Illmind

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Illmind
Illmind 02.jpg
Illmind in 2012
Background information
Birth name Ramon Ibanga Jr.
Origin Bloomfield, New Jersey, U.S.
Genres Hip hop, pop, soul, K-Pop
Occupation(s) Record producer
Instruments Pro Tools, keyboard, sampler
Years active 2003–present
Labels Roseville Music Group
Associated acts Lin-Manuel Miranda, J. Cole, Drake, G-Unit, Joell Ortiz, Hoodie Allen, Skyzoo, Little Brother, Andy Mineo, 50 Cent, Jared Evan
Website http://www.illmindproducer.com

Ramon Ibanga Jr., professionally known as Illmind (often stylized as !llmind) is a Filipino American hip hop producer and educator from Bloomfield, New Jersey. As of 2012, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.[1]

Illmind has co-written and produced hip-hop, pop, soul, and electronic music for labels such as Cash Money, Def Jam, and Aftermath, and has worked with artists such as Andy Mineo, Kanye West, Drake, J. Cole, Dr. Dre, Ludacris, 50 Cent, Ariana Grande, and others. His accomplishments in 2016 include production on the new Hamilton Mixtape and Disney's Moana (2016 film), both created by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Illmind has released several studio albums and had a number of songs and albums reach the music charts.[2]

His most recent album, Human, is a collaboration with Joell Ortiz, and was released on July 17, 2015.[3] He established his own multi-genre music company Roseville Music Group in 2014.[4]

Early life[edit]

Ramon Ibanga Jr. was born on August 28[5] in New Jersey, where he was raised in the city of Newark, New Jersey before later moving with his family to Bloomfield, New Jersey.[6] His family provided a strong musical background, as his father was a musician and his older brother Les-Paul was even named after the late Les Paul.[7]

Illmind started using his father's equipment to make beats around age 13, specifically learning MIDI and sequencing on a Roland KR-500 keyboard.[6] In his early teens he developed an interest in hip hop,[8] and started producing music in 1997.[9]

Around 1999, he began to take production more seriously and he started sampling, using both hip hop vinyl and obscure records such as his father's old jazz and soul albums from the Philippines. He began using the program Cubase and an Akai S20 sampler around age 17.[6][8]

Music career[edit]

Production[edit]

After learning sampling, Illmind began making his own beats and sounds,[9] and in 1999 began uploading his music to online forums such as undergroundhiphop.com. Around 2001 he started participating in the Beat Society producer showcases in Philadelphia.[7][7]

Illmind started his production career working with groups like Little Brother and Boot Camp Clik;[6] he had met Boot Camp Clik after being introduced through Khrysis, and he started working with Little Brother after being introduced to their music around 2000. His first official collaborative release with the latter was Nobody Like Me.[8]

In March 2004 Illmind's remix of the Jay-Z's Black Album, called The Black and Tan Album, was released to a positive review in The New York Times, who stated "Sparse is the aesthetic for !llmind's remixes, which set out to do more with less: techno boops, ticking drums, laid-back bass lines, three or four notes from a guitar or keyboard. Illmind's minimalism makes Jay-Z sound almost nonchalant."[10] Sha Money XL, a G-Unit executive, served as Illmind's manager for several years.[6] During this time, Illmind went on to produce songs with Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Lloyd Banks, Prodigy, Kool G Rap, Redman, Scarface, LL Cool J, El Da Sensei, Diamond D, KRS-One, and others.[8] He produced the 2008 Akrobatik hip hop album Absolute Value.[11]

In summer of 2012 Illmind's track "The Morning" was included on Cruel Summer, a compilation album released on Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label. The song peaked at 19 on the US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, and 49 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[12]

The genesis of the track was 2007, when Illmind met Chicago-rapper Rhymefest and started sending him beats. "For a couple of years, I just kept sending him stuff whenever I had Kanye or him in mind. It must have been 100 beats. And then I get a phone call ... from Rhymefest ... asking for a session to a beat I made. Then he was like, 'I think Kanye wants to use this for a Pusha T song.' Then a few hours later, he's like 'We got Raekwon on this.' The first time I heard the complete album was when it leaked. And I heard it, and I lost it. I would say my life has definitely changed since that moment."[5]

