When he’s not clandestinely dropping MIA jams on his MySpace page, Bangladesh is hard at work crafting tracks for his own group, Charlie Mackenroe (yes, the group has a dude’s name. Don’t ask.) Their latest, “Bingo” sounds like Wiley driving a particularly out-of-control ice cream truck down Peachtree. FUCKIN A! After the jump, check DJ Ayres’s Beat Construction on Bangladesh from issue 40.
No One Knows Who Bangladesh Is
By Ayres Haxton
While modern hip-hop hits now revolve around producer brand recognition, most listeners couldn’t pick out a Bangladesh track if it bit them on the ass. The 28-year-old producer responsible for Kelis’s new minimalist monster “Bossy” is the same dude who created the keyboard grime underneath Eightball & MJG’s crunk anthems “You Don’t Want Drama” and “Don’t Make,” as well as the slick strip club sleaze of Ludacris’ breakthrough “What’s Your Fantasy.” His discography gets deeper and more varied with cooing pop joints for Ciara (“Hotline”), molasses-thick moves for Tha Dogg Pound (“Make That Pussy Pop”), uneasy vibes for Missy Elliot (“Click Clack”), street fight music for Freeway (“Rep Your Hood”) and uptempo nuttiness for Petey Pablo (“Vibrate”).
It turns out Bangladesh sees his near anonymity as his greatest asset. “Anytime you get a hit, people want that same thing. I prolly could play the same beat for ten people and they wouldn’t know what to do with it, until somebody else do it. Then they want it,” he says. “I ain’t really trying to make 25 ‘What’s Your Fantasy’s.” It might sound like career suicide, but for Bangladesh it seems to have paid off. “People know I can make hits now,” he says. “So they just come to me trying to get hits.”
Born Shondrae Crawford, Bangladesh grew up in Des Moines, Iowa in one of the few black neighborhoods in an overwhelmingly white state. After high school he left to live with family in Atlanta, where he bought an MPC2000 and graduated from beatboxing to beatmaking. In 1999, with only a year of production under his belt, he connected with Ludacris while the rapper was working on his debut for Def Jam.
Inspired by the musicianship of ATL favorites Outkast and Goodie Mobb, Bangladesh never got into sampling records. Instead he fiddles with keyboards until he finds sounds he likes, then puts them in the MPC and constructs his beats from there. “It’s just too easy taking from another record. Anybody can really do that. The hard part is getting new sounds that people never heard before,” he says. “I use all types of keyboards. I made ‘What’s Your Fantasy’ off a $100 Casio.”
Even with his impressive track record, Bangladesh knows that he’s still not in a place where he can get his most experimental work out in the world, but he’s looking forward to that time. “The Neptunes got to where they are by getting people to trust them,” he says. “Once people trust you, you can give ‘em anything.”