Behind the Beats: Bangladesh
Shondrae “Bangladesh” Crawford has made some of the biggest hip-hop and R&B hits of the past decade. His résumé is diverse and potent. Bang’s breakthrough came in 1998, when he was introduced to Ludacris through DTP member Lil Fate, whose cousin just so happened to be Bangladesh’s best friend.
Crawford crafted a bulk of Luda’s independent debut, Incognegro, including what would turn out to be his breakthrough smash, “What’s Your Fantasy.” Since then, ‘Desh has supplied beats to fellow Atlanta artists, such as Gucci Mane, Ciara, Sean Garrett and Usher. He’s also branched out to the likes of Mario, Beyoncé and none other than R. Kelly.
“I got R. Kelly’s first single with Luda on it called ‘Tongues,’ ” he said. “Just to clear it up, I know Cam’ron and Vado have a song called ‘Speakin’ Tongues.’ I’ve been had this song. We made this song for Usher. It could have been on Usher’s album, but he didn’t want it. Nobody bit. It’s great ideas sometimes get and get out. Sometimes people be thinking alike. It’s a dope song. It’s very creative. It’s on another level.”
Bangladesh is also working on new music by his artist Tom Foolery. That mixtape should be landing sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Five-Star Stellar Hits
Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy”: “I had just started making beats, like in ’98. That same year, we was making music together. I got good real fast. I was kinda the link that he needed without spending a whole bunch of money on great beats. I came right in. It worked out for me and him. To sum it up, it was God and timing. God placing us together making it happen. That was the last record we recorded for his independent album. I [originally] made the beat without the high hat. I made that for an intro for a whole ‘nother beat. He liked the intro. He was like, ‘I should make that.’ He played it one time on the radio. I was cutting hair; I was a barber at the time. ‘What’s Your Fantasy’ was #1 throughout the day. People I was cutting didn’t even know I made the beat.”
Kelis’ “I’m Bossy”: “It was the first R&B artist I worked with. That was a good look, because I had done just rap. … ‘I’m Bossy’ gave me a look for the other stuff that producers in Atlanta aren’t doing. I’m a standout in that sense, because I can do different things other producers can’t do. I made it back in the day before Lloyd blew up and Ciara was Ciara. They was singing, battling for the beat. ‘That’s my beat! That’s my beat!’ It was crazy, because it wound up not being any one of their tracks. Mark Pitts at Jive navigated that record to Kelis. He believed in that track.”
Lil Wayne’s “A Milli”: “When I made it, I knew it was an important track. I didn’t know it was gonna be as big as it was. I knew it was for Wayne. I had plenty of people wanting to purchase the beat, but they wasn’t worthy enough. Even if they was worthy, until I let Wayne hear it, I couldn’t move to nobody else. I had that beat for two years, just holding it. If you look at my career from ‘What’s Your Fantasy’ to ‘A Milli,’ it’s kind of the same element of music. Four or five sounds in the beat. Simplicity. Those are the things I’ve learned since being in the industry.”
Beyoncé’s “I’m a Diva” and Mario’s “Break Up”: “Keyshia Cole did something to the track at the same time Beyoncé did. I was gonna replace the Keyshia Cole track and go with the Beyoncé play. That’s where ‘Break Up’ came about, because I made ‘Break Up’ out of that, trying to replace what [Keyshia] had. But Keyshia never responded. ‘Break Up’ came about because J. Records wanted some music like Beyoncé for Mario: ‘Yo, gimme that Beyoncé sound.’ So I gave it to Mario. Because of ‘A Milli,’ people were gravitating towards those beats. ‘I’m a Diva’ I originally was gonna put on a mixtape and put my female artist on it. But Beyoncé wanted it. So what I’mma say? ‘That’s not a real track’?”
Hottest Streak Thus Far
From 2007 to present, during which he produced smashes such as Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade,” Beyoncé and Lady Gaga’s “Video Phone” and others.
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