Sharif “Reefa” Slater has worked with some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. In an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, Reefa talked about producing music at the highest level, his influences and his upcoming projects.
Reefa said he has been working with Nas on the illmatic XX artist’s next album.
“I can’t really tell you the sound, but I just know that Nas, he makes great music, and we have some great music together,” Reefa says. “You can expect me on there and just great music.”
In 2014, Reefa has already produced tracks for Rick Ross's Mastermind and Ashanti's Braveheart albums, which both debuted on the Billboard Top 10 list.
For the Rick Ross track “What A Shame” featuring French Montana, Reefa discussed what it was like to work at the Mastermind level.
“Ross is a great artist,” Reefa says. “French is a great artist also. When you are messing with those type of guys, you just got to make sure that you are at that level. They are only going to mess with great producers.”
Reefa confirmed his involvement Pusha T’s King Push project. He is also readying music for Fabolous, Maino and Estelle.
In addition to being a producer, Reefa is a versatile musician. The Brooklyn-born beatsmith uses hard, reggae-inspired drums and a variety of live instruments in his music. He also finds and develops new talent through his Addicted To Money (ATM) production company.
“I got that name from one of my best friends,” Reefa says. “He’s like, ‘You know, that’s how you live. That’s what you are about. You are addicted to it and you have that whole lifestyle about you.' I just ended up keeping that name for all of these years and been trying to build and brand my company to like a Roc Nation or Bad Boy.”
Reefa Discusses Puff Daddy Collaborations
Reefa says he’s preparing music for MMM, Puff Daddy’s next album.
“We are just trying to get the right music,” Reefa says. “Puff is a perfectionist. It’s me and a few other producers that’s working on it.”
MMM stands for “Money Makin’ Mitch,” an apparent reference to Mekhi Phifer’s character in the 2002 film Paid in Full.
“We are just trying to get the best sound and give Puff what he do,” Reefa says. “He’s a great entertainer, entrepreneur, you know. He’s all the way above so we are just trying to do what we got to do best.”
Bad Boy Records’ roster includes French Montana. Reefa produced three tracks on French’s 2013 album Excuse My French. Montana is also affiliated with Rick Ross’s MMG. The rappers, known for their luxurious lifestyles, bring Reefa to their studios to work.
“We work in a different studio, basically Daddy’s house,” Reefa says. “He might fly down to mess with Ross in Miami. It all depends, you know, whereever we catch the vibe.”
Reefa says traveling has helped shape his music. The producer says he likes to go to Trinidad and Jamaica.
“I travel with Fab[olous],” Reefa says. “We went over to the Middle East. We went to Dubai. We went to Switzerland. People around the world know good music. They know what French Montana is doing, you know, the Ross’s.”
Reefa, who executive produced Maino’s King Of Brooklyn mixtape, says he wants his music to have a broad cultural impact.
“It’s important for my legacy to be felt all over the world, just not in Brooklyn,” Reefa says. “I don’t deny where I’m from, and you know, I live and die by Brooklyn, New York.“
Reefa says his versatility as a musician allows him to craft tracks across genres and that his background as a reggae deejay helped shape his affinity for hard drum sounds.
“I love music and I understand music,” Reefa says. “I understand what an artist wants and what an artist needs. I paint my picture and I just make them believe and sell them my idea of what I’m tryna project to them and the people. So, you know, that’s my thing about being versatile. When somebody hears, they still gonna hear Reefa and the personality inside my music. When you hear the Ashanti Records, it’s still hard drum driven music it’s just with R&B chords.”
Reefa co-produced “I’m Coming Out” (The Other Woman Remix) featuring Iggy Azalea and Keyshia Cole. This Dianna Ross remix plays over the closing scenes of the Kate Upton film The Other Woman, currently in theaters. Reefa says to expect more major placements from ATM.
“I have a young pop artist,” Reefa says. “She is 15. Her name is Maddi Jane. We definitely are going to be dropping a single this year, probably in the next month or two. I’m a versatile producer. Yeah everyone knows me for the Hip Hop stuff, but I am doing a lot of Pop also, too. So, you know, I’m just moving.”