An elephant in the room
or a panda in the song. Menace, who is the mastermind producer behind Desiigner’s “Panda,” a Billboard chart topper, is proud to know that he was nominated for “Best Track” at the BET Hip-Hop Awards and a Grammy. However, the issue lies in the fact that despite all of this success, this notorious UK producer hasn’t been able to obtain a visa to come to the US.
From Rochdale, Manchester, Menace, or Adnan Khan, is born to Pakistani-immigrant parents. Menace’s team reached out to me to conduct this exclusive interview with this humble musical genius to tell his story and share what he’s been up to in the meantime since crafting the hit. (You can find the interview below). Ever since the tyrant took over office, families and lives have been altered and deterred and broken. We are disqualifying those who deserve to come to share their work with us! We are disqualifying people who deserve to come over, who are completely harmless, who have love here and who have futures to tend to. Life was not meant to be limited and rejected nor was it meant to be dusted off, signed away, and turned down.
It has been over a year now that Menace has been trying to cross the pond with a bucketload of prestigious award nominations and collaborations just waiting to happen for him. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop our twisted and convoluted politics from banning this artist from our grounds. Even with “Panda” going 4x platinum, Menace still hasn’t been able to meet Desiigner in person! How crazy is that? Can’t even shake the hand of or hug the person who helped bring your music to the world!?
While he’s been patiently waiting for his window opening, the 22-year old has not been wasting time and has actually been producing a new project called The Beat Tape Vol. 1. The DJ has been inspired by notable music legends and tycoons such as Jay-Z, Dr. Dre and Scott Storch, the producer of hits like 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” and Fat Joe’s “Make It Rain.”
The record connoisseur jumped into this world of hip hop during his pre-teens, more specifically, when he was 12 years-old, and from there, he built himself a disciplined schedule to produce 2-3 beats a day! As he got older, he started selling his completed works to rappers who needed baselines and instrumentals. Before the fame, Menace was a mobile phone repairman and on the side, as a hobby, would crank the tunes, create the beats, and post them to YouTube for all to hear. Eventually, with just a simple listen on YouTube and a call, Menace found himself answering the phone to a manager asking for his permission to use his song on Kanye’s West latest hit album Life of Pablo.
This young producer, beat maker, business man, and A&R talent representative is thriving, and is still so fresh to the scene with his complex instrumentals that create the perfect formula of sound. It is a crime that such talent can not come to even receive his own award and recognize his appreciation. But of course, he is not the first of these stories. He told The Rolling Stone,
“It was a couple of days before ‘The Life of Pablo’ was released that we heard about the feature on it. He [Kanye West] wanted to put ‘Panda’ on his album because first of all he was feeling the vibe to the production, and he also wanted to put his new signee [Desiigner] onto his album.”
The sample was found on Kanye’s track “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2.”
If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard the song yet, listen to the song below:
Furthermore, this electric, hip hop composer, was not completely new to the talents of musical production fame though. Before “Panda,” he was found working with Young Noble, a member of Tupac’s old group the Outlawz! (As noted by Rolling Stone). He began posting beats on his website to build their brand and voice to the general audience of listeners, and from all of this came the beat that ruled the air and sound waves and became the raging hit of the 2016th year…
“You are now listening to the hottest producer with the hottest beats on the net. Menace.”
Here is our exclusive interview:
Neelu Mohaghegh (NM): How did you get involved in the music scene? Specifically, hip hop?
Menace (M): I got introduced into the music scene when my dad played a lot of music. From the ‘80s, like Michael Jackson, I’ve been raised on music. That got me interested in making music. Then I started to get interested in the background music, the production side and that’s one of the main reasons why I produce today.
I got into hip hop in high school. Where I live in Manchester, hip hop is the main genre that everyone listens to. The hip hop I was into was either produced by Dr. Dre or the old school East Coast / West Coast producers. I was listening to it every day. I was downloading instrumentals of big hit songs onto my MP3 player and I would listen to them day in and day out. It was mainly on my commute to and from school. Then onwards, I started to ask around how people made beats, then I googled it and came across a program called Fruity Loops, watching tutorials on YouTube.
NM: Why do you produce music?
M: I love music. It’s not something that I’m doing to show people that I’m cool. It’s a way for me to express something without opening my mouth. When people hear my productions, they can understand how I’m feeling through the music. I can reach a wider audience through my music than through any other medium.
NM: How did you get your stage name?
M: It was given to me back in high-school when I was I was a badly behaved student. Kids and my teachers used to call me a menace. I took the persona and ran with it.
NM: What inspired “Panda’s production? And how did you link up with Desiigner?
M: I’m heavy into comic book collecting. One of my favorites is Batman, with the darker feel. When the beat was released on YouTube, way before Desiigner purchased it, it had the picture of Joker and Batman. Desiigner simply purchased the beat. I first found out it was being used on Twitter by someone else. Desiigner posted the song on YouTube and it started to blow up on its own. Eventually, he got signed off of it.
NM: What was it like earning all of those awards for your track with Desiigner?
M: It was a very proud moment in my life. I was very honored to receive those plaques and awards.
NM: Explain to us the songwriting process for you—what’s that like, and what was the sudden success of “Panda” like?
M: You need to have a dope hook – simple but catchy, and a verse that isn’t too complicated. I usually start to develop the hook first, it sets the mood.
NM: In response to the Grammys, I know that you have been struggling to receive your visa in order to come to the states. What has that been like?
M: The wait has been the hardest part. I’ve had to miss out on a few big ceremonies like the BET Hip Hop Awards, for which I was nominated for “Best Rap Song” and I wasn’t able to come to the US to do press.
NM: What do you think of this situation and what can we do to fix it?
M: If there’s enough evidence out there for people to prove that they’re coming here for a reason, like for work, then they should obviously be allowed.
NM: What is your favorite thing to do outside of music?
M: I like to stay active and healthy like go to the gym. And also I’m very keenly interested in automobiles. If I’m not making music, I’m watching programs on cars or reading about them online. Or going to garages or showrooms themselves. I’m into all types of cars, it’s hard for me to choose a favorite.
NM: What do you hope to see change in the music world?
M: I want to see producers get the same type of shine that rappers do. When a record is produced, there’s the artist and there’s the producers, and it took both of them to make it. They are equal partners in the creative process.
NM: What are your plans for the future?
M: To keep going and become a big brunt in the music industry. To disrupt the music industry.
NM: What is your identity song, or soul song? (It can be your own or some other artist’s work that you just have a deep connection with.)
M: Drake – “I’m On One”
NM: Now, because we’re a college-targeted publication, we always like to ask our artists a tag line to fill in the blank, so Menace, what are you #ontheverge of?
Well, there is no doubt about that- success is in his past, present, and future! Such a talented young man with so much to offer. How many more people will we ban? America, you will lose everything. You will lose culture, you will lose diversity, you will lose any spirit, and you will be nothing without the world around you. Isolate yourself more, and soon you won’t have anything to offer.
Please help this story be heard, please share the love, and let’s bring music and so much more back to this country.
To see Menace’s work, follow him and check him out on: