Music producer Shondrae Crawford, a.k.a. Bangladesh, is known for creating beats so original that they sometimes cause a problem—no one can rhyme to them. “I never thought of my sound as that unique,” admits the 30-year-old music producer. “But people kept telling me it was like nothing they’d ever heard before. It’s foreign to their ear; it’s different. It’s Bangladesh.”
Born in Des Moines, IA, Bangladesh has spent the last decade in Atlanta, where his keyboard-centric beats and rhythms steadily confuse and captivate artists and listeners alike. “Things were hard at first,” he explains. “A lot of people liked the stuff I was doing but artists were having trouble writing to it.” After patiently waiting for talent that could mesh with his sound, Crawford caught his first big break on Ludacris’s megahit “What’s Your Fantasy?” These days, Bangladesh is best known for his work on Lil Wayne’s freestyle runaway smash “A Milli.”
Since working with Luda and Atlanta’s Disturbing tha Peace crew, Bangladesh has been tapped by other artists looking for his signature sound, including Missy Elliott, Ciara, Kelis, M.I.A., and Beyoncé. “I’m taking more steps lately to paint the picture for [the artists] and where I’m thinking of going with things,” says Bangladesh. “It’s been key to my success.”
While his beats take some translation, Bangladesh’s body art is more straightforward. “My first and best tattoo is definitely the one of my son’s face,” he proudly states. “It’s flush with the skin, no thick lines—it’s clean.” In addition to a portrait of one of his two daughters (the other will be coming soon; his younger daughter is just a baby), Bangladesh is also adorned with an unrobed woman on his back, “Warrior” on his forearm, “Bangladesh” on his hand, and the word “Addiction” inscribed across his chest. “To me, that [word] represents anything good or bad that takes you away from reality. It’s something you enjoy but always have to be aware of. That’s why I put it on my chest.” Nothing lost in translation there.