Look up the word “patience” in the dictionary and there may be a picture of Khrysis. The North Carolina-based Justus League producer has no doubts that his time in the spotlight will come. In fact, he’s more in to honing his craft while building a resume of work that more than explains why he is among the League’s finest.
With production on forthcoming albums from Hall of Justus, Darien Brockington, Sean Price, and his group the Away Team, Khyrsis chatted with HipHopSite about the new additions to his producing arsenal, the easiest and most challenging League members to construct beats for, the rock group he’d love to work with and why fans should forget everything they’ve heard from him.
HipHopSite: How did you get down with the Justus League?
Khrysis: I met Chaundon at (North Carolina) Central (University) when I was like 16. I had an internship or something like that at Central’s radio station while I was in high school. And he basically just introduced me to the crew and I kept in touch with everybody throughout the years. We all met doing music pretty much. After a while after time went on we became friends and whatnot…I started engineering sessions for them and then the next thing I know they voted me in. The first cut of the Away Team album was done before I was even voted in.
HHS: You and 9th Wonder are the most well known producers in the Justus League. Are there any other producers in the crew? If so, how many total?
Khrysis: There was a point in time where there was four of us. It was me, 9th, Eccentric and Yorel. As far as Eccentric and Yorel, by the time I came in, I hadn’t seen them around as much as everybody else had. They started doing their own thing. I think Yorel went to a school or something and so did Eccentric. Eccentric ended up going to law school, doing entertainment law and whatnot. So as far as they go, we haven?t really heard much from them.
I think just recently I think you’ll hear a producer on the HOJ album and on Darien?s album. His name is E. Jones. So that’s pretty much that’s all the in-house that’s going on right now. It’s me, 9th and E. Jones.
HHS: In a recent interview you said that every song is a stepping stone. Is it a challenge to continuously come up with beats that provide that stepping stone to what it is your trying to obtain?
Khrysis: Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s not, you know. Sometimes it can be a real roll of the dice. Like a lot of times, I just come right up like ‘Alright. Boom boom bang,’ you know what I’m sayin’. ‘Boom, we got a song.’ Then other times, it’s like “No that’s not it. No, that’s not what we’re looking for. No, that’s not where we’re trying to go with it, whatever have you.’ It’s a gradual step for everything that I’m trying to achieve as a producer and also try to achieve as a member of Hall of Justus and the Away Team, whatever what have you. That’s why I pretty much call every song a stepping stone because it’s like another achievement. It’s another look that I’m trying to build up.
HHS: That stepping stone, is it more like a trial and error type thing?
Khrysis: Yeah. I got beats I consider fuck ups. Like an accident, for real. Like ‘Oh damn. I didn’t mean for that shit to happen.’ And then niggas will be like “Oh, that shit is dope. Fuck it. Let’s run it anyway.’ Or even I will be like – Well, I didn’t mean for that to happen, but it’s dope so I’mma keep it.’
HHS: Are there any beats we would know of that was initially just an accident but just came out a hit?
Khrysis: There are some out there, but none I can name off the top of my head. Ones that would be easy for me for me to remember would be beats that I don’t even like that just end up being dope…I’d have to say, if people want to know, I’ll give an example, “Doin Me” by Little Brother. I didn’t really like that beat. I almost threw it out. That and “Door to My Life” by Joe Scudda. I almost threw that beat out, but Joe stopped me.
I had one person tell me that never throw beats out, even if you don’t like ‘em and then play them anyway for somebody. The worse thing anybody can ever say to you is ‘No,’ you know. Just go somewhere and come back. Make it right. Work with people, you know what I’m sayin.
HHS: Who’s the most challenging Justus League member to make beats for?
Khrysis: Honestly, (Sean) Boog. That’s why I like working with him so much because it’s like a real challenge as far as coming up with song ideas and concepts. Him and Chaundon, too. Me and Sean used to argue a lot. Chaundon especially because he has a particular taste that he likes. Or they get a beat and we might sit on it or whatever what have you.
