02.06.2018

Meet Bekon, the Grammy-Winning Producer Behind Kendrick Lamar's Acclaimed Album 'DAMN.'

Meet Bekon, the Grammy-Winning Producer Behind Kendrick Lamar's Acclaimed Album 'DAMN.' Photo Courtesy 80MM Ghost

Daniel Tannenbaum may not be a name you’re familiar with, but his portfolio is one for any hip-hop producer to gawk over. Under the moniker “Danny Keyz,” the New York native has collaborated with the likes of RZA, Dr. Dre and Eminem and worked on BJ the Chicago Kid’s Grammy-nominated album In My Mind. But when the mysterious pseudonym “Bekon” popped up all over Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., it got the Internet asking: “Who is this guy?”

Under the new name, Tannenbaum contributed to eight of the lauded album’s 14 tracks. But that wasn’t why he and I hopped on the phone while he was visiting home after a busy Grammys weekend. We were talking to discuss the surprise release of his debut album as Bekon, Get With the Times.

“Imagine holding in a joke that you think is a good joke for 10 years,” the producer says when I ask how it feels to have his own music out in the world. “You keep waiting for your moment to say it. You go to the comedy show and you’re on the list to perform and the performer goes and you’re next, then they’re like, ‘Oh sorry, we’re done for the night.’ That’s what it feels like. It’s this thing that’s been wanting to come out for a long time.”

With a schedule as constantly hectic as his, Tannenbaum never felt like the time was right to release his own music, but working with Kendrick Lamar helped his creative juices flow. “Instead of producing -- in a traditional sense -- his record, [Kendrick]’s like, ‘Yo, just go write your music and we’ll find a way to put your music on my album,’” he explains. “So it sort of set the scene for me putting out my own album.”

For the full story, visit Billboard.com/Articles/Columns.