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The Olympicks Interview

July 29, 2009

olympickslogoRESIZEDThey may go to New York and Atlanta to link with clients like The Diplomats, Young Dro and Young Jeezy’s USDA crew, but production group The Olympicks are a product of Michigan Hip Hop. All five of the group’s members hail from the mitten, putting in work toward their area’s heavyweights like P.L. (“Fresher Den You,” “Lean A Lil Bit”). But this summer, the group made their strongest move by signing with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music label (click here to watch their announcement). In an interview with MichiganHipHop, two fifths of The Olympicks talk about linking with one of rap’s superstars and how they can put on for the state.

What do you think makes you guys mesh so well as a group?
Knoxville: Well we were all solo producers. And I’m from Detroit. Fab is in Ypsi. BP is in Ann Arbor, as well as Flawless. And PC is in Inkster. So we all have names where we’re at. PC’s in Inkster. You can’t do an album without getting PC on the album. So we used to work at a studio in Inkster. It was called Raid Rock records, and their artist was P.L. That’s my homeboy, so we had all the same friends and we were all working together. We all just worked together and just decided that us doing it as individuals makes no sense. We’re acting like a power move. And put our individual grinds to the side and do a group thing and get it poppin’.
Jay Fab: It was more so we were always good friends aside from music. We were all doing tracks together. We were all cool with the same people and just became a fam. We were all under the same management company, Quest Management Group after our ex manager, so we were all just close and just thought about and said, “Let’s link up.” It seemed like the right move, and that was it.
How would you describe your guys’ sound?
Knoxville: That’s the crazy part because all of us individually have our own sounds, but with each individual we can do pretty much everything. We can do pop, we can do R&B, we can do soulful music, we can do electro. So we can all do everything. We all bring something new to the table in so many genres, but it’s a new sound when we all collaborate. So it’s like our chemistry is building up to this crazy new lane.
How did you guys link up with Rick Ross and Maybach Music?
Knoxville: It’s crazy because so many people who are in music say that they just do music. And we have action behind what we do, so we usually always travel. We’ll probably go to Atlanta, go to Florida, go to NY, go to Chicago…wherever. So we’ve got people who know people, and they can vouch for us. [Rick Ross] fucked with our sound, and it was a blessing because we found out through one of his associates that he did a recording to our track and that he wanted to sign us. So I’m like, “That’s cool, everybody talks. Nobody’s going to really [do anything]. It’s all talk.” So I gave him my number. He said ‘I’ma call you back with Ross on the phone’. So I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ Then he called back and Ross was on the phone.
…The process after that was making sure both parties were satisfied, and that we could make great music. It was a long, hefty process. And I don’t know how the news got out. It was before we even signed, and people were speculating that we had signed. So we had to keep everything G-14 classified because you don’t want to talk about something that hasn’t even happened yet. Then we finally got it done. … We could actually talk on the phone for two days about the actual process, but it was well worth it. We’re hoping that everything pays off. I’ve got faith that it will. We all got faith that it will. But it’s not what everybody thinks. It’s not just ink and paper, and signing your name. If anybody thinks it’s that easy they are on a pipe dream.
What joints from you guys had he heard? What songs sold him?
Jay Fab: Well Stiff does the camera work, and is kind of like an A&R at Maybach. So he heard the songs we did with CTE, with Jeezy, [and with others]. And basically, we just sent him tracks. We almost did the Deeper Than Rap album, but we didn’t know who Stiff was. He just sent us the email saying to send some tracks with his number. So by the time we knew who he was, the album had already closed. … But he hit us up again and that’s when Knox was trying to grind hard. He told him to send 10 tracks and Knox was like, “Well I’ll send 20.” He heard our sound and was like, “I’m fucking with this. This is big.” And that’s history in the making right there. He just heard the talent. Other individuals, they want to hear your name, what you’ve gotten placed, and how big your name is in the industry, as opposed to just fucking with talent. That was just a real blessing right there.
How much work have you guys done with them so far?
Knoxville: Uh, well we have the single for Triple C’s album, “Throw It In The Sky.” but I think so far we have four. We can’t really say a specific number, but the last time we were with them, they popped off a track while we were there. So they could have recorded up to ten songs already, but artists normally find out, damn near the last minute, what’s going on. But you can expect to see a bundle of work from The Olympicks with the Triple C’s album comes out.
What is it like working with Rick Ross? And how would you compare it to the other artists you’ve worked with so far?
Jay Fab: It’s crazy because when you’re in the position where you’re trying to get in the door, it’s the top people you’re trying to go at. And Ross was one of the people we were trying to get in touch with. And just on behalf of everybody, we’ve been around different artists and seen how they act. Some are cool but they still have that Hollywood, arrogant aura about them. And that’s cool, because they don’t know you. But Ross is real cool dude, and people wouldn’t even believe that he’s such a down to earth, genuine cat. He’s real expressive with ideas. He takes in ideas from the producer or the writer. He can work with them. I didn’t expect that.
Right now seems to be a really good time to be an artist from Michigan, as far as hip hop goes. We’ve got you guys with Maybach Music, we’ve got Big Sean with G.O.O.D. Music. The indie scene is popping with cats like Black [Milk], Guilty [Simpson], P.L., Royce Da 5’9”, and others. But the only way it was going to pop off for Michigan is if artists from here make it a point to contribute and to put the state on. How do you guys think that you can put on for the state or the city?
Knoxville: Well everybody has to understand their roles. There can’t be more chiefs than Indians; not saying everyone can’t be a leader, but everyone has to have a leadership mentality. As producers our role is to supply music, not just give somebody a beat and then they get away. We have to make sure they have the best product. And the problem that we run into as producers is that the artists, you have to filter them out. Some artists just want to be the man in their hood, and they’re not taking steps to get the music out there. Their highest pinnacle of success might be performing at the city’s most popping club, and that’s it. So you’ve got to filter them out, and you have to mess with the Big Sean’s and the P.L.’s. And you have to generate them more fans. And take everybody else who are fans of people not really trying to do it, and make them get behind people who really are trying to do it. You’ve got to push behind the people that’s really trying to do it. And most of us get caught up in pushing artists that don’t even push themselves. And they’re scared to leave Michigan, to shake hands, and to deal with business. It’s more business than anything, and if you don’t have any business sense, these are sharks. You’re going get ate up. And most artists are intimidated by that. So it starts with us as producers, getting to the core of the artists that really want to do it. Everybody says they want to do it, but everyone’s not what they need to do in order to do it right. Most artists don’t even have ASCAP, and that’s small. That’s free. So it takes a lot of unity, and it takes everybody putting their goals on the floor and deciding that they really want to do this. everybody has to push.

