With three ASCAP Awards, a Grammy nomination for 50 Cent’s “Disco Inferno,” and several G-Unit hit singles under his belt, Chris Styles has got to be one of the most unknown hit producers in the game.
Recently, the producer was the center of a little controversy when 50 dropped “Amusement Park.” The beat for the single was circulating mixtapes on a track Jim Jones had done previously, so fans and industry folk started gossiping, saying that Styles was double dipping (slinging the same beat to two people). After clearing up the rumors, we decided to chop it up with the producer to talk about his history in the game, his relationship with 50 Cent and why after getting credited with so many hit singles, he is virtually unknown.
Despite being a newcomer in the eyes of many, Chris Styles and his Dangerous LLC production team have been grinding for years, but they are just now getting some much deserved shine. So, Styles, here’s just a little more for you.
BallerStatus.com: First off, after posting a story regarding rumors of you selling a beat to both Jim Jones and 50 Cent, several people commented that you did not produce Lloyd Banks’ single, “Hands Up,” and that Eminem did instead. Can you explain why Em’s name was attached to that single instead of yours?
Chris Styles: This is the music business and the game that we play in. I’m basically a new producer, even though I’ve been doing it for a minute, so sometimes you gotta take the backseat to a person that got a bigger name than you. Now I came with the record, gave ’em the record. After I did the record, [Eminem] came in and added some sprinkles on the record, so he got the producer credit. To the world, if you see my name against Eminem, a new dude who you never heard produce record before, who they gonna say produced the record? Me or him?
At the time, it didn’t matter to me because I understand the business on the publishing end, so I’m trying to make the record as big as possible. I own a piece of the publishing. I don’t care if Eminem’s name is attached to the record; it makes it even bigger to me. When the general consumer buys the record, they are like, “Yo, Em produced this record for Lloyd Banks.” They want the record even more because of that. That’s cool with me, but nah, I came with the record from the jump.
At G-Unit, we work as a team. It’s just one of the situations where it worked better for the team this way and I understand that.
The same thing happened to me too on the “Disco Inferno” record. When 50 wrote “the beat sounds sicker over Dre drums n****” everybody thought that Dre did the record, not knowing that 50 recorded the record with Dre, but I guess he didn’t like the beat that Dre did. He came back and re-recorded over my track, but still kept the line in there. A lot of people actually thought that Dre did the record when it was actually Dangerous LLC/Chris Styles who did it.
BallerStatus.com:Can you explain a little about how Jim Jones got a hold of the “Amusement Park” beat, or was able to duplicate it before 50’s track dropped?
Chris Styles: I mean, there’s studios out here man and beat CDs floating around. Things happen. If you listen to Jones’ version, which I heard for the first time not too long ago, it has my floaters all over it — DANGEROUS LLC. We do that just in case someone uses the beat without permission. He probably got it from a beat CD somewhere, liked the record and just did it. Things happen, I’m not mad it happened. I was disappointed because if Jim wanna work with me, just holla at me with a check and we can make it happen. I’m not mad at it though, it created a little controversy and gave me a little light, so it’s all good.
BallerStatus.com:Aside from 50 and G-Unit, what is the track that got you most recognized?
Chris Styles: It’s gotta go back to them dudes. It’s like records, official ones, not counting the mixtapes or video game stuff I’ve done. We got four or five singles, not album cuts, singles over at G-Unit. A lot of the big records came out of there.
I think what people recognize us for also is that I got an artist signed to Atlantic Records named Deemi. Her album’s coming in September called Soundtrack Of My Life. We making it happen with that. When we came in with her, we had like five labels interested in the deal.
BallerStatus.com:Do you feel you have gotten the recognition you deserve thus far?
Chris Styles: Nah man, not yet. Like I said, I mean, we got records with one of the best-selling artist of the time right now in 50 Cent. To have all those records over there and still not have Interscope not opening up to me or all these other labels opening up to me, it’s kind of crazy. This industry is a producer and DJ driven industry, so to not get the recognition I deserve… I’m not quite there yet. I think I’ve arriving at that point right now though.
