We asked Just Blaze about the best ways to ensure that he's annoyed. As a bonus, he gave us the origin story of his friendship with Jay Electronica.
Just Blaze gets computer 'putin.
Before Kanye, Just Blaze was the face of samples. He has accomplished a lot since he started working with Roc-A-Fella in the late '90s, and the 36-year-old producer would go on to provide beats for rappers at the peak of their careers and create a signature sound that would define an era in hip-hop music. While most producers who achieve that much success would ride off into the sunset on a chariot of royalties, Just Blaze has experienced a sort of reboot in the past few years. He's shifted the crate-digging and break-seeking part of his profession to the side, replacing it with the more high-tech approach of using his laptop for practically everything, from collaborating on EDM hits like Baauer's "Harlem Shake" to performing live DJ sets at clubs all over the world.
During his live show in Toronto — which was such a popular event that even Justin Bieber couldn't resist showing up just one day after his meeting with local police —Just Blaze took some time to explain some of the pet peeves that he's stumbled upon throughout the years and across genres.
Pet Peeve: Asking Me To Do The "Just Blaze!" Drop
People who run up to me in the street and ask me to do the Just Blaze drop are the worst. I'm just trying to buy a pair of socks and it's "come on just do it one time, just one time." I'm like, why don't you do it?
Approaching Me At The Urinal
It happens often! I'm just trying to take a leak at the urinal and next thing you know, people are trying to give me a demo or ask me career advice. One guy tried to shake my hand, I'm like "dude, I am holding my penis." It's just awkward.
Robot Spamming Me Whenever I Tweet
I don't know exactly how it works, it's an algorithm. If I tweet a blogger or a music person, next thing you know I get 20 demos or soundcloud links, or people just leaving their information. If you use certain keywords they spam you too. It's transparent and it makes me even more apt to not listen to your music.
Struggle Rapping On My Beats & Giving Me Credit
The absolute worst is when one of my instrumentals gets out, and someone raps on it. Then, they list it as "Produced by Just Blaze" even though I had nothing to do with it. That's one thing, but what makes it worse is when they go and send the track out to 200 people and tag @JustBlaze in their spam message.
Passing Along My E-Mail
I played a record from a young trap and bass producer in a mix for BBC, and he was appreciative and asked me for a way to send more stuff. I genuinely liked his music, so I tweeted him the public email address that I use for those situations. I guess there's some new website that let's you send beats as a producer or look for beats as an artist, which is a great idea if both parties have signed up for it, but what happened was my email had got posted to their site and they featured me on the front page. So I had dozens of emails from people sending me beats, all coming from the same website.
E-Mailing Me A Bunch of Attachments
When someone gets a hold of my email address, they don't just send links, they send attachments. And these aspiring musicians aren't just sending one songs, they're sending four or five tracks. I'm not worried about my inbox capacity- I'm good on that - but it's just annoying.
Stealing My AIM Name*
Jay Electronica and I had some mutual associates that told me that he existed, but in the mean time, he actually stole my AOL messenger screen name and started hitting me up online. At first I was thinking that it was a little awkward, but it lead to a long friendship. He wasn't stalking me on some "I need music" shit, he was mostly just asking me for advice. Sometimes it was about music and how to navigate the business, and sometimes it was just about life. He just had some deep questions that led to even deeper conversations, and that's how we became friends. And it's all because he stole my AOL screen name.
Working With Unorganized Files
If you're collaborating with someone, keep your stuff organized. There's nothing worse than getting a session from someone where the files are just a mess and there's no organization. Keep your drum tracks together, keep your percussion together, keep you vocals together. There should be some order. Track one is a lead vocal, track 2 is a snare, track 3 is a shaker, track 4 is the synth, track 5-7 is more vocal. When it's all out of place, that's a challenge.
Working With Uninformed Artists
A lot of artists don't understand the science behind engineering, because to them everything revolves around Pro Tools and a laptop. So people who are recording vocals that have no business doing so can capture a great performance, but it doesn't sound good. And many times, artists can't even tell that it sounds off. Then when the studio mixes the vocal, all of a sudden it starts distorting left or right, or it's too compressed and there's nothing you can do. So my pet peeve is just artists having a bad engineer and not knowing it. It just makes my job more difficult, because sometimes you can't repeat a great performance.