Apex: Tell 50 Cent... "I Got Money!!!"
Funkmaster Flex was on point when he said that 50 Cents "I Get Money" is the hardest record out. The end-of-the-Summer banger had everyone from dope boys on the corner to writers looking to get their name in their favorite magazine plotting on ways to get that cake. In collaboration with Curtis Jacksons bravado lyrics was the pounding beat that sampled Audio Twos Top Billin track. The repeated, yet built in hook drove the anthem and made it a certified East Coast/New York heat rock. Even the King of Queens 50 Cent sat down with HipHopDX.com he cited this song as the second greatest song that hes ever done; the first being his classic smash "In Da Club".
When it came time to find out who was the man behind the boards for this instant vintage banger, it was Scott Boogie (not to be confused with Scott Boogie from Canada who used to contribute to MadnessDX who is also a Core DJ) whose name was flowing off of everyones mouth. Boogie immediately began to field calls from the big leagues XXL Magazine and Scratch Magazine were ready to interview the would-be producer. But in an exclusive news break that ran on this site it was learned that Scott Boogie was NOT the producer of "I Get Money". The real tastemaker was Brooklyn native, Apex. The man behind Apex Productionz built up a following from posting beats on MySpace and SoundClick. In this exclusive interview with HipHopDX.com, Apex sits down and talks about his start in the business, how 50 got his hands on the track and breaks down the theft in full detail.
HHDX: For those who are just now getting familiar with you give a little background to who you are, where youre from and howd you get your start in producing?
Apex: My name is William Stanberry and Im from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. I started out as a DJ and I was rapping when I was sixteen. Basically, around that time, I was influenced by the place I lived Bed-Stuy! Hip-Hop was everywhere and I loved it. I went to a friends house and he had a pair of turntables. When I saw that a spark was lit inside of me and I wanted to pursue something with music. I bought some cheap tables, but I didnt like them because they were wack. So, I got on the grind, hustled and got some better ones. One time, I was out and Doggystyle had just came out. I bought it on vinyl and thats what I did every time I bought a new album. Then, Id sit back and read the credits. That album was crazy
HHDX: You didnt have The Chronic?
Apex: I didnt get The Chronic album because it was playing everywhere in New York. So, when I bought Doggystyle, I wanted to do something more than just being a DJ. I would read the credits and I saw that Dr. Dre was doing the beats. So, from that point on I wanted to do that and I got some equipment and Ive been doing beats non-stop.
HHDX: So, Dre was a major influenced for you, huh?
Apex: Yeah, definitely! He was a major influence to me. But I was also influenced by Erick Sermon, DJ Premier Gangstarr who wouldnt be influenced by that?! I listened to Lords of the Underground. I used to listen to De La Soul. 3 Feet High and Rising that whole album is amazing. That was a big inspiration to me. I knew when I heard that thats how I knew I wanted to be in the music game, period! I had never heard anything like that. I was influenced by N.W.A.s Efil4zaggin that album was put together great. If you can get the original CD version, it was raw. People dont take time to do albums like that. Dr. Dre had a vision for that album, man. I was into D.I.T.C. [Diggin In The Crates crew] all that stuff.
HHDX: With rap music being popular around the world there are plenty of people who try to do what you are doing now. What do you attribute your success to?
Apex: I attribute it to hard work and just believing in myself. If you believe in yourself and think that you have something of worth, then youll do whatever it takes legally to get heard. I just promoted my music over the internet. I posted my music on MySpace, SoundClick, anywhere that someone can hear it. The Internet is the new thing. A&Rs are going online and looking there for talent now. If youre hot, then you need to get heard. Dont just sit at one place, go everywhere so anyone can hear it. Id set up meetings to get my beats heard. Thats what Im doing now so people can know who I am. If youre hot, though, you can reach a large audience by dealing with the Internet.
