Mint Season 5 episode 2 welcomes illaDaProducer, the Grammy-nominated multi-platinum Producer who created numerous hits alongside Eminem, MegTheStallion, Future, Gunna, DJ Khaled, lil Pump, Rick Ross, lil Wayne, and many more.
He came on to chat about his latest venture, Who Who’s Tree House, which acts as a launchpad for hungry producers looking for intimate mentoring and potential placement via his deep music network.
What an incredible upbringing and his immigrant-inspired hustle is one worth learning from. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
In this episode, we discuss:
- 00:08 Intro
- 04:48 Working with Eminem
- 16:04 Where Does Your Persistence and Hustle Come From?
- 17:52 What Do You Look For in Producers That You Take Under Your Wings?
- 22:37 What is WhoWho’s Treehouse?
- 32:54 Finding Purpose in Crypto and Web3
- 36:55 Collecting Music NFTs
- 52:05 Outro
…and so much more.
I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Support season 5’s NFT sponsors
1. CyberConnect – https://cyberconnect.me/
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3. Mint Songs – https://www.mintsongs.com/
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What’s good Illa? Welcome to the podcast How you doing, bro?
IllaDaProducer: Okay. How are you doing?
Good man, I’m happy to have you on thank you for being a part of season five music NFTs videos and CCL and you’re here, obviously because of your music background, being a fucking killer producer in the space, but now making a name for yourself in crypto. Okay, so I always like starting with an introduction. Who the hell are you? How do you introduce yourself to someone that doesn’t know who you are? And then also, how did you get into crypto?
IllaDaProducer: I’m IllaDaProducer, I’m a Grammy nominated multi-platinum producer. I’ve worked with everybody from Mega stallion to future to Ghana, to G Herbo. Eminem a lot. And the list goes on and on. From there. I got into crypto because I did half a M&Ms Kamikaze and then I also did the record kill shot where he dissed MGK. And that record got me a pretty substantial publishing deal. And an admin deal with that to where I was able to keep most of my ownership of my music. So, I had a nice sized publishing deal. And I just kept hearing from people close to me, like, yo, you know, you’re not letting your money work for you, you know, you’re not letting your money work for you. So, it was Thanksgiving, around Thanksgiving, a friend, a mentor of mine, named pooh bear, hit me and he told me about crypto because I was like, I’m gonna, he’s like, what are you doing? I’m about to go buy a chain. Because do me a favor. Take the same amount of money you can spend on that chain and buy some crypto, buy XRP.
IllaDaProducer: So, I was like, you know what fucking pooh bear is so instrumental in my life. He’s the one who helped me learn how to write and arrange songs. So, I’m like, fuck it. I’m just gonna buy the crypto. So, I bought XRP and the shit with the SCC came out and that was my first lesson in the crypto. That’s what got me into crypto.
All right, all right. You had to find the chain.
IllaDaProducer: Later on, later on. Because I got Bitcoin after that and took some profits and bought the chain.
How you get your start in music?
IllaDaProducer: Another crazy story, man. I got started in music. After graduating college. I moved to Miami. And I was getting into a lot of trouble. I was doing things I wasn’t supposed to be doing. And you know, because Miami’s expensive so I had caught two charges. And I had just got my baby mother pregnant. So, I had a daughter on the way. So, I’m tripping. I’m like, bro, I can’t get no more trouble, my lawyer said, you get in trouble one more time. You could afford it. Because I wasn’t a citizen. So, boom, I’m In Miami, and I’m trapping so I’m over at Scott Soldier’s house, we’re just smoking weed. I was everybody weed man. I can say it all here. You know what I’m saying, that’s how everybody knows me. That’s how I started, right? So, I met Scott Soldier’s house and for like a week, and I’m sitting there trying to figure shit out and I just was smoking the vibe and go to the club and kicking it with girls. And I’m just seeing him this lawyer. I mean, his manager keeps coming in like, yo, yo, the front end. You ready? And Scott’s like is the front end here? They’d be like, he’d be like, Man, it’d be like, oh, like a half hour is like, I ain’t starting until it comes. So finally, I’m like, what’s this front end you keep talking about? Is that a car some shit? What are you talking about? He’s like, I thought he’s talking about the front end of a whip because he has so many cars. He’s like, no, front end is my money. You know, I’m saying I don’t touch these keys until I get the front end of my money. I’m like how much you charge for a beat? He’s like, 200,000, I’m like so every time you manage a company, he is talking about front end of 100 grand, he’s like, yeah, so I’ve seen him make a million dollars in a week selling beats. And I’m like, and I was already doing beats a little bit and I’m like, fuck that. This is what I’m doing. This is what I’m doing.
Wait a minute, but were you already doing music around that time? Or that sparked the initial like, like that sparked the initial like fuse to go towards it?
IllaDaProducer: No, I was already doing it. I was already trapping and taking my money to go and book studios.
But it wasn’t full time?
IllaDaProducer: I wasn’t, it was like, I was making so much money doing other things that I was like, okay the music. Obviously, that ain’t for me. So let me just, you know what I’m saying and then I was using the studio as a way to meet artists to track you know what I’m saying, so as I’ve met on everybody, including Scott.
