A couple of weeks ago, we happened across the inherently enjoyable Black Keys, participant in and eventual winner of the Space City Beat Battle. Keys was a hurricane that night, uprooting everything that stood between him and the title.
Come to find out, Keys is the actualization of Black Keys Musik, a two-man production company - Rahim is who we saw that night, JT is the other half of the company - that figuratively and literally live in the studio. They're without permanent residence at the moment, people.
So we reached out to Rahim to talk about things, including what he was thinking as soon as he won, whether or not a rapper has crapped out on one of his beats and what the worst beat of all time is. Aces.
Rocks Off: Artist of the Week opener: Tell everyone everything they need to know about Black Keys in exactly six words.
Black Keys Musik: We are hungry, passionate, and grateful.
RO: Last we saw you, you were standing atop the beat mountain, victorious at the Space City Beat Battle. What were you feeling immediately after they called your name as champion?
BKM: Just felt like "Damn! It was worth staying up to 6 a.m. every other night 'cause now all the hard work finally paid off." We were confident but overwhelmed at the same time by all the love that was shown to us that night.
RO: How many times have you heard a song that a rapper made after you sent him and beat thought, "Yep, he totally just wasted that beat"?
BKM: Too many times to count but over the years, we've learned to keep things business and to not take things personal --although it's hard knowing you put your all into that beat.
RO: When you're crafting a beat, what is going on in your brain? Like, how do you go from getting it out of your head and into your computer?
Black Keys Musik, "In the Clouds"
BKM: Every time we put a beat together, it's what we feel internally or what we might be experiencing at that moment, then we turn it into a music composition.
RO: Your all-time favorite beat is...
BKM: The one beat off top would have to be "Notorious Thugs" by Biggie feat. Bone Thugs and Harmony.
RO: The all-time shittiest beat is...
BKM: We are far from haters, but one of the worst beats would have to be "Laffy Taffy" by D4L, not because they are not talented but because the beat lacked creativity just like a lot of club songs today.
RO: When you came up with your name, were you not aware that there was a pretty prominent band that was using that name already? Because that's exactly why we had to change our beat name we came up with for ourselves, The Beatles.
BKM: When we came up with the name Black Keys Musik we were all at a video shoot. We were not aware [of the Akron blues-rock duo], but since the name fell right in place we just went with it. Eventually a producer friend laced us up and our publicist told us it was being used, but we decided to just do some modifications to the name since it has so much buzz behind it.