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About Ben Rome: There aren’t many producers in their mid-twenties who can point to nearly twenty years of experience producing hip hop music, but Benny Rome can remember when it all started. He was 6 years old and heard Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and it made him feel different than any other music ever had. By the time he was 7 years old, Ben was recording and making music every day. He would make primitive beats by switching the double cassette player’s tapes on a karaoke machine back and forth until he had a simple beat usually with a drum loop included with the keyboard, a simple bass line, synths and a piano line, and then freestyle some words over the beat and, of course, include a chorus section. Hearing the finished product inspired him to keep making new songs day in and day out.
That early interest in music never waned, and actually intensified as he went through school. A midi keyboard, a copy of Acid Pro 2.0, and a junior high-school friend interested in Rap, led to Ben’s first CD. Though the content was juvenile and the beats were a bit rough, it was Ben’s first opportunity to produce a full album with a rapping partner. He taught his friend how to format a verse into bars, how to build up the beat for certain parts and break it down for other parts, how to format songs for a duo and complete a project from top to bottom that was finished and ready to sell. The album got good feedback and he recorded another album with an additional member, forming his first group, The Perfect Combination. It was during this time that Ben learned how to write for a vocalist (the new member was a soul/rnb singer) and reference vocals including harmonies and specific cadences.
Ben’s passion for music continued in high school, where he produced the album My Own State of Mind, with Darrel Bibb (Swift D). By this time he was using MIDI, chopping samples and orchestrating around the samples. In 2003, Ben heard his first song played on a DC-area urban radio station. In 2007 he moved to Winter Park, FL, to attend the recording engineering program at Full Sail University. At Full Sail he learned how to use an expanded set of recording technologies and gained extensive experience regarding the ins and outs of MIDI programming and how to wire and operate a full, professional studio setup.
In 2008, Ben moved to Atlanta to join Drum Majors Atlanta, a production group gaining popularity in the city and surrounding areas mainly for their work with major-label talents such as Yung LA, Shawty Lo, Rich Boy, Juelz Santana’s Skull Gang, Ya Boy, Mullage, and a rising RnB Star named Young Fletcher. Drum Majors also added to their buzz by working with rising independent acts such as Rich Kidz and K. Camp among many others.
In 2011, Ben decided to leave the group to focus on forming his own production company. While putting the venture together he has had beat placements on VH-1 shows, with MMG’s Gunplay, the entire roster of Big Play Ent., Dose and Taylor J. Most recently, he expanded work with DMV artists, and continues to work with various artists all over the country.
His new venture to launch in the first quarter of 2014, Basketcase Music Group, is a custom production and songwriting company. Though consumers can buy high-quality, radio-ready beats from Basketcase, they will offer artists the opportunity to collaborate with Ben and his team on making full albums that have their own feel and theme, like some of the classic rap and hip-hop albums Ben grew up listening to. Ben is interested in working with artists to produce bodies of work that flow and have cohesive, high-quality production, not just songs put together on an album. When Ben produces entire projects or is the main collaborator on the vision of an artist's project, each project’s sound bed is unique to the particular artist, and artists are welcome to include any of the Basketcase team’s song concepts, reference vocals, and even cadence ideas in their project.
You can hear Ben’s early hip-hop influences in his beats. He describes his style as very versatile—he doesn’t have a particular sound, but there are consistencies that will always be in his beats. For example, many of his beats are complex and very melody driven but still have bouncy, catchy percussion and a heavy low end that knocks in the club.
In the coming months, Ben has big plans for Basketcasemusic.com and the team he is forming. Additionally, Ben has upcoming work with one of Atlanta's powerhouse independent labels, Big Play Ent., Jackie Chain, and Scrilla (CTE), with much more to come. What excites him most is the opportunity to create an original sound for an artist and be a part of successful careers, not just songs.
It’s hard to imagine that someone in their twenties has nearly twenty years of music experience. To Ben, hip-hop music is a calling that he discovered at a very young age and has spent thousands of hours of creative production honing his craft. Basketcase Music Group is the culmination of all that effort.
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