Working with Eminem
So, where does Eminem come in? And I’m kind of fangirling because Eminem, I grew up like, a lot of us listening to Eminem. Eminem is like the number one like number one, and I can’t even imagine being in the same room as him. It’s a goal of mine to have him on the podcast one day, so we’ll see if that happens. But that’s great. I got to trap. I got to be in the rooms that you’ve been in. But what’s it like working with him?
IllaDaProducer: Incredible man. And how I met him was another crazy story, right? That’s why I always just stay humble and just wait for my time. Because the story along the way is always incredible. You know what I’m saying, when you skip, you try to skip ahead. Or, you know, take shortcuts, to do that you probably got to burn somebody or do something janky that you shouldn’t be doing. So just play your position. So, with the Eminem’s situation, I had first got started Fat Joe, and 2012. So, he believed in my music. And we worked exclusively for like a couple years and I did all the music that he put out. That’s how I was able to work with future, fresh Montana for the first time, ASAP Rocky, Little Wayne several times, a bunch of people. So, then he got, he went to jail for tax evasion. He went to jail for a year. So, during that time, I was just grinding and trying to sell beats. And at that point, I was selling these for around 5000 a beat. I met a friend of mine, Jaya Dino who used to do radio for Interscope, and he had an artist from New York. So, like I said, I’m not American. I came from Guyana, South America. So, when I first came to America, I moved to Brooklyn. So, anyone that’s from Brooklyn strapping or is a street guy and he wants to get out. And he’s trying to do music. I always try to you know, lend a helping hand. I’ve always been like that.
So, he had an artist named Fresher. Fresher from Brooklyn. So, boom. You know, I work with you. I’m getting 5000 a beat right now though. So, he’s a man, I got 500 a beat. But I bought four of them. I’m like, Alright, cool. That’s two grand that’s, you know, it’s, it’s something from my time at least. And it’s helping me, it’s enables me to help somebody from Brooklyn. So, I do the four songs one of them takes off. It’s called wait a minute, the hook. Wait, wait a minute, wait a minute. Wait, wait, wait a minute, and the thing blew up in the tri state area. So, he was touring the tri state and every radio personality picked up the song because it was a great club record. And every rapper in New York started remixing it from French to Remy Ma, 50 cents, so 50 cent remix it and Royce to five nine heard that and Royster five nine loved it and remixed it, and then Eminem heard that it was like yo, what the fuck is that? Like, this shit is hard. What’s that? And he goes, oh, this this song. Wait a minute from this artist Fresher from Brooklyn. Eminem like yo, I need to get with fresher because I need his voice. He sounds like a Buster Rhymes, young buster. He’s like, I need this voice and this energy. I got to work with him and loves people with certain tones and deliveries. He’s really like, a hip hop historian. So, boom. He meets Fresher, Fresher is Eminem. Eminem is Fresher’s favorite artist in the world so freshly goes in his studio. Yo Em, you’re my favorite rapper, telling him his favorite songs. And Em was like, yeah, yeah, who made the beat? Like, cool. I need Illa. So, a $500 beat got me to Eminem.
Wow. Wow. So, he called you? Like, where are you when you heard that?
IllaDaProducer: I was in Florida at my mama crib, and I remember. I was there visiting and I’m making beats. And J and Dino, my friend who I met who’s a fresher, who was Fresher’s manager. He hit me like yo, where are you at? I’m at the crib. He’s like, bro, pick up the phone right now. I picked it up. He was just like; you would not believe what I’m about to tell you. You sit down. I’m like, what’s going on? Like, of course I’m sitting down. I’m making beats what’s up? Eminem wants some beats with you. I’m like Eminem? What are you talking about bro? He’s like, yo, like he is fucking loves that wait a minute song and yada yada, yada, he was in the studio Fresher and Fresher going off about how much he loved them. All he was talking about was the beat. So, he had me reach out. He’s like, get to Ellis. I’m letting you know. Send me some beats for Eminem. And he’s like I gave Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s manager your contact. So, I look at my email showing up, Paul hit me. I’m like, oh shit, this is real. This is real.
What would you send them? Like how do you know what to send first?
IllaDaProducer: I just went through all my beats from that year. And this was tailor picking because I’m somebody, I’m a real producer. Another shout out to pooh bear man because there’s beat makers and a producer somebody who can make a beat, he can also write the song, you know what I’m saying? A producer takes a song from A to Z, and you can mix it and master it sometimes. So, when I’m going through the beats, I’m just picturing him spit in certain pockets. You know what I’m saying? well with Eminem sound like right now, not what he sounded like back then. But what he sounds like right now. So, I just picked, like 30 beats. And he had picked, like six of them, but he only one of them made the album. And it was crazy because that album was revival. Right? And it wasn’t really well received. It was probably his lowest rated album. Right? So, and it just at that time was the first time he picked up social media. So, he never was watching social media, reading social media on Twitter, YouTube, nothing. He picks it up, and everyone’s like, Eminem was whack. Yeah. Oh my god, I gotta be honest, what he’s singing is trash like, but by the grace of God. By the grace of God, people fell in love with two songs, and mine was one of them. So, I’m gonna dude, man, I appreciate people who come into my life and helped me out.
