NEW YORK, NY — As one of the early events of Red Bull Music Academy’s month-long New York festival, the series assembled the pulse of today’s rap music, or better yet the genre’s sonic Voltron, for an all-encompassing conversation about beats, brotherhood, and, yes, trap.
Before bringing their most sought-after sounds to NYC’s hotspot The Lively, where they performed back-to-back rollicking sets biggest hits, the tight-knit brood of aces Metro Boomin, Zaytoven and Sonny Digital joined RMBA moderators to discuss their careers, communal spirit, and studio secrets. With respect to fellow members of this new sonic guard like Southside, TM88, DJ Spinz and Nard & B, the trio did a great job of detailing the sound that keeps on giving, in addition to the chemistry that drives a friendly competition within their brood.
While much of their respective stories have been covered and documented, the boardsmen revealed several interesting tidbits regarding their careers, including fun facts behind some of their biggest hits. Check out a few of the standouts below.
Zaytoven Convinced Gucci Mane To Record A New Verse For "So Icy"
Zaytoven: I was at the barber shop cutting hair one day and Gucci Mane calls me up and says Jeezy wants to do a song with us. At the time, I didn’t really know who Young Jeezy was but Gucci keeps his ear to the streets and he knows what’s hot and who’s next so, I’m like, ‘Alright cool, come to the house.’ So I make the beat in like five minutes, we already had the hook and stuff and go down to the studio and played it [for Jeezy]. I remember [Gucci] was singing the hook for Young Jeezy and we played him the beat. He was like, ‘Alright, that’s cool. Ya’ll ain’t got nothing else." [Laughs]
So at the time, Gucci is like, “Zay put on another beat then, do something else.” At the time, I don’t want to say I was arrogant, but my feelings was hurt in a way to the point where I felt like ‘Oh you don’t like my beat?’ So I told Gucci, “Nah, let’s do the song that we came down here to do. I didn’t know who Young Jeezy was, I didn’t if he was as big as he was at the time, but I was like “No, we’re gonna do the song we said we were gonna do.” Before you know it, everybody that was in that studio had a pencil and pad out trying to write to get on it. You could tell it was going to be a hit, because everybody that was in that session was trying to get on.
Gucci valued my opinion so much, that’s why I respect him so much. He was [always] like, “Zay what you think?” He was finna rap a verse that he already had, but I was like, “Nah, you got to do something brand new for this.
Sonny Digital Believes "Racks" Was A Blessing And A Curse
Sonny Digital: “Racks" was my first breakout hit. That was like a real bumpy road for me too because I had my tag back then, but I didn’t put it in [and] that was my fault. It kind of fucked it up for me because I had to go back and rebuild it up and that was a big, breakthrough record. It was a lot with that record. It was like a blessing and curse. It was more of a blessing though because it kind of opened the door for me to do more things.”
Metro Boomin: You got to make a version when you swap Future with YC’s verses. His verse got more reaction to it.
Nelly's Country Grammar Inspired Metro Boomin To Get Into Rap
Metro: When I was growing up in St. Louis, it was a lot of good music stuff going on. Nelly was dropping a whole bunch of crazy stuff — Murphy Lee, Chingy, J-Kwon. Even with all that coming out of where I was from and where I was at, you got to imagine that time in the city, it was so influential. When Nelly dropped Country Grammar, I knew I wanted to be in music.
Future's "March Madness" Almost Landed On Monster
Metro: [Future's] not scared of anything. He records and makes so much music to the point that you might hear “Sh!t” or “Covered N Money” on an album and you’re thinking this is what he’s on right now, but one of those could’ve been from two years ago or anything. That [song] is just what fits the project and it was chosen. It’s all about timing. Even when “March Madness” came out, that was originally… like when we were putting Monster together, that was one of the songs we had way back that we were debating on, but it didn’t make the cut. Everything happens for a reason and it made more sense way later during everything like Black Lives Matter and the month of March, it was just a better moment. It’s really about moments.
Zaytoven's Crib Is A Musician's Rite Of Passage
Metro Boomin: You gotta go to Zay’s crib to make sure that you make it through the game. If you don’t make it to Zay crib you ain’t no one. For real. His crib is very vital to the community of Atlanta. If Zay moves from Atlanta, that would probably end it. It ain’t no foundation no more. Once I hear about my niggas making it to Zaytoven crib, I feel a lot more comfortable. People really don’t understand when it comes to Atlanta sound, but really Zay the godfather. It’s like he birthed all of us. You got to understand how crazy it is, because “So Icy” “Black Tee,” all that stuff came out in like 2004, 2005 and its 2016 and he’s even more relevant than before. Even all the producers that were hot around Atlanta alongside Zay, he’s outlived all of them. That’s big in itself and he still here, he’s here with us. He’s gonna be here. The real G.O.A.T.
Zaytoven On Being Recognized As Atlanta's Godfather
Zaytoven: It definitely puts a smile on my face. These (points to Metro and Sonny Digital) are the guys that make go home and say “Hold on man, I gotta start back going hard.” I’m competitive with this music. They make me go home and get on my game. They the guys that keep me revenant.