On making Wiz Khalifa’s “Taylor Gang”
“That particular beat is an old beat. That’s probably from ‘07, ‘08. I had Wiz’s e-mail because Wiz has always been kind of like an Internet guy. He’s always been all over the Internet, so when he first was really popping I hollered at him. And then he reached out to me and wanted to do some work with me. I had heard the song about a year ago. It had leaked out, but no one knew it though. And I guess he remastered it and put it out now. Wiz just got back with me recently and let me know that everybody likes it, and that he want to put it out there. And I was like ‘Yeah, go for it.’ But as far as being in the studio together, we haven’t done anything like that yet. That song is going to be on his album, but it’s going to be the iTunes bonus. [I don’t have other songs on his album] because his album is so close. But I talked to him, and he said he’d give me at least three [beats] on the next album.”
On making Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “H.A.M.”
“Kanye reached out to me. He said he and Jay were working on an album, and he told me, ‘Don’t tell nobody.’ [Laughs.] He told me that he had four good records that he liked, that I had produced, and that he was going to drop one of them for the single. I said ‘Okay, cool.’ This all happened when we were in the studio, in New York, doing ‘See Me Now’ just a few months ago. And what took so long was that I had so many beats that I kept sending them the wrong beat. I couldn’t find it because the name of the beat was ‘Six’ and I had to go through [so many] folders. If I’m in Virginia or Atlanta, I’ll name the folder that, and then [name each beat] ‘One,’ ‘Two,’ ‘Three,’ and so forth. And I had like seven folders with ‘Six’ in it, so [I would send it], and he would be like, ‘Nah, nah. That’s not the right one.’ And we were doing that through e-mails, so that was complicated. It took me a good three weeks to find it. That [opera sound on the beat] was Kanye. I liked it because he had built it around the beat I had made. The beat had a choir, but it was a regular trap, hard choir, going up and down. And what he did was, he built it around that, and made it like 600 people were really in there singing that and playing that. He put his own Kanye on it.
“When Kanye [first] called me, he said he wanted to fly me out to New York so I flew out a month later. I didn’t want to fly out there at first. It was coming too fast for me, really. How I go from Milwaukee in the basement to Kanye—one of the biggest artists out right now—wanting my sound, wanting me to do his record? I was scared. But I went down there because it felt like an opportunity. He told me he loved my drums. He said with my drums and his sound, it would go perfectly. And I was ready to do it. But at the same time, I had to work. I felt like I wasn’t on Kanye’s level. I went back and I worked for about six months, I didn’t talk to Kanye or nothing. I called Gee Robinson because me and him cool, I sent him some stuff, I sent Kanye some more stuff, just going back and forth. Me and Kanye are still working. Maybe [I’ll have more songs on Watch The Throne.]
“In New York, when I walked in [the studio] Kanye was playing a bunch of Jimi Hendrix records. Playing them real loud off a record—it wasn’t a CD or something off of the Internet. So he came in there, and he had listened to three good records, and he told me, ‘I know you’re wondering why I’m doing this. It’s studying music.’ Back then, a story was told in [the music]. From the instruments to the words to the song, because you could listen to a whole instrumental back then and be satisfied. So he said that’s where he wanted to take his music. I just took that and I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to do that too.’ Because music ain’t supposed to be repetitive, with the same thing over and over. What Kanye does is try to push it to the limit. That’s what I really learned from him: Don’t get stuck in the same sound or the same style. Always keep going, and keep something new.”
On the criticism that all his beats sound the same
“It is [true], in a way. But every interview I do, I try to tell them that it’s a lot more than that [‘B.M.F.’ sound]. When I’m sending out 40 beats a day to one artist, out of those 40 he might pick two just because they sound like ‘B.M.F.’ or ‘Hard In The Paint,’ and he feels like that’s his hit. I think that’s a big problem in music right now. Everybody is like, ‘Oh, he’s hot right now. I’m going to try and get something that sounds like him.’ And that’s what I feel like a lot of artists did to me because Waka was really the biggest thing at one time. So they wanted that ‘Hard In The Paint’ sound. And I was just the man behind that, so they reached out to me. So when I sent them other types of music, they were like ‘What is this?’ I want ‘B.M.F.’ or ‘Hard In The Paint. Don’t send me this.’ So what I try to do now is, I try and hold the ‘B.M.F.’ and ‘Hard In The Paint’ sound to myself. I won’t send that out. I’ll send the pop music or the R&B out to the major artists so they have to do it.”
“But certain artists just want ‘Hard In The Paint’ and ‘B.M.F.’ The thing that kills me is it’s the big artists that have five and six albums already out, asking me for what I made a year ago. I was at the airport, someone was calling me, and I didn’t know who it was, so I picked it up like, ‘Yeah, what’s up? This is Lex Luger.’ And they was like, ‘Yeah, this is Chingy.’ I was like, ‘Who? Chingy?’ I couldn’t believe that man. [Laughs.] He called me like, ‘I need some beats man. I want to go back in.’ And I wasn’t like, ‘Nah. Chingy, I don’t want to work with you.’ I was like, ‘Alright, cool.’ He was like, ‘I want that ‘Hard In The Paint.’ Give me something just like ‘Hard In The Paint.’’ I was like, ‘Bruh, I can’t do it.’ A lot of people like that call me though. I get that all the time. Busta Rhymes called me the other day. Sean Garrett said he wanted a hit for the club. They’ll call me and be like, ‘I need that hit to bring me back.’”
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