To take a page from Three Six Mafia, 88-Keys is probably the most known unknown producer/emcee in hip-hop. For years he’s been behind the scenes creating classic material that the hardcore hip-hop fan still has in rotation as if the music came out yesterday. His resume is lengthy and includes production for Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s timeless Blackstar album as well as Mos Def’s debut album Black on Both Sides. With tracks like “Thieves in the Night” (Blackstar), “Love” and “Speed Law” (Black on Both Sides), it doesn’t just end there; he’s worked with everyone from Musiq Soulchild, Beanie Siegel, to the Pharcyde in addition to many others.
88-Keys has had an interesting path that has crossed the likes of many artists in the industry, one of those who happened to become godfather of his children and executive producer of his debut album the Death of Adam, Kanye West. Even with the association to one of the premier artists in music, 88-Keys still feels like people don’t know who he is.
“I don’t think it has fully sunk in yet because a lot of people are still under the impression that “STAY UP! (VIAGRA)” is Kanye’s song featuring some other guy.”
“The few that know about my album (as told by some of the media) think Kanye produced all of the music on there. I don’t think it has fully sunk in yet because a lot of people are still under the impression that “STAY UP! (VIAGRA)” is Kanye’s song featuring some other guy. It’s expected though, so I can’t be mad at that. I just wish people did their homework or at least did it better. They’re getting an A, C, or B instead of getting an A+ when it comes to knowing who I am, what I’ve done and currently doing.”
Although 88-Keys deals with the gift and at times curse of working with Mr. West, one thing that keeps him grounded is his family. “I’m raising my girls to be great citizens,” says the father of two. “The more good, smart people bred, the better off we are in society.”
“I’m raising my girls to be great citizens. The more good, smart people bred, the better off we are in society.”
If there is anything else besides the music and family aspect of 88-Keys, it would be his affinity for fashion and more specifically, Ralph Lauren. If you think about the one thing you love in the world and multiply that by ten, it would equate (maybe) to 88’s love for Ralph Lauren. His explanation, “You can’t go wrong with Ralph. What he does with his clothing designs for Polo is draw inspiration from around the globe but flips it all into an Americana sense of style and makes it his own. He’s done some collections inspired by some of the most beautiful countries on the continent of Africa and South America, yet it’s completely wearable, highly fashionable and practical. Also, if you put it together correctly, you’ll both look and feel like a superstar. At least I do.”
By the looks of it, 88-Keys already looks, delivers, and plays the part of husband, father, producer and emcee, and the Polo is just icing on the cake. 88-Keys has no fear of the mainstream and actually welcomes it. He’s definitely on the right path to not only feeling like a superstar but also truly becoming a superstar.
For more information on 88-Keys please visit www.myspace.com/88keys.