It’s October, 2007. Kanye West’s third studio album, Graduation, was just released on route to selling 2,700,000 copies in the US and has been certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Kanye may be out of control at times, but there’s no questioning his work ethic. Off the heels of his third album, and while on tour in Winnipeg, Kanye asks his record label to find him a studio in Winnipeg to record at.
Def Jam contacts Jason Gordon at Studio 11 on 49 Henderson Hwy and the rest is history…
So I get a call from Def Jam records, saying they were looking for a recording studio that Kanye and Good Music could come and work from, for the day. This was the day of the Mts Centre show in Winnipeg . That was the “Graduation Day” tour right when Stronger was number 1 on the charts. I sent them pictures of my studio (Studio 11) and they agreed that it looked professional enough to work in. At about 11:30am they showed up, classic Kanye rushed in wearing his hood, and sat on the couch in front of me. His “Very Good Beats” producers started giving me a few beats to import. Kanye listened to some, kept saying pass, until he picked one he wanted to work on.
I sat him down in my live room on a stool in front of my U87 mic. Kanye did pass after pass, mumbling melodies and rhythms (in Jay-Z) fashion on the mic, until he had a few lyrics that he was catching on to. He did this for a couple different tracks. He then came in the control room, sat beside me with his laptop, and while he listened back to the takes of ideas, he put lyrics together. He also took breaks where he planned his next tour stage on his laptop. He had cool digital diagrams all while his team was editing videos for him as well. He had a body guard crashed out on my couch, in my living room all day. Lastly, a running Escalade in the parking lot for 8 hours.
He asked if i’d order him some Chinese food for dinner, so I called Five Spice up the street. He made sure I ordered him a diet coke and brown rice. Five spice didn’t have brown rice, so I had my parents run to a sushi restaurant and pick some up specially ordered. Kanye ate his supper, while getting annoyed at my dog jack, who sat beggingly for his food. When I realized, I kicked Jack out of the room while Kanye ate and watched cartoons on his laptop. Throughout the day, Kanye talked about his love life and his business life. They merged often and one didn’t take precedent over the other. They were both equally important, which was quite refreshing. He was on his phone with his manager complaining about not making enough on an after party in Philadelphia, that they wanted him to perform at. He stormed back and forth in my living room, yelling at his manager, while I ate dinner. It was 8 pm and the team decided to leave. They were almost late for the show by the time we finished. Kanye promised we could snap a picture or two before he left.
We didn’t finish the mixes in time, so they gave me front row seats and back stage passes to the arena, so I could bring them their final mixes. My then girlfriend at the time, the engineer who assisted me that day, and I headed to the show. After, we went backstage, said hello to Kanye & Co. again, gave them their sessions, and proceeded home. Working with Kanye in the studio was a huge stepping stone for me.
He was really picky, kept me on my toes, worked really fast, and made me a better engineer. Most importantly having him here has increased my business sales and industry cred. With so many negative Ye stories that get taken out of context, I’m happy to say thank you Kanye West for your inspiration and help solidifying my business.
For more information on Studio 11 Entertainment and Recording Studio you can email Jason at email@example.com.