DARNELL MCCRO

 BROOKLYN, NEW YORK          DARNELL MCCRO

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK          DARNELL MCCRO

THE MANTRA, “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” IS CERTAINLY WORDS THAT 30-YEAR OLD, DARNELL MCCRO FIRMLY LIVES IN. HIS LOVE FOR MUSIC BEGAN AT 8 YEARS OLD, AND SINCE THEN MUSIC HAS LITERALLY BEEN HIS LIFE. MCCRO WAS FORTUNATE TO MEET AND WORK WITH HIS MENTOR EDWIN HALL WHO INTRODUCED HIM TO THE DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATION, REASONS, LOGIC AND PROTOOLS. FROM THEN ON MCCRO TAUGHT HIMSELF HOW TO MAKE BEATS AND RECORD RECORDS. VALIDATED RECENTLY INTERVIEWED THE PRODUCER REGARDING HIS EARLY MUSIC INFLUENCES, NEW YORKS INFLUENCE ON HIS SOUND AND MORE.



VALIDATED: GROWING UP, WHAT KIND OF MUSIC WAS PLAYED IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD? 

DARNELL MCCRO: GROWING UP IN THE LATE 80S/EARLY 90S OUT IN THE WASHINGTON HEIGHTS SECTION OF NEW YORK, I RECALL MY BIOLOGICAL MOTHER PEARL BAILEY BEING A SINGER IN A CHOIR AND WINNING MULTIPLE TALENT SHOWS. GOSPEL, R&B, AND OLD SCHOOL CLASSICS WERE HER PREFERENCE OF MUSIC TO PLAY AND SING AROUND OUR APARTMENT. MY BIOLOGICAL FATHER EDDIE BAILEY (TRIPLE OG) WAS A LOCAL DJ AND SECURITY GUARD AT THE FAMOUS "ROOFTOP SKATING RINK" IN HARLEM NYC. HE HAD A DJ/PRODUCTION SETUP IN THE BACKROOM OF THE SAME APARTMENT. HE WOULD PLAY HIP-HOP SAMPLES AND HARDCORE RAP FROM ARTISTS DURING HIS ERA SUCH AS ERIC B AND RAKIM, EPMD, GRANDMASTER CAZ, PETE ROCK AND CL SMOOTH, KRS ONE, QUEEN LATIFAH, SALT N PEPPA, MCLYTE, ETC. WATCHING HIM, THE WORLD FAMOUS “BRUCIE B” & THE LEGENDARY DJ HOLLYWOOD CHOP, CUT, AND BLEND TRACKS TOGETHER IN THAT BACK ROOM HAD A MAJOR IMPACT ON ME AS A CHILD.
HAVING AN EAR FOR MUSIC, MCCRO TAUGHT HIMSELF PIANO.


VALIDATED: WHAT MAKES A GREAT PRODUCER?

DARNELL MCCRO: I BELIEVE WHAT MAKES A GREAT PRODUCER IS 6 SIMPLE STEPS:

1. A GOOD LISTENER AND MEETS THE PROJECTS DEADLINE.

2. HAS A PASSION AND RESPECT FOR MUSIC

3. PERSISTENTLY LEARNS ENGINEERING AND MIXING SKILLS TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE DIFFERENT ELEMENTS OF A SONG WORK TOGETHER SONICALLY.

4. NATURALLY GIFTED OR MULTI TALENTED WITH AN EAR FOR INTERPOLATING THE RIGHT SOUND ELEMENTS TO COMPLETE A TRACK.

5. NOT ONLY DEVELOPS BUT MAINTAINS RELATIONSHIPS BECAUSE IT’S A “WHO YOU KNOW WORLD”.

6. CREATES THEIR OWN LANE AND OVERSEES THE FULL PROJECT FROM THE VISION PROJECTED BY THE ARTIST. AS A PRODUCER IT’S IMPERATIVE THAT WE CREATE A HEALTHY WORKSPACE ENVIRONMENT BECAUSE GOOD CHEMISTRY, POSITIVE VIBES AND ENERGY CAN CONVERT AN ARTISTS VISION TO REALITY.


VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU FEEL NEW YORK HAS INFLUENCED YOUR SOUND AND OUTLOOK ON HIP-HOP?