HHDX: I Get Money is undoubtedly the hottest track thats been out in a long time. For some its an anthem and even 50 Cent said that its his best song right underneath In Da Club. Whatd you use to come up with the song?
Apex: Basically, I made most of the track using the Roland MV 8000 production studio. Its a drum machine-slash-sequencer, it does almost everything. Its a do-it-all in one box. I used a couple of other things as well. But with the Roland MV 8000, thats where everything came from. The drums are heavy and the timing of the song was great. A lot of people badmouthed the MV 8000, but its actually a top notch music production tool. You can do a lot of things with it. You can do vocals, you can record directly and you can do just about anything with that machine. Its pretty much the main thing that I use. The thing about this is when youre around musicians and somebody walks by, they walk past the MV 8000 because its big. Its like theyre scared to mess with it. The sound is so incredible though, they dont know what theyre missing.
HHDX: Do you think that your track will help tip the scales in the sales race between 50 and Kany?
Apex: Yeah, I think so because that song is knockin in the club! I go to the clubs and I hear that song. I dont hear anyone play "Cant Tell Me Nothing". Not to diss Kany, but its not a 50 banger. Were not speaking for ourselves, the people in the clubs and in the streets are talking about how hot the song is!
HHDX: Now, there was a discrepancy about who produced the song. People were giving Scott Boogie credit when it was you behind the boards. How did that all happen?
Apex: Ah, man, shit, this is crazy. Basically, this dude Scott Boogie went online and just scooped up a whole bunch of peoples beats off of MySpace and SoundClick, put it on a CD and represented it as his own work. He went straight to G-Unit Records and got it in the hands of some important people. They liked what they heard. When 50 heard it, he wanted it, he made it into a classic. I respect 50 for that.
HHDX: So, how theyd figure it out that it wasnt his shit?
Apex: They needed to master the song, so they asked him to go into the studio to bring up the track file and he was coming up with excuses. He said that he didnt have the copies or the track files. He said that his hard drive on his computer broke. It was crazy. I was told this after the situation happened. After all that, they gave him some studio time to re-do the beat. He goes to the studio and he doesnt know where the drums came from! So, now, theyre trying to get some sound that sounds like the one I used and they kept asking questions. They played me the version that he had made and it sounded like trash. It was borderline copy-cat. He couldnt play the melody of the beat. He didnt use the instrument that I used for the beat. So, he called his homeboy to play it. His connect at G-Unit was questioning Scott and he was struggling for answers. This guy by the name of Broadway searched online and the fans of my stuff were saying that that was my beat. Everyone was saying that that was an Apex beat. So, once the guy heard that it was me he asked Scott if he ever heard of me. He said no. Broadway got in touch with one of these rappers on MySpace who rapped over my beat. The rapper then got in touch with me. I listened to what the guy had to say and later on, Broadway got in touch with me directly because I wasnt dealing with the rapper guy. The both of us linked up at Juniors and talked about everything. Once it was all settled, Scott Boogie was out and I was in.
HHDX: So, would there be a problem if yall crossed paths?
Apex: If I ever saw him, then itd be a problem; itd be a serious problem. The funny thing about that is that after this whole thing, a few weeks after that, some clowns were going around saying that they were me! On the intro of Styles Ps "Stop Schemin" they shouted my name out on the track but it wasnt me who produced the track. On the reals, Ill lace Styles up with a real beat, though. Its corny to see how people try to be me. Styles, man, you can holla at me dog! I got some real shit for you.
HHDX: Are you upset with Scott for doing what he did and did that event result in helping fuel your producing career?
