When we hear the name 9000 or 9K we think famed engineer for several Grammy award-winning albums, popular Hollywood films such as Despicable Me and Fast and Furious, and business relationship with Jermaine Dupri and other major hitters and vets in the Entertainment Industry. 9K has many surprises in store this year for fans so be sure to stay tuned…
MJ: Let’s take it back a bit. You were born in Queens but raised in Atlanta. Tell us as a young boy how was that adjustment for you?
9000: Difficult! I didn’t understand why we had to move. I was 13 and my mom was a single parent with me, my 2 sisters, and 1 older brother. He got caught up and now is serving his prison sentence, hold your head bro! My mom got a new opportunity at Deutche Banc Broker Firm so we had to move. Imagine a tall snot nose hard headed kid changing his universe which was Queens, to enter the unknown drenched with Southern Hospitality. Mobb Deep, Nas, and Wu Tang Clan were and still play as my soundtrack to my childhood to present. Then I go down south and all I hear is Master P, Scarface & UGK, and Goodie Mob, and Dungeon Family. It was like figuring out a Rubix cube or solving it, not everyone can do that. It was my gift and my curse.
MJ: As a young teenager you found a “home” in Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def Recording’s Record Company. How did that come about? As a teenager there must have been a million different emotions running wild!
9000: I did what seems like everything for free for 4 months just to get acquainted with Mel Testamark. I still have the emails and phone voice messages from him after he saw my initiative. Mel knew I wasn’t accepting the answer no for anything! It was like God showed me a body of water and all I had to do was move a plateau to that empty body of water, I got on JD nerves till he knew I was bubbling and where you go I’m going. In Atlanta you can pretend to be this and that but the streets of the “A” will let you know they don’t mess with you so I had to gain the respect from the streets before the corporate aspect, understood my vision. It was bittersweet everyday but I met everyone from Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Bow Wow, Usher, Jay-Z, even Travis Barker. I didn’t know how to approach them, but I did know I could write and had a keen ear for sound. If I didn’t know the basics of anything I had a week to coach myself, practice, and develop the skill so I’m a novice the next go. The bitter part? It took a while for JD to see my potential but when he did! instead of just being a fly on the wall, I networked my ass off and gave my number to everyone. I was a teen but I wasn’t star struck till I was at arms-reach from Nas. That’s when I knew okay its either now or never. I prayed heavy and just matched the work ethic with what I requested from God.
MJ: From there you built a relationship with Matthew Knowles and began to create Grammy award-winning albums for Justin Bieber, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg, and The Game. Talk about a whirl-wind of dynamics with those names! What was that experience like to work with so many versatile and talented artists?
9000: I wanted to be everywhere a session was going on, I wanted to be in and needed to be in. Scooter used to work for Jermaine, so it was just repertoire and not asking for money, but getting experience and lessons, The Game I met through Black Wall Street East Nu Jerz Devil. He thanks me in the “Doctors Advocate” linear notes go check it if you have the album. That s/o definitely got my feet wet. Pharrell was a mutual friend who knew Roscoe P Coldchain and Fam-Lay. I still talk to Pharrell for advice from time to time. This was my training, my college, and thesis every month. Snoop is JD’s best friend and I was trying to be better than Snoop’s cousin Daz because he made the best recs for 2pac and if I could just be some part of Tha Dogg Pound I made I knew I made it! Period Knowles clan #allweaskistrust
MJ: I’m a huge fan of Andre 3000! Here’s a fun fact for fans…Andre 3000 is the one who actually coined your industry name as 9000 or 9K. A story we would love to hear!
9000: I met him through Tracy “The D.O.C” Curry, yes the legend the 6th member really of NWA. I had an attorney court battle and lost my first stage name Some Other Skills, associated to somebody who is respect from Chicago. My name is so boring, Ramon being my first name. I told Andre how about I go by my middle name Sean… He laughed and told me if your microphone abilities were as close as your pen abilities you could be a top 25 rapper! You paint ideas, scenarios, and situations so eclectic with a vivid vocabulary! He said your name is 9K and charge 9K for ghostwriting! I just stuck with the name, it’s who I am now.
MJ: As mentioned earlier, you have worked with an array of different artists. Is there anyone who you haven’t worked with you’d like to collaborate with?
9000: Dead or alive you mean oh I get you MJ! I’ll keep it very simple Gloria Estefan. My father is Dominican and he used to tell me when he was around, that lady is our Virgin Mary, voice wise. There is no higher Icon than Gloria.
MJ: You have a few surprises up your sleeve before this year ends. Can you share some inside scoop without giving too much away?
9000: I feel so “Outkast” at this question just like, why is my life so “Outkast” …next question
MJ: Talk about the balance of it all! Another fun fact, you are not only an engineer but you are also a father, husband, Writer, and you play six instruments! In this industry balance is crucial and can wind up making or breaking careers! Please share some key elements for not grasping insanity, if you will.
9000: Fly your kids to you! Make love, cater, adore, and admire, remember “Happy Wife Happy Life”. Here’s another tip, if your overseas, book your better half a ticket to come see you. My balance lately is my little daughter Kali, who is 4 and is known as Lil 9000 the Princess. I always been blessed with joy from my other kids (I have all girls and a beautiful wife) but she brings out the heart in me and all I want to see is her just grow and blow bubbles until she walks across that stage and receives that degree. Insanity? Not really, I don’t entertain bullshit or any drama from other females or anyone for that matter. All of that motivates me, pushes me harder to create what I speak into existence. #ProvePeopleWrong daily!
MJ: Is there anyone or anything in your life that you credit your success to?
9000: My parents, Queens NYC, Lil Jon and BME, Mel Testamark for JD and So So Def, The D.O.C and Andre 3k for daily advice and guidance. Of course Snoop Dogg, he is like the uncle to everyone in the industry. Grandmaster Caz wrote the greatest lyrics in the universe which is why I like being behind the scenes writing. Mr Shawn and Mrs. Giselle for Black Excellence #AllWeAskIsTrust, Full Sail, State of Georgia, and Duro the Engineer for inspiration. Finally, the most important Trizzy, all my girls and my beautiful wife Michelle.
MJ: As we wrap up, is there anything else you would like the world to know about 9K?
9000: I’m an enigma mixed with faith to believe in myself and my creator! I just work! Iceis is coming, Ice Storms and Frozen Empire remember I told you. Be on the lookout for Four Pack Chill, Mondragon, Blvck Lvmbo. Always create the road you drive on! #Simmer Ruby Records shine like a Ruby not just a diamond.
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