Artist Q&A: Catching Up with The Rude Boyz

Artist Q&A: Catching Up with The Rude Boyz

By William Glanz

The Rude Boyz are one reason Latin music has become global.

Kevin Jimenez (a.k.a. Kevin ADG) and Bryan Lezcano (a.k.a. Chan El Genio) are behind some of Latin music’s biggest hits. They produced Shakira’s “Chantaje” and Maluma’s “El Perdedor.” We caught up Kevin and Chan recently and spoke with them about working with some of Latin music’s biggest recording artists and what it’s meant for their careers.

Since it’s Hispanic Heritage Month, we also asked the producers about their Colombian roots and how their background influences their music.

SoundExchange: You work with so many great artists, and I want to ask about your work with Shakira and Maluma. You wrote and produced “Chantaje.” It turned out to be an international hit. Did you ever imagine the song would become as big as it did? And why do you think it became such an incredible hit?

Chan: Desde que empezamos hacer nuestra propuesta musical ya estábamos muy claros a donde queríamos llegar y queriamos crear un sonido nuevo. Entonces ahí empacamos con un poco nuestro estilo colombiano con un poco de danza incluyendo voces Africanos. Queríamos crear algo bacano. Entonces hicimos varias composiciones para mostrarle a Shakira y ella se enamoró de aquella canción desde que la escucho. Nos quedamos por tres días grabando la canción. Finalmente la terminamos y la produjimos y desde que la escuchamos sabíamos que era un balazo. Shakira le encantaba y la hacía repetir.

Shakira decía que si a ella le hacia mover las caderas eso es porque sabe que es un hit. Ahora escuchamos la canción en muchas partes y nos gustaría agradecer a todo el público y también gracias a Maluma por ser parte y por grabar esta canción.

English translation

Chan: Since we started making music together, we were very clear about where we wanted to go and to create a new sound. So, we combined our Colombian style with a bit of dance, including African sounds. We wanted to create something cool and new. We wrote several compositions for Shakira, and she fell in love with that song… We recorded the song over three days. Finally, we finished it and produced it, and when we heard it we knew it was a hit. Shakira loved it and had it on repeat.

Shakira said that if a song makes her hips move, that’s when she knows it’s a hit. Now, we hear the song everywhere, and we would like to thank all our fans and also thank Maluma for being a part of the record.

SoundExchange: What did the success of “Chantaje” mean for Rude Boyz? Do you feel like it helped elevate your profile in the music industry?

Kevin: Creo que esta canción puso a los Rude Boyz en el mapa y no solamente en el mercado latino sino también en el mercado internacional porque cuando decimos que habíamos hecho esta canción y más con Shakira, la gente nos daba más apertura y más confianza para trabajar con ellos. En el mercado americano sobre todo nos han ayudado demasiado haber trabajado en esta canción y haber trabajado con Shakira. Entonces esta canción no sólo nos ha ayudado en nuestra industria, sino en la carrera de nosotros.

English translation

Kevin: I think this song put the Rude Boyz on the map, and not only in the Latin market but also internationally because when we said that we had done this song with Shakira, people gave us a lot more credibilty and more confidence to work with them. In the Anglo market, it has helped us a lot to have worked on this song and to have worked with Shakira. So, this song has not only helped us in our industry, but also in our career.

SoundExchange: Speaking of Maluma, F.A.M.E. was incredibly successful. When you were producing F.A.M.E., did you feel like it was destined to be among the biggest Latin releases of the year?

Kevin: Haber trabajado en F.A.M.E. fue una oportunidad más y un bote de confianza que nos dio Maluma porque fue el tercer álbum que trabajamos en la carrera de Maluma desde que habíamos empezado a trabajar con él desde el principio de su carrera. Es algo muy diferente porque desde cuando él empezó él siempre quiso crear música más pop con diferentes tipos de sonidos y elementos. Maluma quería un álbum que tenía algo muy diferente en sus colores, como para todos los gustos. Como pueden ver que no sea por solo una línea, sino que vean que la música de él está proponiendo algo. Muy de las raíces latinas porque hay otros sonidos que son muy latinos por ejemplo en las canciones que le acompaño con la guitarra. Entonces haber trabajado en este álbum fue como un reto y aparte fue algo que estableció su carrera.

