My mom has Bipolar, so I want to have some sort of charity centered around that. Some type of a research for it. I see all these artists and they always have their thing, their charity. I was thinking about what’s important in my life, what’s happened in my life that was such a focal point that I’d wanna focus on and bring awareness to. Bipolar was definitely that because that’s been my whole life.
What did you do with your first advance/check?
Butta: We moved to New York.
We moved out of Philly and moved to New York.
How long were you in New York?
3 years, then we came to LA. We had a #1 record on the chart with “Tonight.” We were like “okay we’ve done all the work we could do out here in New York,” especially for the people who worked in NY. We just decided “I think it’s time we should move to LA.” Everybody was telling us “all the writers are in LA!” All the work is in LA. We got here and spent a lot of money. [laughs]
How important is social media for your career?
Way too important. That’s how I contact a lot of fans. That’s how a lot of people get wind of my music. We also do sketch comedy stuff with IG comedians, so it’s all part of it.
Favorite person to follow?
Will Smith. It’s different for us because we’re from Philly. It’s a big inspiration to see somebody especially from West Philly, to be where he’s at in his career.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Wake up, eat some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, watch some SportsCenter. First Take, laugh at Stephen A Smith talking about different teams. My team is the Sixers, so I like when they win and talk about the Sixers. About 2pm, go to the studio, put in that work all day. If we have a show, get ready for the show. Do the same thing everyday.
3 things you need in the studio?
Weed, lighting, and people. Energy.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
One time, this fan came to me and he really appreciated how my name was everywhere. Name was on a shirt, I had stickers, we had a banner. He was like “man, your marketing is great! Your promoting is great!” That made me feel like “man, we’re really doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Right now probably Meek Mill, that Championships. My favorite is the one where he’s talking about the relationship, he’s singing. I gotta look it up now… “Almost Slipped.”
Anything else you want to let us know?
Please come to a show! If you get a chance to see Bizkit with Butta on the light-up keytar, don’t ever miss it. It’s great.