I felt a sense of enthusiasm as I walked down the basement stairs. I was anxious to enter the walls where so much talent had been captured. Phenom, a producer from Cleveland who has worked with everyone from Poetic Republic and Izzrael to Brooklyn Zu and H Flo, was allowing me to visit The West 41 Side Studio and sit down and talk with him about his love of music. Through Twitter I saw pictures of the studio but I had no idea that the graffiti on the walls would be so captivating. Phenom explains to me who has tagged each wall and then walks me over to a chair. We sit down, and our conversation begins.
The first thing I wanted to know from Phenom was why music? Phenom explained that he remembered in the fourth grade a “cute” girl was singing Wrex-N-Effect-Rump Shaker. He said, after he heard her he listened to 92.3 (remember when that was the “Urban Station”) trying to figure out the song. Since then he has been coupled with music. Each time our conversation lead to the beginning of his career, Phenom referred back to his school projects. He talked with so much pride when he spoke of the talent shows and his first beats. Phenom also said that music wasn’t his only vice. He also once aspired to be a professional sports player. He played baseball at Marietta College where he majored in Chemistry and minored in Math. Phenom also has a vast interest in cars. I could hear the passion in his voice when he talked about cars. He said, “I like them fast.”
Next I wanted to know if Phenom remembered the first beat he ever constructed. He laughed and said, “Yeah. It was called Nature.” He said he made it when he was about 12 or 13 on a keyboard. He could not remember much about the beat so we moved on.
I was curious about who influenced Phenom in Hip Hop, R&B, and production since he has his hands in all three. It seems like you can tell a lot about a person if you know who they look up to. In Hip Hop Phenom was influenced by Mobb Deep. He was quick to clear up that he wasn’t saying they lived the same type of lifestyle, it was more of the way Mobb Deep’s music made him feel. Dream influenced Phenom in the R&B genre. He describes Dream as “Ridculous”. While moving his hand in a wavy motion Phenom explained to me how he sees the album as seamless. Next we talked about production. I was interested in what producers influenced Phenom because I am a fan of his beats. He said Timbaland first because,” Timbaland has his own lane that nobody has stepped in it”. Next was Havoc, and Swizz Beats.
We then moved on to discuss Phenom’s live performance. I explained to him how I noticed his awesome energy on stage. Believe me Phenom on stage is always a treat. I asked him his pre stage thoughts, and he said he thinks two things, don’t F up and EXPLODE! If you have ever witnessed Phenom on stage you know all about the explosion. During that conversation Phenom told me that he loves performing R&B because of the connection he feels with the audience.
What’s next for Phenom? Phenom is doing shows throughout the area promoting his current project “Elevator Music”. You can catch him on The Dust Attic Tour with DJ Jack Da Rippa or somewhere in the city performing. He also is working with Twizz from KEYEL on a project called “Shit Storm”. I heard a little from this project and I can’t wait for that to land in my inbox! Also be on the lookout for a Hip Hop mixtape from Phenom. Follow Phenom on Twitter: @pheens
Check Out the two BONUS TRACKS below from Phenom’s current project “Elevator Music”.