In 2008 he won the Philadelphia Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle.[7] Since 2012, he has shared the stage in beat showcases with artists such as Kanye West, Just Blaze, Nottz, and Don Cannon.[1] Illmind produced music for Hoodie Allen's mixtape, Crew Cuts. The single "Cake Boy" premiered on February 11, 2013 via YouTube with over 30,000 views in the first day.[13]

In 2015, Illmind helped Skyzoo on the album Music For My Friends, producing five tracks.[14] and helping Skyzoo co-produce the track "Luxury".[15] He was executive producer for Andy Mineo's album, Uncomfortable, which released on September 18.[16]

Towards the end of 2016, Illmind produced the outro credits for Disney's "Moana", a track titled "You're Welcome", Ft. both Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jordan Fisher[17]

Beyond his work on the Disney project the producer took an active role in working on "The Hamilton Mixtape", album released via Atlantic Records. In addition to his work on the project with artists such as Nas, Common, The Roots, Ingrid Michaelson, & others, Illmind has his own track, "Take A Break - Interlude," appear on the album [18]

In 2017, Illmind worked with Future[19], Khalid[20], Lil Uzi Vert[21], Bryson Tiller[22], A Boogie wit da Hoodie[23], Meek Mill[24], and others on their respective major label releases.

Studio albums[edit]

In 2005, he produced and released an entire album on the label BBE with fellow producer Symbolyc One called The Art Of Onemind, which featured artists such as Ghostface Killah.[7] He released The Official !llmind Remix Album in 2009 on myx,[25] and a 2010 LP with lyricist Skyzoo called Live From The Tape Deck on Duck Down Records.[26]

"I wanted to keep the soundscape warm and 'analog' sounding [for Live from the Tape Deck], just like how 2-inch tapes used to sound. Most of the keyboard and synth sounds I used were from analog synths made in the late 80's. Combined this with using my ASR-10, I was able to capture that feeling, but with a slightly updated feel."
— !llmind in 2010[27]

In May 2010, lyricist and rapper Skyzoo had announced that he and Illmind were collaborating on an album called Live from the Tape Deck.[28] Recording sessions took place at Big China Studios in Brooklyn, New York in 2010.[29] The entire album was produced, mixed and arranged by Illmind, and was mastered by Ricardo Gutierrez.![30]

Live from the Tape Deck debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums.[2] The album entered the Top Rap Albums, peaking at #16,[31] as well as entering at #30 on the Top Independent Albums[32] and #33 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[33] The album was met with positive reviews from music critics. SPIN's Mosi Reeves gave the album a seven out of ten, saying: "On this duo's debut full-length, Skyzoo was nicely complemented by !llmind's production, which ranges from the Dilla-like soul loop of "#Allaboutthat" to the fuzzy '70s-cop-show funk of 'The Now or Never.' Live from the Tape Deck is full of stolid striver anthems...but the album's meat-and-potatoes consistency remains bracing throughout."[34]

Beh!nd The Curta!n, Illmind's first official instrumental album, came out on April 19, 2011 through Brooklyn-based Nature Sounds Records.[6] He followed this up with the second instrumental album #BoomTrap EP, an eight-track EP released in January of 2014.[35] He shortly after released the drum kit #BoomTrap “The Drums”, which includes extracts from the EP. Only 200 copies of the kit were offered.[36] His most recent album, Human, is a collaboration with Joell Ortiz, and will be released on July 17, 2015.[3]

Business and teaching[edit]

!llmind has been featured in magazines and online publications such as Scratch Magazine (Top 20 Best Producers), Hip Hop Weekly, Mass Appeal, The Source, XXL, Hiphopgame.com, and Hiphopdx.com. In the summer of 2012 !llmind started offering consulting services as a member the online service Blazetrak,[1] and he later formed an independent online consultation service.[9]

As of July 2012, Illmind was a senior contributor at BeatTips.com.[1] He taught music production at the non-profit organization Harlem Children’s Zone from 2007-09,[6] and he was later hired by the Clive Davis Department Of Recorded Music at NYU as a Technical Music Instructor for a program called "Future Music Moguls."[1]