What do you think makes you guys mesh so well as a group?
Knoxville: Well we were all solo producers. And I’m from Detroit. Fab is in Ypsi. BP is in Ann Arbor, as well as Flawless. And PC is in Inkster. So we all have names where we’re at. PC’s in Inkster. You can’t do an album without getting PC on the album. So we used to work at a studio in Inkster. It was called Raid Rock records, and their artist was P.L. That’s my homeboy, so we had all the same friends and we were all working together. We all just worked together and just decided that us doing it as individuals makes no sense. We’re acting like a power move. And put our individual grinds to the side and do a group thing and get it poppin’.

Jay Fab: It was more so we were always good friends aside from music. We were all doing tracks together. We were all cool with the same people and just became a fam. We were all under the same management company, Quest Management Group after our ex manager, so we were all just close and just thought about and said, “Let’s link up.” It seemed like the right move, and that was it.

How would you describe your guys’ sound?
Knoxville: That’s the crazy part because all of us individually have our own sounds, but with each individual we can do pretty much everything. We can do pop, we can do R&B, we can do soulful music, we can do electro. So we can all do everything. We all bring something new to the table in so many genres, but it’s a new sound when we all collaborate. So it’s like our chemistry is building up to this crazy new lane.

How did you guys link up with Rick Ross and Maybach Music?
Knoxville: It’s crazy because so many people who are in music say that they just do music. And we have action behind what we do, so we usually always travel. We’ll probably go to Atlanta, go to Florida, go to NY, go to Chicago…wherever. So we’ve got people who know people, and they can vouch for us. [Rick Ross] fucked with our sound, and it was a blessing because we found out through one of his associates that he did a recording to our track and that he wanted to sign us. So I’m like, “That’s cool, everybody talks. Nobody’s going to really [do anything]. It’s all talk.” So I gave him my number. He said ‘I’ma call you back with Ross on the phone’. So I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ Then he called back and Ross was on the phone.

