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Cool and Dre Keep The Beat Going
4/19/05 - exclusive interview

producers Cool and Dre picture

Miami-based producer's Cool & Dre continue to make their mark on the production world. The duo first topped charts with Ja Rule’s – “New York”, followed by Terror Squad’s - “Take me Home” single and continue to shine with the “Hate it or Love it” single featuring 50 Cent and The Game, the number one track on Billboard. Success has not slowed down for Cool & Dre, whose upcoming projects include collaborations with Mary J. Blige, 3LW, P. Diddy, Mos Def, Q-Tip, Slim Thug, Mase and Joe Buddens.

They are also continuing their work on Dirtbag’s album, the premiere artist on their imprint label Epidemic Music.


The duo have also recently opened La Dea restaurant and lounge in South beach with co investors with Usher and Big Boi of Outkast. Cool took a break between studio sessions to speak with LatinRapper about their string of success in our exclusive interview. How did you guys get into the production game together?

Me and Dre met up in high school, we did the whole chorus thing. Dre was in the chorus, I was the DJ, we got into the whole music thing. We were an R&B group called Basic Unity, we tried to do the four-man group thing for a while, that didn't work out.


In ‘96 we couldn't really find no one to do no tracks for our group, so we had an idea, why don't we get some equipment, put out our own beats. We saved up, bought an ASR10 keyboard, started doing our production, trying to get it tight, figure out the machines. That's how we got started, know what I'm saying. Progressing, putting our money where our mouth is and getting some equipment.

Many people recognize you as producers, but you're also hook writers, who are some of the artists that you've graced with a hook?

Both of us do the writing, but Dre, he sings most of the hooks too, which is dope. He'll reference a whole song, we don't need to bring someone in to sing a song, Dre can sing the whole R&B record.


From Mary J Blige, Fat Joe, for Trina. Nowadays, everyone we do a track for, we present a hook. Makes the job easier for the artist. Like New York New York, Take Me Home, that was Dre on that hook, and a bunch of other stuff.

What production equipment is essential to a session of beatmaking at the studio?

Dre likes to use the 1000. We heard about the 1000, we each copped one. He still likes using it, I use the 2000, either machine we use at any given moment. But the heart of it is the 1000 or 2000, we use the Motif 3S7, ASR10, bunch of modules like the Roland, Vintage Pros, Proteus 2000, we got a bunch of different modules. And of course we have an extensive sound library that we've built throughout the years of working.

Do you guys play any other instruments?

Nah, mainly keyboard, but we got Dave Cabrera, any guitar work we need, we bring him in. If we need some extensive keys, we got an extensive keyboard player or piano player for that. We got a bunch of different musicians that we got in different cities. We can call and be like, "yo we coming in to L.A., just be on call."

It seems as though things kicked off when Fat Joe brought you on board to do a few tracks for Tony Sunshine, how did you make that connect in the first place?

Through our man Robbie Rob in Miami, he hollered at us like "Yo man, Joe's lookin' for some beats." ‘Cause Joe don't care if it's a big producer, no name producer, long as its hot. Robbie Rob said Joe wants the Down South stuff, so we put like 50 beats on the CD for Rob.


Joe came across the craziest beat he ever heard, R Kelly was recording We Thuggin', and Joe says "Pop in that CD". He said "I like beat number 30," and King of New York was born on Jealous One's Envy. King of New York with Buju Banton. He told us he heard that record, and said "I gotta meet the kids that made that record, because I cant believe they from Miami."


He came down, every time he came down we would hook up. The way the Tony Sunshine thing came across, he said "Y'all do that R&B stuff, I got my artist Tony Sunshine, give me some beats for him." So we did a record for him, Joe said "that's kinda hot," then we did this one record "Dedication", dedicated to Big Pun.


It really touched everyone, and with that record he let the president of Loud [Records] Steve Rifkind hear it. And Steve said, "Yo, let these kids do the whole Tony Sunshine album." Joe and Tony like brothers from another mother, Joe has played a really instrumental role in our career, we owe a lot to him.

Tony Sunshine's album has been on the backburner for a while now, any chance that we'll get to hear your production on that by this year's end?

This what's goin on... What hapened was, he was signed to Loud Records, then Loud lost their deal. He ended up labelless. We said, yo, lets get our name to some level, and make things happen. So we did this deal with Jive, a joint deal with Epidemic, and we put him on our label. And we signed him, we did a joint venture with Fat Joe.


