Cameron Cartee: The DGB Interview

Cameron Cartee

Cameron Cartee became known as the Sauce God because of his ability to enhance the emotion of a song with his mixing. His ability to aid artists on everything from their lyrics to delivery has become common knowledge at top Atlanta studios like Patchwerk, Darp, Street Execs, & Billboards. Cartee has worked with everyone from Gucci Mane to T.I. to T-Pain, and seemingly everyone in between.

Cameron is also known for his brutal honesty. When he sees an artist slacking, he isn’t afraid to let them know. “I’m the engineer that won’t let dumb lines slide. I won’t have a cadence that’s off. I will tell people it’s trash. I’ll tell them to do it again no matter who it is.”

DGB recently caught up with the Sauce God to discuss his work, who impresses him, his advice for beginning creatives and a lot more.

What’s the biggest mistake artists make in regards to mixing and mastering?

Most artists don’t take the time to understand the two and the impact it makes on your record. Literally, the mix and master can make or break your song. You can have the hardest song ever, but if it isn’t pleasing to the ear I will cut it off in the first 20 seconds. Take the extra time and money and put it into your mix.

Who was fun to work with?

Boosie for sure. It’s so funny to watch him work like he doesn’t care about anything. He will bring all of his kids to the studio. He’s funny as hell.

Who’s work ethic were you most impressed with?

It’s no secret about who has the best work ethic in the rap industry. Gucci Mane is like a machine. He’s non-stop and it’s like the artist he helps mold are the same. I don’t know how Sean Paine does it man, thats a lot of recording. Young Thug also has a crazy work ethic. Recording for his Jeffrey album I wold come to the studio at 4 pm and wouldn’t leave until well after midnight sometimes. He would do this every day for months and still go do shows in the meantime.

What song did you think you most improved?

The song “Crazy” by Taylr Renee.Her vocals were sent to me as a 2-track mp3 recorded off of her phone. I put my foot in on that one.

How did you learn to enginee?

Me and my college roommate used to rap for fun. I guess just to pass the time. I would record rappers on this 50 dollar set up and start fine-tuning it. Then I just got to the point where I felt like this is what I was supposed to do forever 

How’d you get your start, and then rise to the level you’re at?

Just constantly working. When I had nothing to do I used to buy studio time and hit artists up like “Yo I have 3 hours over at this studio, do you want to record?” Once an artist works with me, they will want to continue the work. It was like my way of giving samples out.

Do you like Dipset?

Of course, I like Dipset. I wasn’t really raised on the up north music scene though. Really everything I listened to was mostly west coast or southern. I think groups like The Diplomats make such an impact on music, that they helped mold what we listen to today.

If I asked you to name some people who impress you with their musicality what names come to mind?

London Jae, Sy Ari, Quentin Miller, Lil Bird.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?

I think somehow I’d always find myself back doing music. I started playing drums really early, so music has always been inside me.

Who do you hear that makes you want to get better?

I don’t think any engineer personally makes me want to be better. I always listen to my mixes and hear things I would’ve changed. Or hear how far I’ve come since that mix. The more I work, the better I get. I’m always learning. 

Can you provide us an example of a song that has been greatly improved by engineering? A before and after?

Not to shit on any other engineers or anything, but you can do a comparison of Bankroll Fresh’s “Popping Shit and 21 Savage’s “Motorcycle.” Listen to the difference in the quality of the beat and vocals. It was me doing Bankrolls’ of course. The only reason I used this comparison is that they were over the same Zaytoven beat.

How close should you stand to the microphone?

I’d give it about 8 inches of space. It depends on the mic. You want to project your vocals into the top quarter of the microphone. That’s where the top end shine is.

What are the essentials for a home studio?

You need a good set of monitors. For a good price and sound I’d say go with the Yamaha HS7. For your interface I would recommend something low latency, the universal audio twin is a good one. I personally use the Slate Digital VRS8. Then your computer, and that’s all you need. Everything else is just getting in the way.

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