Carlos Stephens

After the No Limit army had risen to enormous heights and then just as suddenly found itself in need of reorganization at the end of the '90s, Master P proceeded to dismiss the ranks of his prolific production team, Beats by the Pound, with the sole exception of Carlos Stephens. Since first collaborating with Master P on his 1996 Ice Cream Man album, and also producing beats for future No Limit soldiers Kane & Abel and Skull Dugrey circa 1996, Stephens quickly found himself a member of the Beats by the Pound production squad, also including Mo B. Dick and KLC. For the next few years, Stephens played a major role in defining the omnipresent No Limit sound on countless albums to the point where his once trademark sound had become a bit trite and generic. The public began to take on his opinion around 1999, and by the beginning of 2000 Master P began seeking out a new production aesthetic, dismissing Mo B. Dick and KLC from their ranks and making Stephens his producer of choice. On high-profile tracks such as "Bout Dat" and "Back up off Me," Stephens retained his emphasis on hard-hitting drum machine beats -- particularly 909-style bass kicks and shuddering, machine gun-like 808 high-hats -- but began to integrate inventive synth lines somewhat in the spirit of Swizz Beats or Mannie Fresh in an attempt to re-define the No Limit sound. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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