G-Unit producer-emcee Nick Speed's Cass Corridor apartment is huge. It's bigger than most Ferndale homes. But it must be; after all, the dude is very prolific, a veritable beat factory unto himself. And that makes perfect sense. Speed was a music "industry baby by birth." His dad worked for the BET network in Washington, D.C. When Speed was a baby, Quincy Jones — when he was producing Thriller — would sing scales to him.
Not to get all name-drop-y, but hanging out with Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Eazy-E or going to the Krush Groove premiere was just another day for young Speed.
In fact, a few of dad's connections helped Speed land his production deal with G-Unit in 2004. Not only is Speed's discography ridiculous (namedrop alert: he's worked with Elzhi, Proof, Wajeed, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Talib Kweli), but his upcoming release schedule is equally unrestrained. The Dope Head album and the Elzhi mixtape, both of which Speed worked on, just dropped while the amazing Hot Soup album by Danny Brown and the iLLiTe records he produced are going to be hitting streets in the next month.
In any other city, Speed's cavernous pad in some beautiful old apartment building would be far out of financial reach for most musicians — but that's the beauty of Detroit.
"I love this neighborhood, you get the perfect blend of real people — people who will make millions and people who will never make a dime," Speed says. "And I'm right in the middle of everything. I can walk anywhere I want to in five minutes."
Catch Nick Speed with DJ House Shoes at a free listening party for Danny Brown's Hot Soup CD on Thursday, June 26, at Oslo (1456 Woodward, Detroit; 313-962-7200).
The release party for Hot Soup is Tuesday, July 1, at Northern Lights Lounge (660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; 313-873-1739).