In Talks With South East London’s Dynamic Duo: Da Beatfreakz
3 Mar 2021
Growing up in an era when Grime was keeping the block hot, but producers were difficult to find, birthed the origins story of Obi and Uche – two brothers who make up South-East London’s Dynamic Duo known as Da BeatFreaks. Between them, lies a 150million streams (and counting) with their catalogue of compositions, including the honorary hits ‘Motorola’ and ‘Pumpy’.
This pair’s journey through music is one of humble beginnings, and having initially made their entry into the game as spitters – it’s evident that the transition from artists to producers, formed a solid foundation upon which they have built their legacy.
Can you introduce yourselves, and talk a little bit about where you’re from?
My name is, Uche, one half of Da BeatFreakz– Uche
Obi, the other half of the Da BeatFreakz – Obi
We’re originally from SE London and of Nigerian descent. We grew up here and have had the blessing of being able to travel and do music in other countries whilst growing up.
With regards to your background, would you say that it’s motivated you to produce?
Yeah, definitely. We obviously came up in that era where you know, grime was hitting hard! So me and my brother, we were spitters; we were rappers. My brother Uche was much better than me, I’m not gonna lie, but I couldn’t leave him to shine alone so I had to come with him. I think we kinda fell in love with the producer side of things because we couldn’t find anyone at that time, to make beats in the area where we’re from – and YouTube wasn’t around for us to collect beats from, so we were like “Yo we need to start making beats ourselves,” – Obi
I wasn’t the best kid in school. One day I had detention and my dad was going to pick me up so I had to wait. The only room which was open, was the music room. I remember walking by, and I saw some kids there making beats; some squares on the screen, and I’m like “yo what’s this?” and one of my friends, he kinda showed me what it was and that led me to put a quick, 30-second beat together that I burned on a CD. I brought it back to my brother and he was like “yo did you do this?’ and I was like “yeah I did this still!” and after that, he was like “yeah let’s do this,” and that was the birth of our producing journey from there you know? – Uche
You recently worked On Fredo’s ‘MCBH‘ and produced the first song to make an appearance for the album roll out – what was it like collaborating with him, and what are your thoughts on the outcome of ‘What Can I Say?‘
We were making the track, and to be honest, we had no idea the kind of direction that Fredo was going in, so what happened was – Fredo reached out to us via Instagram – you know the power of social media – and was like “I love what you guys are doing, send me a pack of beats.” So we sent a few beats over and randomly added that one in there. He got back to us like two weeks later and was like “yo, you’ve got me my next single,” We expected it to be one of the club bangers you know! So we asked for the name of the beat he chose and when he replied, we even hit him back like “are you SURE it’s this one?” – so it kinda comes to show, that when we work with artists, part of what we do is give what’s not expected.
He did really well putting together a cohesive project, especially because it’s a step up from some of his older works, so that first song you guys produced, was essentially the little spark that set it all off!
Yeah, we knew that we were just happy because he wanted to tell the story of ‘What Can I Say’ on OUR beat, because we’ve all gone through the loss of friends or cousins – so to hear that, it was amazing.
How do you feel knowing there are 150million streams and counting to your works?
Mad. That’s all our singles totalled together. God has blessed us to be able to work in this industry and there’s obviously streams attached to artists we’ve worked with from different countries – but the ones that mean the most to us are those from our own songs because it’s directly attached to our brand. We hear so many good responses and we couldn’t ask for more.
Would you say you have inspirations for certain sounds in your production?
Yeah definitely, there’s a lot of influence that goes back to what we said at the start. You know; from a cultural standpoint, the music we’ve grown up listening to. If you listen to our music, you’ll always hear like a heavy Hip-Hop influence – but you’ll also hear an afro-swing which is of African influence, mixed with the UK sound. Put those all together and that’s essentially our sound. – Uche
Our sound is its own lane – we wanted to make sure that it will stand the test of time; putting together with Hip-Hop and Afro-Beats – it can work in every type of genre of music. When you’re in the club: it can bang. We’re getting Motorola played at African weddings! – Obi
And a lot of these records like the Motorola’s, we don’t just do the production, we’re very involved with every aspect of making the song and that goes back to why we consider ourselves producers and not ‘beatmakers.’ There’s a very big difference. – Uche
There’s a big difference? Go ahead and explain.
What we’ve identified as beatmakers is that you make beats and send them off in the email. As a producer, you carve the actual song – so even though you make the beat, you carve the lyrics, you carve the meaning behind the song, you carve the hook – everything. You’re involved in every part of it, until the mixing. You even tell the artist how to sing on that song, how to rap on that song, how to put their voice on the song – because some artists will come and talk on a beat and we’ll be like “listen, that’s not going to work on this beat – you have to come in this direction,” and by God’s grace it’s worked. A lot of people come into the studio and they’re like “you know what I’m going to listen to DaBeatFreakz!” – Obi
Sometimes we don’t realise the impact the input we have had and are having. It’s surreal sometimes. When we speak to known artists, and those that are upcoming, they’ll be like “talk to us” – so we actually sit back and think “have our records really done that much?” – it’s a big blessing and for us, we’re only just getting started. There’s a lot more to be done, and we’re grateful for how far we’ve come – Uche
The way you guys described the difference between a producer and a beatmaker – essentially the producer is like the creative director of the song?
Can you describe what a signature Da BeatFreakz production would consist of?
Sonically, it always starts off with the groove so that’s the drums, the percussion. After that, we always have that distinctive baseline that you hear in ‘Pump It’ and ‘Self-Obsessed’ – and after that the bass. Our records are very much base driven. – Uche
That’s where can kinda refer back to our influencers like The Neptunes. There are songs – for example, the one they did with Clipse – that don’t have a lot of sounds mixed in there, but the bass and the drums drive the song, which is big! And that’s obviously what we feel when we do our production. We wanna make sure that you wanna dance – you have to move! If you don’t move, then we’ve obviously not done a good job. – Obi
How have you found being entrepreneurs away from producing music?
A lot of producers are influenced by just producers – but we’re also influenced by businessmen; people like the Jay-Z’s, Akon’s and QC’s. They’re people that have made money from music, but they’ve invested it in different places and they’ve built empires over time. These guys have done their bit and pathed the way for us now – so we love the entrepreneurs. We’re putting our hands into a clothing line, our barbershop, a nail technician shop – we’ve got a marketing company, our agency and some other stuff that we’re not going to disclose yet! We manage artists and have got our record label, so yeah. We’re Nigerians innit – so we’re just born different! We have the exact same hunger now, as we did coming into the game, and if you ask our industry peers they’ll tell you the same thing. We’re very committed – and by the grace of God, that’s what keeps us active and wanting to do more.
When did you create ‘Freaky Crunch Clothing’, and where do you see it going in the long term?
We first designed a logo, then developed it over the years. This is the news we haven’t told anyone, but we’re going to be re-launching the Freaky Crunch Clothing line real soon! It’s kinda based around the Billionaire boys club – so cool streetwear.
Finally, what targets have you guys set for this coming year?
For this coming year, it’s continuously upping the bar and elevating, always keeping God first, making sure we’re continuously taking care of our families and for us – it’s about creating generational wealth, and in order to do that, we have to create different sources of incomes. That’s our aim; it’s bigger than us, and it’s bigger than just music. – Uche
We’ve come from a place where a lot of kids hang around the wrong people and they’re told “you can’t do that – stick to doing this.” Luckily, we have parents who told us we can do anything that we put our minds to – so we’re here to inspire young people who have come from the same background as us, and show them that if you put your mind to it, and hustle right, you can do this. – Obi