So, I could tell that that was probably hard for him. You know, I’m saying without knowing. So, I’m sitting there, email him, like, yo, Em, I’m like, fuck these motherfuckers like, you know what I’m saying? Like, they gotta they try to negate your legendary like, all the shit you’ve done. You’re a fucking legend certified. Yeah. Jay Z, Little Wayne, Kanye, everyone’s favorite rapper, number one, or number two. So, I’m just giving them you know, giving them all this motivation. You know what I’m saying? But as I’m saying this, I’m like, yo, but at the end of the day, this is how social media work. So, if you read between the lines that I hate, they are telling you what they want, they’ve let man fuck this. He should be doing this. You know what I’m saying? And I was like, so, they want you to snap on some trapeze, they want you to do the new flows. And as I’m sending these emails, I’m putting beats in there, like something like this. So, boom, I’m sitting there. And like, three months later, I think three or four months later, maybe. Maybe less. I see an email from my lawyers like yo, you did some songs with Eminem. I’m like, really? He’s doing another album. Like, okay, he’s coming back from revival. I see. And it’s like five songs. I’m like, What the fuck is this?
IllaDaProducer: And it was an EP, and I did every song except for like one.
IllaDaProducer: I almost lost my, I still could feel that feeling bro. It felt like I was like a firework went off me or something. I was hot and like, holy shit. What the fuck is going on? So, I didn’t know that. as I’m sending them these shits, he’s recording, as I’m giving him the emails and giving them, he’s recording and like, you know what I’m saying? So, then Venom comes along, Venom the movie comes along. And they needed, I guess they was gonna, they need an album from him. And so, he was already working on, this body of work was going to be an EP. So, then he put the whole thing out, added a few more songs and put it out as the as the Kamikaze with the venom single. You know what I’m saying? I wouldn’t doubt if you got a big old bag for that too. Because the movies. You know what I’m saying? They pay for the whole promotion, everything. So yeah, man. Like, that’s how I ended up doing like half of that album. Yeah.
So, that probably that changed your life from that point on, huh?
IllaDaProducer: Hell yeah. Then the kill shot story, bro. A week after the album, or two weeks after the album, or the day after the album, MGK dropped the diss record and the shit was hard.
I remember that.
IllaDaProducer: I’m like, oh shit. MGK going crazy. I’m like, but he set himself up for the, like because am I gonna play with like, he forgot. I’m like, oh, he got chased because you know I’m about to chop his head off. So, I hit Tracy, my point person with Em. And I’m like, yo, you hear this shit? She’s like, Yeah, I told Marshall just ignore the shit. She said my friend. If he responds, I’m gonna kill him. So, I’m like, I I’m like, but just in case, just in case. I sent her some beats and like, and then I’m sitting there thinking later that night. I’m like damn. I sent my boy Gigs some beat, shout out Gigs. He’s one of the biggest artists in London. And he always wants horror movie beats from me. That’s what he said, Send me horror movies. That’s what you make. So, I’m like, alright, boom, I got some horror movie beats that I sent to gigs. I sent them three of them. And I’m like, let me see which one he didn’t use. So, he used one of them. And then the other two he didn’t use and one of the beats was kill shot. So, I sent that one and eight at night. I never forget. I’m like yo, Tracy, one more. Just in case I know you said but just in case, ain’t got a murder beat, two days later, my lawyer hits me again and this time, bro so much it was happening. I had an artist at that time and every label wanted to sign up, so I’m like it’s going crazy right, so boom, my lawyer hits me yo, you got another song with Eminem? I’m like, he’s like yeah, they’re already sent the invoice, you’re already getting paid for it. Like wow, that was quick. It was kill shot, I sent that beat, he didn’t even ask for the file. So, I’m like, okay, well, I guess when they released it, they’re gonna ask for the files. They never asked me, so that killed shots on that broke the Guinness World Record. That’s my mix and mastered, flamed, ended on MGK rap career and MGK to rock music and shit. But his rock music is hard. But that was it, that kill shot was it.
Where Does Your Persistence and Hustle Come From?
You know, there’s like this. There’s a level of being persistent and feeling uncomfortable and not giving a shit and just keep on pounding and keep on driving. Where does your persistence come from?
IllaDaProducer: I come from a third world country role. I remember like, man, literally like sometimes like I didn’t have to, but I take like Batson rainwater like barrels of rainwater because our family was sending us these barrels. With all with like, all these clothes and food and rice and, and VCR tapes. Like so you can watch movies and shit because like, there’s no channels in Guyana at that time. You know, I’m saying so. It was crazy, man. It was really crazy. But yeah, that’s where my persistence comes from. Because I wasn’t born in this country. I first came to the country. I never forget the first day I landed up. I was eating McDonald’s and it took me two days to finish. Because it was to me it was
Really, yeah. Oh, really?
IllaDaProducer: Yeah, man. So, like, I didn’t grow up in like a grass shit like that. But you know? I come from a third world country
How old were you when you landed here?
IllaDaProducer: Eight years old.
Eight years old. Wow. And you came with your whole family?
IllaDaProducer: No, just me and my sister.
Just you and your sister?
IllaDaProducer: Yeah, we went to Grandma’s in Brooklyn.
What Do You Look for in Producers That You Take Under Your Wings?
