By Brianna Smith-Herman
Memphis’ music scene leads to more than a handful of hidden gems! The city’s youngest and brightest talents are actively developing their own distinct takes on what the Memphis hip-hop/rap scene can be… and let’s just say we are going fed!
The born-and-raised Memphian RealRed — given name: Jorres Nelson –is building on recent success and elevating himself, and the city, into the broader public with his latest works on Moneybagg Yo’s A Gangsta’s Pain. Memphis Rapper Moneybagg Yo earned his first No. 1 with the 22-track set that was released April 23 but also returned to the top spot the week afterward, giving Moneybagg a double placing at the top of the chart. Real Red produced and engineered 10 tracks from the album and was named #2 R&B/Hip Hop Producer by the highly acclaimed Billboard charts for his work.
His production is defined by its smoothness, forcing melodies out of any artist who slides on his beats. His sound mixes a trap style with bouncy synths and a knack for catchy melodies. RealRed’s laid-back, unhurried rhythm and heavy bass sound is extremely Memphis, however his beats provide a diverse melodic canvas that any artist could paint on.
“I feel like my sound challenges people. My sound is influenced by me growing up playing the drums in church. I have a lot of soul in my sound,” said Real Red.
He displays his diverse ability on A Gangsta’s Pain with songs such as “Memphganistan,” “GO!,” “Shottas (Lala),” “Time Today,” “Hate It Here” and “Clear Da Air” which all lean heavier on the knocking bass and 808s formula of grungy chords and wicked hi-hat beats, but then on tracks such as “Wockesha,” which samples Ashanti’s “Foolish,” “FR” and “Bipolar Virgo,” RealRed switches up the pace and forces Bagg to approach these songs with more vulnerability.
We caught up with Real Red to get his thoughts on his influence in the Memphis hip hop scene, his latest accomplishments, working on Moneybagg Yo’s A Gangsta’s Pain album, and what’s next for him.
What mainstream artists gave you your first big break?
NLE Choppa and BlocBoy JB were the first mainstream artists to give me an opportunity to produce beats for them. I dropped my first album, Only The Real Relate, May 8, 2020 on all music streaming platforms. It was a guest-filled album that showcased my production style and Memphis’ rising rappers, such as Big Boogie, Co Cash, Lil Beezy, Fast Cash Boyz, Kevo Muney, Krucial, Casino Jizzle, Big30, YNC Capo, Tee Top, Big Homiie G, and BlocBoy JB.
Real Red ft FastCash Boyz x Big 30 “Gates to the 8”
How did it feel to be recognized by Billboard as the #2 Rap and R&B/HipHop Producer in the music industry?
It felt unbelievable! I have been working overtime the past four years to perfect my craft. I was happy but still realized it was work to be done! My favorite producer to collaborate with is Memphis’ own producer YC, so for both of us to be recognized, him as #1 and I as #2 was a big damn deal.
What artists do you enjoy working with the most?
Kevo Muney, Moneybagg Yo, Pooh Shiesty and Trip$tar just to name a few. Working with Moneybagg Yo on A Gangsta’s Pain pushed me to another gear because he tests all your abilities. I engineered and produced so I was a part of every bit of the process. Everything with Bagg is about perfection!
What artist do you hope to work with this year?
I hope to work with Drake. How he’s able to put the vibes together… is just different.
What has been the most rewarding accomplishment so far in your career?
This year so far, I got five Billboard charting songs all at one time.
“Time Today” (#31), “Shottas(Lala)” (#35), Go! (#52), “Wockesha” (#59) and “Clear Da Air” (#100). That was by far the most rewarding experience so far!