Superproducer Bangladesh has lent the music industry over a decade worth of hits.
Working with the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna to Lil’ Wayne and Nicki Minaj, the hitmaker (born Shondrae Crawford) has decorated Billboard charts with bangers over multiple genres.
But, despite imparting platinum plaques to all of your favorite rappers and singers, Crawford exclusively tells That Grape Juice that there is much uncharted territory to conquer – namely seeing his name afront those same plaques as lead act.
Dishing with TGJ on rumors of “artists stealing production credits”, his solo workings, and industry beefs, as ever, you know we asked the questions you want the answer to. Click below to see a new side of your favorite producer’s favorite producer – Bangladesh:
Bangladesh Shouts Out That Grape Juice:
That Grape Juice: Hello there! How are you?
Bangladesh: Doing good man!
TGJ: Doing good! So let’s hop right in. So many people now know you from work you’ve done with Rihanna, Beyonce, Brandy, and more, but tell us – how did you get your start in the industry? We hear you used to be a barber?
Bangladesh: Well, being a barber is something I just picked up when I was young, but I was never actually striving to be one for the rest of my life. It helped me make money to get the music equipment, but it was just a stepping stone.
TGJ: Oh ok! So, when and where did you get your big break?
Bangladesh: When I moved to ATL, I met some friends and those people happened to know people that knew people. I was living with Lil’ Fate’s (Ludacris hypeman) cousin because he was my best friend. Eventually, we all connected on a friendship level.
Luda would come get a line-up from me from time to time, so we developed a friendship. He didn’t know I had dreams of being a producer, he just knew me as “the barber”. When I told him I was making beats and played some for him, he was amazed and wanted them for his independent movement.
‘What’s Your Fantasy’ was one of our first works together and later I did five joints on his first, independent album. He initially went with JD’s [Jermaine Dupri] stuff because JD had “a name”. Funny, but time proved it was the ‘Fantasy’ joint that took off though.
TGJ: And, that it did! We know you have a very distinct sound, but how would Bangladesh describe a Bangladesh beat?
Bangladesh: Crazy beats and hard drums. It goes against the grain and different from everything else you hear. I like the sound raw and not really perfected – I even still use MPC 2000 because it gives you a dirty sound. Producers use software now that’s more clean and polished, but on my beats you can tell I’m using MPC.
My sound is very aggressive - it’s pop, hood, and eclectic all wrapped up in one.
TGJ: Yes! That very sound has led you to work with many a major name – from Beyonce to Lil Wayne. Tell us, what has been the most rewarding experience so far?
Bangladesh: Probably Wayne’s ‘A Milli’ because when it came, it changed hip hop. People are saying I changed hip hop with that style of beat. After me, everybody started doing that style.
From new producers to veterans, people like Will.I.Am with ‘I’ma Be’ and a lot of other people were really biting that sound. Nobody was really chopping up words and putting them in beats like me. That’s my style and everybody bit it.
I can’t be mad at it though, because one of the reasons I wanted to make music was to be a trendsetter and be important like the Neptunes and Timbaland. That song ['Milli'] really set my mark and proved I did something in the game.
TGJ: Now, with a host of rewarding experiences behind you, we’re hoping for more to come. Who are you working with at present?
Bangladesh: Just myself right now. For the last few months, I’ve been working on my own album. I’m so caught up in that right now, not really checking for anybody else. I did recently leave L.A. and was working with Dev (‘Fly Like a G6’). I enjoy doing stuff like that because it’s out of my realm, you know? More interesting and fun than doing the typical hood, rap stuff.
It’s fun working with Ke$ha, Beyonce, Rihanna, and other pop stuff. It’s a different world.
TGJ: Why so?
Bangladesh: Because, I want to bring my element to pop.
TGJ: So with that, who would you like to work with that you haven’t? A wish list, if you will…
Bangladesh: I definitely want to work with Pink and Andre 3000. I feel that Andre is one of the last few artists of our era. He’s one of the only who doesn’t have to drop something every two or three months to be relevant.