Oh, yeah. Wow. Crazy. You know, there’s something about being an immigrant. When you come to America, or an environment as like America, that there’s a reason why I feel like immigrants stand out from the rest than someone that’s typically born in America and is born to everything. Coming from my side, my dad is an immigrant. My mom is an immigrant. They migrated from the Middle East. My dad came here after the army, maybe had a few $1,000 in his pocket with a vision of the American dream, didn’t know the language, took English classes at night, working multiple jobs during the day, and just trying to build a path for himself, my mom, eagerness and drive to come over here gets migrated through Mexico, right? They meet in LA have my brother and I. But there’s something about that, that level of persistence, that hustle, that drive that immigrant come with and immigrants possess, that I haven’t seen, kind of like, through any other natural born person or, or native-born person in America, for example, now that I’m sure there’s outliers, and I’m sure I’m gonna get shit for that. But I guess the takeaway from my comment is immigrants just do it differently. And when you’re put in an environment and you move to an area where there’s more opportunity, and there’s more freedom, and you see a lot of success stories left and right? And you feel that you can be a part of that, you know, you can be that I think there’s like a level, there’s a layer, there’s a grit, there’s a layer of hustle that immigrants just possess and proof like literally prove yourself, you know, having that level of persistence of being just one more, just one more, just one more. You know, what comes to mind right now, there’s this meme of these like these two guys, okay, same guy. One of them gives up as they’re digging a hole and you’ll see like a diamond at the end of the picture. And then one below him keeps digging, you know, despite whatever, despite the troublesome activity, finding the diamond and just like winning, right. And I don’t know I imagine that as your kind of like you’re telling me the story because being a producer and you tell me, I’m sure you got people hitting you up all the time. Y’all check my beats. y’all, can you pass this along? Y’all, can you do this? Can you do that? And like what determines whether you would help someone, like what do you look for in producers that you take under your wing, or artists that you take under your wing? Characteristics that you look for? Are there other things that you look for in their upbringing? Like, what is your mental model around that?
IllaDaProducer: With artists and producers, I look for people who have new sound, somebody that’s like, completely left of center. You know, I’m saying but can bring it back to center. And in their own way, you know, I’m saying, but somebody that’s not copying exactly what’s winning right now. You know, there’s an artist named Julio right now. And I’m so pumped to work with this dude, I said, I don’t mean reaching out to people. I reached out, somehow, I was talking about him in a space with him on Twitter spaces, in a dental fields room. And they had one of the A&R from Atlantic, is for dental funerals. I think he’s a member dental fields and a holder. So, we talked and he’s like, yo, who’s hot right now. And I say Julio, and somebody else in the crowd in the room is like, yo, you know about Julio, that’s crazy. His managers my people, so two minutes later, the managers in the room and I’m like, oh, like I fuck with Julio. He says, Dude, he sounds like a fucking punk rock singer for real, but he’s like a six to black kid like, swirl his hair like, looks like a damn heavyweight champion. But his voice is way up here. And he be like, chilly. He starts all his songs like that. Song is like, punk rock trap shit. And I’m like, yo, I am fucking love this shit. Like, when I get that feeling and it’s like, I can feel like my almost water in my eyes welled up and I start doing this like goosebumps. Yeah, I felt the same way with little pump and XXX. So, that’s why I was able to work a little pump. I’m mad I didn’t get to work with X, but I was, it was lined up because one of my good friends was close to him. And coming to find out he used to come and watch, him and Ski masks used to come watch me and my friend make music together. And I didn’t even know. I just look for people like that man, people who do shit. And I’m like, what the fuck? Like, that’s how it was with Travis Scott when he first heard his beats. I’m like, What the fuck wrote like, it’s so dark and different and breakdowns with these analog synths. So that type of shit is what I look for.
What is WhoWho’s Treehouse?
Which also kind of like transitions into your latest project or your project in crypto, WhoWho’s Treehouse, right? And giving more opportunity to up and coming artists, producers, musicians, etc. With the ability through your network and what you’ve built for yourself and kind of like, share that success and share that love with others who join the community. Through the NFT right from what I understand. Yeah. So, can you give us a quick intro what is WhoWho’s Treehouse? How did that come to fruition? And like, what is the biggest takeaway?
IllaDaProducer: WhoWho’s Treehouse is my music NFT project. It’s very unique because the profile picture project mixed with music. So, once you get a who who, right, the who who are 3d house, they are super colorful, super swaggy. You know what I’m saying and each of them have a beat attached to it. So, if you’re a singer, songwriter, or a rapper, you can take that beat and record to it, we have a website called the whodio that you can go in and it’s token gated you enter your wallet, put your wallet, or connect your wallet, and then a reward, who who’s you have and then you could download the beats. Once you get the beat in your possession, you can record a song to it. So, we have a submission period. Our first one opened up, opens up on Friday, actually, that you can submit your songs. And then me and my team listen to every song. So if your song is dope, I’ll put it in front of the biggest publishers, the biggest A&R, the biggest labels, the biggest artists and the biggest execs in the game, because they hit me all the time, for music, and I don’t have enough, so you know, with this project, I wanted to, to actually do a real utility because when I hear, NFTs in the space is so cluttered, there’s so much noise there’s so many bad actors that are using the words that are dear to us. That really means SHIT to us. They’re using it as a buzzword from community to the roadmaps to tokens to play to earn, Metaverse, all this shit they put in the roadmap as utilities, and they never even give you a t shirt. Yeah. So, when I hear utility, I hear I think of something that solves a problem. Well, my utility is solving the problem of all these dope artists and dope creatives around the world. From India to Iran, Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, Syrians, Philippines You name it, they can be dope and be in these areas of the world and not have a platform to get themselves heard. Well with my NFT, that my utility actually solves that problem. It gives all these artists a platform, it gives them exclusive access to me and my network, because I can’t multiply myself a million times. With this NFT. I can actually tokenize myself and tokenize my network and give it to all these amazing, talented people.
