As the first installment of our “Smirnoff Inspire series”, producer Ski Beatz talks about his mentor DJ Clark Kent and the man who showed him how to make beats, The Rhythm Fanatic.

DJ Clark Kent is my mentor. He didn’t teach me how to make beats but he taught me the game of beat selling. The art of beat selling. He taught me how to go out there, get the money , get with the right lawyer, get with  right accountant and make sure shit is legit. The guy who taught me how to make beats, his name The Rhythm Fanatic, from North Carolina. But he did a lot of big [records], he did the Lil Kim joint, the “Crush on You” joint. He did [songs] for Michael Jackson and Beyonce. He taught me how to make beats. Actually, before I got my SP-1200 his SP came first. UPS brought his SP to his house I was there sitting in his crib with him, chilling. He said “Yo, you read the book and I’m going to do the work on the machine.” So while he was learning I was telling him “press,” “set up,” “shift,” he was doing everything I said and of course I was learning it while I was telling him how to do it. And boom. When he wasn’t on it I would learn and learn and learn the SP1200 until I got it down. Then when I got mine it was like nothing, I was killing it.”

What advice do you have for up and coming producers, given how the music industry has changed?

Just stay true to yourself, to what you like, and just because the music industry changes doesn’t mean that your sound necessarily has to change or your heart has to change. Don’t go out there and chase someone’s sound. Don’t go out there trying “oh sh*t, I guess they need these type of beats this month, so I’m going to go out there and work on a bunch of those kind of beats.” You’ll lose your identity. You will lose yourself trying to be like somebody else. The best advice I could give is to be original. Stay true to the [sound[ that you love in your heart and don’t compromise your [work] for nobody. Make the music you are suppose to make.

Ski Beatz new album 24 Hour Karate School is in stores now!

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