DARNELL MCCRO: BY BEING ABLE TO WITNESS MULTIPLE ERAS OF HIP HOP IN NY. AS A TRUE NEW YORKER WE LOVE OUR FAMOUS “BOOM BAP” SOUNDING KITS WHEN PRODUCING A RAW SKETCHY IDEA FOR ARTISTS. HOWEVER NOWADAYS WE LIVE IN A ERA WHERE MIXING “BOOM BAP” AND "SOUTHERN SWING" (TRAP MUSIC) INTRIGUES THE LISTENERS AND VIEWERS MORE. YES IT MAY SELL AND MOVE UNITS PLUS EVERYBODY WANTS TO RAP OR SING TO IT. BUT HERE'S MY THING, IS IT "TIMELESS"? ASK YOURSELF, AM I STILL GONNA LOVE THIS RECORD 10-20 EVEN 30 YEARS FROM NOW THE SAME WAY WE LOVE A DR. DRE, TIMBALAND, SWISS BEATZ, JUST BLAZE, NEPTUNES, RYAN LESLIE, DARKCHILD, KANYE, JERMAINE DUPRI OR THE UNDERDOGZ PRODUCTION? THAT'S WHERE PRODUCERS LIKE MYSELF, D. MCCRO COME INTO PLACE. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN... AN "ORIGINATOR"!!!!!! SOMEONE WHO CAN TAKE NOTHING AND CREATE SOMETHING. ONE WHO CAN COMBINE ERAS TO CREATE A DOPE BALANCED HIT RECORD.


VALIDATED: WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE PRODUCING FROM A HOBBY TO A CAREER?

DARNELL MCCRO: AFTER MY PARENTS BOUGHT ME MY FIRST CASIO 61-KEY KEYBOARD BACK in 1997. I'D PLAY HOOKIE AND MIMIC OTHER ARTISTS ON THE RADIO AT THE TIME FOR HOURS, SOMETIMES DAYS! I STARTED GHOST-PRODUCING/WRITING FOR VARIOUS UPCOMING UNSIGNED AND SIGNED ARTISTS IN THIS INDUSTRY AT A YOUNG AGE. I KNEW MUSIC WAS AN ESCAPE TO PROJECT MY “THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS” TO THE UNIVERSE WISHING THAT HOPEFULLY IT WOULD INSPIRE OTHERS. MY BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS NIYELL AND AMINAH, MY TEAM, MY DAY 1 ROAD DOG ACEMONEY, MY DMD PARTNERS AND AMINAHS MOM WOULD REMIND ME OF MY PURPOSE WHEN THEY SAW ME FALLING OFF TRACK, LOSING HOPE OR BEING DISTRACTED BY IRRELEVANCE. ABOVE ALL FIRST AND FOREMOST MY YOUNGER BROTHER ISAIAH AND ALL 4 OF MY PARENTS WOULD ENCOURAGE ME TO KEEP GOD FIRST IN ANY DECISION MAKING FOLLOW MY HEART, CHASE MY PASSION, BE PERSISTENT, CONSISTENT, REMAIN HUMBLE AND STAY TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE BORN TO BE. GOD GAVE ME THESE GIFTS FOR A REASON, BUT YOU GOTTA CROSS YOUR T'S AND DOT YOUR I'S. IN ORDER TO BE A GREAT LEADER WE MUST FOLLOW AND LISTEN. THATS WHAT THE GREATS DO.


VALIDATED: WHAT WAS THE FIRST PIECE OF PRODUCERS EQUIPMENT YOU OWNED? 

DARNELL MCCRO: A 61-KEY CASIO MULTI-SOUND BANK KEYBOARD. ME AND MY DOG ACE WOULD SIT ON MY STOOP BACK IN BROOKLYN FOR HOURS COMPOSING MELODY/LYRICS TO THE FACTORY SOUNDING DRUM BREAKS/LOOPS. LOL THAT’S JUST HOW DEVOTED, TALENTED AND DETERMINED WE WERE!


VALIDATED: WHATS YOUR GOTO PIECE OF PRODUCERS EQUIPMENT NOW-A-DAYS? 

DARNELL MCCRO: NI MASCHINE, MY NOVATION 61-KEY MIDI KEYBOARD CONTROLLER, LOGIC AND REASON. THE MAJORITY OF MY PRODUCTION IS CREATED DIGITALLY USING THE TONS OF SOUND KITS I HAVE.


VALIDATED: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? 

DARNELL MCCRO: CONSTANTLY GRINDING AND OVER WORKING MYSELF. STAYING TRUE AND BELIEVING IN ME, MY TEAM, MY MULTI-TALENTS AND GODS PURPOSE. I'M ALWAYS DEVELOPING AND MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE BECAUSE I STRONGLY AGREE "NETWORKING IS KEY" ITS A "WHO YOU KNOW' WORLD IN LIFE PERIOD. I HAVE A PASSION FOR HELPING OR SERVING OTHERS, THATS JUST ME BY NATURE. SOME PPL THINK ITS A DOWNFALL BECAUSE I HELD MYSELF UP FOR YEARS PUTTING OTHERS BEFORE ME AND WHEN THEIR SITUATION POPPED I WAS LEFT BEHIND. BUT ITS COOL EVERYONE HAS THEIR TIME TO SHINE PLUS I STRONGLY FEEL 2018 IS MY YEAR! THE YEAR ALL MY HARD WORK WILL NOT GO UNNOTICED, THE YEAR THAT I WILL FINALLY BE DISCOVERED BY THE RIGHT PEOPLE. GOD HELPS AND OPENS DOORS FOR THOSE WHOM HELP AND ALIGN THEMSELVES CORRECTLY. SO IM GONNA CONTINUE TO WORK SMART, GRIND IN BUSINESS WALKING BY FAITH PUSHING TO EXECUTE MY DREAMS.