So, what are the risks with doing that? So, when you open up yourself, when you open yourself up to that, to that extent, right, and you build a community, and utility is a promise of some sort of, if you have a dream, you have a vision, I can be your Metaverse mentor to an extent, right, and help you get to where you want to be. If sound good, if it sounds good to the ear, I can present it etc. Like, are there any risks of that? Like any anything come to mind with that? Or, if not, I mean, I’m just curious to see like, how are you thinking about the entire curation process, presentation process selection process, and the pros and cons of like doing.
IllaDaProducer: The risk, and the con is the amount of time but luckily, for me, I’ve been I have over well, over my $10,000, I’ve probably got like $50,000 in the studio shit. So, my ears trained to know, a hit within 15 to 30 seconds. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s just what it is, you know what saying? I can know when something’s a hit, because it’s a feeling. And every time I’ve got that feeling I haven’t been wrong, you know what I’m saying, knock on wood. But I haven’t been wrong. And you know, that lets me know that. I have an ear for curation. That’s how you know, my beats. When I give my beats to certain artists are like, damn, this shit sound like me. And it’s because when I did the beat, I was writing as you I know your flows. I hear you; I’m watching your Instagram; I see what songs you’re posting on Instagram. That means as the shit you’re rocking with, it means that you’re going to adapt that shit on your next music. You know what I’m saying, that’s how I was able to become successful in NFTs and crypto because I read market sentiment, you know what saying?
And the other, like, another pro of it is that say you’re a dope artist, and in the 15 to 30 seconds I listened to you, but you’re like, here, instead of here, you know what I’m saying? I’m like this instead of like, so I’m gonna give you, if you’re almost there, I’m gonna hit you directly, like, yo, check this out, do this, do this, do this for your next submission, because this is your strong points is your weak points, you know what I’m saying? And we do that we have a space every Monday, a open mic and if you pop into open, like you’ll see me doing that to the to the people who come up there to rap. Once, if you don’t make it, it’s not, you’ll get off the stage. It’s like, yo, you didn’t make it because of this. Work on this. And it come back next week. And we’ve only done it three weeks, and the guys who are on the first week, they’re starting to come up and get to the finals by the third week because they’re they listened on the first week. And I’m like, yo motherfuckers are getting really good. And there’s people who weren’t there on the first week that I trust in the trust areas. They’re like, yo, this is hard man, who picked these guys killing it. And I’m like, yo, y’all. In my head. I’m like, you should have heard these motherfuckers the first week.
Damn, so it seems like it’s like a training camp, like a boot camp to an extent with mentorship attached to it, with your network and your power and your expertise attached to it. And I feel like it’s like the golden opportunity for any hungry producer, any hungry artist, and I’m thinking to myself, everybody should be jumping on this. Right? So, but you tweeted something which was, which was super interesting. And I really appreciated about your take and how you think about the space is you’re not too worried about a crazy, like, two second sellout. Like that’s not where your head’s at. Your head is more at organic growth. So, can you talk more about that? Because that that tweet really stood out to me?
IllaDaProducer: Yeah, I really feel like that man, because, you know, I jumped in the space last August with board apes. And I was really blessed to jump in that community. You know, and I learned a lot, and I’m still learning every single day. But I learned about the real meaning of community. And I watched just from me going to business school, I watched how this model that we have right now, where we are upfront and we load all these people all this money upfront without delivering a business plan or having any expertise to deliver the things they put in their roadmap, like this isn’t sustainable. I’m like everyone is in here and like just gambling at this point. You know, I’m saying so when all these bad actors started drug pulling, and the pixel mons and the squiggles and all these Metaverse, and all these projects that had all this hype started, you know, rug pulling or slow rugging and, and just not delivering on anything. It just, it was obvious to me. But you know, me having the capital that I do and me releasing a project, I had the meetings with the marketing guys that guarantee to sell out 50 to 100 grand, there’s a price on it just like anything else. Once you put a price on success, then bad actors, they’re going to take the shortcut. Like, oh, like, so wait, I don’t know how to even deliver shit. I just put these things. Metaverse played around gaming and token in on a website. And I’ll spend 30, 40 racks on a website 100 racks of marketing, I can make 10s of millions of dollars.
So of course, guys are going to do that shit. Anyone who has capital and just wants to get to the money. And realize this is just a free for all. You know, they were doing that. So, I’m like, Man, I’m watching the shitness pissing me off because I really love this space, man. I show up every day. And I’m in rooms all the time because I love gaining this free information nonstop. And I’m like, a hound dog for free information. That’s my thing. I want to get smarter faster. So, I’m sitting in I’m like, I’m launching this project. I had the meetings with all these people. I’m like, you know what, man, fuck all that. Like, I don’t want to be doing the same shit that I, that I’m pissed off about. And it just felt to me like no hate against flippers, because flippers bring a lot of liquidity in the market, then I flipped sometimes. So, a lot of times, so I’m like, no hate no damn, but they’re not going to understand what this is. You know what I’m saying the art is amazing. The beats are dope. But I want this to get in the hands of as many creatives as possible. That was my mission. So, I was like, a way to do that is by just doing it organically. I was like, just like you were saying, Adam, what’s the pros and cons I’m like, bro, I’m gonna have to work my ass off. To Win It person by person. Like I’m doing like I’m starting a t shirt business. I’m gonna have to do it person by person, word of mouth. The real grassroots marketing way because I went to a great business school, I understand the level of the different types of marketing. And this is the hardest one. But this is the one that gets you the most concrete holders. You know, I’m saying a real community people who came in from word-of-mouth, people who heard it or heard me speak and hear my vision and believe in what I’m trying to build. So, I’d rather that any day, bro. I’d rather that any day.
