A Conversation with Kenny Segal

Photo courtesy of Kenny Segal

Introduction and interview by Curtis Brodner

Kenny Segal is a prolific hip-hop producer based out of Los Angeles. Since his humble roots as a Drum and Bass DJ at University of Southern California, Kenny has worked alongside peers who can match his talent and push him to grow his craft and style.

He earned his stripes in the Project Blowed scene, a community of eccentric and innovative hip-hop artists during the 90s and 00s, working alongside titans of the LA underground. Now he runs with Team Supreme, a production supergroup famous for their “Beat Cyphers,” challenges where members work to one-up each other with beats that use the same samples and tempo. Recently he’s been churning out the most complex, forward thinking and gratifying beats of his career, producing for rappers like Milo, Busdriver and Open Mike Eagle, alongside solo projects and commercial work.

I caught up with Kenny in New York City for a conversation about his journey from being a kid with some early production software and a computer science scholarship, to being a critically lauded, full-time producer.

 

*Below is a list of references in chronological order to help the uninitiated follow along. Included are links to the musicians’ work for auditory context as well.

 

  • Daddy Kev: a prolific LA producer and DJ, Daddy Kev is the owner of Alpha Pup Records
  • Vic: Vic Mensa is a Chicago rapper who has worked closely with Chance the Rapper in the past.
  • “Recited the first verse of boundaries:” Kenny’s referring to Inner City Boundaries by Freestyle Fellowship, the biggest act to come out of Project Blowed
  • Team Supreme: a producer collective that Kenny works with.
  • Low End Theory: a club night in Los Angeles founded by Daddy Kev. It’s the follow up to Concrete Jungle, where many Project Blowed rappers would emcee.
  • Abstract Rude: rapper and one of the originators of Project Blowed.
  • Perfect Hair Tour: the tour for Busdriver’s album, Perfect Hair, that came out in 2014.
  • Busdriver: a Project Blowed Veteran who is a regularly collaborates with Kenny.
  • Milo (Rory): Kenny’s refers to him as Rory. Milo was part of the rap collective Hellfyre Club, alongside Project Blowed veterans like Open Mike Eagle, Nocando and Busdriver. Kenny Segal was the sole producer of his album “So the Flies Don’t Come.”
  • “I think it was Dane that replied to me:” Kenny is referring to Great Dane, a Team Supreme Producer signed to Alpha Pup.
  • Mr. Carmack: a Team Supreme Producer.
  • Mike Parvizi: a Team Supreme Producer and one half of the production duo Penthouse Penthouse.
  • Future Islands: Sam Herring’s band, Sam has recently been rapping under the moniker Hemlock Ernst.