If you scroll long enough on social media, it won’t be long until you stumble across a mashup of Pop Smoke’s “Element” on a 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” instrumental or Shabazz PBG x Lil Uzi Vert “Shells” over Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” beat.
Ever been curious as to who the brains behind these innovative mixes are? Look no further, because the mastermind is none other than Denarian Thomas, widely known under his producer moniker Blacc Mass. The producer carries the uncanny ability of pairing unlikely instrumentals and vocals across genres to create ear-catching mashups.
It all started in 2017 after Mass noticed he was gaining attention for Travis Scott remixes he posted under his Travis Scott Reddit fan page. Since then, his sound developed into mashing up a range of artists’. A list of his mixes include; Empire of Sun with Playboy Carti, Drake with Frank Ocean, to even Pop Smoke with Lady Gaga.
This year, the 20-year-old is gaining momentum as his signature viral mixes have over 500,000 views across social media platforms. The mash-up’s have also been catching the attention of other artists like Cousin Stizz, Nineteen85, 808 Mellow and more.
Becoming vulnerable to the praise and criticisms that come with viral creations it not an easy adjustment,however, Blacc Mass sticks to the notion that his art will always be about his catering to his supporters.
“I can’t be where I’m at right now without them...That’s what I feel like artists should always remember that no matter how big they get.If you didn’t have that strong almost cult like support at the beginning, you not on the top right now, that’s just not possible.” He explains.
I spoke on the phone with the budding producer about his recent album titled, Days B4 Da Fame, the process behind creating his mashups, and how plans to take his career to the next level.
Janelle: So where did the name Blacc Mass actually come from?
Blacc Mass: Well, I started a Travis Scott fan page in like 2017 and I was trying to find a good name to pick and like all these other Trav pages, they had like these like generic names like underscore Travis Scott, stuff like that.He had a song that he premiered on his show on Apple music and the song was called “Black Mass” so I was like alright, imma take that name, rearrange the letters a little bit , and then boom, that’s how I got it and it just stuck ever since.
J:So what was your actual introduction to music? Did you come into the scene as a DJ or did you play an instrument beforehand or anything like that?
BM:I would always like the production on songs more so than lyrics. I never thought I could do it , so I just went on google, typed in “How to make a beat” and then found FL Studio that had a little free trial. I didn’t really start taking it serious until high school. I met my good friend Devon and he was a rapper. He was like way older than me but he saw the potential and he kept pushing me everyday. Every time I came to school I’d have a beat ready for him and he would tell me what to improve on and the rest was history.
J:How did you start mixing up songs?
After I started getting my foot into the little producing scene, I always had the ability to hear two songs in my head at once. I don’t know where it came from or how that happened, I just hear it in my brain. In 2016, I had put 21 Savage on my beat and then I took it to school and they’re just like yo, this sound better than the original. I didn’t really pay attention to it because it was just for fun. I really didn’t take it too serious.
J:When did it become serious?
BM: Back in 2017, I had did it again, but it wasn’t my beat this time,it was Travis Scott ‘Way Back” and Calvin Harris “Prayers Up” was the instrumental. I put Trav vocals on the beat. My sister, she don’t like Travis so I had to ask her and she was like;”You should post it.” I posted on the Travis Scott subreddit (I was still a fan page by the way in 2017) it got a bit of traction. I started doing a whole bunch of Trav mixes and people were coming to my page and that’s how my page stood out.
J: How do you feel when people don’t see a different perspective of how songs can be put together?
BM:Not going to lie, when I was first doing this and it started getting way more traction than I thought I would, all that coming at one time had me like overwhelmed. I just learned to develop thick skin and that’s where i’m at now. It opened my eyes a bit in terms of just like seeing what I was doing.
J:On the flipside , I also see a lot of people really receptive to what you’re doing. As more people come to like the things that you do, do you feel that it creates more pressure?
BM: I’m glad that more people are opening their horizons to a different sound. To see people like not be so close minded and actually try to see what i’m doing…Yeah it’s nice.. It’s a nice feeling.
J: You have kind of a mysterious persona on social media.People are always like,”Who is this?” Do you intentionally keep it a mystery?
BM: Okay so with that, it’s not intentional, I promise it’s not intentional. It’s just because I don’t have access to a photographer, to get like head shots done or whatever. I’m just so locked in on the music that when I eventually start traveling people will see me. I don’t want to get professional shots taken, I don’t know why it’s just, I don’t know. I’d rather people see me when I start doing shows.
J: Your album titled, “B4 Da Fame,” is the fourth album that you have released this year. Getting into that a little later, but why did you title your album, “Before the Fame?”
BM: It’s a different type of energy in the air in terms of just like…what’s coming. I feel like something’s just about to shift and i’m just about to explode.I titled it that because i’m like okay, .it’s just most likely the last project before all that starts coming. Every artist got that one project that they have before they just shoot for the stars, or they got that one song, that project is my one-something that I got.
J: Some people can barely get one album out, and here you’ve released four.What is your process like creating an album? How do you choose what songs make the cut?
BM: I’ll post stuff almost every day and I read my comments all the time. Once I decide to make a project I’ll go to my comments to see they’ll be like “yo, we need this one on,” or “you need to make a tape and put this one on the album.” Sometimes, it’ll be a project where it’ll be a time period or some sort of mood. Normally, if I have a project it’ll be some songs that people need on a tape and i’ll just put it out for them to listen to, just catering to the fans, really.
J:With the feeling things are going to be taking off for you pretty soon, what can people expect next?
BM:Definitely expect a tour. I want to tour so bad. I don’t know when this Corona thing is going to end but I hope it does or at least we build up some sort of strength to it so we’ll be able to go to venues. That’s the next level for me, the next step is touring. Definitely touring.
Stream “Days B4 Da Fame” below!