BallerStatus.com:Going back a little, how did you get into producing?
Chris Styles: I was rapping for a couple of years. I was in a group called Us making records, putting out videos and making money independently. It didn’t work out and we all went out separate ways.
I wanted to do music, but everyone is a rapper. I just couldn’t do it no more. When I was rapping, I’d always tell the producers how I wanted my records, how I wanted them to sound. I would grab my pop’s records and bring them back to tell them to use this sample or that sample and how I wanted them to chop it up, etc. But one of my homies was telling me I should produce a record and he kind of broke down the art of producing. So I ended up asking my pops for equipment. My pops created Sirius satellite, so… I ended up getting a set up, but didn’t know how to use it. I got a couple of cats I know; I needed to get my team together. My brother Bruce Wayne from Midi Mafia kind of helped me out in the beginning, as far as showing me how to begin to produce records.
I got a couple of cats like my dude Urk, and others and we kinda just made this Dangerous LLC thing happen. A lot of the dudes I work with all play instruments. I knew the value of publishing and stuff like that, so with sampling taking so much of the record’s publishing, we had to get out of that quick. We make records by scratch.
BallerStatus.com:Ok, so do you just stray away from sampling all together?
Chris Styles: Nah, if a sample’s hot, we gonna use the sample. Don’t get me wrong, hip-hop is built off of samples. We ain’t gonna stop it all together, but we may chop it up or play it over to get some of that publishing on it. But really, we try not to do as much samples as possible because I want people to sample from my shit 20 or 30 years from now. It’s funny, “Disco Inferno,” Bow Wow already sampled from that, you know what I’m saying?
BallerStatus.com:What is it that sets Chris Styles and Dangerous LLC apart from the countless number of producers out there?
Chris Styles: I think what sets us apart or puts us among the greats — as far as my generation is Puffy or Jermaine Dupri, is emulate what they do. My focus is really my artists. Puffy had a star in Craig Mack and Biggie, and Jermaine Dupri had Kriss Kross and Da Brat. Dangerous LLC, I got Deemi and I got Khryst and Dawn. There’s nobody like Dawn; she sound like the sweetest songbird you ever heard. That’s what gonna set us apart and put Dangerous LLC and Chris Styles on the map. Like I said, I got our rapper/singer named Khryst, he been in the game since he was 16 and he 30 now. He was on Def Jam. He’s coming back with a vengeance. He got songs with 50, M.O.P., Uncle Murda, so we setting him up real nice. You gonna start hearing him fourth quarter. I’m just setting my own tone.
We do everything though, not just rap. We do R&B, dance music, a lot of pop, everything. We don’t limit ourselves, we make music.
BallerStatus.com:You got a few beats on 50’s new album… you got into the studio with him?
Chris Styles: Oh yea. My relationship with 50 is different. 50 got a lot of producers that’s signed over [at G-Unit], but our relationship is totally different. I came in and took advantage of my situation. I made it more personal. I made it a personal business relationship. He gives me direction and he let me know how it is, what it is. I didn’t just sign a piece of paper and hand him beats. When there’s anything, I got over there and be like, “50, what’s up man? What you need me to do?” We talk and work it out. He’s been real and a gentleman about the whole thing. He’s helping me out and letting me do what I do. Nah, it’s a good thing. Despite what anyone says, he’s a smart dude. He let me into the family.
Big up to Sha Money. He was one of the first dudes to get on the phone and be like, “We gonna make this happen.” Also I got in with LL, 50 hooked me up with that. I got Swizz Beatz’ next single. We got some real major records with Uncle Murda.
Tell them dudes at the labels to stop playing. I got hits, I need to get into the studio with Jennifer Hudson ’cause I got hits. They let me in there with her, we gonna make it happen.