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There’s no question that Hip-Hop is derived from jazz.

Although that’s not the only component that makes up the genre, it certainly plays a big role, and jazz saxophonist/producer Terrace Martin is planning on making his part an even bigger one than it is now.

With his projects 808s & Sax Breaks, along with Lover’s Edition making the rounds, and names likes Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli, Lalah Hathaway, and MURS, on his resume already production-wise; the California native is more likely to let his Alto Saxophone do the talking for him.

But luckily for iHipHop.com, he decided to share some insight as well.

iHipHop.com: When did you first start playing the saxophone, was it something that was always in you?

Terrace Martin: As a kid, I always had the love for music, because my mother and father are musicians… But I actually hated jazz, but I fell in love with it around the eighth grade… I always liked [John] Coltrane, and I wanted a saxophone in the eighth grade, but I wanted every instrument then…

So my parents got tired of buying me instruments, and they said I could have one by the time I got to ninth grade… I wanted an Alto Saxophone, and that’s when I ended up getting one…

iHipHop.com: With so many instruments to choose from, what made you gravitate towards the Alto Sax?

Terrace Martin: My father is from Spanish Harlem, and I used to go out there all the time… So one summer he was playing at a club, and to this day, my dad still gets all the ladies…

So this lady came up to me, and she was like, “Do you play an instrument like your father?” I told her didn’t, then she said if I play any instrument, then play the Alto Saxophone, because you can make love to your woman when you play. So I said, “That’s the one I’m playing.” [Laughing]…

[Laughing]… iHipHop.com: How many hours a day would you say you practiced when you were coming up?

Terrace Martin: As a kid, from the first day I played the horn up about my freshman year in college I did an easy 8-12 hours a day; every single day… I would stop to get some water and food, and I wouldn’t watch TV… I locked myself in the practice room, and I would learn John Coltrane solos, Jackie McLean solos, and Charlie Parker solos…

I would learn these solos, but as an adult and with my traveling my time got thin, so now unfortunately I can’t practice as much… But now I definitely touch my horn for about one and a half, to two hours a day…

iHipHop.com: Right now you have your project 808s & Sax Breaks out, so what initially gave you the idea to do a rendition of Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreaks?

Terrace Martin: The project to me from my manager, and he came to me and was like, “Lets do something different.” It’s been done where musicians have covered Hip-Hop, but it’s never been done where a musician has covered one particular modern artist… So he came to me with the idea, but at first I didn’t know… So then I had some time to buy the record, and I fell in love with the record…

Then I called him [my manager], and told him I was ready to record this record… He chose the six songs that I recorded, and another friend of mine did all the music for it… By my playing his music, and getting into all, I can sit here and say that he is one of the greatest of all time at this point when it comes to music…

terrace-article1iHipHop.com: You also have your other project, which is Lover’s Edition, which is available for free downloads now. So for those who haven’t checked it out yet, what can people expect to hear from that?

Terrace Martin: It’ very melodic, and it’s very earthy… There are hard-hitting drums, because I’m a drum fanatic… So just imagine that The Beatles hooked up with Cole Porter, had lunch with Luther Vandross, then went to Dr. Dre’s, but left something there, and had to go to Hi-Tek’s place to get the rest of it…

[Laughs]… iHipHop.com: That’s a good way of putting it… So how did you first get the opportunity to produce stuff for people like MURS, Snoop [Dogg], and Talib Kweli?

Terrace Martin: As for Snoop [Dogg], my brother played in his band since 1997, and I wanted to play with Snoop [Dogg]… I knew if I got the chance to play with Snoop [Dogg] it would be my ticket in with my saxophone…

So I toured with him for a while, and played in the band and on all the TV shows… Then Snoopa Fly knew that I did music, and he asked me for a beat CD and then he gave it Snoop [Dogg], and Snoop [Dogg] fell in love with the music…

So then he called me up to the house, and we just started off from there… I got hooked up with Talib Kweli through a friend of mine who used to work for G-Unit, but he’s running with Jay Electronica and a few other cats right now…

He gave him a beat CD, and [Talib] Kweli rapped over this beat I did with [DJ] Battlecat called ‘Give ‘Em Hell,’ and he called me in the studio… As for MURS, we’re from the city, and we always heard of each other… Our manager actually put it together, cause he managed us at the same time…

iHipHop.com: With you being a classically trained musician, how did you even get into producing Hip-Hop?

Terrace Martin: Hip-Hop was first in my world… My mom bought me my first drum machine when I was in fifth grade… I was a fan of the Tone Loc’s, the Young MC’s, and the Biz Markie’s… I was a fan of Boogie Down Productions, Ice Cube, and Big Daddy Kane

She bought a Casio with the sampler, and an MP-60… So I’ve been doing beats since I was a little kid, and I was a fan of that first, because that’s the music of our time… The jazz was something that was embed in me, so I came around to that after…

iHipHop.com: When you first started doing beats, was it easy for you to find your sound? Or did you ever find yourself getting caught up sounding like others in the beginning?

Terrace Martin: I didn’t have trouble, cause I had so much musical influence… It was hard for me to sound like, [Dr.] Dre, when right after I’m playing an LL Cool J record… I was a music junkie, so I would be like,[Dr.] Dre did that, and [DJ] Premier did that, so let me do this.” My music has always sounded like how it would be if a group of people got in one room and did it…

iHipHop.com: Are there any producers that after hearing their material, you feel as if you have to go back in the lab, and start from scratch?

Terrace Martin: I have a new production partner, and I never had one before… His name is Wow Jones, and he’s from Baltimore, [MD] and he’s the only one that does to for me… He’s amazing… He’s the only one right now… And also Swizz Beatz… You

iHipHop.com: You’ve been so successful on your own thus far, so why go out and get a production partner now?

Terrace Martin: Because I’ve never had a number one record, and when you read the credits; there’s no number one record that’s been done alone… Everybody wants help, and everybody needs help… I was scared to add something different to my sound, and it’s better to have a team, than to be alone…