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VIPER’s ‘Meet the producers’ series showcases the creatives that make the magic happen behind the scenes; the unsung heroes of the music culture that don’t always have the spotlight, but secretly cultivate the sounds that we love to listen to.

Firstly, briefly introduce yourself.

I’m Marcus Yates, 26, I’m a songwriter/producer from, but, not limited to Kansas City, Missouri. I’ve been producing and songwriting music since I was about 14 years old.

What is your favourite song you’ve worked on and why?

My favorite song I’ve worked on has to be my single out now titled “Yes.” It’s something that I actually wanted to do without feeling the need to erase because of the fear of my own progress. It’s that timeless to me. Prior songs have sort of locked me into this box that I (personally) feel is not a good starting point for listeners to begin their journey with me at. Yes is definitely that one. It’s honest, nostalgic and it’s vulnerable.

Do you think that production software becoming more accessible to just anyone is a good or bad thing for music?

It’s a great thing that music software is more accessible to people. At the end of the day, true skill shines through and now more than ever, you can decipher who (when they got the software) took it serious and stayed consistent with it to be great or do great things.

What influences you as a producer?

I get influenced by literally everything and I say everything because it can be inspiration that I don’t even know I’m getting at the time. It works in mysterious ways and it defies the laws of things like time, age, race, gender, etc. Another part of receiving that influence is the way I challenge myself to manipulate it into my own.

How did you begin making music? Was it a particular influence or circumstance?

I started as a dancer, so rhythm and the excitement I get from others moving really started my love for producing. Seeing women dance to my music really gave and still gives me a motive behind producing. Rhythm is and always will be my icebreaker for women. Lol It’s so much security in rhythm.

What draws you to creating instrumentals?

The will to outdo myself time and time again. I’m super competitive with past self.

Were you ever involved in any other musical projects besides what you are doing right now?

Yes, I’ve worked on projects with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Tkay Maidza, Tech N9ne, Lil Wayne to name a few. It’s so benefiting to know other workflows. All of them are great creatives.

What, for you, is the perfect beat?

For me, the perfect beat has to make me move. Move to the point where I’m sweating and don’t realize it until the beat is off. I’m led by drums so if it has a nice bounce or nice swing, I’ll let you know very fast if I enjoy it.

Can you tell us about any projects coming up in 2018?

I’m finishing up an album set to release before the end of 2018.

With your upcoming single “No Means No,” acknowledging and tackling the #MeTooMovement, what inspired you to write this single and what does this platform mean to you? How can hip hop improve in demanding change in the industry?

Our job as producers/songwriters is to be as comfortable about being vulnerable as possible. With that subject being as controversial as it is, it’s still not confronted as much as it should be. I was even conflicted with shedding light on it in fear of what the backlash could be. Hip Hop is the number one influential culture, we make things cool first so all we have to do is speak up. It’s easier said than done.

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