VALIDATED: WHAT DID YOU HAVE TO SACRIFICE TO EXCEL AT YOUR CRAFT? 

DARNELL MCCRO: AT ONE POINT I MADE A HUGE SACRIFICE AND SOLD ALL MY MUSIC EQUIPMENT WHICH MADE ME FEEL UNHAPPY MUSIC LESS FOR AWHILE. BUT I KNEW I HAD TO TAKE A HIATUS FROM THE MUSIC SCENE TO PRIORITIZE AND DO WHAT WAS RIGHT. GAINING MORE STABILITY FOR MYSELF AND FAMILY WAS MOST IMPORTANT FOR ME IN ORDER TO GROW AND CATCH GODS BLESSINGS. IT MAY HAVE SET ME BACK FOR A BRIEF TIME BUT I STILL GOT IT! SOMETIMES LIFE HITS US AND WE NEED TO TAKE A FEW STEPS BACK TO SELF REFLECT BEFORE MOVING FORWARD. “A MAN AIN’T A MAN IF HE CAN’T GAIN IT ALL BACK AFTER LOSING IT.” THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I DID.


VALIDATED: WHAT GOALS DID YOU HAVE SET BEFORE YOU STARTED YOUR CAREER? 

DARNELL MCCRO: ONE OF THE MAJOR GOALS I SET IS TO BECOME A LEADING PRODUCER IN THE INDUSTRY AND HOPEFULLY I D MAKE A GREAT FIT FOR AN A&R/EXECUTIVE/GM AT A MAJOR RECORD/DISTRIBUTION COMPANY THEN EVENTUALLY CREATING MY OWN FOR LEGACY PURPOSE. I HAVE A PASSION FOR HELPING AND SERVING OTHERS. ONE OF MY ULTIMATE GOALS IS TO BE RECOGNIZED IN HISTORY AS ONE OF THE GREAT MOGULS/ENTREPRENEURS WHO CLIMBED AND PUSHED THROUGH THAT LADDER OF STRUGGLES AT THE BOTTOM ONLY TO REACH SUCCESS AT THE HIGHEST PEAK.


VALIDATED: WHO IS ONE OF YOUR MENTORS? HOW DID YOU FIRST MEET THEM AND HOW HAS WORKING WITH THEM INFLUENCED YOUR OWN PRODUCTION? 

DARNELL MCCRO: I'VE HAD SEVERAL INFLUENTIAL MENTORS IN THE EARLY STAGES OF MY CAREER PRODUCING, WRITING AND MANAGING SUCH AS CHAUNCEY JACKSON (SIRI MUSIC GROUP) ANDRE THORPE (ICM & ASCAP) BUT HONESTLY THINKING BACK TO MY VERY FIRST MENTOR. IT WAS A VERY HUMBLE GUY NAMED EDWIN HALL WHO WORKED AT ST JOHNS RECREATION CENTER LOCATES IN THE CROWN HEIGHTS SECTION OF BROOKLYN. MR HALL WAS THE VERY FIRST MENTOR WHO FORSEEN MY PASSION AND ADMIRED MY MULTI-TALENTS/GIFTS. HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO CONVERT PLAYING THE PIANO/SINGING INTO LAYING DOWN BEATS AND TRACKING MY OWN RECORDS VIA REASON, PROTOOLS. HE HAS MADE A VERY INFLUENTIAL IMPACT ON MY CAREER BUT GUIDING ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION FROM THE BEGINNING AND NO BULLSHITTING ME. MR HALL WAS ONE WHO GAVE ME MY FIRST SHOT AT UTILIZING PROFESSIONAL AUDIO/VIDEO EQUIPMENT TO HELP CHASE MY PASSION. HE WANTED ME TO EXCEL AND I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL!


VALIDATED: WHO WOULD YOU SAY INSPIRES YOU MOST? 

