In 2018 when I won my first Grammy Award for a song I did on Jay-Z and Beyonce's album "The Carters", I was blown away, yet curious...
What was I curious about?
I asked myself a serious question...
"How did I get here?"
Years ago when I started making beats and started to take my career seriously, I had no idea how I would achieve such a thing..
A Grammy win?? Let alone a nomination..
10 years prior to this Grammy Win (2008) I was experiencing those first feelings of potential success.
Around this time I just started to work with 50 Cent and G-Unit (I even signed a management deal with them that most people don't know about!)
This was when G-Unit was literally on top of the world. Millions of records sold.
I thought this was it. I thought this was how I was going to take my career to the next level, win Grammys and financially set myself up for LIFE.
Those things never happened..
Although working with G-Unit at the time was incredible and I learned so much and met so many amazing people, it wasn't the "Grammy moment" or "insane life changing moment" I thought it would instantly be..
Instead, it was an era that inspired me to step outside of the box and try new things.
Over the years after 2008, I would go on to do many things.
A LOT of trying, doing, experimenting and thinking outside of the box.
"Blap-Kits" were born in 2012 (before the drum-kit boom) and appeared on almost every commercially released album since (and still are to this day).
My producer podcast was born soon after in 2013.
I started engaging more with the producer community and did beat critiques and meet-ups (before meet-ups were cool.. back then, you were "weird" for meeting up with your supporters).
In 2015 I built a studio in Brooklyn, NY and it was home to some of the greatest music I've made in that time.
Every single day I would go to my studio in Brooklyn and from 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM I would do one thing.. non stop.....
Create full beats, melodies and loops.
I averaged about 10 beats/loops per day.
Hundreds per month.
For 2 years straight.
Those ideas I made ended up becoming some of my greatest songs and placements.
The Jay-Z/Beyonce song that won me a Grammy was from a melody I composed and sent to Boi-1da.
The rest was history.
What did I learn in all of this?
Repetition and consistency are the key to unlocking the unknown.
My unknown was a Grammy (amongst many other things).
There is something to be said about REPETITION and the act of doing something, repeatedly, over and over and over, even if people think you are weird or crazy.
In fact, if people DON'T think you're weird or crazy, you're probably not doing enough.
In the years since, I've built multiple businesses (even my own PLUG-INS), gotten placements off of my own beats, loops, and visa versa (10 Grammy nominations and 2x Grammy Wins).
My 2nd Grammy win was a Latin Grammy with Nathy Peluso for a song called "Sana Sana".
All a result of this following:
2. BELIEF IN MYSELF
3. OTHER PEOPLE THINKING I'M "WEIRD"
"Weird" is a strong word. I look at it as another way of saying "Unique".
We are all UNIQUE in our own way.
The question is: Are you willing to tap into your "uniqueness" with full confidence and repetition?
I hope so.
I believe greatness can be achieved by simply applying this philosophy.
It doesn't matter what it is.
It doesn't matter who it's with, or why you do it.
If it feels good, if you believe in it, if you're not hurting anyone during the process and if you experience absolute JOY, then keep doing it.
Over and over and over and over again.
Something cool might happen....
Ramon "!llmind" Ibanga Jr. is a 2x Grammy Winning/10x Grammy Nominated multi-platinum music producer who's worked with artists such as Kanye West, J Cole, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce & Jay-Z, Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Romeo Santos, Lin Manuel Miranda (Hamilton + Moana) 2 Chainz & many more. He is the founder of "Blap-Kits", a series of "beat-making" tools available for music producers which eventually helped pioneer the now multi-million dollar per year "drum kit & sound pack" industry. As a consistent advocate and voice in the music production world, his weekly podcast "Illmind Put The Loop On" boasted a die-hard music producer driven following, including industry special guests such as Boi-1da, Murda Beatz, Ryan Leslie, Russ, Brian Michael Cox and many more. He is also known for traveling to various cities, bringing together up-coming music creators in "secret studio locations" to network, vibe, play music & engage in their creative community. In 2021, Illmind introduced a new side to his business by engaging with WEB3. He released the first ever "sample pack NFT" which sold for 4.5 ETH ($9,000 at the time) and sent a shockwave in the industry, built a metaverse recording studio (for VR meet ups) and launched his coveted pfp project Squad Of Knights NFT, boasting collectors/members such as Gary Vee, Rob Markman, Altcoin Daily and many web2/web3 industry vets.
GET ALL OF MY DRUM-KITS, LOOPS AND SOUNDS:
DRUM KITS + LOOPS: https://blapkits.com/
MASTER CLASS: https://www.mindofawolf.com/
LOOP AUCTION: https://www.bidloops.com