How does a boy from Delhi end up being chief engineer for the biggest hip-hop stars on the planet? It’s a question Angad Bains aka Bainz gets often. “This one time, we were at Gunna’s birthday party,” says Bainz over a Zoom call from LA, “and NAV asked me to tell him my story, from start to finish. And we had this long discussion about our journeys, how they’re so similar.”
As creatives of South Asian-origin in LA’s burgeoning hip-hop scene – NAV is the Indian-Canadian rapper part of The Weeknd’s crew at XO Records, while Bainz is chief engineer for Atlanta rapper Young Thug and his label Young Stoner Life Records, and has worked with everyone from Future to Travis Scott – they’ve both had a uniquely upward trajectory in their careers. More importantly, they’re part of the culture, something Bainz is at pains to state has been a key factor in his success.
Bainz’s answer to how he got here is brief. “I was born in Delhi, I went to school in Sanawar, and I was never good at anything,” he says, somewhat sleepily. “Then I went to Australia for university, started DJing at some small house parties, and realised I had a knack for audio. I wanted to get into it deeper, so I went to Full Sail University, where I graduated valedictorian. That’s not normal for people like me,” he smiles, “and I realised that the Indian education system is just not built for someone like me.”
In 2008, he landed in New York, “worked at a bunch of studios, then set up our own studio”, Crosby Studios, with Michael Brian in 2010. “We started working with different tiers of artists. We were a small one-room outfit, but we did well and stayed relevant because we kept upgrading, trying to be bigger and better, ramping up our knowledge on engineering and new technology, not being satisfied with where we were at, constantly staying up with the times, to adapt and progress.”
Soon, they realised that their artists were moving to LA once they had a hit song, so naturally Bainz and Brian followed suit. By 2015, Crosby Studios had arrived in LA, and is today a multi-room, multi-million dollar, hi-tech compound servicing the needs of the hottest artists in LA and Atlanta. “It stays booked throughout the year, 24x7,” says Bainz.
The same could be true for him. “When I was leaving New York, someone told me that the worst case scenario in LA is that you’ll have the same amount of work,” he laughs. Gaining notoriety as one of the fastest engineers in the game, Bainz won accolades for multi-platinum tracks like “Hot” by Young Thug, Gunna and Travis Scott and “Go Crazy” by Chris Brown and Young Thug; Billboard Hot 100’s #1 “Franchise” by Travis Scott featuring Young Thug and M.I.A., “Goodbyes” by Post Malone featuring Young Thug. In 2020, Bainz was at the helm of a mammoth 154 tracks, born of 33 collaborations, 18 of which were with Young Thug. “Ever since I moved here, it’s been so busy. But the good thing is that it pays really well too. You just have to be on call all the time.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
THE HERO SHOT
Kabir Bedi’s memoir is a fascinating look into the actor’s tryst with fame and fortune. Here, he tells Nidhi Gupta why he felt the need to document his rich, nonnormative life and make it raw, real and revelatory
THE WORLD IS ONE Canvas
The pandemic may have brought India’s favourite biennale to a screeching halt, but nothing could stop Bose Krishnamachari from putting together Lokame Tharavadu, the ambitious art show featuring 267 artists and one timely message, writes Nidhi Gupta
The latest upgrades on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is proof that you can fix something even if it isn’t broken
A new, METAScertified master chronometer movement is the driving force behind a new breed of Omega timepieces
Actor Harshvardhan Rane on negotiating an industry of great inequities, the films he’s betting on this year and why he’ll never mistake Bollywood for a family
A new breed of feni enthusiasts are giving the age-old tipple a makeover in Goa: ageing it underwater, infusing it with ingredients ranging from jeera to chorizo, and using it as a base in a variety of excellent cocktails. Arun Janardhan traces the evolution of this humble spirit from the bhatti to the bottle
DARING DESIGNS. INSPIRATIONAL INTERIORS
Impeccably handcrafted design offerings that flaunt a contemporary European aesthetic—that’s what luxury furniture and interior solutions brand Stanley is renowned for. Boasting a curated selection of product designs, the brand’s portfolio promises to add character and creativity to your space
Your Brain Doesn't Work The Way You Think It Does
A conversation with neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett on the counterintuitive ways your mind processes reality – and why understanding that might help you feel a little less anxious
Listen To Your Gut
Therein lies the answer to good health, prosperity and inner peace
He made every mistake a child star can make, including the ones that nearly destroyed him. Now, fortified by God, marriage and a new album Justice, Justin Bieber is putting his life back together one positive, deliberate step at a time
A Climate To Fear
Central America’s subsistence farmers are fleeing increasingly severe droughts and storms
Some TV theme songs are so iconic that you need to hum only a few bars (or hear a lyric) to guess which show it’s from! Match the tunes to the TV shows using the clues below.
New Discoveries in Newfoundland
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND ROCKHOUNDING HELP TO UNCOVER FASCINATING TREASURES AND HISTORY
Why Women Kill – Dangerous Women
Why Women Kill’s Allison Tolman and Lana Parrilla slay in this stylish, sexy soap.
Poverty Soars in the World's Most Unequal Region
THE COVID-19 pandemic has sent a wave of poverty racing across Latin America, deepening declines that began over the past decade and consigning millions to lives of deprivation.
Inaugural Taste of the Heartland to Spread Appreciation for Local Agriculture
FOR GENERATIONS, Avon Park and the Lake Wales Ridge it sits on have been known for being home to various types of agriculture.
Fair Play, Fair Work
Florida State Fair Executive Director Cheryl Flood Maintains Balance Between Education, Entertainment
From Steer to Blueberries and Citrus, Lausanne Walter’s Family Knows Agriculture
2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport HPD
Perception Matters: Looking more like a truck is no bad thing
Laura Miele Is Listening
The most powerful woman in gaming is trying to make EA more responsive to its customers