Locals: SupaNatra’s knack for sounds lands him a life-changing invitation from Drake

  • Photo by Jeffry Konczal
By Paul Meara
From the August 29, 2013 edition

Possessing the ability to both cover music and create it is a rarity. In the realm of hip-hop, Columbus producer SupaNatra has that ability and is using it to national acclaim.

Known as someone who has the aptitude for both, it’s Supanatra’s beats that have gotten him notice from many of today’s biggest rappers. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. To understand the beatsmith born Demetrius Howard, one would have to delve into his past.

Howard was born to young parents, and he attributes a lot of his musical tastes to his father, who kept A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul records spinning throughout s childhood.

“Hip-hop was becoming a culture, and because my dad was so young and since he was into it, naturally I was into it,” Howard said.

While Tribe and De La’s sonic passages may not be the first thing you hear when a SupaNatra-produced beat drops, their influence on many of his drum kicks and beat patterns evident.

Starting in Columbus’ club scene at a young age, Howard evolved into somewhat of a rarity in Columbus. Such uniqueness landed him on a plane to Los Angeles in April, where his career outlook would change forever.

Toronto rapper and hip-hop headliner Drake bought Howard his first-ever plane ticket and flew him to the legendary Marvin’s Room studio in L.A. to record with him. Drake currently owns numerous beats created by SupaNatra, a fact the Columbus producer had a hard time believing at first.

“When an artist that we hear on the radio and see on TV everyday is like, ‘Yo, we about to fly you out,’ that’s when I was like, ‘OK, this is real,’” he said. “I’m in Hollywood, the hotel is crazy and everybody’s pulling up in Maseratis and Lamborghini and I was like, ‘This could really be my life.’”

Producing for big artists isn’t new for Howard, as he’s compiled a long list of notable producing credits including French Montana, Juicy J, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Bobby Valentino and Jeremih, among others.

His recent success has only pushed him harder to perfect his own musical releases. SupaNatra will be present as both producer and rapper on his next release entitled Minutes Per Game, which is due out late in September.

“It’s very powerful,” he said. “It doesn’t sound like anything I’ve done before. The energy is real high and real forceful.

“As good as many say I am, [my producing career] is something that I had to keep working at and keep perfecting. I can say I dedicate the majority of my da everyday [to my career]; if I’m not raising my child, I’m doing music.”