Apex: Thats why Im not really going around saying that Im sincerely upset. Im puffin an L and Im chillin, B. [The success] It was meant to be. I knew that I was going to get in the game sooner or later. I didnt know that I was going to get in on a major label and that it would turn out to be like this. I knew that I would get my music heard in a major way, it was planned like that. I just didnt plan on it being jacked. Im not really mad about it because its over with and Im moving on. It is what it is. I believe in fate. God dont like ugly, man. Im not even a religious person, but God dont like ugly, man. For real, last year, I did a beat called "Where Brooklyn At?!" I can e-mail you the track. But when I posted the song on the site, I put in parentheses that itd be a great song for a collaboration with Jay-Z, Fabolous, Joell Ortiz and Papoose. At the end, I put, Brooklyn STAND UP! I had it on there for about four months, last year. Its funny that a few months later that I hear the same two dudes on a track together with the same sample [Fabolous "Brooklyn" produced by Versatile]. It had the same intro, but the instrumental was played a little different. I heard this about two-to-three months later and then this shit with 50 happened, so its been crazy! So, I know cats are trying to steal tracks from me. Its been going on for a couple of years, but all that shit stops now. Im in the game, now!
HHDX: Youre going to be in the next issue of Scratch Magazine which is a good look for all beat makers. What is one word of advice that you want to say to those up-and-coming producers looking to make a hit?
Apex: Dont just do what everyone else is doing do something different. Just make sure that you try to stand out and promote your music as hard as possible. The Internet is a beast, man. Im inspired by this shit man. I was planning on getting rich off of this shit. The Internet is the future. You either need to get with it or get ran over. The majors are still trying to figure it out. Hip-Hop isnt dead; its just that the majors are trying to get a handle on the Internet. After that, its going to kick back off majorly.
HHDX: Now that youve given 50 a monster track whats next for you?
Apex: I got a lot of things on the horizon. Im just trying to do more joints with G-Unit as a whole camp. They already know. Prodigy took a track from me. Im hoping to place some stuff with the next G-Unit album. Outside the camp, Uncle Murda took a track. I got a beat CD to Chamillionaire shouts out to him. I want to get a few tracks out to Mariah Carey.
HHDX: [Laughs] Mariah Carey?!
Apex: Yeah, man On the real, hate him or love him, 50 knows good music and he knows how to make a hit. So, if he co-signs my music, then why not shoot for the stars?! Im looking out for the underdogs, too. Im looking to work with the cats who are coming up in the game. I work with independent artists as well just as long as they got their bread right [laughs].
HHDX: If you could executive produce an album, a compilation of sorts who would you have on it and why?
Apex: Wow Ah, man, thats a crazy question, son. Id definitely try to get Dre on there. Thats one of my idols growing up, man. He wouldnt have to produce a beat; Id just want him to put his voice over one of my tracks. 50 would be there because we need to do another smash. Itd be something different than "I Get Money". Jay-Z because thats Brooklyn all day, Id love to work with him. I would want to work with Fabolous because hes from Brooklyn, too. Id love to work with Snoop Dogg, too. Id want to work with Mobb Deep because I think that theyre not getting the shine that they should. I think they lost a little shine, just a little bit and I think that I can help get them back to that Shook Ones vibe. I love Mariah Careys voice and Id love to have her and Keyshia Cole on a track. I love their voices.
HHDX: Word is that theres going to be a remix to I Get Money
Apex: Put it like this if you read the newest Forbes list with the top musicians who are making money, just know that you may see them on a remix [laughs]. Thatd be a hot look right there. Those tops dudes get money and thats all I know. Thats all Forbes is saying, B. [laughs].
HHDX: A lot of people have said that New York rap music has fallen off. What do you have to say to all those naysayers?
Apex: Wow New York never fell off. New York never, ever fell off. The industry has turned its head away and looked down south. They neck is hurting now and theyre looking at the East again. Shouts out to the South, they have nothing but talent. We have that cycle where everyone gets their shine. I think its our time to shine again. The South has been killing it for awhile, but right now, its about New York City. You got Papoose, 50 and a lot of other guys poppin off right now. You got a lot of talent thats about to make some major noise. Youll hear from my artist Kevlar. New York has never fallen off, on the real, B. We here now! The biggest rappers that have been successful in the last five years have all been from New York. So, you can never say that New York fell off.