TGJ: Now, switching gears a bit, there’s often a lot of talk about writing credits, producer credits, etc. How much truth is there to all of that talk (i.e. giving up credits) and have you ever been on the receiving end of this?
Bangladesh: Man, that’s the game and that’s just how it is. You got to be a big artist when you can ask and demand something like that, but it happens. It’s not always a bad thing though because sometimes producers give beats away to no-name artists too (for no credit).
Then, sometimes if it’s an Usher or Beyonce type of act, you’re ok with giving it away because if they sing over your song, they’re going to bring great attention to it.
Producers don’t mind giving CERTAIN artist the credit. But, it’s mostly African Americans that do that kind of stuff. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I know people that have written for Britney Spears and different people that are in the pop world, and they don’t ask for that kind of stuff. Britney don’t ask for shit. If you wrote it, you just wrote it. She sings it and leaves.
It’s dog eat dog out there man. And, I’m sure there are some pop acts who demand full credit, but I’m just speaking from experiences I’ve had or heard about.
TGJ: Now, as with many interviews, we have a segment called “Five From Fans” where we received five questions from our readers for you. Are you ready?
Bangladesh: Let’s do it!
TGJ: 1) What is the biggest misconception about being a producer?
Bangladesh: People think it’s easy, but there is a difference between being a producer and beatmaker. People might not know the difference.
TGJ: 2) Have you ever passed on working with an artist and later regretted it?
Bangladesh: It wasn’t that I passed on the artist, but as producers, we be in our own world. Like, I could’ve worked with Wiz Khalifa and Drake before they blew up. But, sometimes when you miss those opportunities, the artist may misconstrue it and think it’s your fault or that you weren’t fucking with them.
Like in Wiz’s case, I didn’t really know what I could do for him because I’d never heard his style before. But, I probably should’ve just dove in it. For Drake, it was just that I missed the studio date. Now, I believe when these artists blow up, you never know what they think of you. They think u didn’t believe in them. That’s why it’s always good to fuck with up-and-comers.
TGJ: 3) How do you respond to critics who blame producers for commercial failures?
Bangladesh: At the forefront, it’s not the producer. We’re the last ones to blame. Even if the producer isn’t delivering, it’s still the artist choice to rock with the producer. At the end of the day, they have options. If they not choosing the right music, it’s your fault.
The producer may give you something that you need, but it might be so ahead of you, you sometimes stick to what you know or think is hot. That doesn’t work all the time. I’m not going to debate on what’s hot because I’m getting a check. So hey, if you like it, I love it. When it comes to making albums, its bigger than the producer.
TGJ: 4) Advice for producers coming up?
Bangladesh: Be serious about the craft. We’re in a microwave era, where everything comes quick and easy. [Making beats] used to be hardware, but now it’s software. Study the craft like I did and know music history. Study artist outside of Rick Ross and Lil Wayne.
TGJ: 5) Your real name is Shondrae. How did you get your tag name Bangladesh?
Bangladesh: It’s a word we used to use to describe things that were cool. If it was hot, we said it was “bangladesh”. When on the road with Luda and DTP, we used that word a lot. One day I woke up and decided to use it as my company’s name – Bangladesh Productions.
It describes my journey and struggle. It also relates to the country in the sense that it’s foreign and I believe my sound is “foreign” to the ears. It’s different. Also, my music bangs (laughs).
I started putting tags on my beats, not realy knowing what I was doing. I think I started that for producers, like tagging my music like DJs. Yeah, producers would talk on their tracks, but they wouldn’t tag themselves. Now, after me, everybody does it.
TGJ: Thanks so much. Last, but not least, when it’s all said and done, how does Bangladesh want to be remembered?
Bangladesh: I should be remembered as those who never got his blood sucked. My legacy is built strictly from talent. A lot of people are working for free or getting used, and that’s what I called bloodsucked. I’m a rebellious person because not too many out here can survive independently without having a manager or major label like I did. Some took the route of being stuck “in a clique”.
Some say im difficult, but it’s gotten me where I am without the bullshit. People trying to take a piece of where I’m going, but I am and will always be self-sufficient.
Interview by: Quinno Rashad (That Grape Juice US)