What's your name? How did you get started?
My name is Craig Russell aka MuthaFuxka. My production endeavors started back in 2014, my senior year in high school. I got my first laptop in preparation for college and it wasn’t long before I had the demo version of FL studio downloaded. Oddly enough I had the foresight to look up some tutorials on YouTube before I got the software. So by the time I was in the program for the first time I already had a decent idea of how to work it. Nonetheless, the beats back in 2014 were poor. At this point, I had already shown an interest in rapping (listening, analyzing, and writing). I knew I had to make a mixtape in the coming years. However, I didn’t pursue rap from the jump, instead, I fell into a deep producer rabbit hole. I spent the next 2 years refining my craft. Learning new skills such as sampling and finger drumming. I learned music theory, sound design, and I found various tools such as sample libraries and plug-ins.
I vividly remember a moment back in 2018 when a homie, Rxxpxr, sent a completed track he had made from my beat. I was stoked! It was the first time anyone had used one of my beats, and for the first time in my life that I felt like a producer. My decision to start taking the production game seriously came immediately after I heard the song Rxxpxr made back in 2018. I clearly remember deciding to go for it! One of my best memories is when I made my first beat sale in 2019. That’s something I simply manifested. I then decided to build a new Instagram page for myself as a producer. I designed a logo and got into marketing, advertising, customer support, I continued to learn the importance of an email list and most importantly, consistency!
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, Youtube, etc.)?
My musical education consists primarily of YouTube tutorials. I focused heavily on melody (music theory) and drums apposed to mixing or sound design. Once I realized I could teach myself production from YouTube I became a hard believer in self-education.
I mean you can teach yourself absolutely anything if you know the right search terms. I always recommend finding a good teacher before you dive into anything. I adopted Game from BusyWorksBeats as my music mentor. That’s what allowed me to have an understanding of FL Studio before I even downloaded it. Honorable mentions include Kyle Beats, Simon Servida, Lifestyle Did It, and Curtis King.
What are some credits and achievements that you have? Who have you worked with? Who have you collaborated with?
The project I take the most pride in is Northern Blanco with Jon George and Kozy despite having tracks with Futuristic and King Los. When it comes to Collaborating on a beat I love to work with my local producers; Wiley Hendrix, Father Nature, and Tyler Hopkins. They always bring energy to the studio.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?
My favorite artists growing up we’re Big Sean, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, J. Cole, Jay Z, and admittedly, I was a big fan of Eminem as well. What can I say, I love lyricists.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
Obscurity is the No. 1 obstacle in any creative endeavor. Everyone is competing for attention and traffic. It’s all about finding a way to stand out.
How would you describe your sound and style?
My sound could be described as being dark emotional and electronic. It’s more of a trap sound. And I usually market my beats as Big Sean type beats.
What are some of your goals this year?
In the following year, I plan on building my beat catalog, further developing my understanding of music theory, and sound design.
I’d like to host another rap tournament and continue working on music with artists around the world.
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Easy, Packy! He is a Michigan rapper who I’ve looked up to since high school. I know a guy who knows a guy who knows him so I think there’s a chance.
What is your creative process like?
Start with a melody, counter melody, 808, drums, percussion, then arrangement. Never overcomplicate it unless you’ve purposely decided to make your studio time experimental.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
Hook me up with a Western Bacon Burger from Carles Jr. and I’m a happy camper.