ILUVLOLA PRESENTS: GET TO KNOW - CARDO
INTERVIEW BY AMANDA POLLA
Meet Ronald La Tour, popularly known as “Cardo Beats” or @cardogotwings. He is a 27-year old rapper turned music producer from Minnesota, who within the past couple of years has built a name for himself as one of the top upcoming producers in hip-hop. With his self- described “groovy” sound, Cardo, who now resides in Fort Worth is notably a part of the North Texas rise of hot hip-hop producers of 2011. From humble beginnings to currently being an official member of Taylor Gang, Cardo is famously known for the work he has and is continuously doing with rapper Wiz Khalifa. Some of the notable Wiz tracks include “Mezmorized” and “In The Cut”off of 2010’s Kush & Oj mixtape. Cardo has also produced for the likes of Chevy Woods, Dom Kennedy, Big Sean, Snoop Dog, Curren$y, Mac Miller, Nipsey Hustle and Smoke DZA to name a few. He also produces beats that he makes available to upcoming artists, which they can access off of his Soundclick page. You can currently catch Cardo’s production on Snoop Dog & Wiz Khalifa’s “High School” soundtrack, as well as production on a ton of new projects involving current and upcoming artists set to come out in early 2012.
I.LL: I read that you originally started as a rapper, what inspired you to make the transition from rapping to producing?
Cardo: When I was rapping I needed beats and unfortunately I couldn’t afford them, so my brother Sosa and I bought this video game called MTV Music Generator. We started making beats from there and burned them on this CD recorder we had. It was very bootleg but it worked for us. After that everybody was saying I should be doing more producing then rapping – not saying I was a weak rapper, but I was making some dope shit so here I am [Laughing].
I.LL: For someone who has no idea about who Cardo is, how would you describe yourself? Is Cardo different from Ronald?
Cardo: Cardo & Ronald are the same. I’m very down to earth and humble, crazy like none other [laughing], energetic, creative – I’m a family man - loyal & trill, just a cool person to be around to be honest.
I.LL: Who were some of your musical influences while working your way up as a producer?
Cardo: it would have to be SOS Band, Loose Ends, Quincy Jones, Teddy Riley, Timberland, Pharell, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Traxster, N.O. Joe, Mr. Lee, DJ Paul & Juicy J, NO I.D., Premo, 9th Wonder, Pete Rock, JDilla, Toomp, Pimp C (yes Pimp C produced too) Daz, Mike Mosley, Soopafly and the list goes on and on.
I.LL: How did you become affiliated with Wiz and the whole Taylor Gang movement?
Cardo: I got on with TGOD through my brother Chevy Woods. I was producing for Chevy first and Wiz was noticing what we were doing. He came down for a show a few years back and wanted me to fall through so I showed up, we chopped it up, I played some beats for him and I was Taylor Gang from that point on. I was cool with everybody from Heavy Hustle anyways, so it was bound to happen sooner or later.
I.LL: Besides your productions with Wiz, you’ve also worked with a lot of other artists - Big Sean, Mac Miller, Nipsey Hussle and Curren$y to name a few. If you had to choose, what are some of your personal favorite tracks that you have produced?
Cardo: That’s a tough one [thinking]. I’ll have to say “Mezmorized” will always be a favorite; that song put me on and I made that beat the same day my daughter was born. I have some more joints as well that no one has heard yet from some well-known artists that are coming up soon, so stay tuned for those.
I.LL: How do you feel being at a show and hearing the crowd sing along and bop their head to your beat?
Cardo: I still get that numb feeling like…it still gives me goose bumps. To see the crowds’ reaction as soon as the beat comes on is beyond epic to me.
I.LL: In today’s rap game many artists/producers have a hard time being part of a movement/crew and still being able to work with artists outside of that “Clique”. How have you been able to maintain your relationships in the game without hurting the people you work with on a regular?
Cardo: Just remain loyal really. I know who to work with and who not to. Wiz is my brother so I always check with him before I make any kind of moves or do anything with anyone else just so that we have a clear understanding and I have that green light. Taylor Gang is family!
I.LL: The best thing about being TGOD?
Cardo:…that we’re a family !
I.LL: You used to be a home loan manager for Bank of America before starting to work full time as a producer. What was the transition or that in-between period like?
Cardo: I used to make beats at my desk all day during work hours [laughing], so when it was that time for me to bounce I left with the biggest smile ever! I hated that job with a passion but at the same time I was blessed and fortunate to eve have a job. It was stressful though so I’m happy I was able to leave and do what I really enjoy doing.
I.LL: Do you usually have a direction in mind while starting to produce a track with an artist, or is it a natural progression?
Cardo: It’s a natural progression. I think my production is universal; it’s every day music, groovy and all.
I.LL: How important is marketing to your career? What about for a producer in general? Are relationships and talent equally important?
Cardo: It’s very important especially if you want longevity in this game. Marketing your brand gets you more recognition. Relationships and talent are equally important to me. Having relationships with artists and other producers makes things so much easier.
I.LL: Do you work with any artist that’s willing to pay for your beats, or do they have to meet a certain criteria?
Cardo: They would have to meet a certain criteria. I’m not going to let just anybody jump on my beats and fuck my shit up [laughing]. I’m just keeping it trill, money does talk and pride will sometimes get in the way but I put so much work in with everything I do that I have to be protective of it to a certain extent.
I.LL: If you could give any advice to the aspiring rappers/ producers that are trying to come up what would it be?
Cardo: Keep doing what your doing, have faith, confidence, and drive. Dedication is everything and the more work you put in, the more you’re going to get noticed. Anything is possible. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t be or what you can’t do. Prove them wrong and remain humble in the process.
I.LL: What artists do you aspire to collaborate with in the future?
Cardo: I really want to work with Mike Posner, Diplo, Nas, Erykah Badu, Lil Wayne, French Montana, Drake, E-40 and the list goes on.
I.LL: What’s next for Cardo that we can look out for?
Cardo: I’m on the Snoop & Wiz - Mac & Devin Go To High School soundtrack – I have two records on there. I’m working on a project with Sir Michael Rocks, which should be dropping top of 2012; Gerald Walker’s next project Believers Never Die drops around mid-January 2012; Working on Wiz’s next album ONIFC & Taylor Allderdice that drops in Spring of 2012; Chevy Woods Gangland project; Sledgren and I are dropping a beat tape as well; Lex Luger and I are cooking up some shit too; I’m working on new stuff with Chase N. Cashe [read Get To Know: Chase N. Cashe Interview], Nipsey Hussle; Me and DJ BurnOne are working on a project together as well called MidnightFunk (Cowbell Gang) that should be out mid-Jan or early-Feb too. Just look out for me I’m everywhere!
SONGS PRODUCED BY CARDO YOU MAY KNOW
Cardo x Gerald Walker - On Your Side EP [Download Here]
Wiz Khalifa ft. Big Sean & Curren$y - Proceed [Download Here]
Domo Genesis - Shine [Download Here]
Domo Genesis - IDGAF [Download Here]
Mac Miller ft. Sir Michael Rocks - Pranks 4 Players [Download Here]
Rich Hil - Zips [Download Here]
Follow Cardo on twitter @CardoGotWings