How did you get started? Tell us your story!
My name is Mr. Pia Classics. Most call me P. I was born in Africa, raised in Paris, France, and the DMV ( D.C. / Maryland/ Virginia). My older brother put me into music; he’s my hero. He plays every imaginable instrument. I have always wanted to be like him. I have been doing music since an early age but I became super serious when I met Iameyephotos in Atlanta. At that time, 2007, he was a producer and rapper. We used to go to Royal Peacock every Wednesday to see him and a few others in the crew perform.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling?
My cousin used to have a recording studio and I was there almost every day after school. One day, he asked me to make a beat on his MPC60 and that’s when I started playing with the idea of becoming a producer. But I became really serious when I bought my own MPC2500. One thing that’s a prerequisite to this rap music thing is sampling; you can’t skip the fundamentals. I like the Dusty sounds of the ’90s. It’s amazing how these techs incorporate that in their plug-ins these days. Once you master that part of the music, then you go and explore other avenues. It’s not what you have, it’s how you use it.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you collaborated with?
I work with up and coming artists; no major releases yet. Atlanta has a rich and unveiled niche of talented artists. Most of them are lyricists but it’s hard for them to prosper in a market flooded with trap and pop music. Lots of them are lost because they don’t feel like they belong to the game. I’ve seen so many quitting after a few years of struggle; others want to fit in. In the end, if you don’t build a fan base, you might blow up but it will be a short career. I prefer longevity over what the market dictates. Stay creative. Be different.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why?
My older brother. He plays every instrument. Also, mostly “old school rap artists." I like ATCQ, PE, OutKast, Nas, EPMD, Wu-Tang, Snoop, etc. I don’t listen to music that much. But occasionally, I’d listen to Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs, Kendrick, J. Cole, and Oddisee. On my playlist, I only have people I work with.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
There are no real obstacles when you create your own lane. I wouldn’t go where I’m not loved or liked. There are enough spots for everyone to shine. Just because my music hasn’t reached a stellar level doesn’t mean I can’t live off of it. I do it because I love it; not to be famous.
How would you describe your sound and style?
Eclectic. I can produce anything. But I love making boom-bap, lo-fi, and hip-hop stuff. But living in Atlanta, you must provide that bounce once in a while. Nothing wrong with that.
What are some of your goals this year?
I want to release as much independent music as possible.
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Freddie Gibbs, Larry June, Curren$y, and Jay Worthy because they are all prolific and eclectic with their sounds. I like Tha God Fahim too. Otherwise, I already work with a bunch of talented people like Glendino and Gnarly Marley to name a couple.
What is your creative process like?
I just create. Get in front of that machine and let it all out. Never force it. If after 5 minutes the foundation is laid, save that skeleton for another day. And keep going.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
I’m a chef on the beat and in the kitchen. I rarely order food but when I do, it’s something Soulful, African, or Caribbean.