HNHH's series "Behind The Beat" profiles unique producers that are looking to change the soundscape.
Last year, L.A.-based producer Salva became a household name in hip-hop circles by scoring collabs with a diverse list of artists that included Schoolboy Q, Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs, A$AP Ferg, Kurupt, Problem and E-40. With his all-over-the-place Peacemaker tape and its "Old English" single, the beatmaker gained himself a much larger following in the rap world, and so we had to hit him up to be featured on "Behind The Beat."
If you look at the discography section of his Wikipedia page, you may think he's only been messing with rap for a few years. His earliest releases listed, 2011's Complex Housing and the Yellobone EP, and 2013's Odd Furniture EP, are all knotty, fresh sets of earworming bass and house music with no hip-hop collaborations to be found, but in truth, the producer/DJ's history with the genre goes a long way back.
“I really came up doing hip-hop," he says during a recent interview at SXSW, "I started DJing when I was like 15, and I was exploring a lot of different music, but I was playing rap records. Even early on, I was working with local groups and producing for young cats.” Honing his skills while moving around between Miami, Milwaukee, Chicago, The Bay and L.A. in his young adulthood, Salva's first noteworthy collaborations with rappers came in the underground/indie scenes of the various cities he inhabited.
“The first notable rapper I ever worked with was Oh No, Madlib’s brother, way back in the day, like 12 years ago. I worked with P.O.S. from Rhymesayers, Mac Lethal from Kansas City, and mad other weird, unknown people too."
Eventually, he emerged from those underground beginnings, but as he says:
“My whole career’s been kind of like a slow burn, so I never really got put on the map or anything like that, but I’ve just been in and out [with the hip-hop stuff]. I guess my latest project, Peacemaker, was a statement of like, ‘This is what rap music sounds like when I make it.’”
That sound is eclectic, hard-hitting and constantly in conversation with cutting-edge electronic strains of music, making Salva a unique and in-demand presence in hip-hop. Read on as we get the scoop on his work with Problem, his Peacemaker project, his hugely successful remixes and his future plans.