DARNELL MCCRO: GOOD QUESTION. ON A PERSONAL NOTE ALL 4 OF MY PARENTS, MY TWO PRINCESSES NIYELL & AMINAH & MY MUSICAL PARTNERS. FROM AN INDUSTRY STANDPOINT I’M INSPIRED BY KANYE WESTS STRUGGLE/STORY AND CONFIDENCE. MOST RECENTLY I VE ALSO BEEN EXTREMELY INSPIRED BY ARTIST LOGIC AFTER VIEWING HIS DOCUMENTARY ON RAPTURE VIA NETFLIX. HIS STRUGGLE, STORY, DETERMINATION, GRIND, & PERSISTENCY REALLY HIT MY SOUL! IT REMINDED ME OF A REFLECTION TO MYSELF WHILE STRIVING TO BE ON TOP COMING FROM THE BOTTOM.


VALIDATED: AS A PRODUCER, COMPARE THE DIFFERENCES IN WHEN YOU MAKE A BEAT BY YOURSELF TO WHEN YOU BUILD IT STEP BY STEP WITH A PARTICULAR ARTIST. IS ONE MORE EFFECTIVE THAN THE OTHER? 

DARNELL MCCRO: WHEN BUILDING A BEAT BY MYSELF I USUALLY BUILD OFF RAW VIBES OR A INNER THOUGHT THAT’S BEEN BOGGLING MY BRAIN FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. I DO NOT HAVE A SIGNATURE SOUND, I PRODUCE OFF OF IMPULSE, EVOKED EMOTIONS, OR WHAT’S IN FRONT OF ME AT THE TIME BECAUSE I’M IN MY OWN ZONE. HOWEVER, WHEN BUILDING IT WITH PARTICULAR ARTISTS YOUR ENERGIES/VIBES INTERTWINE WHICH BUILDS CHEMISTRY THAT HELPS ALLOW YOU TO PROJECT THOSE VISIONS OR INNER THOUGHTS INTO REALITY. EVERY IDEA STARTS WITH AN INTUITIVE HUNCH SO IF THEIR IS NO CHEMISTRY BETWEEN THE PRODUCER/ARTISTS CHANCES ARE YOU WON’T DELIVER YOUR BEST PRODUCT. REALIZE I SAID BEST BECAUSE LONGEVITY WISE AFTER PUTTING IN COUNTLESS HOURS OF HARD WORK, DETERMINATION AND PERSISTENCY INTO YOUR CRAFT GOD WILL OPEN DOORS TO LEVEL UP.


VALIDATED: WHO ARE YOUR TOP 3 HIP-HOP PRODUCERS OF ALL TIME AND WHY? 

DARNELL MCCRO: TIMBALAND, THE NEPTUNE’S, SWISS BEATS. WHY? SIMPLE... I VE ACTUALLY WITNESSED ALL THREE PRODUCERS MAKE THEIR BEATS FROM SCRATCH!!! WHICH IS MORE CREATIVE AND EFFECTIVE TO ME AS A PRODUCER VERSUS SOMEONE JUST ATTACHING THEIR NAMES TO A TRACK FOR CREDIT PURPOSE. LOL


VALIDATED: WHICH MAJOR ARTIST HAVE YOU WORKED WITH? 

DARNELL MCCRO: SO FAR I VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF WORKING WITH DIPSET, UNCLE MURDA, AUGUST ALSINA, BAKEMAN GLOBAL, D. CHAMBERZ PLUS MORE!


VALIDATED:  WHAT IS DISTINCTIVE ABOUT A PRODUCTION? 

DARNELL MCCRO: THE FACT IT REQUIRES A SET OF SKILLS TO COMBINE RAW SOUNDING COMPONENTS TO BUILD A MASTERPIECE. NOT EVERYONE KNOWS HOW TO DO THIS ONLY TALENTED GENIUS. LOL


VALIDATED: WHAT UPCOMING PROJECTS CAN WE EXPECT FOR THE 2ND HALF OF 2018? 

DARNELL MCCRO: I HAVE BEEN MOVING IN SILENCE THESE PAST TWO YEARS WORKING EXTREMELY HARD BEHIND THE SCENES OF A LOT OF UPCOMING SINGLES AND PROJECTS, INCLUDING MY OWN SINGLE AND PROJECT WHICH WILL BE RELEASED SOMETIME DURING THE 2ND HALF OF 2018. 


VALIDATED: WHERE CAN THE READERS SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR MUSIC ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA? 

DARNELL MCCRO: FAMILY & FANS CAN SUPPORT ME AND MY TEAMS MUSICAL JOURNEY VIA THE FOLLOWING:

INSTAGRAM.COM/IAMDMCCRO
SOUNDCLOUD.COM/IAMDMCCRO
TWITTER.COM/IAMDMCCRO
YOUTUBE.COM/MCCROMUSICGROUP
SNAPCHAT: IAMDMCCRO

Troy Hendrickson