SOUL DIGGAZ – Producers

This is the spot where you’ll see upcoming producers and Industry veterans in the game. A lot of people don’t know what goes into production. This will be the section where we feature the hottest producers in hip hop. Each month we’ll bring to you a new producer along with their background.


By: Todd Davis

Soul Diggaz, comprised of producers, K-Mack and his younger brother, Bless, along with songwriter/budding artist, Corte Ellis, first came together after the sibling duo had already logged in an impressive resume’ of works for the likes of, former, MCA Records’ female rapper, Nonchalant, Pras, of The Fugees fame, and the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul herself, Mary J. Blige. After hooking up with Ellis, the trio’s very next, high profile, project was for multi-platinum mega-star, Beyonce’, which resulted in three songs, as well as a L’Oreal commercial, for the fiery diva.

Since that time, Soul Diggaz, have carved quite a niche’ for themselves, and have gone on to lend their hit-making talents to a succession of releases including; Barbershop 2, Honey, and Fighting Temptations soundtracks, a Gap commercial for Missy Elliot and the legendary, Madonna, a vast array of musical acts, and they are even responsible for the theme song to the, now canceled, UPN sitcom, Eve.

Rap Industry Dot Com recently spoke to one third of the group, K-Mack, about their past, present, and future in showbiz…


First things first, please introduce for me the members of Soul Diggaz…

I am K-Mack, and (also) in the Soul Diggaz is my brother, Bless, and our writer, Corte Ellis — We are the Soul Diggaz!

How did the three of you actually come together, like Voltron, to form this super-team? 
Bless and I always wanted to have a production company growing up. Then in late 2000, we hooked up with Corte Ellis to have an in-house writer.

You are natives of Newark, NJ, correct? So, who’d you all grow up listening to?

Bless and I are from Newark, but Corte is from VA. Growing up, our musical influences were Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis production-wise, Run-DMC, and earlier Hip-Hop acts such as the Fat Boys. Lauryn Hill is also a big influence, because she is so soulful.

When did you choose music as your livelihood? 
After we got our first check! Well, we always wanted to do this music stuff. We just didn’t realize you could make a living off of it. We did ‘Ghetto Superstar,’ with Pras, and it took off from there.

Soul Diggaz, what does this name represent for you all? 
It really reflects on our music. We always strived on creating music that really connected with the people emotionally and digs in your soul in a sense.

Define for me the style of music that you all make… 
Soulful sonically inclined music.

Give me a quick run down of some of the top acts that you’ve worked with…
Beyonce’, Missy, (Corte’s cousin) Diddy, Mary J. Blige, (and) Destiny’s Child.
{Britney Spears, B5, Brooke Valentine, Cheri Dennis, 8Ball & MJG, Fantasia, Monica, Olivia, Nina Sky, and Tweet round out this stellar list}

Do you all have any favorite artist(s) or anyone in particular that works best with the group’s chemistry? 
We work real good with Diddy, Missy, and Beyonce’.

In terms of production, does that also mean that you all play instruments?? 

Bless and I play the keys, but it’s not like we can sit behind an orchestra and play. But, we know what feels right, and (know) enough to play on our track and get the track done.

Take me through a typical studio session with Soul Diggaz…
Listening to a lot of old records and coming up with a vibe, if we don’t have one already, start creating a track, then we have Corte writing while we are making the beat. We just add the ingredients piece by piece, and it all comes together like cooking.

Do you all have any advice on sustaining longevity in this business?
Stick to your craft. Business evolves everyday, (so) don’t let the business side affect you. Stay focused on your craft whether you’re a writer, engineer, (and/or) producer. As the game evolves, you just have to evolve with it. We have been doing this for over 12 years now and it seems to work.

What do your future aspirations entail?
We just like to give back. We want to open up a school for kids, teaching the business aspects of music along with production and making beats.

{Corte Ellis penned three songs for Britney Spears’ Blackout LP, and four for American Idol finalist, Katharine McPhee’s, self-titled album. Corte is also in the midst of putting the final touches on his soon-to-be-released solo debut}
Is there also a label situation in the works?

Yeah, I mean right now we have an imprint deal with Mosley Music (Group)/Interscope for our first artist, Izza Kizza. So, with the success of him it could turn into a label situation very easily.

What is the current state of Hip-Hop music? 
Like I said before, Hip-Hop just evolves. It’s in a state (now) where the south is doing their numbers, (and) I’m not mad about that. I just look at it like as long as people have jobs and we get our brothers and sisters out of the street and families are eating (that’s all that counts). The music could be better (though). I wish a lot more thought could be put more into the records.

Tell me something about Soul Diggaz that everybody doesn’t already know…
Pretty much we are real fun honest guys, and when you’re dealing with us it’s not just random producers.

What is a typical day like in the life of Soul Diggaz? 
I go to Barnes & Noble every Sunday and read autobiographies about different people in the music industry. (We) spend time with our families, and (I) speak to my son all the time because he is in another state.

Biggest career moment has been ____________________
Getting our first artist signed to Mosley Music (Group)/Interscope. Placing beats are cool, but there is nothing like getting an artist, that you put your time into, signed.

Looking ahead, say, 5, or even 10, years down the road, where do you see Soul Diggaz? 
(I see us as) just an established entertainment company where you can get great music. We are also trying to open up a film department where you can do short films and videos. In general, we just want to expand into a bigger conglomerate.

As for the immediate future, what’s next for you all?
Right now making sure that Izza Kizza becomes a success, and making sure our singles come out for Missy Elliot, Donnie and Day 26 — You are only as good as your last hit!

So, those are your most recent works to look out for…
Missy Elliot on her new project, Donnie, Diddy, and Day 26.
{Soul Diggaz are also working with promising newcomers; Shea India, and Lil Miss Na Na}

Do you all have a wish list of artists that you haven’t worked with but would definitely like to futuristically speaking?
I would like to work with Snoop and Lauryn Hill. I don’t know if that is going to happen, but she would definitely be one. I still want to get in the studio with Nas (too). We were supposed to have worked with Alicia Keys at one point, but the session got cancelled. But, that would have been nice.

Is there a Soul Diggaz album in the works? 
No, if we do an album it would be a compilation album with our artists. We are not trying to be artists ourselves.

Do you have any parting words?
Like I said, for all the upcoming and aspiring producers just stick to your craft and study your craft, the music will shine on its own!