…The process after that was making sure both parties were satisfied, and that we could make great music. It was a long, hefty process. And I don’t know how the news got out. It was before we even signed, and people were speculating that we had signed. So we had to keep everything G-14 classified because you don’t want to talk about something that hasn’t even happened yet. Then we finally got it done. … We could actually talk on the phone for two days about the actual process, but it was well worth it. We’re hoping that everything pays off. I’ve got faith that it will. We all got faith that it will. But it’s not what everybody thinks. It’s not just ink and paper, and signing your name. If anybody thinks it’s that easy they are on a pipe dream.

What joints from you guys had he heard? What songs sold him?
Jay Fab: Well, Stiff does the camera work, and is kind of like an A&R at Maybach. He heard the songs we did with CTE, with Jeezy, [and with others]. And basically, we just sent him tracks. We almost did the Deeper Than Rap album, but we didn’t know who Stiff was. He just sent us the email saying to send some tracks with his number. So by the time we knew who he was, the album had already closed. … But he hit us up again and that’s when Knox was trying to grind hard. He told him to send 10 tracks and Knox was like, “Well I’ll send 20.” He heard our sound and was like, “I’m fucking with this. This is big.” And that’s history in the making right there. He just heard the talent. Other individuals, they want to hear your name, what you’ve gotten placed, and how big your name is in the industry, as opposed to just fucking with talent. That was just a real blessing right there.

How much work have you guys done with them so far?
Knoxville: Uh, well we have the single for Triple C’s album, “Throw It In The Sky.” but I think so far we have four. We can’t really say a specific number, but the last time we were with them, they popped off a track while we were there. So they could have recorded up to ten songs already, but artists normally find out, damn near the last minute, what’s going on. But you can expect to see a bundle of work from The Olympicks with the Triple C’s album comes out.

What is it like working with Rick Ross? And how would you compare it to the other artists you’ve worked with so far?
Jay Fab: It’s crazy because when you’re in the position where you’re trying to get in the door, it’s the top people you’re trying to go at. And Ross was one of the people we were trying to get in touch with. And just on behalf of everybody, we’ve been around different artists and seen how they act. Some are cool but they still have that Hollywood, arrogant aura about them. And that’s cool, because they don’t know you. But Ross is real cool dude, and people wouldn’t even believe that he’s such a down to earth, genuine cat. He’s real expressive with ideas. He takes in ideas from the producer or the writer. He can work with them. I didn’t expect that.

Right now seems to be a good time to be a Hip Hop artist from Michigan. We’ve got you guys with Maybach Music, we’ve got Big Sean with G.O.O.D. Music. The indie scene is popping with cats like Black [Milk], Guilty [Simpson], P.L., Royce Da 5’9”, and others. But the only way it was going to pop off for Michigan is if artists from here make it a point to contribute and to put the state on. How do you guys think that you can put on for the state or the city?
Knoxville: Well everybody has to understand their roles. There can’t be more chiefs than Indians; not saying everyone can’t be a leader, but everyone has to have a leadership mentality. As producers our role is to supply music, not just give somebody a beat and then they get away. We have to make sure they have the best product. And the problem that we run into as producers is that the artists, you have to filter them out. Some artists just want to be the man in their hood, and they’re not taking steps to get the music out there. Their highest pinnacle of success might be performing at the city’s most popping club, and that’s it. So you’ve got to filter them out, and you have to mess with the Big Sean’s and the P.L.’s. And you have to generate them more fans. And take everybody else who are fans of people not really trying to do it, and make them get behind people who really are trying to do it. You’ve got to push behind the people that’s really trying to do it. And most of us get caught up in pushing artists that don’t even push themselves. And they’re scared to leave Michigan, to shake hands, and to deal with business. It’s more business than anything, and if you don’t have any business sense, these are sharks. You’re going get ate up. And most artists are intimidated by that. So it starts with us as producers, getting to the core of the artists that really want to do it. Everybody says they want to do it, but everyone’s not what they need to do in order to do it right. Most artists don’t even have ASCAP, and that’s small. That’s free. So it takes a lot of unity, and it takes everybody putting their goals on the floor and deciding that they really want to do this. Everybody has to push.

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