That didn't really work out because Jive couldn't really understand Tony. They couldn't understand how a Spanish kid was doing R&B. We did a record, but they didn't really push it. So he's in the process of closing a deal with Sony. The album is crazy, everyone from Rich Harrison, to Cool and Dre, Scott Storch, R. Kelly did a joint on there.


You'll definitely see a Tony Sunshine album this year, whether through a major or we have to put it out ourselves, its comin' out (laughs). Gonna be a single in the next two months.

You hooked up the beat for Ja Rule's "New York", "Take Me Home" for Fat Joe and T.S., and produced the #1 hit "Hate it or Love it" with 50 and Game. There wasn't any friction handling production for beefing artists like that?

Nah, 'cause it was like, Joe's not the type of artist like... When that went down there was really no problems. When we found out it was on Game album, Joe didn't really have a problem with those guys. Joe was like, "Damn y'all on game album, good looks." Joe wasn't the type of person to be like, "I have problem with them, don't sell the beat to them" Joe was like, "That's a big record for y'all."

There comes a time when a certain producer or production team become the go-to guys everyone has to have. Swizz, Timbaland, Neptunes, Scott Storch. Do you feel you've reached that level, or is there still a ways to go?

I think right now, like Cool and Dre, we here. We been bubbling up, we been under the bubble for a few years, people say them cats coming up. Then the Ja Rule album came out, not only was it a big record in radio, it kind of brought Ja Rule back.


Not only that, we have two kids from Miami giving New York an album. Then "Take Me Home" came out, not as big as New York, but they making noise around the same time.


Then comes "Hate it or Love it", its such a monster. Now we here, Cool and Dre, Epidemic, its starting now. Like right now, we're here, we're stamped as one of those go-to guys now, for the simple fact that we been in the game working so long, people have their eyes on us, we came through now. We got cats that are hot, never seen a number one. I told Dre, damn that's like getting Superbowl ring (laughs), it's a blessing, know what I mean.

Who were the producers that inspired you guys as you honed your craft?

I have to say, first is whole Outkast, Organized Noize, we followed their music. We got that first Southernplaysiticaddillacmuzik, and was like, yo, 'cause they were samplin but they had live music in their beats as well. Their live music didn't sound like jazz, 'cause when you use live instrumentation, musicians don't use direction, but their stuff was still grimy and dirty and the way they used their samples. We modeled our production on them. Dr Dre, Timbaland, huge inspirations.

Goodie MOB's debut album has incredible production, it was such a fresh sound when they came out.

Absolutely. And you know, you got sounds like Wheels of Steel, Atliens album, you got the scratching, live bass. Two Dope Boys in a Cadillac, Soul Food, it was crazy, we really really listened to those guys, we looked up to those guys as producers. Then the En Vogue sh*t, then they did Waterfalls, we said that's what we wanna do (laughs). Then you got the Chronic album, wow, Timbaland with Aaliyahs album, wow, major inspiration.

Whose putting out the hottest beats at the moment?

Scott Storch. Scott Storch is banging them over the head right now. Kanye west, he's crazy, you got Lil Jon, Timbo, Rich Harrison, crazy with it. Just Blaze, Neptunes, I think those are the top guys, just glad to be a part of those names.

Is there anyone that you'd like to produce for but haven't yet?

We just produced with someone we always say we wanted to produce for, Mary J Blige. A month and a half, two months ago, we produced one record and we had the privilege of co-producing another with her, and Dre sang the hook with her. Recently, she sang over Hate it or Love it, I don't know if you heard it yet. I don't know how she managed to sing over that beat, but wow...


She gave us a shout on the end, too. For her to give you a shout out, that's such a great look, thank God we pretty much working with her. Some work with Snoop, who else... We'd love to put the whole Goodie MOB together. The whole original Goodie MOB, and do a real real Goodie MOB album, some Soul Food Pt 2. That would be something we'd love to do.

Do you ever feel like Miami producers are unjustly pigeonholed as only making boody music or crunk joints?

I wouldn't say right now, I think a few years ago, cats wasn't really looking back to Miami. Go to Miami to get hot beat. Couple cats did hot beats, then you got Red Spyda, Usual Suspects, now the limelight is coming to Miami. Like, "Miami got beats? Cool and Dre, we gotta check these guys out."


At one point they were, but thank God we been a part of that like putting it so cats weren't really looking at Miami as just popping bottles, go to the club, but going to Miami to get some hits.



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