By Fawn Renee
Polow Da Don may not have reached the pinnacle of success that some of his peers have, but the colorful producer is well on his way. Unless you have been living in a hole for the past two years, you have at some point jammed to the hard-hitting bass, heavy synths, unconventional horns and other knick knacks that have made the 28-year old Atlanta native a rarity in today’s sub par music scene. If not, don’t think for a minute that he isn’t prepared to bring you up to speed. But above and beyond this thin layer of arrogance lies a list of hits that would silence the most boisterous naysayer. After all, with chat toppers like Ludacris’ “Runaway Love,” Fergie’s “London Bridge,” and Rich Boy’s “Throw Some Ds,” over the course of just one year, who could deny that Polow is on top of his game?
Whether you like him or not is irrelevant, at least to him. The outspoken, colorful, intelligent super producer has bigger fish to fry-changing the music game. Polow took a break from the studio to speak candidly with AllHipHop.com about his formative years as a rapper with Jim Crow , his unparalleled production technique, and why he is the “King of the White Girls.” Take notes.
AllHipHop.com: You've been like a silent killer in the industry. I still remember hearing Fergie’s “London Bridge” and wondering, "Who is that?" How does it feel to finally be in the spotlight?
Polow Da Don: I agree. I want people to think, “Who the f*** did that?” That [Fergie] track was that track for me. So life for me is incredible because of the way I handle it. I’m just a super down-to-earth, humble dude. I make my s*** look big and sound big, but if I met you anywhere it’s like, you know… I’m still my parents’ child. I still talk to them everyday, so you can’t help but stay humble. So I love it, but I like to keep my foundation solid.
AllHipHop.com: Did you have a big presence on the underground scene in Atlanta before going main stream?
Polow Da Don: Yeah, I had a big presence because of high school. I was the attractive dude, the athletic dude. I ran with the bad boys in school. I was always popular.
AHH: Listen at you.
Polow: I mean that’s what I heard. [Laughs] So I did a video, "Shawty Swing My Way" and got notoriety on some pretty boy s**t. Then I started rappin’ with Jim Crow. We were successful, locally, and we had our breakout markets. I’ve always been into the music scene real heavy. So I think all that helped me in my transition of becoming a producer, because the T-Pains and [Ludacris’] and Jazze Phas already knew me, you know? And Lil' Jon was my first manager as a rapper, when I was like 14, so that foundation was already there. Plus I was a cool dude. Actually, Luda called me up for the track we did, so it was dope. I think how you treat people, how I treated people, helped me get to where I am.
AllHipHop.com: Atlanta-based producers are very unique in their own right. Jazze Pha doesn’t sound like Khao, Khao doesn’t sound like Lil’ Jon, and so on. What element of your production is different? Why would someone come to you for a track rather than one of these guys?
Polow Da Don: I think I'm the most experimental producer, who understands the essence of making a hit and being unique. So I separate each artist and track apart from each other. Like you said, Jazze don’t sound like Khao, but I don’t even sound like myself compared to whatever the last record is I did. I think I put the most work in. Although I have a natural talent, I really think about this s**t. I think that’s what makes me unique. I think music is sick right now and I try to serve music its medicine.
AllHipHop.com: You've worked with everyone from Ludacris and Jamie Foxx to The Pussy Cat Dolls, Fergie and Gwen Stefani. Do you think it's the mark of a great producer to show that kind of versatility in today's melting pot of music?
Polow Da Don: Versatility makes you a great producer because it shows you respect music and have paid attention and learned something over the years. It shows how much you’re dedicated to music itself. If you treat music as a hustle, it’ll treat you like a hustle. But if you love it, it’ll love you back; and people like Jimmy Iovine, L.A. Reid and R. Kelly, they can hear that because they love music too and have been around. The state of urban music is just where all the dope boys and people who don’t want nine to fives get into it for the hustle, but the game is going to eat them up and spit them out because they didn’t put the time into it. Like Craig Mack said, “You won’t be around next year.” So versatility is the mark of a good producer. Like, everyone’s on this pop s**t-