Behind the Beats: Serani
[artist id="2559284"]Serani[/artist] may be best known for his breakout hit "No Games," but the emerging Jamaican artist first made a name for himself crafting songs for some of his homeland's biggest stars.
"I'm a musician from birth, I played the keys from birth," Serani said. "As time went on, when I became a teenager I was listening to Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Capleton and Sizzla. I would listen to the beats and thought, 'Why are they on some of these? They could do better.' And I knew I had the talent to do it."
He got his start working as a musician, contributing to Wayne Marshall songs. Eventually he formed Daseca Productions with two partners, and the trio were able to power hits by some of the same artists Serani listened to coming up. Their big break came when they scored a couple of knockout hits, producing Tony Matterhorn's "Dutty Wine" and Sean Paul's "We Be Burning."
" 'We Be Burning' was the first real big move," Serani said.
The producer had long been a frequent collaborator with Mavado, and the two developed a brotherly relationship. While working with Mavado, Serani found his voice — he'd coach artists while producing their records and found he had a knack for melody.
Although he had no formal experience singing, family and friends pushed him to develop his vocals.
"I was doing that and I was teaching a lot of artists how to sing," he said of his time manning the boards. "I didn't know I could do it, but I knew keys. Eventually, as I'm making the beats, I start coming up with ideas for myself and as the time goes by, the ideas start getting better and better. This is, like, 2007, so I just started doing it. My voice started getting better and I said, 'Let's do it.' "
Now with "No Games" as his first certified solo hit, Serani is prepping for the release of his debut of the same name, due October 27.
Next Wave of Flav
On Mavado: "He's like my son in music. He's older than me, but I feel like he's my son, 'cause I taught him so much in music as a producer. I'm like his son in terms of singing, if you wanna say so. We have a good relationship. I still produce songs with Mavado. He's my brother."
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From the Underground
There's been a lot of talk about [artist id="860639"]50 Cent[/artist] lately, with many questioning the motives behind his recent [article id="1622984"]ThisIs50 Music Festival[/article] held in New York. [artist id="1164800"]Fabolous[/artist] was one of the first to [article id="1623248"]bring it up on Twitter[/article], asking if the G-Unit General would have reached out to his onetime rivals a few years ago. Who knows, really?
However, [artist id="1689514"]Tony Yayo[/artist] seemed to be enthusiastic about all the crew love that went down on Governor's Island, where G-Unit, the Diplomats and the LOX all connected.
"I know your eyes is buggin' on, like, what's going on — Slaughterhouse, the Unit, D-Block out here, Dipset," the Talk of New York boasted. "My man Young Money Trav — we got Jersey here, L.A., we got a lot of 'hoods. Detroit.
"Talk about that new album, man," Yayo continued, looking in Joe Budden's direction. " 'Cause I picked up that [Slaughterhouse] album. I told [the rest of the group] you should do that 'Microphone' joint [onstage]."
"See, man," Budden cut in.
The New Jersey MC and his counterparts, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5'9" and Crooked I, might have disagreed about their song set for the night's festivities.
Yayo was adamant, however.
"That's crack, man."
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