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Batcave Studio: Underground Leaders.

September 19, 2013

Photos by Kevin Cook 215 837 2107 by Chris Malo. Images by Kevin Cook.

After ringing the bell, stepping through the black door past the security camera and into the green-walled world of Batcave Studio, you will likely be greeted by co-owner/producer/engineer Rug or co-owner/studio manager Biz.

Rug likes to talk. Biz likes to listen. Not that Rug talks too much and Biz has nothing to say. It is almost the opposite.

Both spent years in the trenches of Philadelphia and in the rap game, not only to survive, but to try to pass on their knowledge and experience to those who walk through their studio door.

Photos by Kevin Cook 215 837 2107“We cater to the independent artist. We give them the attention,” Rug explains. “Me, as an engineer, I give my music the attention it needs to make it the best it can possibly be. I want it to come out of here sounding a certain way.”

The sound Rug produces has been utilized by the likes of Philadelphia rappers including R.A.M. Squad, Major Figgas, Freeway, Oschino & Sparks, Beanie Sigel, the Young Gunz and Meek Mill.

“I’ve been working with Meek since the beginning,” Rug states. “All the Flamerz mixtapes except the first one. I been recording Meek for six years.”

It was in part the buzz of that series that led to Meek signing with Grand Hustle before eventually signing with Maybach Music Group.

Although not credited, a lot of the work that was done on Meek’s Dreams and Nightmares album originated with the Batcave team. What they have received credit for at Batcave Studio is recording Meek’s verse for Rick Ross’ Grammy-nominated “So Sophisticated” track from Ross’ 2012 album, God Forgives, I Don’t. Not only do they have the credit, but the gold plaque to prove it. Any strain in the relationship between the two parties has been squashed. Recently, the team from Batcave went to New York City to work on Meek’s upcoming mixtape.

“The album’s just about done,” says Rug. “We finishing up the mixing for his upcoming Dreamchasers 3 project.”

Back in Philly, Rug, Biz, engineer/producer Don Groove and engineer Jordan Hooks have a constant stream of artists filing in through the doors, going in and out of one of the two booths or the pre-production room in the studio.

“Raekwon’s been down here. Lupe, Waka, Redman, Jadakiss,” Rug says, while looking around the room. “Last year, Will Smith came down and got in the booth. We did Wyclef’s listening party here. That was pivotal for me. He set his chair up in the big room, pulled out his guitar, live, right there.”

Local artists AR-AB, Ape Gang and Quilly Millz have been a part of the wave of artists flowing in.

“We are working with a lot of the independents,” Rug says as Biz nods his head to concur. “It keeps us busy.”

While Rug is the man behind the boards, Biz is the man behind the artists.

“I try to give artists a real shot,” Biz explains. “I know how the music business works. I’m helping them reach milestones as far as credibility in a way that I’m not a marketing firm looking for credit. I’m pushing an artist to the front because that’s where they are supposed to be.”

Biz is in charge of managing the studio but it’s easy to get the sense that it is really just the vehicle he uses to reach young artists.

“I keep order, I keep it music,” Biz explains. “I teach artists to keep whatever their issues [are] outside of music, outside of Batcave. I teach MC camaraderie, and I teach MCs how to be MCs without them even knowing it.”

It is both Rug and Biz’s backgrounds that have allowed them to bring two distinct but valuable perspectives to Batcave Studio, resulting in accomplishments for themselves and many others that record there.

“I think success professionally is still being alive, doing what you are doing,” Rug says with a smile. “Your business still able to be noticeable or relevant — I think that’s success. Being able to keep doing what you do.”

“Personally,” he continues, “I think it’s just being happy. Success is being happy.”

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