Shondrae "Bangladesh" Crawford is almost famous, although he doesn't really want to be.
As the producer of the most rotated beat right now in hip-hop – Lil Wayne's "A Milli" – you'd think he'd be basking in the attention he's getting, not laughing at it.
"I'm a realist kind of guy and I'm in the business of phony people," he says, waving off the industry's newfound adulation for him. "People are not wanting Bangladesh productions. People ask me for 'A Milli.'"
His cynicism is justified when you look at his 10-year track record. From Kelis' "Bossy" to EightBall & MJG's "Don't Make" and Ludacris' "What's Your Fantasy," Bangladesh has been nothing if not consistently diverse in his sound. Although the Des Moines, Iowa native is willing to play the game now and make YouTube remix videos with Ne-Yo and the like, the industry status he's acquired is really the opposite of his low-key personality. That's why it makes sense that he would so readily attach himself to a showcase like Almost Famous.
Started four years ago by songwriter/publicist Rovella Williams as a means to demo her material, the showcase has grown into one of the most popular in the city through its grassroots inception. The showcase has since expanded to Athens, New York, Miami and Birmingham.
"My team has been successful because we never really did it as a business initially, we just wanted to fulfill a need for artists," Williams says, Thus far, Almost Famous has drawn guest judges including TJ Chapman of TJ DJ's, Bryan-Michael Cox, DJ Toomp and Chaka Zulu.
Bangladesh has participated in several AF events before, and will appear on the producer's forum this year at the Almost Famous Anniversary event. He says the showcase offers artists an opportunity to hone their skills. Ultimately, it's not all about being famous, but being prepared. "If you don't know what you're doing and you get overwhelmed by success and money, your life is out of control," he says. "You really gotta know yourself to be in this game, or at the end of the day you're not gonna be right."
Bangladesh will speak at the 2 p.m. Groundbreaking Producers panel with Drumma Boi, Mr. Collipark and DJ Toomp during the Almost Famous Forum. Free. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Almost Famous Award Show. $25. Sat., July 26. 9-11 p.m. Georgia World Congress Center. Purchase tickets at www.almostfamousshow.com.