Since moving to Portland nine months ago, Calvin Valentine has gone from unknown, even by local hip hop standards, to one of the most sought after producers in his scene. It’s a good feeling. You can hear the excitement in his voice as he talks about all of the opportunities that are beginning to approach him.
Formally known as G Force, he spent much of last year making noise locally with his group TxE. So far this year he released a solo album, Valentine’s Day, that has been well received by his peers and new fans overseas.
“It was a lot of love out there, a lot of good reception. I was selling CDs easily even though the people out there had never heard of me. People were showing love. People actually care about music out there,” he said. ” I feel like fans over here have the same ego as artists have. Some people are like ‘If I haven’t heard of you I don’t fuck with you’ but if you don’t fuck with me how are you going to hear me? It was tight to see people open to new music.”
Although he is probably not quite ready to stand out beyond the local level as a rapper, as a producer he will soon have artists googling his contact info.
Illmaculate and Plant Asia both have projects entirely produced by Valentine that are set to be released this year. One of the perks of rolling with a World Rap Champion, Illmaculate, is having the opportunity to travel on someone else’s dime. Illmaculate recently took Valentine with him on a trip to Europe to help promote their upcoming project at a battle in Manchester and London.
“We were heavily promoting the Green Tape. And also selling my solo CDs and Ill’s Police Brutality CD.” He continued, “There was some down time, but Ill took up another battle while he was out there so he was spending a lot of time writing his verses in between the Manchester show and the London Show. We were doing a little site seeing, hanging out with fine women. They put us up in a real nice hotel so we were just chilling, enjoying the city and shit.”
Living the Rap Life, as some would call it.
Calvin Valentine was also selected to have his production featured on Braille’s next album. The album will feature some of Portland’s other top producers such as Theory Hazit and Trox, as well as nationally respected artists like Evidence and S1, who produced the Kanye West track Power.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with so many guys who have seen their careers blow up,” Braille said. “I really think it’s going to be the same for a lot of these Portland guys.”
The Braille album gives Valentine a producer credit on three albums that will receive national exposure this year. His album with Planet Asia was originally suppose to have been released in 2010, but ended up being delayed. The album with Illmaculate, The Green Tape, was actually not intended to be an album at all.
“The Green Tape was originally an idea I had when I copped the new Al Green album that came out in 2008, Lay It Down.” He said. ” I flipped every track, song for song, in order. I did it in a day. I was frustrated with emcees and just didn’t want to put my time into rappers anymore. I just wanted to do the beat tape so I’d have a product out there. So I made the Green Tape April 17th, had the artwork on the 19th and I was going to put it out online on 4/20 of last year. That was the original plan, but with Ill being their writing to it, he wanted to rap on it. So it went from a beat tape to an Illmaculate solo project, which I’m not opposed to at all. I’m mean shit I wouldn’t have gone to Europe if it wasn’t for Illmaculate. I have a lot of respect for him.”
With Illmaculate busy working on Skrill Talk and Calvin Valentine working on numerous different projects, the Green Tape has finally been completed…a year later.
“Working with Ill and with this Planet Asia project coming out I’m able to charge more for beats than I use to. And the TxE projects have really helped get my name out there.”