Exclusive: 88-Keys Teams W/BFF Kanye West For New LP

Danica Dow

August 30, 2008 10:00 AM

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In this SOHH Exclusive we talk to long-time producer 88-Keys about how he got his musical moniker and his upcoming debut album, The Death of Adam, which is executive produced by Kanye West.

88-Keys was just 15 years old when legendary producer Large Professor gave him his moniker. At the time 88 was working for a well-known record store in New York City.

When the Large Professor walked in, young 88 was teaching himself how to use the Ensoniq ASR-10 keyboard. "I had a beat going on there," he said.

"Without any introductions the Large Professor automatically starts freestyling to my beat. So then he comes over to me and goes, 'We got 88-Keys on the grand piano,' in a freestyle. "I'm like aw man I just got dubbed from the great one."

Since then, 88 has produced tracks for artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Consequence and The Pharcyde and now, he's ready to step up to the microphone on his debut album, The Death of Adam.

"The entire album is about the power of the punan, if you will," said 88-Keys.  "The album follows the story line of my man Adam who passed away and basically how he died. It all started off with him catching a boner one morning, morning wood, and his life starts to spin out of control from there."

The lead single, "Stay Up! (Viagra)" features 88's best friend and executive producer of the project, Kanye West.  The two producers met back in the day at Just Blaze's Baseline Studio and have keep in touch ever since.

Despite their friendship, 88 says he never explicitly asked Kayne to get involved with his project.

"I really didn't approach him at all," he explains. "Him and I, we're best friends, so he's kinda been there almost every step of the way. So just me playing him the album, he was diggin' it a lot.  He liked it a lot."

Though he was initially reluctant to bring him aboard, 88 is happy that he let Ye step in as Executive Producer at the tail end of his recording process.

"He definitely brought something to the table as far as the story line is concerned," said 88.  "He actually helped me rewrite the story, trim the fat off the album and then he gave the story a brand new twist ending that was so genius."

In addition to Kanye, The Death of Adam features alternative rock group Shitake Monkey, Kid Kudi, J.Davey, Redman, Bilal and Phontae of Little Brother.

Though his guest features span a wide variety of genres, 88 says there was a method to his madness.  "They all have two things [in] common.  One, they're all my friends and two, they're all like super dope at what they do."

88-Keys' debut album, The Death of Adam comes out on October 28th.

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