Whether you pronounce his name “Con-strobuz” or “Constro-buz” (it’s actually the latter), the 24 year old Raleigh-based hip-hop music producer is definitely a talent on the ever burgeoning Raleigh/Durham hip-hop scene. Constrobuz (real name: Christopher Papp) delivers a diverse array of sounds in his productions; from hard-hitting, raw and gritty to soulful and melodic. Armed with a catalog that runs 13 albums (Wait… he dropped a new album the day of this interview. So… make that 14 albums) deep, Constrobuz is here to make a name for himself. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the hip-hop producer about his journey into music and his thoughts on hip-hop.
Q: At what age did you start producing music?
A: Can’t really remember… either my sophomore or junior year in high school. So I guess around 16 or 17 years old.
Q: What got you interested in producing music?
A: I would say the North Carolina hip-hop scene had a lot to do with it; once I discovered Little Brother, 9th Wonder, Khrysis, the JustUS League and all of them. There was a lot of great hip hop music coming out of North Carolina. At the time, before I knew 9th Wonder used FL Studio, I like most people assumed in order to make beats you needed a full studio… like mpc with speakers, keyboards and shit. So I thought I didn’t have the money to get into producing. But then when I found out that you could just use software on a computer, I thought, “Oh… well that sounds cool.” I didn’t really have any hobbies, but I loved music. After school I would come home and just play video games and do nothing. I started to think I should do something more constructive with my time. I’ve always been into music, I’ve always loved music. So I thought I’ll try this out.
Q: You stated you started out using FL Studio to produce. Today, what is your preferred program or equipment to produce beats?
A: I started out using FL Studios and use it to this day. I have a little midi keyboard that I might have used twice in production. And I have my turntables and my records. That’s pretty much my whole set-up.
Q: What artist’s have you collaborated with?
A: Well, I’ve sold beats to various artists, but I wouldn’t consider that collaborating. The artist I’ve collaborated with the most has been “eXquire.” His actual rapper name is “Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire.” He just released an EP a few weeks ago that has one of my beats on it. The song is called “Ice Cups” (video displayed above). We’ve collaborated on about 6 or 7 songs, since 2009.
Q: If given the opportunity, which artists would you most like to work with?
A: Ah man… Definitely, Roc Marciano, Prodigy, Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Jay Electronica… All of my favorite rappers basically… Guilty Simpson… Sean Price, rest in peace… I wish I would have had the opportunity to do some music with him.
Q: How would you describe your production style/sound?
A: I would say it’s just raw. I don’t really like the term boom-bap, but I guess that’s how some people would describe it. But I try to experiment with different sounds and styles. I’ve dabbled with the trap stuff, 808s and the high hats. The album I just put out today has a lot of stuff like that; Honor. It’s very oriented around a lot of Japanese samples.
Q: What is your assessment of the state of hip-hop today?
A: Disappointing. It’s not a novel or new opinion, obviously, but I think all of the shit on the radio is wack. To be honest, I don’t even keep up with it anymore; like who the big names are right now… like a Fetty Wap or a Migos… all that shit is wack as hell to me. I hate that music. It wasn’t always like this. The mainstream rap, the stuff you heard on the radio, saw on MTV and B.E.T… that stuff used to be good. You would hear artists like Outkast or Ludacris in the early 2000s. That stuff was better than the shit you hear now.
All the mainstream shit just seems to get worst and worst and more dumb down, just stupid and ignorant. There has always been good artist in the underground, since the birth of hip-hop. There’s always gonna be the good stuff. You just have to dig to find it. Now, it’s getting harder and harder to dig for the good stuff, because it’s so over saturated with wack shit. I can’t really talk, because I’m apart of it [posting music on the internet]. But with the whole SoundCloud generation, everyone can just buy a $100 microphone and they think they’re a fucking rapper. They put their shit on SoundCloud and there is just so much shit out there and… a lot of it is really BAD and it’s hard to find the good stuff. But the good stuff is out there. Like all the artist I mentioned that I’d love to work with… those are artists that are still out there and they’re making good music. And there are newer artist coming out all the time that are great.
Constrobuz’s music can be purchased (for listening) on his bandcamp page
For other inquiries – Email: Constrobuz@gmail.com