Shondrae "Bangladesh" Crawford : FROM BARBER TO A MILLIE.....

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Billboard Q&A: Shondrae "Bangladesh" Crawford
July 28, 2008 - RB Hip-Hop

By Hillary Crosley, N.Y.

When barber-cum-producer Shondrae "Bangladesh" Crawford left his native Des Moines, Iowa, he was only armed with a set of hair clippers. However, more than ten years and one beat machine later, he's crafted soundtracks for artists like Ludacris, 8Ball & MJG, Kelis and recently reached a peak with Lil Wayne's "A Milli." The track sat at No. 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for three weeks consecutively, staved off only by Keyshia Cole's "Heaven Sent." Crawford spoke with Billboard about his beginnings and why his breakout song, "A Milli," was a little disappointing.

Lil Wayne's "A Milli" is now No. 1 on the Urban National airplay chart, but how did you begin working with Lil Wayne?

I got the song to him through a mutual friend. He heard the beat like last year and he loved it, it was a no brainer.

How'd you begin producing and how would you describe your creative style?

I just really starting studying sounds and the know how behind producing. I used to love going into the studio and just watching and it became my passion. I used to cut hair and I saved up to buy my own beat machine in 1998. I began producing with Ludacris. I knew him when he was an Atlanta radio personality, Chris Lova Lova, and he'd come to my barbershop for a haircut. I'd let him hear my beats and he had record deals on the table then but wouldn't sign because he wanted to do it independently first. I did the majority of his first album, "Back for the First Time," along with his first big single, "What's Your Fantasy." I also did "Throw Dem Bows." Most recently, I did 8ball and MJG's "Don't Make" and "Forever" from their "Living Legends" album. I also did Kelis "I'm Bossy," Ciara's "Hotline" and some tracks on Missy Elliott's last album.

What do you have in the pipeline?

I've got a song on Busta's next album called "I Got Bass" and Tay Dizm's, T-Pain's artist, single "Beam Me Up." I'm also working with Floetry's Marsha Ambrosius, E-40 and Sean Garrett. Sean and I have been creating songs for a few of EMI Publishing's new artists.

The most surprisingly calls that I've gotten lately were from Jay-Z and 50 Cent. We'll see what happens, I've been trying to make beats for them. They just have to hear it, I would just make something along the lines of what I do. In the past, I've made beats like 'man if only Jay-Z could hear this.’

What is your next step?

I'm trying to get to the point where I'll give an artist what I think they should have. I could give Jay-Z 1,000 beats and he might not pick one. I want to be on so many people's radar that I can give him one beat and he'll rock it.

With the chart and radio success of "A Milli," how do you feel about your accomplishments?

Wayne is a star on the song and the beat is wide open to attract the masses. I'm a producer, but of course I'm going to have my own opinion on the final song. It messed me up for a minute because "A Millie" doesn't really have a hook. Just like anything else, when you expect to hear one thing and get something else you're kind of disappointed. But "A Milli" isn't bad. It's like when I heard Kelis' version of "Bossy," I didn't like it. But it's not for men, it's some straight girl shit. And "A Milli" is hard, it's the hottest shit of '08.

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