In our final installment of our epic interview with Bryan-Michael Cox, we talk to him about his amazing work with Jagged Edge, the challenges facing the r&b genre, and what’s next in his career.
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BMC: Well I was signed to this company called Noontime and Brian and Brandon Casey were writing songs for all the producers at Noontime; Jay Dub, Jazzy Pha, Teddy Bishop…so when I first got signed to Noontime, I was making beats and couldn’t get nobody to write to none of my tracks. They asked my manager “who the kid in that room? What’s he working on?”, so they tell him, “Oh yeah, he’s Bryan Cox, we just signed him. He’s cool. Y’all wanna work with him.” So Chris put me with Brian and Brandon and we’d met before but the first day in the studio it clicked like crazy so we were like,“This is it”. There was not a day for a good 4 years from 98-2002/2003, there was not a day or a week that went by that I wasn’t with Jagged Edge. Like we spent so much time together and we made so many records it was just crazy.
RNB Magazine: Who are some of your favorite producers?
BMC: Quincy Jones, naturally. The OG, OG, Triple OG. I love Teddy Riley. Teddy Riley is one of the main reasons I produce records. He inspired a lot and is one of the greatest to me. Of course LA and Babyface, Jimmy & Terry. I mean these are producers, these guys are, y’know what I mean? The epitome of production. Dr. Dre. I’m a huge DeVante Swing fan. Huge Bad Boy/Hitmen fan. Dallas Austin is one of my favorites, Organized Noize, of course Jermaine Dupri. Rick Rubin. Ted Templeton. Now when I say Ted Templeton, he’s not to be confused with Rob Temperton. Ted Templeton is a producer who is a rock producer, but he produced the Doobie Bros. and he’s just ill. I love his approach to production. Norman Whitfield was an amazing producer. His approach was ill. George Clinton. Maurice White is one of my favorites because Earth Wind and Fire records sound like nothing. Prince is one of the illest producers out there. People overlook him because he’s an artist but he produced mad hits for so many other people. People kind of overlook that because he’s an artist and we don’t separate the producer from the artist.
RNB Magazine: I know that you’ve written and produced for so many other people that nobody ever has really heard you sing. Talk about your artistry and how you really plan to present that next year.
BMC: I’m trying to figure it out because it’s so many directions I can go because you don’t see a DJ who also produces, who also sings. So I think there’s a lane there that I could own. So I’m just trying to find the perfect blend of sound that’s r&b enough, that’s danceable also, but I also write love songs. So I’m just trying to figure out how to do all of it. I just been doing ideas. I have a million tracks, obviously, I just been goin through figuring out what sounds like the direction I wanna do. I may do a couple projects, or a 3 part series that’s three different styles of music I definitely want to incorporate the piano element and the DJ element.
RNB Magazine: What do you think about the state of R&B?
BMC: Where we come from, r&b consumers like to have things in their hand. Tangible product that they can open up and look at the credits. The unfortunate thing is that technology has made it…like some of these cars don’t even come with CD players anymore. You have to adjust to the technology.
I also feel like our young vets aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Like they’re finally giving it to the old heads from like the 60’s & 70’s, they’re finally getting their just due. But the younger ones aren’t getting their just due like they should.
It was one style of r&b like the Drake rappish/singish lane which is dope too. But that’s all you’ve heard for the last few years. So it’s good to hear that and it’s good to hear Torey Lanez & Bryson & all that plus what SZA is doin. Plus what Kehlani is doing. Kehlani is on some Coko shit. SZA is just super dope and eclectic. She’s an r&b singer. H.E.R., these are singers and it’s good to hear. But we need more & radio needs to support these artists.