With Boog, Boog is a challenge because it’s a whole new song we trying to come up with concepts period. We try to come with concepts that either: (A) We haven’t covered yet or (B) Nobody’s covered yet. And that’s a challenge within itself and it’s fun. I have a blast doing that.
HHS: Who is the easiest Justus League member to make beats for?
Khrysis: Pooh. Pooh is the easiest. He comes in. He has his shit already written. Basically, he just wants to develop something bouncy that he can rock to. He’s real crazy with his flow and his progress now…I think he’s real slept on for that too, as well. Either that or he might get caught up in the shadow. Which I’m feelin’ that because I get caught up in the shadow of 9th… that means me and him have that much in common. With that said, I also vote him as one of the most slept on League members as well.
HHS: You use Fruity Loops and Cool Edit to construct a lot of your beats. Those are pretty reliable systems. Why stick with them and not use something better?
Khrysis: Actually, I’m glad you asked me that question. I have added the MPC 1000 and M-Audio Axiom 49 to the equation right now. So basically, yeah I sat up for 12 hours and learned how to use the MPC 1000 one night. E. Jones let me hold his mini keyboard because he uses Reason. So he let me hold his audio keyboard and as you know it runs through USB, so I midied the MPC to the keyboard and midied the keyboard to Fruity Loops. So I’m using the MPC, the M- Audio the fuckin’ Cool Edit and Fruity Loops now.
The reason why I stuck with Fruity Loops through the years… I mean pretty much 1. The main reason is because it’s all I know. It’s all I’ve known since I’ve started making beats. 2. The possibilities with Fruity Loops is endless. You get infinite sample time. I love all the effects and presets and all that shit that comes with Fruity Loops. It’s got some great sounds in it too. I’ve been experimenting nowadays with using keys now. I got a keyboard. I might as well fuck around and play keys a little bit.
You’re going to hear some sample-free beats come out of there in a short amount time. Matter of fact one of them, I did this song strictly off Fruity Loops. This was before the M Audio and the MP, but I have a song on The Shield where I didn’t use any samples at all. It’s me and Joe Scudda and Pooh on this episode that Joe Scudda was on. There is a song on there playing in one of the scenes called Behind the Shield. That’s my no sample debut. It was on the show already. The episode already aired. When the DVD drops check for it.
HHS: Is it frustrating that 9th Wonder is the League producer everybody knows and not you?
Khrysis: Nah. Not at this point because since over the years, I’ve had a lot of room to grow and just kind of do my own thing and experiment with different sounds. Not to mention, as I’ve said in previous interviews, it’s like he’s kickin’ in the front door and I’m sneaking in the back window. It ain’t a role that I chose, but it’s the role I play. I just went ahead played it like “I’mma just play the back until it’s time.”
Now, I don’t know what position I’m in right now, because it’s like I got eight joints on the HOJ album right now. 9th got two. I got eight joints on Sean Price’s album, 9th got four. So it’s kind of been shaping into what it’s going to be. Things are meant to happen when they happen. So rather than me trying to force it upon the masses I might as well do what I do until it’s time for me to break out.
HHS: Who inspired you to make beats?
Khrysis: Just the regular producers, the same ole. Premo, Pete, Dilla, Nottz. Aw man, the list goes on. RZA. RZA had a huge influence, man. When I was in middle school I was a Wu-Tang head. You couldn’t tell me shit. If you dig a little bit deeper, you’ll find Beatminerz and Diamond D. My influences are pretty much the usual suspects. And of course the newer folks. I’m digging the Neptunes, Scott Storch, Timbaland, you know.
HHS: There have been cases of producers making beats that don’t match up to the intensity of the artist’s lyrical stylings. As a producer, how important is it to be on point with the artists as far as matching beats up to their flow?
Khrysis: I’ll go as far as fuck around… I’ll change a beat quick. If I don’t like where something is going, I’ll change beats or if I have to sit on it and ride on it for a while and be like “Naw, this ain’t it.” Yeah, I think it’s very important that the beat and lyrics have to make a marriage. If it don’t work, it don’t work. If it works, great.
