NEW YORK — Lil Jon isn't stingy with his beats, he just plays favorites — namely with the artists on his BME label. Luckily for the rest of the industry, he has an overflow of product to push.
"When it was time to go in the studio and work on [Trillville's Reloaded] album, I went in for a weekend and did 50 beats in a week," Jon said late Monday, just a few hours before taking the stage for Anger Management 3. "I think I gave myself like a month and I had 150 beats so [the artists on my label] could pick the hottest [ones]. I have a catalog now of about 600 beats."
Within the next few months, Jon plans to release albums by Trillville, Lil' Scrappy, E-40 and debuting MC Bohagan.
"I went down to Miami," said Bohagan, seated next to Jon. "[Jon] played 300 beats for me in a row. I had to go outside and scratch my head and play basketball because it was too many jamming beats. You be like, 'I want number one, I want number 300. I want all of them.' It's hard when you hear that many jamming beats. It don't take him about 10, five minutes to give you a jam."
"Me and my team got it down to science," Jon said. "I just go in and do it. My job is to make beats and make something hot. When I go in, I catch a vibe. If the beat feels like it don't make you move right, I scrap that and go to another track. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes, sometimes it takes an hour to get one done. I just keep spitting them out. I got all these artists, and we gotta get these albums out. If I don't do beats, we don't put no damn albums out. That's my motivation right there."
So how are the beats disseminated among his squad? According to Jon, most of the time the artists don't pick the same beats, but when they do, it's all about who has the most heat. "Sometimes we might lay songs to the same beat," Bohagan revealed. "Jon might listen to what song is jammin' the hardest and that artist will get the beat ... but the song better be jammin'."
Outside artists hoping to secure beats for their albums shouldn't put their checkbooks away yet. While Jon said his roster usually gets first dibs on his beats, he's not turning his nose up at everyone outside his clique. He says he's especially excited about working with two of his favorite MCs: Ice Cube and Too Short. Jon produced seven songs apiece for both of their projects.
The King of Crunk is also stepping into the pop world; he said he has a beat in the cooker for Jessica Simpson, he's knocked out a song for Hilary Duff and he'll work with Paris Hilton some day if they ever get their schedules together.
"I was doing a remix for [Simpson's 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin'], and when I did the beat, I was like, 'This beat is too hot for a remix,' " he said. "I sent the beat to her and they liked it for her album. Hilary Duff, we did a song for a soundtrack. She has the 'Material Girl' movie coming out and we redid [Madonna's] 'Material Girl.' "
Label representatives for Jessica Simpson and Hilary Duff could not be reached as of press time.