Finding Purpose in Crypto and Web3?
Why do you align so much with like, crypto values and web three values? Like why? What is it about the space that you love so much that maybe pertains to your upbringing, you learning stuff like, like, how come because I’m listening, you speak about this and you’re echoing a lot of things that actually a lot of people I guess who transition from one industry to another versus are born through it? Like I came out of college and in college, I was already doing crypto stuff. And that was my first gig. Like I didn’t go into like web two tech, you have a really unique situation where you’ve already done really well in like the traditional music scene. And now you’re trying to build your passion, your interest and mix it with your love for technology. And I’m listening to you say these things right like that the problem that it solves through your utility, building a community, doing the hard work, building a t shirt business, like you clearly get it like you clearly get that there are no shortcuts to this stuff. And to build something quality, you really need to put the sweat equity into it. Now I’m curious like what is it about the values and crypto. What is it about the ethos of web three, that you’ve like so aligned with, that you saw that you’ve like completely attached to?
IllaDaProducer: it’s man, I got battle scars from the music industry.
Yeah, talk about that for a minute because I that’s what I was, like hinting at for a minute, right? Because I feel like you know, the music industry so well. And I guess maybe seeing the opportunities in web three and the problems that it solves. I mean, I don’t want to put words in your mouth. What do you think?
IllaDaProducer: Yeah, you nailed it, though. I came in here. I’m a fan of the blockchain because of the transparency, right. And I got into crypto because I saw okay, this is something that I understand, this is tech, this is finance. And this is like a counterculture. These guys are on the fringe of what’s considered normal, but they’re also very tech savvy. Very brilliant. And I was like, okay, I fuck with this, I live with these people, you know, saying I want to learn a lot more about it. So, then NFTs came, and it was like, okay, it’s the blockchain, but it applies to transparency applies to art. And the artists and the creatives are gonna get paid fairly. And they’re gonna actually get royalties perpetually for the rest of their lives, right, all those values right there, struck home, was a homerun for me. I’m like, holy shit. Like I said, I signed a great publishing deal, I own most of my shit. I’m 85% owner, and my publisher is 15% just to collect my money. So, I just saw-like opportunity over here, just to be able to create freely. And then it was the getting into board apps, and then given me the IP. So, I’m like, I have an IP of this ape, I could do whatever I want with it. They’re like, yeah, I might. So, I could sign this ape, as a music producer, sign this ape, as my artists and have somebody huge voices ape, and nobody would know. And then I’m the new gorillas. That’s what I’m thinking. I’m not saying it out loud. I’m like, Holy shit, I’m gonna do that. You know what I’m saying.
So, I started my ape. And you know, if my ape is voiced by 11 times, platinum, Billboard Top Five artists, and he has music coming out. So, it’s just those things and I’m like, okay, like, this is also another option, that I can tell every upcoming producer who gets jerked, every up-and-coming artist gets jerked, or the producers who got out of their deal and own all the rights now or the artists would catalog that have their rights now that they just got their deal is like the promised land for all those people. So, the people who just started and the legends who have their rights because the people in the middle if your sign you know, I’m saying until you get your freedom and you get your, your rights back. This might not be, you know, as beneficial for you as everything, as everyone else. Yeah.
Collecting Music NFTs
How do you how do you think about the entire, like, hype and excitement around collecting music right now? And buying either editions or one of ones and either collecting a song for the sake of collecting or collecting a song for like owning when there’s like royalties or IP attached to it? Like, what are your thoughts about that? How do you make sense of what’s happening right now?
IllaDaProducer: I think it’s fascinating. I think that I’m envious of the photography NFTs and of the digital art NFTs because they were able to come into the space. And the price of their art has always been subjective. So, whatever the person wants to buy, or pay for it. With us, we have these behemoth record labels, and streaming services that are priced our music at 99 cents or $9 for unlimited music. So, they took the value away from music because they have all of it and put it at $9 for unlimited, which as for us and then pay the creatives pennies, so people get to enjoy this music, but the artists behind it, the creatives behind it, whose art you’re enjoying don’t get paid. So that’s not right. You know what I’m saying? And in this space, the beauty of it is, we saw people, I see people on Instagram, and I be like, yo, I can just, it was crazy. Like, let me dissemination is just too much, you know what I’m saying, baby with the Donald Trump and suddenly all right. He came over and MCs I see, 69 million. I’m like, holy shit. Like what the fuck that. Then I see Blau, what he’s doing I’m like, yo, this is dope. So, I understood right away. Since we have a unique obstacle as music as web three musicians to actually reprise music to make sure that people understand music is an art form. It’s one of the god art forms. Like, because we’re all frequency, this whole everything, the universe, and everything is frequency is created from frequency. That’s why your heartbeat is the same as like, I think it’s 120 BPM. That’s why most beats all production does, the standard start setting is 120 BPM. Like there’s something about when you start dancing, that’s where like your heartbeat goes to?
