One after another, boats pass along the bay behind hip-hop producer Numonics's apartment taking advantage of partly cloudy weather. While he's dressed for the 90-plus degree weather in sunglasses, a red LeBron Heat jersey, shorts, and Jordans, his sometime partner in sound SIN is somehow able to pull of wearing khaki pants and brown Timberland boots.
After developing a friendship over the last year and a half and working on a few records together, SIN and Numonics agreed to make the most of what they were creating and release the 7 Deadly EP.
Numonics is no stranger with working on joint projects. In March, the producer collaborated with Saheed on Not For Nothing. And last year he joined forces with REKS on REBELutionary and Knowledge Medina on the Never Enough EP.
SIN, who has a tendency to remain quiet after releasing a project, took only a couple of months to release "Wipe Those Tears" after dropping A Toast To You in December, and then "Eye For An Eye" in May, produced by Numoics.
A few weeks removed from the release of their collaboration, the producer and rapper sat down with New Times to discuss the idea behind the project, the process of its creation and evolving creatively.
New Times: When did you think of the idea for 7 Deadly?
Numonics: It was probably about nine, 10 months ago. I'd known SIN through a lot of mutual people, developed a good friendship and then we started to do records. We really didn't know aim or purpose originally, just to kind of work with each other.
Once we started to get a couple songs done we realized, "Hey, we can do something real cohesive with this. And it made sense to work with the EP format because we could put together a project that's very together and put together certain sounds, but not have the long, drawn out process through the full-blown album.
When you guys sat down and started to work on it, was it you two working exclusively together?
SIN: When we first started banging out records, we were just doing songs to just do. We literally, probably did, how many joints?
Numonics: Somewhere in between 14 and 16. There was only seven on the album. And from that seven we had actually another song that was originally on there that we swapped out for "City on Fire" that was done really on the fly, because REKS happened to be in town, and we did the song the day before. I don't think there was anything to where it came to like it was a mutually exclusive thing, because he was working on Toast For You, I've been doing a bunch of different projects.
I kind of understood what works best for him as far as tempo range and beats. So when I would make something that fell into that kind of structure where I felt it made sense for him, it would be good songs, that's what we would work on.
And the whole idea was to have seven tracks.
Numonics: Yeah, just to play off the theme. It's a cheap marketing ploy. It's clever. I like things that are clever. It just made sense. Hold on, did we come up with the concept of the album then did the song or did the song and come up with the concept?
SIN: I think we came up with the name of the project first.
Numoics: And then we did the song.
SIN: And then we did the song, the "7 Deadly" intro joint.
Numoics: I think it all really stems from, because we have this one song that's actually a self-titled song called "Sin." I think that's when we were really like, let's roll with it 100 percent. And that song isn't even on the album, which is funny.
How did the beat selection go?
SIN: Well, I tell you what, the way we started working on this it's not like he would give me beats, I would go home to write to it. That happened to the tracks that didn't make the project. Every song that made the project, we literally were in the studio, he was probably making the beat or just made the beat earlier that morning, and I'll get there and he's like, "Yo, I made this beat." I'm like, "Word, Let me hear that." I'll just write to it on the fly. Record. Boom. Get it mixed.
What sound best fits SIN?
Numoics: With SIN it's very similar with Nics, it's a tempo thing. I think they're very similar artists, actually. Speaking of REKS, bringing it all together, I had a conversation with him as I was trying to explain what he does, I just feel like his background being from Rhode Island, and how he speaks and everything, he kind of has an East Coast vibe, but he does similar things such as spacing, use of cadence. You know, the kind of word play that's going on there.
For him it's a tempo thing. I know if I make something from like 70 to 82 bpm it's going to work. I don't think I necessarily have to do a distinct sound, the actual style of the beat, but the tempo has to be there. I can give him a rock-influenced thing, or a soul-influenced thing, or a trap song, or something in between, whatever the case may be. But if it's in between that tempo, you'll do fine with it.
I think when you produce for a lot of people, and you start to get used to different styles, you can understand where you need to be in the bpm range to bring the best out of them.
SIN: Which is what makes him a great producer. It's true. A lot of producers make beats for themselves and like, "Oh this is what I do." They don't really adapt to the artist and what their sound may be. He literally dissected my sound through time, and he knew that was the tempo. That's what I needed and he provided it.
How long have you know each other?
Numoics: A year and a half at most.
How much does it take, getting to know one another and studying each others' material before going into a project like this?
SIN: We chilled a lot during the process. We actually got to know each other through the whole process of making the project because I was always in the studio with him whether it was recording or not that day. We was always chillin' and he'll be making beats, I'll be writing or whatever the case may be. We'll go out places, shows and all that.
SIN, you don't speak about Kemar on this project.
SIN: Yeah, I know. His two-year anniversary of passing away was August 1. I still speak about him a lot in a lot of records that I do by myself in my crib or whatever, you know what I'm saying? But, I do that just for self-relief. I don't know. It's tough. I don't want to keep mentioning his name to keep bringing me back to some sorrow place when he was such a big, you know, person on life and being happy and being high spirited and all that. I don't want to speak down on any of it, kind of like I did record "Black" on the Third Lifetime. He's with me in every time I record. I feel him all the time.
How do you feel this project will provide further growth for the both of you?
SIN: It's opened my eyes to, I guess with the feedback that I've been getting, I think I've opened up a more diverse fan base with this project. I'm adapting more to the south. Obviously the drums are there. Southern people love the bass. Numonics basses are fucking crazy, and people love that. It goes hard in the vehicles out here and all of that.
I've expanded my fan base more. People are starting to see another side of me where I've actually learned how to, not that I didn't know how to create songs before, I learned how to make a song now. Hook, you know, 16, make it catchy, catchy phrases. Whatever the case may be. Before I was just a lyrical buh buh buh buh buh all the time. Just lyrical spitting shit all day. And I took this project, and I wanted to make actual songs. I mean, the lyrics are obviously still there. I think the goal of making a great song was more of my goal this time around compared to other projects.
Numonics: This album is really night and day as far as what people know me for, because a lot of it is very sample driven, boom-bapish. What ever you want to call it. So, it just gave me the opportunity to try different styles with it that would mesh with what he does really well. I really just wanted to make it real bass heavy because a big complaint that I've always heard was people don't like my basses.
Basically, a lot of what he said is true. Structure, you know. Making something that's very cohesive. Everything fits, you may not like all of the songs, but you can understand where at least they all go together. It's part of a whole. It doesn't sound like something that's just a lot of ideas thrown together where these sort of projects end up being that way.
SIN: I'm going to say greed off of the simple fact that it's looked down upon but I think everybody in their own sense has their own type of greed, whether you want to believe it or not. There's a thin line between greed and pride, I think. And I think greed would be it because I am a prideful guy. Some times I don't even want people on because I want to take the whole record. That's a greedy thing, but that's what I want to do. I want to take over the whole fucking beat. What's yours?
Numonics: Keeping it so music. I guess I can keep it music too, but still, lust. Come on, bro. The only reason I make music is the make sure women find me attractive. Seriously, I got bad teeth. I've let myself go. A fucking ginger. You know, the deck is stacked against me. Yeah, man, lust. That's the best out of all of them, because you could lust for so many different things.
Follow Lee Castro: @LeeMCastro
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