Doc is an Illinois native that’s been holding the boards down for some time now. He has a laundry list of credits that include: Vic Spencer, Hus Kingpin, Rozewood and JuneLyfe among many. He has fully produced many projects as well, including 3 works with Sulaiman and the spectacular new EP with WateRR ‘Chinese Water Torture’. He works in many tempos, giving you a little something different every time out while staying true to his soulful base. We touch on some of these projects, gear, as well as mixing for a group that would spawn some superstars.
RD: You were a part of the Save Money project that dropped in 2014, which spawned some future stars in Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Thelonious Martin. What can you tell us about that time in Chicago hip hop? Being apart of the foundation of some very influential music.
DMB: Just to be clear, I was never apart of Save Money. I worked with those guys early mostly as an engineer. The one relationship that did come from that was Vic Spencer, this was around 2011. At that time, I was trying to work with as many people as I could to build my clientele. Made several friendships that last to this day. The city was booming from 2011-2014, didn’t realize it at the time but it was a very creative time.
RD: Your most famous production to date is ‘Jungle Gym’, the now-infamous posse cut with Vic, Sean Price and Illa Ghee. Did you feel that was going to be something special when you and Vic laid it down?
DMB: I would consider that to be my favorite record for several reasons. Vic let me know he was going to NY to build with Sean, needless to say Sean P is one of the Gods. Gave Vic a few beats to take with him. I’m chillin in the lab one night, BOOM, get the email…2 records are in it; Distorted Views and Jungle Gym. Played those joints all night. Hit Vic up like ‘Yooo!’ He said Sean liked my beats, that solidified it for me.
RD: Outside of your Chicago brethren, you’ve also done records for New Yorkers Hus Kingpin and Rozewood, as well as Mass’ own JuneLyfe. Talk to us about the comfort level you have to have when working, and how willing you are to shop the work around. The process seems to vary quite a bit depending on who you ask.
DMB: At the time Hus and Roze were managed by Jazz, who is fam with my manager Jonnie Smallz. They basically put us in tune with each other. I was able to link Vic and Hus from there. As far as shopping work, I tend to stay away from that. It works for some, but I prefer to build with artists from the ground up. Prefer to produce whole pieces of work as opposed to a placement here and there. Of course the right placement can bring good things too.
RD: Between countless productions and a technical credit for Spencer For Higher, it’s safe to say you have a strong bond with Vic. Did this stem from the Save Money days?
DMB: Me and him are the same age, when he was catching all types of shit from people who don’t even rap anymore for being ‘old’ and all that. I took offense to it just the same. He reminds me of my homies back in Waukegan when we was coming into this rap shit. We have the same work ethic. Since Walk Away Music I’ve had a hand in most of his works. I take a certain pride in it as well, as all engineers and producers should with an artist they believe in.
RD: Since you got some years in this game, I wanted to get your view on technological advances in gear. How much has your setup changed over the past 5+ years?
DMB: I was very stubborn in my earlier days, hardware only. My old machine was the Roland MC 909, which died on me around 2013. A friend came through the studio one day with a Maschine, was sold on it when I saw the workflow. Things that once took me hours could now be done practically in seconds. I’m on the Maschine MK3 now.
RD: Your latest body of work is Chinese Water Torture with the outstanding WateRR. It’s available in a very unique cassette presentation.
DMB: WateRR is another Chicago artist that is super dope. For me, a rapper’s voice is crucial to the overall sound. His voice grabs your attention immediately. Top that with flow and word play, and it’s a no-brainer for me. The cassette was his idea, he reached out to Trevor Lang for the limited edition tapes.
RD: You have worked with some other newer talent as well, including Dunbar and Exclusive. What can you say about these guys for the uninitiated? What drew you to work with them?
DMB: Exclusive and Johnny Gunnz are my personal homies, been making music with them for years. I feel they need a better platform to get their shine, just doing what I can to make that happen. Gunnz is straight grimey, head knocking shit. Exclusive has a wide range of skills. As for Dunbar, I’m a big battle rap fan. I tune into HipHopIsReal on YouTube for interviews and all that. They played this joint 96 Bulls from Dunbar, after that reached out to them on some random shit. They liked a couple beats I sent. Come to find out, they work with Jazz too. So the universe made that happen again.
RD: The standard ?, your prepping a Doc Da Mindbenda producer album. Who are the first 5 calls to get it started?
DMB: Chris $pencer, Sulaiman, Exclusive, Johnny Gunnz and Dunbar.
Follow Doc on IG and twitter @docdamindbenda
Chinese Water Torture cassettes can be found on Trevor’s bandcamp