And it doesn’t even have to be the dopest beat in the world. Like I said, there have been beats that I’ve hated and then niggas were called to them and it turns into a hit. That goes back to “Doin Me.” I didn’t like that beat. I really didn’t. I thought it was soft and I thought it was pussy. And I called it everything but a child of God. (laughs) Yeah, the marriage with the beat and raps is very important.
HHS: If you had the opportunity to pick any artist (past and present), no matter what musical genre is there a dream list of artists that you’d like to work with?
Khrysis: Busta, Ghostface, Lil Wayne. Um boy that’s a long ass list. Anybody from G-Unit. Dr. Dre, of course. I’d work with a couple of rock groups, too. I’d do something with My Chemical Romance man. I’d fuck with them pretty hard. Anybody. There’s a lot of people I’d love to work with. Busta being number one.
HHS: Much has been mentioned about hip-hop being dead. Has hip-hop run out of original beats, become too dependable on samples?
Khrysis: No. Hell no. No way man because there is so many different ways that you could flip a sample. It’s like two different producers could hear the same record and get something completely different out of it….It’s so many things that can be done in so many different ways that I don’t think there’s anyway possible that it can run out.
Then you got producers that sample and play keys at the same time and will do both on the same track. I don’t think there’s really a possible way for samples to run out for us to rely on samples too much or for samples to even run out for that matter. The possibilities are endless.
HHS: What’s the status of the Away Team? Is another album on the way?
Khrysis: We started on the second project already. We’re probably like four songs deep. We just started out. The name of the album is Stars and Stripes. We’re shooting for it to drop on ABB, Hall of Justus. So far we have one guest appearance right now and that’s from Evidence of Dilated Peoples.
HHS: When can people see the new album in stores?
Khrysis: Probably be late summer of next year. We’re also be reaching out for outside production. We got a joint from Evidence right now. We got a joint from Jake One right now and then there’s a couple of other people that we’ll add too. I’ll still be doing the bulk of the album.
HHS: Any reason why you’re branching out to outside producers?
Khrysis: Basically, just to see what happens. It’s more like ‘Let’s try it and see what happens’ kind of thing. If it doesn’t work out, then you probably won’t hear it (laughs). For the most part, this was kind of a thing that it was a decision we made together. You know like ‘Aright, let’s go for it.’
HHS: In recent years, producers have become as recognizable as the artists they craft beats for. Does that add pressure to you to create something worthwhile in light of people knowing you by name and your production style?
Khrysis: Naw because I started making beats because it’s something that I love to do. Whether everybody recognize me or not or I’m trying to be superstar status, it doesn’t really matter. Just as long as I’m able to make a living at what I’m doing I’m pretty much satisfied. As long as I’m able to pay my bills (and) I got some place to live, I don’t feel a whole lot of pressure, you know what I’m sayin’. Actually, that’s where most of the pressure comes from. When money gets real tight, that’s when I’m like “OK, it’s time to turn the heat on.” That’s it pretty much.
HHS: What can we expect from Khyrsis in the future?
Khrysis: Basically, when the HOJ album drops, I’m gonna need everybody to forget everything that they’ve heard from me before. Like I said, I’ve been in the cut. I’ve had a chance at a lot of times to explore and experiment with all kinds of different sounds.
A lot of people are going to hear stuff that they wouldn’t expect to hear from me. That and the Darien album. I got two songs on Darien’s album as well. Darien’s album is called Somebody to Love and the Hall of Justus album, Soldiers of Fortune will both be dropping on Oct. 3, 2006. We’re calling it HOJ Tuesday, for those that don’t know. Also, I have Jesus Price from Sean Price which will be dropping on Duck Down on Oct. 31.
HHS: Can you give us a hint of the new sound?
Khrysis: Well first of all, like I said I’ve been experimenting with a whole lot of different sounds ranging from samples to drums to me playing over top of samples. Shit like that, 808′s. I been fucking with those a lot recently…I might piss a whole lot of people off, but fuck ‘em
HHS: Final words?
Khrysis: HOJ Tuesday, Oct.3, 2006. Hall of Justus Soldiers of Fortune. Darien Brockington Somebody to Love. HOJ Tuesday. Big shout to everybody out there reading or listening or whatever the fuck they doing.
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