If you didn't know any better, you could easily mistake AraabMuzik for a sports fan.
For starters, there's the Rhode Island producer's catchier-than-thou (soon-to-be-retired?) nickname, "MVP of the MPC." There's the commercials he's scored; the first for Adidas with Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, and the other spot for Under Armour featuring Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Finally there's his live shows, where he weaves and jabs at his sampler's pads with a boxer's unflagging intensity, not giving audiences a chance to catch their breaths until the set's over.
Despite all this, and an upcoming show as part of Toronto's NBA All-Star 2016 weekend festivities, the artist (whose real name is Abraham Orellana) insists he's not the athletic type.
"I never played sports growing up as a kid," says the 26-year-old over the phone from Los Angeles where he's in-between flights. "The way I move can relate to how people are working out at the gym, because what I do is a workout, for sure. I jump around, I'm going for an hour and a half with no breaks, so I definitely have to be in the right shape and have the right energy to mentally do what I do."
It's this discipline (he doesn't drink or do drugs) and knack for blitzkrieg beatmaking that's made him an in-demand name for rap's biggest names, with his signature "You are now listening to AraabMuzik" drop appearing on songs by ASAP Mob, Azealia Banks, Cam'Ron, The Diplomats, and more. Dream World, the highly-anticipated follow-up to his groundbreaking 2011 album Electronic Dream, was originally due out last summer but delayed so the producer could work on new music.
In October, a collaborative track from AraabMuzik and LA-based singer Kelela entitled "Final Hour" allegedly intended for the new LP was uploaded to YouTube, which both artists claimed were leaked by an A&R without their permission.
Today the producer seems thoroughly nonplussed by this incidence ("We have some stuff coming out as well that's finished," he shares), preferring to look to the future. "I'm definitely still in my creative process of collecting more vocals, getting my singles together, basically just planning for the year," he says, adding Dream World will be out "spring or summer" and that it will congregate aggressive EDM and razor sharp hip-hop beats.
"To tide fans over while they wait, he dropped a pair of EPs in December, Goon Loops and King (which crash distorted vocals, frenetic drum work, New York boom-bap, and more together), and has been logging time in the studio with Alicia Keys for her upcoming album. He also produced the blistering "R.N.S." for Slaughterhouse with Just Blaze, which appeared on the Southpaw soundtrack (a movie about boxing for those of you keeping track of the sports references at home).
"I definitely make what I do really easy, but when you actually get behind that board, it's something you really have to perfect and respect the grind," he says. Then without missing a beat he adds, "This year's definitely going to be a great one."
AraabMuzik plays Toronto's Velvet Underground Jan. 13, get tickets here.
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