So, like music is the is the thread of everything, you know what I’m saying? It also is the art form that evokes nostalgia. You don’t look at a picture and be like, oh, yeah, like, you know what I’m saying? Or a song takes you back. And I mean, big moment in your life. Adam is timestamped by a song without you knowing it. You hear that song and be like, damn, I remember my first kiss. Oh, that was overhead, your first football game we won. So, we have a unique situation here, so I love what everyone’s doing with giving people royalties. And, you know, that’s what we’re doing with our project is, it’s a profile picture project. It’s a music project, what if you don’t do music? All right? Well as a holder, you get the benefit of getting in. And being part of a story that matters. Being part of a story that people care about, you get to see the creation of a superstar from their first beat. From the first song they wrote, that’s a unique situation of a holder of a piece of art, because your art gets to grow. And you get to see that art turned into something and you backed it, you were the one of the first believers in it, and you get, you get paid dividends for believing in it, for being a holder. So, it’s a unique, very unique situation.
It’s almost as if you’re building like, excuse me, an incubator slash accelerator. But for music and for producers, and I’m not too in tune with the producer culture, the producer’s scene, I’m really just taking what you’re telling me. But from what it seems like it’s like one of the first of its kind, at least, from that unique point of view, offering your level of mentorship, offering your level of like, bootcamp ask environment, where you give feedback and you have them iterate and you come back and get 1% better, 1% better and 1% better, 1% better, until it gets to the point where you feel it’s like, presentable to all these contexts in your network that you kind of built for yourself. I think it’s fascinating and this story, and this belief, and this narrative around music is an art form. And for whatever reason, we’ve just grown to accept that it is worth 12 bucks a month, nine bucks a month, it is worth 99 cents, because that’s just what’s convenient for the user to enjoy a song that you spent, God knows how many hours kind of producing, how many years of effort and skills you’ve built, just to get that one hit in place, right? People don’t think about that. They just go out to the club, they go out to the party, they listen to it, alright, I fuck with it, it builds a memory for me. It has that momentous, right and we move on. But what should that experience be worth then? Like, what do you think is the right value for that? And why are NFTs like the right medium to capture it? You think big picture.
IllaDaProducer: I think NFTs are the medium to capture this is because it’s like I was saying it’s so unique to be able to grow with the artists from their inception, right? To actually get experiences like okay, if I’m like, if I hold this artist gold NFT, I get a percentage of the royalties, if I get the platinum NFT, I get to meet him in real life. For all their shows, I get free entry and backstage passes to literally all their shows. Now this artist goes to be Ariana Grande level, they are actually you have the NFT. And they actually have to honor that. You know what I’m saying? And the thing I think really, I have faith in the artist to come out of web three is because all these artists couldn’t make it in the traditional world. Or if they could, it was going to take a long time because there’s only so much room. So, it’s just so unique for this space to capture the next Drake, because if he comes through this space, then that gives every artist after that the option, you know, another option, okay? I could be dope and signed to a label and they could put me on Jimmy Fallon, or I could do this, like the new web three superstar just did that I keep seeing everywhere, and he owns all his shit. And I can do ticket to go that route because that is another route for me to reach superstar. And as a holder of these NFTs you really get that experience. Just like if you’re holding a dope piece of art. But people you have to show it to them on your wallet. Or you have to, in real life, they have to come to your house to see it and if you’re a holder of a collector of a web three musician, and their NFT and they blow up. It’s like this the easiest explanation ever like so what’s this NFT, oh, you know, such and such say his name is Jaden, you see, you know Jaden, like, this is his NFT, and I was with Jaden when he first got his first beat from IllaDaProducer. And I was like, holy shit like, and this thing is not worth 100 Eth because Jaden has blown up to be the biggest star in the world and I have access to Jaden, and everyone wants it. You know what I’m saying?
Yeah, it’s like a lot of what I talked about, at least in season one, we’re already in season five so almost a year ago is being able to prove you’re a supporter of someone and their art and their craft prior to them kind of reaching that level of famous success that everybody now knows and loves him for. And when people ask me like, okay, why do you need to hold this thing? Why do you have an NFT? Why can’t I just like, say I was there, you know, it’s like, it’s like going to a concert, you know, and buying merch, and going to support that artists by wearing the merch and having the merch and then two years later when they’re huge, or if they get huge, having that piece of merch to basically prove that you were there, you collected it, because that merch is now extinct. It’s no longer available. And basically, collecting one of the who who’s NF T’s kind of like symbolizes that experience from what I’m understanding at least.