English translation

Kevin: Working on F.A.M.E. was one more opportunity and a project built on trust that Maluma gave us… It was the third album that we worked on in Maluma’s career… It’s something very different. He has always wanted to create more pop music with different types of sounds and elements. Maluma wanted an album that had something very different in its colors… [something] for all tastes. As you can see, it is not for just one type of person, and it’s obvious [that] his music has something different to it. It’s very Latin [and] there are other sounds, for example, in the songs that I accompany him on guitar. So, to have worked on this album was a challenge and because of that, it was something that established his career.

SoundExchange: Along those same lines, what sets Rude Boyz apart from other producers right now? What distinguishes you from other producers?

Chan: Nuestras producciones, aunque son hechas en Colombia no significa que sólo funcionan para Colombia, sino que se puede utilizar nuestro sonido en el mercado americano porque mucha de nuestra influencia viene del mercado americano. Tenemos también una cierta calidad que nos pone aparte de otros productores porque nos gusta innovar y crear sonidos nuevos. Tenemos muchas influencias de nuestras raíces incluyendo de las islas de San Andres en Colombia. Nosotros pensamos que la calidad tiene que ser muy buena cuando se produzca la música y eso siempre lo tenemos en mente en el proceso de crear música.

English translation

Chan: Although our productions are made in Colombia, it does not mean that they only work for Colombia… our sound can be used in the Anglo market as well because much of our influence comes from the Anglo market. We also have a certain quality that sets us apart from other producers because we like to innovate and create new sounds. We have many influences from our roots, including the islands of San Andres in Colombia. We think the quality has to be very good when music is produced, and that is always what we have in mind when we’re creating music.

SoundExchange: Can you talk about what’s happening with Colombian music and Colombian artists? Are there new Colombian artists you’re excited about?

Kevin: Creo que todo se radica en el ambiente que en la ciudad. La energía está mágica porque a cada studio que vas hay gente bien dura que ha causado este movimiento. Fíjate que para nosotros nos gusta trabajar oportunidades con artistas desde cero como hicimos con Reykon, Maluma, y ahora con un dúo que estamos muy motivados y creemos demasiado que se llama Kapla y Miky. Ya hemos soltados unas ocho canciones con este dúo y en menos de un año hemos recibido una respuesta demasiado buena para estar en este proyecto tan poco tiempo.

English translation

Kevin: I think everything is rooted in the environment, rather than in the city. The energy is magical because every studio you go to… [has] very awesome people who have caused this movement. Notice that for us, we like to work with artists from scratch as we did with Reykon, Maluma, and now with a duo that we are very motivated and believe in greatly called Kapla and Miky. We have already released about eight singles with this duo, and in less than a year we have received a good response to this project in a short time.

SoundExchange: Many studies have shown how popular Latin music has become. We’re in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month, so I want to ask if it makes you proud as a Latin artist that Latin music now has global appeal?

Chan: ¡Claro que sí! Estamos muy contentos de tener esta oportunidad porque no la puede tener todo el mundo. Estamos muy orgullosos que la música latina está sonando en todo el mundo. Entonces vamos a aportar nuevamente otros proyectos para la música latina no sólo en Colombia, pero para toda parte del mundo. Vamos a seguir aportando y queremos seguir trabajando para traer cosas nuevas y a tocar puertas y mostrar que somos orgullos de ser parte de este movimiento y de la cultura latina.

English translation

Chan: Of course! We are very happy to have this opportunity because not everyone has it. We are very proud that Latin music is played all over the world. So, we are going to continue taking up other projects in Latin music, not only in Colombia but [other] parts of the world. We will continue to contribute, and we want to continue working to bring new things and knock on doors and show that we are proud to be part of this movement and part of Latin culture.