In a recent interview with Combat Jack, Young Guru — a DJ, producer and Jay Z’s audio engineer for almost 14 years — praised Masego and Medasin’s Pink Polo EP. “Pink Polo album...I’m in love with [Masego]. I can tell he wants to make trap music, but also studies J Dilla and I can hear it. He’s incorporating all those things together...and it’s fresh,” said Guru.
Unfortunately, despite the fact the project was a true joint effort, Guru credited only Masego, not Medasin. How does Guru, being the veteran that he is and understanding of the plight of a producer, make this mistake? Outside of being an artist, Masego is widely viewed as a musician and producer, so it’s possible Guru already knew Masego as a producer and just assumed he was responsible for the production on Pink Polo.
In an effort to shine some much-deserved light on the 19-year-old producer and DJ from Richardson, Texas, I sat down with Medasin at his favorite burger spot, Twisted Root, to discuss his past, present and future.
Medasin, born Grant Nelson, began making beats at the age of 12, but didn’t take himself seriously until he turned 16. In the matter of a few short years, however, Nelson went from uploading beats to his Myspace to entering iStandard beat battles. Although a finals appearance in New York didn’t end in victory, Medasin garnered the attention of one of the judges, veteran producer !llmind, who wanted the young beatmaker to be a part of his newly-formed SoundCloud collective, Roseville. The move helped to boost Medasin’s SoundCloud presence, but it wasn’t long before he was racking up thousands of plays by himself without any help or co-signs.
In 2014, in the midst of building up his following, Medasin befriended several popular SoundCloud producers, including Oshi, Krs., Deffie, (dreamchild), BNJMN and Masego. Medasin quickly took a liking to Masego’s saxophone capabilities and thought combining their sounds would make for a unique mesh. “I was on a hunt for ‘What’s Next?',” he told me. “I saw him playing saxophone and was obsessed with the idea of him featuring on [electro] trap beats with cool saxophones.”
What began as just two creatives collaborating turned into a whole project. “It was so refreshing to work with him. I would send him a beat and 30 minutes later, [Masego] would reply with a draft,” Medasin explained.
The pair would eventually join the SoundCloud collective Film Noir, founded by Oshi, Krs. and BNJMN, releasing the single “Girls That Dance” under their umbrella in April of 2015. “We've been friends for over a year so when I started Film Noir it was only right to see if [Medasin] would be on board,” Krs. explained via text.
In less than a month the record earned 250k plays; it has since hit 2.2 million. “It could’ve been even bigger if the song was properly [serviced],” stressed Medasin. “To this day people still discover it.” Although the success of the single was immediate, the Billboard-premiered EP didn’t arrive for two months (June 30). “Most of the other time was spent preparing for the success,” Masego told Afropunk.
In the aftermath of their collaborative pairing, Masego landed a spot on the Trillectro line-up alongside Chance The Rapper, Kehlani, Dom Kennedy and JMSN, while Medasin has found success from other artists taking interest in his sound. “It was good for me because I now had a project under my belt,” said Medasin. “People took me more seriously.”
One of the artists who took Medasin more seriously was DJBooth favorite IshDARR, who collaborated with the producer on his single “Sugar.” “That was the first time I was like, ‘Damn I’m making good money’,” said Medasin. The opportunities didn’t stop there. Medasin also found his way onto GoldLink’s And After That, We Didn’t Talk album, producing standout selection “Late Night.”
Pink Polo didn’t just help Medasin and Masego, but also the label associated with its release. “The Pink Polo release really brought attention to Film Noir as a label instead of just another ‘SoundCloud collective,” added Krs. “Medasin and Masego really put work into that project.” BNJMN added, “Pink Polo was the first [label release] and the impact it had was pretty decent.”
A year later, Medasin is concentrating on his brand, brainstorming ways he can further expand beyond and away from Pink Polo. Though he was initially and understandably bothered by the absence of his name whenever Pink Polo was mentioned, he’s now using the slight as extra motivation. “[That album] hasn’t been a part of my brand for a long time,” he said.
In addition to preparing the packaging for his next body of work, Medasin recently packed up his things and moved out of his parents home. I asked him how it feels to be able to pursue music full-time at such a young age, free from his parents supervision, but he could barely muster an answer: “Wow. I haven’t given it much thought actually. I feel like it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m definitely grateful, that’s for sure.”
With the right mentality, and his Pink Polo experience in his back pocket, Medasin knows history won’t repeat itself. Soon everyone will know his name… including Young Guru.
By JustSayTez, a millennial that just discovered D'Angelo's Voodoo album. Follow him on Twitter