The Chicago rap scene is on fire and their hot streak of bangers and talent isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Rappers like Z Money, Valee, Juice WRLD, G Herbo, and more are giving the rap world refreshing tracks that really sets the bar and leaves us constantly craving more. Behind all of the rappers there are some fire producers making playlists tremor all across the US. Chicago born and raised music producer Rio Mac is one of them and his beats are impeccable and birth’s instant classics. We experience his captivating beats in tracks like Valee’s “Shell” and Z Money, ChaseTheMoney, and Valee’s “Two 16’s.” Check out my interview with him below as we discuss his plant based life, how he became a producer, and his thoughts on those who bite Valee’s sound.
RESPECT.: What do you have going on today?
Nothing much, really just chilling and looking for something to eat.
RESPECT.: I see that you are a proud vegan!
Yes, I have been vegan for a year and 2 months.
RESPECT.: What made you want to do that?
A lot of reasons. I had peers around me wanting to get into it. One day we were smoking and watching YouTube videos. One of my homies said he was going to stop eating meat and he told us it wasn’t going to be hard to do. My pops is a vegetarian so it wasn’t new to me.
RESPECT.: Is it true that eating meat does something to your spirit?
What we are eating and putting into our bodies kind of messes with our head. There is a lot of different stuff being put into our food that we don’t know about. People would know this if they did their research. I made the right decision going vegan. There was a time in my life where I was over 250 lbs and going vegan brought me down to 180 lbs.
RESPECT.: I am glad I got that vegan info out of you. Let’s talk about production. How’d you get into it?
I was probably in my freshman year. FL studio was at my moms house and she had the program on the computer. I started playing with it then went to my pops house and downloaded the program. I learned how to make beats. It started off simple but over the years youtube became popular and I watched the videos and learned.
RESPECT.: Did you ever want to be an artist and record tracks yourself?
I used to be a rapper. I used to want to make my own stuff to rap to. I had a homie in 8th grade and we would send each other beats. He started putting them on the internet and I was just holding mine and I just had a collection. I started working with artists and I got better.
RESPECT.: So you’re a producer, engineer, and DJ?
Yeah I can pretty much do anything. I can do a lot of background work. There was also a time I did graphic design.
RESPECT.: I can tell you’re somebody that doesn’t wait on anyone.
No I don’t wait on anyone. I guess it depends too. It all depends on their work ethic. If they’re slow I’m not waiting.
RESPECT.: I’m a VA girl and I’m always playing Chicago rap. When people get into my car I’m always playing Z Money and Valee. I have to know how you all linked up. You’re usually working with them so let’s start with Z first. How did you end up working with him?
He came to the studio one time and we didn’t get to work but there was another time with Chase The Money. Me and Chase’s relationship started building from Valee. One day me, Valee, and Z money linked in the studio and that’s the day we made Two 16’s. Me and Z started getting cool ever since the making of the track.
RESPECT.: Two 16’s is a classic. Do you know that?
That’s what they say.
RESPECT.: You are all the perfect team! What is your relationship with Valee?
I was working out of my homies studio. I came in there because I was engineering a session. Throwback kid said I got somebody you want to meet and I know you can help put him together. He came to the studio and I played him a couple of beats. I never heard him rap. He said what he liked and didn’t like. We got to the point where we just drove around the city high and he told me what kind of beats he liked. I made 2-3 beats the next day and played it for him. That day Valee made his first full song ever. Everybody kept asking me who he is because he sounded different from everyone else. One of these guys I know had a nice little buzz to him. His name is Ty Money and he hopped on the song. Ever since that happened we started working and making music. He never had anybody on him team. He always moved by himself. I started djing him for him and engineering for him. It was almost like he didn’t need anybody else. Our relationship just got stronger and stronger.
RESPECT.: What was it like growing up in Chicago? What’s a common misconception?
Not every single place is rough. I feel like growing up it was cool and it all depended on what decision you make. For better or for worse. The way people see it on the media is not what every place is like.
RESPECT.: How did it make you as a person or build your character?
It makes you stronger and gave me a better understanding. Just makes you look at life differently. It made me not sit on my ass and hustle harder. Everyone is out getting it. I learned how to move different.
RESPECT.: So what’s the best music scene? Chicago, NY, or ATL?
Of course I’m going to say Chicago because that’s where I’m from and I love working with my artists.
RESPECT.: What is it about them?
Certain artists that come out of Chicago they are saying a story that i can relate to.
RESPECT.: Do you think people bite your sound and Valee’s?
Umm.. yeah. I understand every artist that came out bit something from someone. They took something from somebody and put their own twist to it but when people do it and show no type of homage that’s the part that gets frustrating. You know you sound exactly like this person. You know you can pay some type of homage. That’s how he made it the way he did. He was a fresh sound.
RESPECT.: Out of all the tracks you produced do you have a favorite?
I can’t say a favorite it’s like picking out kids. Every song gives you a different vibe there’s a lot of unreleased stuff I can say that’s my favorite.
RESPECT.: Did you produced anything for Juice WRLD?
I have a song with him and Valee but it’s unreleased. It’s in the vault.
RESPECT.: Is there anything else from you that we can look forward to?
I’m trying to put a project out myself by the end of the summer with all my production and with all the artists I rock with.
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