Burt Blackarach is a Grammy-winning engineer (The Temptations), seasoned DJ and long time collaborator, as a producer and composer, with iconic MC, Chuck D, of seminal rap group, Public Enemy.


Born in Los Angeles, to a Canadian mother and an American father, both heavyweights in the music business, Blackarach grew up watching his parents collaborate with the industry's biggest stars including Bob Dylan, Rick James, Fleetwood Mac and Etta James. Growing up around such legendary performers, Blackarach couldn't help but catch the music bug early. Fascinated with the emerging hip hop culture, a collaboration with high school best friend DJ Nu Mark (Jurassic 5) created Bum Rush Productions, a highly sought after West Coast DJ crew that rocked house parties and the hottest clubs in Los Angeles. While in college, dreams of one day working with his favorite hip hop groups, Blackarach began interning at some of L.A.'s most famous recording studios, both learning the art of production and engineering while simultaneously hosting his own college radio show and producing records for up and coming artists. 


Blackarach quickly became as accomplished producer, engineer and guest DJ working with old and new talent alike including Snoop Dogg, The Temptations and Kelly Clarkson. In 2000, Blackarach achieved a 'Best R&B album' Grammy win for his engineering work with The Temptations and was quickly adding composer to his list of skills. While scoring for James Cameron's "Dark Angel" on FOX, a partnership with legendary "Bomb Squad" producer Gary G. Wiz (Ice Cube, Janet Jackson, U2) produced Urbanscore, an urban and traditional production and composing company. Together, Blackarach and G Wiz have produced songs for Public Enemy, Aerosmith, Ludacris, KRS One and Busta Rhymes among others. Urbanscores' long list of composing credits include HBO's "Entourage", ESPN's ESPY Awards, ESPN's X Games, countless Superbowl commercials and original music for MTV and VH1 produced shows and films.


Demand for Urbanscore's services opened Urbanscore Studios, a Los Angeles-based boutique recording studio. Using his Grammy-winning engineering skills and production know-how, Blackarach has lured in the likes of Aloe Blacc, Method Man, Redman and Sonny Digital. Many of Public Enemy's current work has been edited at Urbanscore including "Harder Than You Think", the first single off of their 20th anniversary album How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? and the highest-charting single on the UK Singles Chart. In 2013, for his ongoing work with Public Enemy, Blackarach's name was added to their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame plaque when inducted into the famed instituion.


Due to his years of experience and impressive list of clients as a DJ, including Vanity Fair magazine, LRG, Interscope Records and Jay Z, Blackarach has been sought out by music journalists as well as music schools to share his perspective on the true art of DJing and all aspects of the music business. Blackarach's innate sense as a DJ has also landed him as a touring equipment expert for accomplished DJs like Cut Chemist and DJ Nu Mark, both of indie hip hop group, Jurassic 5.


Blackarach is currently in development for a music documentary based on his father, deceased legendary soul and rock keyboard player and songwriter William D. "Smitty" Smith. Using his father's personal memoir, "A Stroke of Luck" and his lost demo tapes as the foundation, this documentary delves deep into the underbelly of the music industry from the 1960's to the present day through found footage and personal stories by key players such as Quincy Jones, Bob Dylan and Jim Keltner.


Blackarach owns and manages his publishing catalog, Salamani Music, that has been sampled by the likes of DJ Premier, J Dilla and D'Angelo. He is a member of the Recording Academy.

12 QUESTIONS WITH BURT BLACKARACH

What led you to want to become a DJ?

Moving to Sherman Oaks and transferring to Milliken Junior High School in 8th grade changed my life. My parents had just split and I as in a new part of town with new kids. I was thrilled. I met Obam, David and Greg who I would later start a DJ crew with, Bum Rush Productions. Obam's older brother Warren was a musician and his cousin Clifford was a DJ. Obam had a lil rig in his room. That led to us watching and learning about the craft of DJing. Greg was a natural DJ - dude was so funky. We always say he would've been J-Rocc if he pursued it like Mark (DJ Nu-Mark)and I did. I had no choice but to become a DJ. So much wonderful energy.


 

Did you know right away that you wanted to be a producer and create your own music?

No. Not at all. Never crossed my mind. As a young bass player I liked playing songs I knew like Men at Work and Adam Ant etc. It was just something to do. When I started DJing, the light bulb suddenly shined bright and my musical curiosity and creativity was unleashed. Hearing hip hop made me want to learn how to make that type of music.

 


Who is your musical hero and why?

Geez. It's my Father, William Daniel "Smitty" Smith. He was a singer, songwriter, producer and keyboard player and he was baaad. 

 

I have a lot of personal inspirations that I met through my father, including my god parents, who are the the best at what they do. They are my family because of my father...Eric "Mouse" Johnson, Chuck Rainey, James Gadson, Brenda Russell, Rena Sinakin, Lenny Castro.

 

A lot of local rappers were influential in the early years at my high school and went on to become internationally known like the freestyle champ Juice and Coolwadda. 



What one event in your childhood had the greatest effect on your​ music career?

Graffiti Rock. 1984. It came on NBC at 7:30pm on Thursday nights. The first time I saw it, I said "What the hell is this?". When I saw Run DMC vs Treacherous 3 I was hooked.  

 


What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten? Did you take it? 

