Anyone who knows me personally or just from Twitter, knows that I’m a huge Protoje fan. In 2016, Protoje surprised his fans with an exclusively free album, namely Royalty Free (Side B) In his usual unorthodox and unapologetic style, he just released half of the album but let me tell youuuuu, it a di sickest half a album! loooool. He can take as long as he wants with the other half because I know it will be qualityyyyy. From the day it was released up to this very day, I have had the project on repeat. I just love how “out of the box” it is.
So, for this episode, I caught up with the producer who was responsible for two tracks on the project. This is the amazing, Tracker John MD!
Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. Let’s see what you got.
- Bout Noon – Protoje
- Hustler – Kabaka Pyramid (UNRELEASED)
- Be Careful With Me – Cardi B
- Walking Trophy – Hood Celebrityy
- If You Let ’em – Trips Up
Name one album that you’ll probably never stop listening to and why.
Tracker John: Good question….. I’d have to go with ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ double disc CD. My reason being, every clan member had their own element and brothers like The Rza, 4th Disciple and Allah Mathematics had to design the right sound.
Go into your main musical influences and who or what initiated your choice to get into music production.
Well, my musical influences are my father and uncle. Both of them are the reason why I’m making music today. I remember when I was 7, my brother and I went to my Dad’s house for a photoshoot. My father and uncle being Haitian were talking in creole about me as I had my fingers placed on the keyboard he had just bought us. I asked him what were they saying but he laughed and said I’m too young to understand. I guess they were saying that I will be great one day.
Hahaha great story. You play any instruments currently?
I’m currently taking piano lessons. At last! (laughs)
How does being able to play an instrument assist in beat making/ the production process?
It helps dearly. Music is vibration and every chord progression brings a different energy and feeling.
“It’s key to know the scales”
– Silver Sargent
How did the link come about with Protoje for the songs on ‘Royalty Free (Side B)’ and have you done any work with any other Jamaican artiste/s?
My production credits with Jamaican artistes are as follows:
Mr. Vegas – Like That (2004)
Protoje – Can’t Feel No Way (2016)
Protoje – Glad You’re Home (2016)
Alborosie feat. Protoje – Strolling (Remix) (2017)
Kabaka Pyramid – Kabaka vs Pyramid (Remix) (2018) *UNRELEASED
In 2005, I took a trip to Jamaica with my business partner at the time who grew up with Diggy. I was only 19 when I met Protoje. People called him Oje from around his way. I remember I saw a Triton keyboard at Protoje’s house and I said, “Yo, can I make a beat?” Diggy said, ” Yeah man” and he was shocked that I made a full beat in 5 minutes. Can you imagine that 11 years later he still remembered me?
I sent him a DM via Twitter after he released Ancient Future and told him that I’m still making beats. He sent me Dennis Brown’s ‘Don’t Feel No Way’ to sample. I doctored the track but I felt that I could do something else of my choosing so I selected ‘Ring My Bell’ by The Bloodsisters. I sent the track and the rest was history. Oh yeah!…. I did get a call from Protoje to work on ‘7 Year Itch’ but the sound we were gonna buss was way too ahead of it’s time.
Could you give us a simple breakdown of the creative process behind the ‘Glad You’re Home’ instrumental? I must say, I have had both tracks on repeat! but Glad You’re Home is my favourite, it just has a certain bounce/swing to it.
Glad You’re Home was a sample that fell right into the drum pattern. The sample that punches in like “any time, any day” is my favourite. When Diggy sent the rough vocals through WhatsApp, he sung lyrics over that part. My voice message was like, “Yo, I thought you would have caught that sample like how Dipset does!” When he sent the verse again he laced it proper. He knew exactly what I was talking about. The most important thing of all, is when my childhood friend, Paris Wilson heard it when I was making it and said, “G, I know you like ‘Can’t Feel No Way’ but ‘Glad You’re Home’ is the one!” We’re from Hartford, Connecticut so Paris kept saying, “The streets can bounce to it ’cause it has a fusion of Trap as well.”
Listen to ‘Glad You’re Home’ here:
In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people?
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @trackerjohnmd
Give thanks for reading as always. This was a refreshing episode for me. I hope you enjoyed it too.
Follow me on Twitter: @Shawn_FTC