May 23, 2018

Alumni Spotlight: Ivan Jackson and Conor Rayne win fans and a Grammy with their duo Brasstracks

by Hilary Purrington

While attending Manhattan School of Music, jazz students Ivan Jackson (BM ’13, Jazz Trumpet) and Conor Rayne (’13, Jazz Drumset) joined forces in 2014 to form the duo Brasstracks.

Initially pursuing Brasstracks as a casual side project, Rayne and Jackson used their instruments and musical training to produce original electronic music and ingenious covers. Four years and a Grammy later, Brasstracks continues to refine its jazz-infused hip-hop sound while pursuing collaborations with iconic hip-hop musicians.

Brasstracks is Ivan Jackson (BM ’13, Jazz Trumpet) (left) and Conor Rayne (’13, Jazz Drumset)

Part of Brasstracks’ success grew out of the duo’s ingenious use of social media. Jackson and Rayne’s music gained traction after the pair posted tracks on SoundCloud. The site gave Brasstracks a platform and allowed them to form a significant fan base. Later, they used their Twitter account to connect with Chance the Rapper. This led to a collaboration that resulted in the track “No Problem.” Produced by Brasstracks and featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, “No Problem” won a Grammy in 2017 for Best Rap Performance.

Brasstracks recently released For Those Who Know, Pt. 1, a six-track EP that is the first installment of a two-part project. The album includes instrumental tracks as well as collaborations with Robert Glasper, The Underachievers, and S’natra. The single “Those Who Know” features vocals from Ivan Jackson, marking the first time that he has contributed vocals to a Brasstracks recording.

In April 2018, Brasstracks completed their first headline tour. When Jackson and Rayne aren’t touring, they live and work as hip-hop producers in New York City. Despite Brasstracks’ relationships with Los Angeles-based hip-hop musicians, the pair remains committed to living and working in New York City.

Brasstracks in the news:
Billboard.com
Nylon.com
Huffington Post

Brasstracks feat. S'natra & Fatherdude - Opposite Ways (Live From Studio G, New York)