UK Hip Hop: Artists & Discographies
Damizza :: Biography
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment for Hip Hop producer is developing a signature sound. It's a tricky thing: You have to create a consistent and recognizable sonic palette, one able to adapt to a variety of emcees and singers, yet manage to avoid sounding uniformly dull and repetitive. Few in Hip Hop can lay claim to such an achievement, which is what makes Damizza so special. In just a short period of time, Damizza has crafted a rich musical aesthetic brimming with funk and soul to become one of Hip Hop's burgeoning production talents. It is evident on his first release, the all-star featured compilation "Damizza Presents...Where I Wanna Be".

Damizza is Damion Young, a 27-year old whose day job is Senior VP of Programming and Artists Relations over at Power 106 in Los Angeles, one of the most influential radio stations in the country. In the years he's been working behind the boards making beats, Damizza has shaped soundscapes for artists like Ja Rule, Bone Thugs n Harmony, and Nate Dogg. Damizza was also asked personally by Mariah Carey, to remix her song "I Still Believe", after the best-selling pop diva heard one of Damizza's tracks in the background of a cellphone conversation they were having. Indeed, many of the artists Damizza worked with on "Dp: Where I Wanna Be" - Ja Rule, Nate Dogg, Warren G, Kurupt, Layzie and Krayzie Bone - are friends of the producer. "We didn't do these songs as a business venture," Damizza explains. "We were just having fun. We all know each other and we're all friends and I think that translates into a better record. Once it stops being fun, why would you even want to keep doing it?"

Damizza started off as an intern at radio station Y97 in Santa Barbara, ultimately becoming the station's program director. As a radio professional, he's been wildly successful with a variety of formats. Eventually Damizza fulfilled a dream when he began working for Power 106 in 1995, indulging in his true love: Hip Hop. "It's been the best experience of my life," he says proudly. That Damizza is immersed in the world of radio means that he knows what it takes to have a song that resonates with people. "You are what you're put around," he elaborates. "You emulate your surroundings. I've always been around hit records, the cream of the crop. It's been built into me what makes a good song".

That is clear when listening to "Where I Wanna Be", where one of the first things that stands out is how smooth and well-crafted the tracks are. Crisp drum hits mix with waxing keyboards and bouncy bass lines to create a modern-day Hip Hop soul sound. Damizza cites as his guiding influence the work of old-school producers, particularly Quincy Jones. Says Damizza, "That was real production, making songs from start to finish and not just hooking up someone with a beat. And then fitting it all into the vibe of an entire album. That's what I tried to do with this album".

"Where I Wanna Be" was released through Damizza's own Baby Ree Entertainment, and features Shade Sheist, it's first signing. Baby Ree Entertainment is a joint venture between Damizza and Emmis Communications, and named after Damizza's grandmother. The philosophy of the company is simple, Damizza explains: "We've never set huge goals, really. Our foundation is fun and music. I don't do records just to do records. I'm such a fan of every person I've worked with, I just want to keep it that way".

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