On the low, Brady Watt has put in work with some of the biggest names in hip hop and R&B, including Joey Bada$$, Talib Kweli and DJ Premier. Now, with the upcoming release of his debut album, LIFETRONICS, the blond bassist is ready to step out on his own.
Today, Brady officially released his second single, "Natural" featuring Melanie Fiona. In an exclusive conversation with BET.com, he revealed it's a song that he didn't think would ever see the light of day.
"For that particular track I definitely didn’t expect Melanie Fiona on it because I made that beat a few years ago and no one really knew me," he said.
Surprises, however, are one of the key ingredients of his jam sessions. "I have a studio in Harlem and my friends are just coming by all the time and I just add on people to my tracks. Like for instance, the trumpet player on there, he came by for another session and I just threw him on that track."
Coming up in New Hampshire in the '90s, Brady was a short distance from the Mecca of hip hop, New York. But mentally and culturally the two were worlds apart. Fast-forward to today, he is touring with Kweli and keeping that boom-bap focus on his first LP.
He’s officially part of the history he once admired.
"I really grew up idolizing the whole culture of New York City, but it was distant. I never thought that I would be involved in it,” Brady noted. “It seemed far-fetched but as the years kept going by, I kept getting closer and next thing you know I was playing shows with Kweli. Then, around the same time, I started working with Ski Beatz and Dame Dash and Curren$y and all them, all at once.”
Brady's sound overall can be described as sort of a strategic fusion of classic hip hop with neo soul and raw instrumentation that feels like an organic expression of the gritty New York backdrop that birthed it.
“In my journey as a musician thus far in life, I’ve been exposed to a lot of styles, and not just grazing through them, I’ve really been immersed in a plethora of styles,” he said. “I played in a Baptist church for six years, I played in a punk rock band, I’ve worked with hip hop legends, so I’ve been able to absorb a lot of different styles and I try to just be conscious of putting them all into my music and just making it very rich. I’m coming into the game as a new producer so it’s important for me to really try to paint people a clear picture of who I am as a person and share my experiences, and the best way for me to do that is to express this music life I’ve been living for the last ten-plus years.”
The multi-faceted musician adds that one of the freshest faces in hip hop right now, Joey Bada$$, someone he calls the embodiment of hip hop’s essence, is helping him do just that.
“Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era dudes are killin' it, and I’m proud of their artistic integrity, which is something I think is necessary,” Brady exclaimed. “Pro Era to me is giving to the younger generation what Mos Def and Kweli gave to my generation and that’s very important because they bring up social issues, they’re smart kids, they’re artistic and that influences people in a positive way."
As for the business side of things, Brady says Kweli is no joke. Hitting the road with the Brooklynite has given him a chance to soak up game.
"[Talib is] a really smart dude and a very hard worker, and he gets his, which is an example that’s great to see,” Brady explained. “He’s not getting mad radio play but it doesn’t really matter because he has a really strong fan base and he’s able to do his thing. I think it’s great we’re living in an era where you can be successful but still walk down the street. You don’t have to be a super-superstar to make a great living doing music. Right now is one of the best times to do what we do."
Brady Watt's LIFETRONICS is scheduled to be released Feb. 12.
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(Photos from left: Onjae Scott/Courtesy of Brady Watt, Rommel Demano/Getty Images)