He has received a great deal of recognition for his continued contributions to the producer community at large as an educator, business man and innovator in the space. Beyond launching the premier drum kit business within the music world, he has launched a "Pass The Aux", workshop series, and is committed to daily one on one interaction with the upcoming producer community.[37][38]

Style and equipment[edit]

"I can’t define my sound. What I can say is that it’s honest, musical, and inspired/channeled from a “feeling”. I was always fascinated by music, feeling, and vision, all in one. When I’m creating music, I’m actually envisioning things as I’m going along, like places or people."
— !llmind[6]

Illmind has called himself a fan of producers such as J Dilla and Pete Rock,[1] but writes and produces a variety of genres. About his style, he has stated "I just try to create the music I like, period. I've got a pretty diverse taste in music, so I’m managing to not get bored, which is awesome. There's a lot of talent out there, and I think that’s what continues to drive me as well."![9]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Album details Peak chart positions
US R&B Rap Ind
2005 The Art of OneMind
(with Symbolyc One)
2009 The Official !llmind
Remix Album
  • Released: 2009
  • Label: myx[25]
  • Format: Digital download
2010 Live from the Tape Deck
(with Skyzoo)
3[2] 33[33] 16[31] 30[32]
2011 Behind The Curtain
  • Released: April 19, 2011
  • Label: Nature Sounds
  • Format: Digital download
2014 #BoomTrap EP
2015 Human
(with Joell Ortiz)

Mixtapes[edit]

  • 2008: Blaps, Rhymes & Life
  • 2009: Blaps, Rhymes & Life, Vol II
  • 2009: Blaps, Rhymes & Life, Vol III[39]
  • 2009: Blaps, Rhymes & Life, Vol IV[40]
  • 2011: Blaps, Rhymes & Life, Vol V[41]

Selected production credits[edit]

Peak chart positions[edit]

Singles produced by !llmind, with selected singles chart positions
Year Song title Song details Chart peaks
Hot100 R&B
2012 "The Morning" 19[12] 49[12]
Albums with tracks produced by !llmind, with selected album chart positions
Year Album title Album/song details Chart peaks
US R&B Rap Ind
2006 The Last Stand
(by Boot Camp Clik)
48 20
2007 Nu-Mixx Klazzics Vol. 2
(by 2Pac)
  • Tracks: "What'z Ya Phone # [Nu Mixx]"
  • Label: Tha Row/Koch
45[42] 8[42] 2[42]
2008 Emeritus
(by Scarface)
  • Tracks: "It's Not A Game," "Who Are They"
  • Label: Rap-a-Lot
24[43] 4[43]
2014 2014 Forest Hills Drive
(by J. Cole)
1 1 1
2015 If You're Reading This It's Too Late
(by Drake)
1 1 1
The Beast Is G-Unit
(by G-Unit)
27 3 3 2
Ludaversal
(by Ludacris)
  • Tracks: "Lyrical Healing," "Charge It to the Rap Game"
  • Label: Def Jam
3 2 2

Timeline[edit]