Know all kinds of music. Go for what you know. Ask for as much as your mouth can say. 
 


Okay, your Top 5 MCs?


Slick Rick
KRS ONE
Jay-Z
Chuck D
Pharoah Monche​



And Top 5 DJs?

Cash Money
Jazzy Jeff
DJ Aladdin
DJ Nu-Mark
DJ Scratch


What is the piece of musical equipment you can't live without?

My Mac. Pre computers? It would my SP-1200 or Akai MPC.


 

What is the best piece of equipment you ever purchased?

Tied with the SP-1200 and Technic 1200's

 


What four words describe you?

Deep, thoughtful, friendly and sensitive.  


 

If you could have one magical or super power, what would it be?

The ability to record the music in my head, direct.

CREDITS

MUSIC PRODUCTION

Burt Blackarach Untitled House Project
2018
Free, White & 21
Fullee Love (Soup from Jurassic 5)
Producer
2018
LRG Presents "Saved by the Bando Vol. 1" [Mixtape]
Producer
2015
Sonny Digital Mix Tape
Producer

2015

Burt Blackarach Does London

Producer

2014

How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul???
Public Enemy

Associate Producer, Mixing, Producer 

2007

Let's Get Loud
Aerosmith, Chuck D, Busta Rhymes, Phife Dawg, MC Lyte

Co-Producer

2006

Bring That Beat Back
Public Enemy

Producer

2006

DARK ANGEL (Artemis) : The Soundtrack

"Dark Angel Extended Theme" - Chuck D and MC Lyte

"The One" - Niki Haris

Writer/Producer

2002

Angela Via

Picture Perfect

Lava Records (Atlantic)

Producer

2002

 

BAMBALEO

No Que Buena Esta

Producer

2001

CRY ON CUE

Wash of Light

Writer/Producer/Performer

2000

MC LYTE

"Can You Feel It?"

Writer/Producer

2000

PUBLIC ENEMY: WELCOME TO THE SAMPLE DOME - SAMPLE CD (EastWest)

Executive Producer/Writer/Producer

Revolverlution
Public Enemy

Composer, Producer 

2002

ENGINEER

Aloe Blacc
(Unnamed Project)

Engineer

2013

DJ Nu-Mark & Haas
Never Be Wrong

Engineer

2012

Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp
Public Enemy

Engineer

2012

The Evil Empire of Everything
Public Enemy

Engineer

2012

Ear-Resistible ‎
The Temptations
Motown

Engineer

2000

FILM SCORE

 
End of Watch 
Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick

Engineer, "Harder Than You Think"

2012

Beauty Shop
Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone

Original Music 

2005

Volcano High

MTV/Viacom Films  feat. Method Man, Outkast, Snoop Dogg, Tracy Morgan, Mya, Kelis, Lil' Jon and Pat Morita

Original Score, Composer

2001

Bad Boy
Elizabeth Hurley, Denis Leary 

Original Music

2002

Local Boys

Capstone Pictures - Feature film

"Gonna Getcha"

Writer/Producer/Composer/Performer

2002

Poolhall Junkie

Gold Circle Films - Trailer music for this feature film starring Christopher Walken and Rick Schroder

Writer/Producer/Composer/Performer

2002

SAVE VIRGIL

Quality Films

Cartoon short feat. Adam Corolla, Ginger Lynn and Gary Coleman

"Slap that Ass"

Writer/Producer

2002

TV SCORE

 
Shut Up and Dribble
Showtime Networks
2018

ESPY AWARDS THEME feat. Aerosmith and Busta Rhymes

ESPN Sports Network- Nationally televised theme.

Writer/Producer/Composer

2006

ESPN X GAMES AWARDS THEME- feat. Chuck D and Steven Tyler

ESPN Sports Network- Nationally televised theme.

Writer/Producer/Composer

2006

X Games
ESPN

Composer, Original Music 

2006

Entourage

HBO

Writer/Producer

2006

Method & Red Show
Method Man, Redman
FOX

Opening Theme, Original Score

2004

BLACK AND WHITE - FX Network

2003

Luis
Luis Guzman
FOX

Composer, Original Music

2003

 

ESPN HOMERUN DERBY - ESPN - Theme for Homerun Derby 2002

Writer/Producer/Composer/Performer

 

ESPN SUNDAY NIGHT BASEBALL - ESPN Sports Network - Nationally televised

theme airing prior to ESPN�s Sunday night baseball.

Writer/Producer/Composer

2002

Dark Angel
James Cameron, Jessica Alba
FOX

Composer, Original Music 

2000

DISMISSED- MTV Television show

"Knock Knock"

Writer/Producer

2000

 

LAW & ORDER

Writer/Producer

2000

COMMERCIALS

DirecTV Commercial

The Whale
Engineer

2011

Chevron Superbowl Commercial

Original Music 

2005

 


APPEARANCES

The Perfect Guy
Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy

Self

2015

T-Mobile Commercial

Self

2006

ARTIST COLLABORATIONS

 

Castro, Lenny

Elezando, Mike (Eminem)

McNeely, Joel

Pensado,  Dave "Hard Drive" (Christina Aguilar, etc.)

Wilder, Matthew (No Doubt, Puff Daddy, Backstreet Boys)

DJ Nu-Mark (Jurassic 5)

© 2019 Salamani Music

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