Los Angeles-based Terrace Martin is musician, rapper and producer who has lent his skills to the likes of Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, 9th Wonder, Talib Kweli and many, many others. Shattering the acknowledged rules of hip-hop production, he samples everything from funk to jazz to classical to create fresh and original works. His productions have made him one of the most sought after producers on the west coast.
He began playing the piano at the age of six and at age 13, a friend encouraged Martin to learn to play the saxophone. His Godfather, saxophonist Stemz Hunter suggested he enrol at Santa Monica High School to sharpen his musical chops. He walked in not knowing what a scale was and soon found himself practicing up to seven hours a day. Under the auspice of Reggie Andrews, Martin became first chair of the All-State jazz band.
As a child prodigy, Martin gained the interest of talk show host Jay Leno, who provided a $30,000 scholarship and purchased Martin’s first professional saxophone. Fresh out of high school, Martin attended Cal Arts but decided school was not for him and opted, instead, to go professional. Martin was not only recognised by the Hollywood elite, he also found favour in the jazz world where world-renowned jazz musician, Billy Higgins, made him a member of his World Stage All-Stars playing in the historic Leimert Park. From World Stage, Martin began touring with Puff Daddy and God’s Property, presented by Kirk Franklin.
Martin’s projects feature verses and production from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Pete Rock, DJ Quik, Kurupt, and countless others.
While spending time with numerous luminaries in the studio, Terrace is one of the few artists in hip-hop who seamlessly work with underground, emerging and established artists; often on the same song. And it is something he is proud of. “To me, I just bridge the dope people with the dope people,” says Martin. His position in hip-hop music is unbridled, but it is his jazz musicianship that separates his sound from his peers.
From jazz to hip-hop, Martin’s role models include Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Stitt, Grover Washington, Jr., Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Battlecat, Premier, Pete Rock, and 1580 K-Day.
Terrace is currently a staff producer for legendary Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Top Dawg Entertainment (Kendrick Lamar) and also works closely with Dr. Dre.