Longtime G-Unit engineer and producer Ky Miller chopped it up with Eric Diep of XXL recently about how he linked up with 50 Cent, his Mudd Monkey, Inc production company, G-Unit's forthcoming EP The Beast Is G-Unit and much more.
XXL: You don’t just do engineering and producing. It seems like you do a whole bunch of different hustles.
Ky Miller: I make money. I get paid for engineering. Whatever else I can do, I always do [for money]. But sometimes, you gotta wear different hats to just be able to provide more services. To provide everything.
You have this production company called Mudd Monkey, Inc. When did you start that?
Back in 2008, 2009. It got to the point to where basically I was a producer and engineer. I guess through working with so many different people from 50, I decided I wanted to be more than a producer. I decided to start a production company to basically to try and find new talent and develop new acts. That’s what I’ve been doing. It’s kind of a step up from being a producer. Being a producer, you gotta shop your beats. You gotta hopefully get placements. You gotta sit and wait. I just told myself one day, “Hey, you know. Rather than just send my beats out and try to get placements and all of that, let me try and create my own situation.”
How do you balance this and your role at G-Unit?
My duties to 50 and G-Unit, that’s first and foremost. Doing that, being in that frame of mind. 50 first. G-Unit. It just helps me develop myself more as an individual [who] takes in and learns a lot about the business. What it takes to develop an artist.
Has 50 given you any pointers or advice?
He knows I have a production company. You know, you see it in the credits. Ky Miller for Mudd Monkey, Inc. I’m still like a producer and engineer within that company, as well as developing the artists. It’s just about building the knowledge, ’cause as time goes by, as you get older, what are you going to do next? It’s what you fall into next. The next phase of your life.
How many songs have you made with G-Unit?
You gotta understand there’s been mixtape records. Album records. Records that never came out. It’s definitely in the hundreds and hundreds of records. I can’t even sit down and think about it, you know?
How long did you say you were with 50 officially?
I would say around 10 years. Through that experience, I got a chance to work with several other artists. Everybody like from Carl Thomas to LL [Cool J] to Jazmine Sullivan. Trey Songz. But Trey Songz liked to engineer himself. Just in a good space to be able to work with different people.
50 gave me the opportunity to work with different people. Just to see how different artists like to record. To record an R&B artist is different than recording a hip-hop artist. Sometimes, a singer likes to hear reverb on their voice while they are singing. Or when they do different layers, or when they do harmonies and stuff like that. Some like to hear what they are doubling in the right ear and hear them live in the left ear.
For you, what is the most notable project that you’ve worked on?
Every album that I engineered had its own identity. I remember when I engineered [an album] when M.O.P. was on G-Unit. The energy with those guys. That was an incredible space. The reason it’s hard for me to answer a question like that is because I don’t just work for these guys. I’m a fan. Just being in that situation is just incredible. 50 Cent, G-Unit. Just all those people. It’s just incredible.
What’s the progression like for 50 since you’ve worked with him in the beginning?
All I can say about that is that it goes beyond music. As much things he’s got going on right now, he still has the same passion for music. All the other business deals that he’s doing. The movies and all of that. He still has that passion for music. That never went away.
Do you think Kidd Kidd is a good addition as the new school for G-Unit?
Absolutely. I just like to hear uniqueness in artists. Just people who wanted to come to the game and rappers…they good but they sound like somebody else. You know what I’m saying? To me, Kidd Kidd didn’t sound like anybody else. He doesn’t. Or anybody in G-Unit for that matter. When it comes, it’s gonna be like brand new.
How many albums from G-Unit were actually made in the studio at 50 Cent’s mansion?
The basis for most of 50’s albums—even though he travels around a lot—he’s all over the place, actually, working on his records. That’s a base. It’s the big house. We call it the Big House Studios.
Can you describe the vibe of the studio?
The best word to describe that is kind of like home. For artists, they’re most creative when they are in their most comfortable space. For 50, it would be the Big House. For the other people, it’s just where they are comfortable at and used to the sound. With that, it’s not about the location or the equipment. It’s just about the feel and the vibe that the room gives. You see all the plaques and stuff in there. For 50, it may be dope to be sitting in a comfortable space while you’re writing or being creative. And you look around and you see those plaques of your accomplishments before. It would motivate anybody to see those accomplishments around you.
What can fans expect from The Beast Is G-Unit EP?
Expect a lot of the same. There’s close to 50 records done. You can imagine how hard it was for 50 to pick what the first EP was going to be. So like, the second one, just as intense. Just as hard to pick. Everything for me is spur of the moment. I’m happy to be there to take that ride and try to make it happen.
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