Q: How did the name XO TopShelf come about?
XO TopShelf: I got the name because everything I do has to be the best of the best or in other words Topshelf. And when drinking one of the Topshelf liquors is XO!!!!!
Q: At what age did XO TopShelf start rapping and why?
XO TopShelf: I started rapping around the age of 19. I always loved to write and express myself creatively but never had the chance to put it on record. I had come home from college and a friend of mine told me his partner had some recording equipment and that I should fall through. I went to his partners house, recorded a record called “In case I” and I was hooked ever since.
Q: What made you put down the pen and become a producer?
XO TopShelf: I became a producer so I could stop waiting on people to send me beats. I really never put down the pen, it’s kinda like I fell in love with producing just as much if not more than I did writing.
Q: Do you feel being a producer is easier than being a rapper?
XO TopShelf: Absolutely. There’s pressure in being an artist, there’s not much pressure as a producer. Different beats make people feel different ways. You can turn any beat in a hot song with the right lyrics. But it’s hard to turn wack lyrics into a hot song. In my opinion.
Q: For XO TopShelf is producing tracks more your lane than rapping?
XO TopShelf: No. I love to rap. Being in front of the crowd was my thing, I loved the high I got from being on stage and making people bounce with the cadence to my verse. Producing just gives me another way to express myself musically until I’m ready for rapping again.
Q: Having been a rapper and now a producer, what is some advice you would give upcoming artists that’s so quick to jump in the booth and start recording?
XO TopShelf: Show emotion, it’s ok to be vulnerable, I make for better music and more people can relate to it. I know a lot of folks don’t write these days and you can tell but It’s ok to think about what your gonna say and how your gonna say it. Learn ya verse first before you go in the booth. Don’t put your engineer through a million takes cuz you haven’t learned your verse or how you want to say it.
Q: What inspired you to start your production company Smokehouse Entertainment?
XO TopShelf: Honestly my family and friends. I was looking for a way to be involved and stay relevant in the music making process that I love. At first producing was sort of a therapy for me but when people starting recording over song that I had produced that gave me the confidence to move forward with Smokehouse Entertainment.
Q: Tell us a little about Smokehouse Entertainment and how people can book you?
XO TopShelf: Smokehouse Entertainment is a production company that specializes in creating a vibe and bringing out the best in artist with genre blending production. You can book me through IG @Smokehouse_Entertainment or through the LOADBREED website Loadbreed.com.
Q: As a producer from Georgia, do you get a lot of artists you feel can work on their music craft more before hitting these studios?
XO TopShelf: In my personal opinion yes but that’s the beauty of music, you can’t tell somebody how to express themselves. I figure two things will happen, they’ll either get better or quit rapping if it’s that bad lol.
Q: Now that you are a producer, do you feel music that you recorded as a rapper with other producers was up to XO TopShelf standards as a producer?
XO TopShelf: Ohh yeah, I was groomed by the best. At the time I was rapping my music was killing other folks shit. Hands down!!! Didn’t nobody wanna see me when it came to making a complete record. Me and the squad had the recipe.
Q: The R Report Magazine would like to thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Is it anyone you would like to shout out or thank?
XO TopShelf: I’d like to thank my family and friends for always supporting me. I’d like to thank the Loadbreed family for always believing in me. Almighty GOD for creating me and I’d like to thank myself for never giving up on me.