NITTI, Playmaker of Decatur, also known as Rick Flaire.
More than just a beatmaker, producer NITTI is a true Playmaker.
Each song he crafts from Young Jocs Going Down to 8Balls Stop Playing Games has his hands all over it, with NITTI playing all his own music and even holding down mixing duties. I like to put my hands on the equipment by myself. No engineers, no nobody. I taught myself how to do it all, NITTI declares.
He may be self taught in the world of production, but NITTI got his musical education early in Decatur, Georgia.
His mother was Program Director for a local gospel station for 15 years. It was she who encouraged NITTI to pursue music. He attended a performing arts high school and became active in church life, playing drums for the all the gospel choir events.
But even as he was playing gospel in church, he had his ear to the streets and couldnt resist the call of hip-hop. Production work for local acts led to his first break when his remix of Ghetto Mafias In Decatur quickly became a big regional hit. After that initial success, he purchased a ton of equipment and decided to get serious about his craft.
"For two years I didnt go out, didnt go to the club. I just became a homebody. I stayed in the house and learned how to use my equipment", NITTI says.
After those two years, he was ready. His timing couldnt have been more perfect. In 2002, NITTI was ready to hit the ground running and the rapper 8Ball was looking for a new deal and a few good beats. A friend introduced the two. The rest is history.
We met in the parking lot of the Magic City strip club, NITTI remembers, and I gave him a CD with 30 beats on it. 8Ball ended up buying eight of the tracks for his solo album Almost Famous, including the hit single Stop Playing Games. The album went gold, putting NITTIs name out there nationally.
He put me on and I got a lot of recognition for that, NITTI says gratefully, but then 8Balls label went under. Instead of cashing in big time, NITTI found himself chasing the money owed for his hits. "I felt lost. I thought I was going to make a lot of money!
There was nothing left to do but what any true hustler would do: go back to the lab.
That diligence paid off. He was tapped to produce the title song for the Biker Boyz movie and soundtrack and his music soon caught the ear of Atlantas own Jermaine Dupri, who signed NITTI to his own production deal with So So Def in 2004. He immediately scored artists for the So So Def compilation and records on the Boyz in the Hood album. His first artist signing to his production company, Playmaker, came this year with the artist Young Capone.
He was like a little dude in the neighborhood. I tracked him down, told him I liked what he was doing, and wanted to help his career, NITTI explains. NITTI crafted tracks for Young Capone to rap over and brought him to Jermaine Dupri, who also liked what he heard and quickly signed Young Capone. The three are working on his debut album now.
NITTI is hoping Young Capone will blow up like his other most recent discovery, Young Joc. NITTI produced Young Jocs hit single, Going Down, which resulted in a Bad Boy label deal for the new rapper. "I like working with new artists because youre taking nothing and making something out of it, NITTI explains. I feel real good about Young Joc, because I took a guy who never had a record before and its going on five weeks at ….1. That proved that I can take a new artist with no name and give him a hit record."
That hit record has led to requests pouring in, but NITTI is conscious of overexposure and is selective about who he works with. Artists like Young Jeezy, TI, Rick Ross, Gucci Mane, and Jackie Chan have made the cut and will soon get one of his signature beats. They come to NITTI for music that sounds like 2020. Music thats going to make you move whether or not you want to. "My music is real street and clubby. Its hard, but at the same time you just want to move.
Thats because NITTI knows how to construct songs that are specifically designed to make the fans get loose. His gospel training has given him a unique take on hip-hop beats. "Gospel taught me how to listen to melodies, taught me how to arrange songs, taught me the format, chorus, bridge, endings, the multi-instrumentalist explains."
Its also resulted in a studio overflowing with instruments (5 guitars, 10 keyboards, and drums), all of which NITTI plays. "Im like a one man band. I dont do a lot of sampling, I dont call in a lot of musicians. 95% of my music is all me playing. I do it myself."
That do-it-yourself spirit is something NITTI believes in strongly and is what helps make his sound so unique. "Theres nothing wrong with sampling, NITTI says, but a lot of producers take something that was already a hit and just revamp it. Thats not originality. DJs do that all day. Sit down and compose the music yourself. If you can make an original beat that makes people dance, that impresses me. Thats what I strive to do."
With several hits already under his belt, and artists all over the south and beyond knocking down his door, it seems like hes well on his way to achieving that goal, making NITTI a Playmaker to watch.