Getting His First Official Break In The Business With The Track “Why I Love You,” Performed By J Records Artist Shells On The Coach Carter Soundtrack, Sharif “Reefa” Slater has come a long way in the music business. This Brooklyn-born Producer has been churning out track after solid track with some of the biggest rappers in the industry.
Having worked with Fabulous, Juelz Santana, The Game,French Montana, and the Boss himself Rick Ross, Reefa’s production credits are not to be messed with. Reefa is not only a producer; he has begun building his empire recently starting his own management group/ production house called atm. The first artist signed to the atm team is Maddi Jane, who has already been featured on the Ellen Show, and is sure to be America’s next teenage sensation. Keep an eye out this summer his team is coming to take over!
YRB: You’ve worked with some of the hottest artists in the game, who was your favorite artist to work with?
Reefa: My favorite artist… I’m really a fan of a lot of artists; I have a lot of fun with certain artists because most of the time we are in the studio together to create. From Fab to Estelle, to Ashanti, Rick Ross and French Montana, I have fun with everybody. It is just a vibe thing, I click with most artists and we make magic.
YRB: What’s your favorite track that you’ve made?
Reefa: That’s a lot honestly; there are even certain records that haven’t come out just yet. One of the songs I’ve got coming out with Nas and Estelle, that’s probably one of my favorites right now.
YRB: You scored the music for this season of T.I.’s reality show (T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle) what’s that process like?
Reefa: The process is a lot of work, what happens is I look at certain scenes I create certain music for it. I make music that’s not hard hip hop or a single or R&B radio music, I make TV music, just for that show and it’s the simplest music you really have to make and just put your sound into it.
YRB: How is scoring the music for a show different from producing, which do you prefer?
Reefa: Scoring music for a show is different because it’s a longer process. It has to go through [approvals] and make sure [it fits with] edits, stuff like that. Producing for an artist is really my favorite. I prefer that because its just me and the artist.
YRB: How did you come to be managed by Chris Gotti?
Reefa: Honestly me, Chris and Irv, we’ve been cool for a long time, even back when Murder Inc. was going, he always wanted to manage me and wanted me to come play music for Ja Rule at the time but I’ve always been in my own world. He’s been helping me build up my business and work with different things that most producers don’t get in the music business.
YRB: When did you start your management group/ production house ATM?
Reefa: I’ve had ATM since I could say ‘05. I started signing producers when I got more in the game and got more in-depth in the game and doing more successful records and I decided I needed to start signing other producers and writers. That’s been my main focus.
YRB: Tell us more about Maddi Jane, who is she, what’s her sound, what are you hoping she can become?
Reefa: That’s my first artist, she’s my pop artist, her sound is young, fun, she has an edge to her, and we’ve been rocking and rolling, hopefully the single will be coming soon.
YRB: What are some upcoming projects we should look out for?
Reefa: Definitely look out for Nas, Fabolous, and Estelle. [I’m] in the studio right now [with] Uncle Murda, Maino, Pusha T, and the list goes on. I’ve recently been in the studio with Diddy, Dr. Combs [laughs]. I’ve been in the studio with him for the last week and a half working with him and creating new ideas and sounds. He’s a fan of what I do so we’ve been collaborating and trying to get the best music out.
YRB: Who in your opinion are the top three hottest rappers dead or alive?
Reefa: Biggie, Jay and NAS.
YRB: Are there any other up and coming artists we should keep an eye out for?
Reefa: Troy Ave, Joey Bada$$, and Chance The Rapper. I think they’ve got a shot in this game of making good music.
YRB: Any advice for someone trying to break into the business?
Reefa: Follow your heart and put your two feet in it, don’t have one foot in and one foot out. You got to do this like a full time job. You’ve got to have thick skin, patience and you’ve got to fight for what you want and prove people wrong. Work ethic is the main thing you must have to work everyday
Story by Stephanie Amy Collazo
Photo by Lamont Foto Roberts