The following is an incomplete list of albums and singles produced by Illmind/!llmind.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Brady, Travis (July 17, 2012). "Exclusive Interview – Bangin Beats With Illmind". The Drum Broker. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  2. ^ a b c "Skyzoo – Chart history | Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Goddard, Kevin (June 9, 2015). "Joell Ortiz & !llmind Announce Joint Album "Human"". hotnewhiphop.com. Retrieved 2015-07-01. }
  4. ^ "About". Roseville Music Group. 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  5. ^ a b Berman, Taylor (September 26, 2012). "Breakout Producer !llmind Talks G.O.O.D. Music & K-Pop". Fuse TV. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Edelstein, Alex (October 12, 2010). "NYC Hip-Hop's Next Wave: Illmind On Career, Community & New Collaborations". Sonic Scoop. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Boland, Justin (January 16, 2011). "!llmind: Building a Business off Beats". Audible Hype. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  8. ^ a b c d Martinez, Rafael (May 2, 2007). "'The drums definitely got to bang'". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  9. ^ a b c d Indiana, Phil (January 2013). "Interview: Illmind". The Couch Sessions. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  10. ^ Pareles, Jon (March 7, 2004). "MUSIC: PLAYLIST; Silver, Brown, Gray: Jay-Z Every Which Way". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  11. ^ Johnsen, Will (February 19, 2008). "Akrobatik delivers the "Absolute Value" of Hip Hop". Seattle PI. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  12. ^ a b c "Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Hoodie Allen – "Cake Boy" (Official Video)". Hoodie Allen, LLC. February 11, 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  14. ^ a b Garrett, Ural (April 28, 2015). "Skyzoo "Music For My Friends" Release Date, Cover Art & Tracklist". hiphopdx.com. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  15. ^ Barrow, JL (May 28, 2015). "Skyzoo Tries His Hand At Production On "Luxury"". nodfactor.com. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  16. ^ HipHopDX. "Andy Mineo "Uncomfortable" Release Date, Cover Art, Tracklist & Album Stream". Retrieved 2015-09-25. 
  17. ^ "Music producer Illmind turns basement beats into 'Filipino Fire'". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  18. ^ "'Hamilton Mixtape' Producer !llmind Talks Teaming With Lin-Manuel Miranda & Hints at Unreleased Material". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  19. ^ Future – Zoom, retrieved 2017-11-12 
  20. ^ "Singer Khalid debuts confidently with 'American Teen'". Rolling Out. 2017-05-22. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  21. ^ "Here Are the Production Credits for Lil Uzi Vert's 'Luv Is Rage 2'". XXL Mag. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  22. ^ "Here Are the Production and Sample Credits for Bryson Tiller's 'True to Self'". Complex. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  23. ^ "A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie & 21 Savage Are "Undefeated" On Their New Collaboration". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  24. ^ "Production Credits for Meek Mill's 'Wins & Losses' Album". XXL Mag. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  25. ^ a b "Illmind x Fortilive x Slum Village | 2dopeboyz". 2dopeboyz.okayplayer.com. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  26. ^ "Skyzoo & Illmind to Release Collab Album". 2dopeboyz.com. 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  27. ^ "Skyzoo & !llmind: Live From The Tape Deck [Artwork + Tracklist]". KevinNottingham.com. 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  28. ^ Blakcitrus (May 27, 2010). "Skyzoo & Ill Mind [sic] Prep New Album, 'Live From The Tape Deck'". Kickmag. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Illmind/Skyzoo – Live from the Tape Deck". CD Universe. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Live from the Tape Deck – Illmind, Skyzoo". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Credits. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "Chart history | Rap Albums". Billboard. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "Skyzoo – Chart history | Top Independent Albums Albums". Billboard. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b "Skyzoo – Chart history | Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Albums". Billboard. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  34. ^ Reeves, Mosi (2010-11-03). "Skyzoo & Illmind, 'Live From the Tape Deck' (Duck Down)". SPIN. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  35. ^ a b Thomas, Chris (January 8, 2014). "Illmind – #BoomTrap EP [LISTEN]". HipHopWired. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  36. ^ Banks, Corry (January 18, 2014). "Illmind – #BoomTrap "The Drums"". BBoy Tech Report. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  37. ^ "Episode 794: How To Make It In The Music Business". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  38. ^ Setaro, Shawn. "Hip-Hop Producer !llmind Makes Businesses As Well As Beats". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  39. ^ Gotty™ (2009-07-01). "Illmind Presents Blaps, Rhymes & Life Vol. 3 | The Smoking Section". Smokingsection.uproxx.com. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  40. ^ "!llmind x Dub MD – Blaps, Rhymes & Life Vol. 4 (Mixtape)". 2dopeboyz.okayplayer.com. 2009-12-15. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  41. ^ "Blaps, Rhymes & Life". 2dopeboyz. 2011-03-02. Retrieved 2018-05-21. 
  42. ^ a b c "2Pac". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  43. ^ a b Billboard Albums: Emeritus. Allmusic.com; retrieved 2010-01-30.

External links[edit]