Producer Bangladesh plots his pop domination, but not before settling differences

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Bangladesh has his sights set on “changing the game.” And he plans on doing this with a few unexpected muses.

Recently named one of six top urban producers at this year’s BMI Urban Music Awards, the Atlanta-based beatmaker, whose birth name is Shondrae Crawford, has been slowly rising to prominence over the last decade by being the sonic mastermind behind songs from such artists as Ludacris, Ciara, Kelis, Missy Elliott, Usher, R. Kelly and Beyoncé -– he was responsible for the latter’s most recent singles, “Diva” and “Video Phone.”


Crawford recently produced songs for Ne-Yo, Nelly and the Game -- and even a handful of beats for the new ‘Def Jam Rapstar’ video game -– but it’s the upcoming work for a few divas that has him most excited: He is prepping to tackle projects from Beyoncé, Ke$ha and Brandy.

The producer was brought on board to work on Ke$ha’s follow-up album to “Animal” after meeting songwriter-producer Dr. Luke through a mutual friend. He said Luke, who’s penned hits for Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Britney Spears and his protégé Ke$ha, doesn’t want him to compromise his urban flair for the pop world.

“They want me to do me. [Ke$ha] asked me to make it sound ‘gangsta.’ They don’t want me to try to change what I’m doing because it’s pop,” he said. “Luke always had this vision about putting one of her songs on top of one of my beats. In pop it’s not about the beat, it’s about those big pop hooks. I’m looking forward to hearing it.” But a producer’s life can also be complicated. Crawford says he recently hit a bit of a snag because royalties he claims he’s owed from his biggest production credit to date, “A Milli” from Lil Wayne, are in disptute. He has sued Lil Wayne’s record label, Young Money/Cash Money, for monies owed.

A rep for Cash Money Chief Executive Bryan “Baby” Williams released a statement disputing Crawford.

‘There is no merit to this claim. Bangladesh incorporated a sample without informing Cash Money. [Cash Money has] successfully settled the copyright infringement claims that Bangladesh caused with other third parties and his producer and composition shares were wiped out by the sample owners.’

Though frustrated, he remains circumspect. “It’s just being worked out through the court system,” he said curtly. “I’m moving on from that ...”

Brandy’s upcoming album, which is slated for release in early 2011, is the biggest project on the producer’s docket. She commissioned him to helm the production of the album -- the first time he’s been given the reigns over one artist’s entire project.

He was recently asked by Cash Money to submit tracks to Nicki Minaj’s debut album, but that has been a frustrating process for the hitmaker. “We’ll see what that is,’ he says of the tracks he sent to Minaj. ‘I just don’t like when people don’t like to let you hear your music. I haven’t heard the song.”

He gets the most fired up when it comes to trust issues with an artist, which he says happens all the time. The issue came up more than once in conversation, in regards to a track that ended up leaked to the Internet. ‘I hate when you’re working with an artist, and they don’t trust you with your music. It’s my music,’ he says, ‘the same that it’s yours. I’m not going to leak something I’m about to get paid for. I put so much into this, I want something out of it. Nine times out of 10, when they don’t want you to take the music, it gets leaked. That makes you more mad because you ain’t even got paid, because they leaking your [music] and then have a million excuses in the world. I don’t give music away -- I just work with the artist. Right now, I don’t have to work with a lot of people, because I’m working with the best.”

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy