David "D. Funk" Faulk's multi-platinum status came from producing and writing music for artists such as George Clinton and Mystikal, engineering and assisting sessions for Lenny Kravitz, Tool, Tricky, Allan Toussaint and Dr. John, sessions with artists like Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze), Bushwick Bill (Ghetto Boys), etc... but David's original notoriety came from doing all the music for a little local label named "BIG BOY RECORDS".
Barely a week goes by without someone asking about David's work with the legendary New Orleans label, Big Boy Records - the label that gave the start to many well-known national and local artists such as Mystikal, Fiend, The Ghetto Twiinz, Partners-N-Crime, Black Menace, G-Slimm and others. So, here it is once and for all from the words and perspective of someone who was there:
Long before there was HOTBOX, David "D-Funk" Faulk's time was spent working at different local recording studios doing everything from tape duplication to session work and more. A local studio by the name of Sea-Saint eventually hired him full time for them and at another local studio, Sound Services. Between both studios, David not only gained a greater knowledge of all things musical but was also in the position to come in contact and work alongside many great artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Dr. John, George Clinton, Tom Jones, Paul Simon, Blind Melon and countless others.
In addition to working with top-notch national artists, many of the local record labels like No Limit and Cash Money would frequent the studios and have David play live instruments on their songs. One of the record labels to take notice of David's musical abilities was Big Boy Records. They were a relatively new label with only a couple of artists signed to them. Partners-N-Crime and Black Menace were the artists and each had released a CD previously where the producer incorporated samples and drum loops to create the majority of their music.
Big Boy Records began having David add live instruments to their songs. They soon signed an artist by the name of "G-Slimm" and inlisted David's playing to full effect on all of the songs for the album. Before this, there hadn't been any local rap artists featuring original live basslines, guitar riffs, a real Baby Grand piano, synths and more! Sound Services had a wide variety of instruments in which David used to great effect for the songs of G-Slimm's debut "Fours, Deuces & Treys". This was followed up by more live instrumentation by David for Partners-N-Crime's follow-up, "PNC-3", Fiend's debut single,"Baddest M.F. Alive" and, of course, the one that started it all: Mystikal's debut CD, "Mind Of Mystikal".
Aside from the drum beat programming, everything else on Mystikal's CD was all live instruments played by David/D-Funk. One day David was noodling around with a bassline to be used on one of his band's songs. When Mystikal walked by and overheard it, he blurted out."We gotta use that!" It eventually became the main riff for his first hit single,"Yall Aint Ready". In the song, he even shouts,"Dave, play that fuckin' guitar!".
Soon, more artists were signed to the label and David found himself not only playing all the instruments on the songs but also producing many of the songs himself. He enjoyed what he was doing and didn't realize just how much money was being brought in thanks to the music he was creating for the label. While David was getting a couple of bucks here and there, the "producer" for the label and CEO began buying Land Cruisers and living quite comfortably. Gold and platinum record awards were happening while David was trying to figure out how to pay his next rent payment. It was definitely time for a change.
It's sad that all they had to do was share the money equally and there's no telling just how huge the label would have become. Even Cash Money and No Limit will tell you today how they were following in the footsteps of Big Boy Records. It's truly amazing how some people's greed is so great that it makes them blind to reality. They would rather lose everything than to lose a penny.
Many New Orleans people in the music business know this these days but it's surprizing how many people believe that the person who got the producer credits on those records actually played the instruments. The fact is that the majority of the time it was David picking up an instrument and just coming up with ideas while being recorded, sampled and looped.
These days the label has tried to make a recovery but without David doing the music this time, nothing sounds even remotely close to what people were expecting. BBR had "a sound" and when people heard it, they could tell in an instant who it was. But hiring a handfull of producers and buying tracks from this guy and that guy to do an artist's record can never take the place of someone producing the actual artist and working to achieve that person's unique "sound". Trying to stage a comeback, Big Boy released 4 or 5 new CDs within the last 2 years and they were all considered total failures by the industry and the fans. It's bad news for them but it's a great vindication of David's talents and what he truly meant to the label and it's sound, not to mention - it's fanbase.
In the end, no one cared about the so-called "producer", no one cared about the label name carrying any weight, and no one cared about the entirely new roster of artists either. What was missing was the music and the public isn't stupid - no matter what some people think. You can't sneak it by the fans by slapping the old label name on the cd cover and think people won't hear the difference. David's easily-identifiable and original sound is all over every one of Big Boy Records' hit albums yet, sadly, a lot of the public is still left wondering,"What happened to Big Boy Records?".
The label fell apart and those who took advantage of D-Funk in the past were able to coast for a while off of the wave he inadvertently had created for them but that wave has since disappeared and they fell back to earth. And while they haven’t made a hit in years, David is still a hot commodity in the New Orleans music community by lending his musical expertise to other recording artists in his own studio. Interestingly, David has received more recognition on his own than he ever had under the shadow of people who used his talents only to create their own success stories.
So what does a capable, multi-faceted producer / musician / engineer do after something like that?
Now, the owner, producer and full-time engineer of HOTBOX Studio, David "D-Funk" Faulk is most notably known as the man behind the scenes of a once-popular local label called, "BIG BOY RECORDS" but his skills have only gotten better with time and you can still get quality work from David and his studio for your own music projects. In addition, the last few years have seen David broadening his talents with doing CD artwork, video production and web design.
These days, David feels blessed to look up at the gold and multi-platinum plaques that adorn the Hotbox Studio walls and remember the many times having thought he'd never receive the recognition he rightly deserved.
If you’d like to collaborate with David on your next music project, just drop us an e-mail. Check out some of the hot instrumental tracks David has waiting for you to hear. Record at the studio of your choice or come record at Hotbox and have David engineer, mix and master the entire thing in-house. Have David play some guitar, bass or keyboards on your already-existing tracks or start from scratch and create a hit together!
To hear some samples of David’s solo music, go to: www.myspace.com/mindblades
You can e-mail David directly at: DFunkFaulk@aol.com