Behind the Beats: Mars
Don't let his relatively young age fool you: La Mar "Mars" Edwards is already an accomplished production veteran at only 26 years old. The California native's production discography includes placements with A-list clients like
Mars and some fellow church musicians started a band and officially formed 1500 or Nothin', now a conglomerate of sought-after songwriters and producers, shortly after high school. Mars linked up with T.I., who was looking to work on his own production craft, around 2004.
"We had the same attorney," Mars told Mixtape Daily about T.I. "Tip always did beats, but he didn't have time to do it while he's rapping and doing business stuff, so he talked to my attorney about finding somebody that could help him form a company and produce with him as well as somebody he could learn from and possibly teach some things to. It was a no brainer for my attorney.
"I got out there [to Atlanta] on the next plane smoking that day. Ever since then, he treated me like a brother," Mars continued. "He'll call me to talk about life. It's more to it than me being his production partner and having Smash Factory."
T.I. and Mars, along with Lil C, formed the Smash Factory in 2005. The production team has since hooked up tracks including Nelly's "She's So Fly" and T.I.'s "I Can't Help It." While Tip has been incarcerated, Mars has asserted himself, most recently by earning an executive producer credit, alongside the likes of Dr. Dre, on Game's just-released The R.E.D. Album.
Although he produced a good chunk of the album — including the Tyler, the Creator- and Lil Wayne-assisted "Martians vs. Goblins" and "California Dream" — he was still surprised about the distinction.
Mars said the Compton rapper granted him the executive producer nod because "[Game] seeing that it wasn't about trying to get however many songs or just going up there and sending beats and just leave like other producers would." "I just wanted to be there every day to make sure there's input," he added. "Even if it was songs I didn't produce, I made sure I was vocal about it. He respected different things I would suggest."
Mars continued, "We'd been working on The R.E.D. Album for three years. Just seeing my name on the credits right when you open the album, that was pretty exciting. As well as being in good company with Pharrell and Game and Dre, that's the icing on the cake. Especially being a producer, growing up listening to their sounds and them being a big influence on my production."
As for his upcoming projects, Mars didn't offer any details on the new Will Smith album he and 1500 or Nothin' are reportedly creating. He did mention working on a 1500 or Nothin' compilation album, on Snoop Dogg's daughter's album and on Game's next album.
"Me and Game was in the studio yesterday," Mars revealed. "We did two songs. That's coming along crazy. We're going to have no features: It's just him rapping. No name dropping, no little things people say is cliché about Game. It's just putting on the boxing gloves and going for what we know."
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