17-Year-Old Medasin is on the Cutting Edge of a New Production Sound Hitting Dallas
Medasin is only 17 years old, but he already knows what he wants to do with his life. The Dallas native wants to be a producer, but more than that, he already is a producer. He has been for years, in fact. He may have the voice of a teenager and even look the part -- he has a little bit of peach fuzz on his face -- but he's settled well beyond his years. Most important, Medasin has his eyes on the future, and because of that he's part of a worldwide movement known as Soulection that's bubbling to the surface here in Dallas.
He started making beats at 12. "My beats sucked ass," Medasin says. After commandeering the family computer and putting it in his room, he obsessively started making beats. It wasn't long before he put his music on MySpace using a hilarious alias he would prefer not to mention. "I was blind," he continues. "I thought I was the dopest producer ever." Medasin may have been off to a modest start, but he also started early.
At 14 he was distracted. "I got out of the music for a little bit," he admits. "I was doing drugs. I was being a stupid little kid and my parents weren't having it." He ended up in outpatient rehab and realized that he wouldn't progress with these distractions. At 16, Medasin refocused on music, learned to market himself, network and even do his own artwork.
He also started studying the SoundCloud community, finding his own tastes, and returned to obsessive practice. People started to notice. In late 2013, he competed in iStandard, which hosts competitions for producers in major cities. "That was the first time I went public with my music," he says. He was used to making beats in his room and putting them online, but the response was enthusiastic. Medasin won the Dallas competition and was sent to New York.
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He did not win the competition in New York, but there he met a producer named Illmind who invited him to join his SoundCloud collective. "It put my foot in the door," says Medasin. More people took notice, he started getting thousands of plays and people wanted to collaborate with him. His sound had also changed. "It was that future beat vibe," he says.
He is now part of a SoundCloud community called Film Noir. It includes people from all over the world and its founders are from Jamaica and London. Film Noir combined several successful SoundCloud artists and channeled their followers to one platform. "It grew crazy fast," he says. After only a few months, the platform has nearly 15,000 followers.
These days, Medasin thinks of himself as an electronic artist. "I am the artist and the producer," he says. This isn't someone else's music that he produced. But he does collaborations sometimes. He will be featured on a couple tracks on A.Dd+'s next album as well as an undetermined number of tracks on Slim Gravy's upcoming Scatterbrained project. Medasin and Slim Gravy also plan to have an upcoming collaborative project called Ghetto Dsko.
"This new emerging era is based on producers getting the respect they deserve," Medasin says. "If you hear a 2 Chainz song, for example, you don't know who produced it. No one does. No one cares. They just know 2 Chainz. But 90 percent of why people like the song so much is because the beat's fucking banging." This is one of the things that Medasin is tapping into with this new wave of music.
No one seems to have a name for this new movement, but everyone seems to agree that Soulection, another SoundCloud hub, is a big part of it. Medasin refers to it as "the future beat movement," describing it as forward-thinking beats you aren't hearing on the radio. In this movement he sees the producer as an artist instead of selling beats or taking orders from a record label.
Slim Gravy is equally enthusiastic about this new wave and refers to it as "futuristic trap dub disco house," with a laugh. "I missed a bunch of waves," he continues. But he doesn't want to miss this. As soon as he heard the sound he wanted to rap on it. "It's either really pretty or really heavy," says Medasin.
But they are referring to specific parts of this sound that they particularly enjoy. This new wave incorporates all genres, which makes it difficult to define. It comes from people all over the world and includes old and new music. Slim Gravy wants a funky version that people can dance to.
Medasin mentions (dc) from Fort Worth as a contemporary in this movement. His fellow electronic producer recently performed at Crown & Harp. This brings us to the venue's talent buyer, Moody Fuqua, who also has his eye on this new wave. He stresses that the past is a big part of it, but with an understanding of the history of the sounds being used.
"It's the stepchild of The Low End Theory," says Fuqua, referring to A Tribe Called Quest's second album, which mixed hip-hop with laid-back jazz. This is an interesting point: The sound can be both really pretty and really heavy, mixing opposite extremes. For example, it could sound like trap and also be harmonious.
"By next year everybody's going to be on this shit," says Slim Gravy. "It's futuristic," agrees Medasin. "It's kind of like an investment. You'll buy the stock for 20 cents now but it will be $20 in the future."
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