IllaDaProducer: Oh, yeah, man. Who who’s NFTs? Like, that’s just like I said, that’s my, my favorite utility. But I have a meeting tomorrow with this huge, like, high fashion, high end fashion brand that wants to give me their manufacturer to help me do my merch because they heard me in spaces. They fuck with me, they’re from the music industry. And they’re like, yo, I want you to have some of the dope merch, you know, I want to extend my network to you like you’re helping all these people from around the world. And then I have my partner Dre, who’s my community manager, we’re having our first who who Thursdays at this club in LA because his mom owns the club. So, one of the things that I want to also push with who who is you know, I’m from the music industry, but I’m also like, heavy in the nightlife in Miami. So, I understand lifestyle, and I understand how much fun that could be. So as a who who holder I want to bring, I want to be a lifestyle brand. As well as have this incubator. If you don’t do music, we have to also, you know, like, give something back to our holders and add value to our holders that don’t do music, that are just along the ride for this experience. They love the art. They love the beat. They love the artists that we’re incubating. They also can’t wait to go to our in real life events because our real life events. It’s gonna call motherfucking, it’s gonna call polo G or it was gonna call sway Lee or it was gonna call YG or it’s gonna call Montana. And have our party be up there competing against, you know, board apes and doulos because I have all the artists in my phone. You know what I’m saying? And I know, I understand the value of in real life. Like a lot of people put that in their roadmap Adam, but they don’t do that shit. You understand? That’s another easy way to onboard people. If you bring normies now I don’t want to say not the negative?
No, I mean normies are normies you know, there’s nothing negative about it. It’s a level of experience.
IllaDaProducer: If you bring normies to an NFT Party, and the shit is lit, you on boarded. That that easy. People like how you onboard people, bring them to a dope NFT Party, and then be like, oh, shit, this is what NFT are like, oh, this is cool. Like yeah, it’s not what you thought it was. It’s not a bunch of like,
IllaDaProducer: Thank you. Well, I went to the works on party on Melrose. When I was on Fairfax. And they had the RSVP, the list of security guard food truck. Mad people inside, we are smoking, vibing, drinking in open bar. And I’m out front changing my flight to Miami, and I’m hearing groups of people walk by like, oh, what influence a party is this? How are we not on the list? Like somebody is shooting tic tac like five people they stop, what kind of party is this like, seeing the people try to get in? They’re like, No, you’re not on the list. Like why aren’t we on this list? Like? So, I’m showing my girl like, Yo, you see this? This is it. It’s the future. Now this shit is cool.
There is a difference level of, there’s like a difference in culture, or digital culture, whatever, whatever culture would call it. When incentives are aligned. When financial incentives are aligned, and you’re in it to win it, you’re in it for the ride, you’re in it for the good time. Things kind of like begin to outpace themselves, experiences start to kind of form and manifest differently. Because everybody has skin in the game, like everybody is a part of the process. And it’s different than just going to another party. Like when I went to, I’m trying to think what party it was, I think it was the art party. I’m like butchering the name, but it’s this lifestyle brand, like similar to your vision, but for a different audience and different culture. But they literally had a party for all their holders, I think squarely performed. They rented out this LA nightclub, and it was popping like it was packed. And you see all like all sorts of people from different walks of life. And you kind of get to, you get to see like, who’s behind the PFP. Right, and you get to see who the people behind the NFT and what culture and what environment are what vibe, what class of people start kind of forming from offline, from online to offline kind of thing. And I haven’t seen anything like before, I haven’t seen anything like that before, I’m really stoked for your journey and how this, how this project kind of unfolds, I’m really curious to see what this accelerator model kind of like looks like in the future and its success and what sort of like artists and producers will kind of come out of it. So, we’ll have to do this again, I guess, like in a few months from now, when is a cohort kind of over? What does that look like? Yeah, is that even a thing? Because it sounds as if you’re doing these boot camps, right? And every single week, you have more of these sessions. And at some point, you start presenting this music to your network into your people and effort to kind of put someone on the map. And is there like a timeframe where from the initial feedback loop to the presentation, like what does that look like?
IllaDaProducer: So, after the after the submission period of closes, I go through the songs, right? And then from there, I just tailor pick a curate and see who’s really dope. And then we work, I work with them to finish the song, you know what I’m saying? I’ve given up on has finished the song. So, I know, because I already know what it takes for when I submit something for it to go, you know what I’m saying? Because the people I’m submitting it to they hear 1000s of songs, so I can’t call in these favors, unless I’m coming with that heat. So yeah, this is something that I don’t even see ending anytime soon. It’s just something like, it’s a building something that’s an incubator that’s gonna continue to just spread out and grow and grow and grow like a brand and accompany would for the next 2, 5, 10 years. You know what I’m saying, like, this is a long-term vision and a long-term plan, and a business that just started but can scale as we scale because we all know that music NFTs are going to be huge, like everyone, every influencer has been tweeting it and it goes viral. Because everyone understands like, okay, this is the next art form to take off. What does that look like? You know what I’m saying?
Yeah, I’m stoked for you, bro. I’m really excited to see what happens before I let you go. Where can we find WhoWho’s Treehouse? Where can we find you, learn more about what you’re up to, show that away.
IllaDaProducer: You can find who who’s, it’s still minting at whowhos.io and we also on open sea. And we have who who tree house. That’s our Twitter, who who’s tree house that’s our Instagram? I know it’s different. But so, like somebody like something happened with the others.
I’ll tell you; I’ll tell you this much when I met you at NFT LA. And one of the after events, you know, kind of sharing your vision on the spot, showed me what you’re about. I remember like looking forward to the drop I collected a few myself. I don’t remember how many actually, I think one or two. I don’t remember. So, I’m excited to see how this thing unfolds. And you’re gonna say one more.
IllaDaProducer: Yeah, you follow me on Instagram at IllaDaProducer and Twitter IllaDaProducer.
All right, my guy. This was fun. We’ll do this again soon. I appreciate you, man. Thank you.
IllaDaProducer: Adam. Thank you so much, man. Thank you so much for having me, man.