REVOLT TV presents 'The Produce Section,' a column where we put the spotlight on the men and women behind the beats we love so much and their contributions to the culture as a whole. From profiling and interviewing the hottest producers of today to acknowledging the greatest producers of all-time and delving deep into their discographies, TheProduce Section is the hub where beats, rhymes and life connect.
Producers have long been the backbone of rap music, providing emcees and rappers alike with the sonic backdrops over which they bare their souls and share their stories. Rap artists may get much of the fanfare and are front and center. However, without the producer toiling away behind the scenes, crafting the instrumentals; the lyrics would be reduced to spoken word and hip-hop would be nonexistent as we know it.
In this edition of "The Produce Section," we speak with Murda Beatz, one of the hottest boardsmen currently dominating the charts. Hailing from Canada, Murda Beatz has spent the past few years building a reputation for delivering hits to top artists. In addition, globally recognized talents like Drake, Migos, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Cardi B are all seeking out his talents for their next hit record. From chart-topping smash singles to standout deep cuts, Murda Beatz's sound has been inescapable, making him one of the most in-demand beatsmiths of today. In addition to crafting records for others, Murda Beatz looks to step out from behind the shadows and bloom as an artist with his debut single 'Shopping Spree' featuring Lil Pump and Sheck Wes. The track is set to tide fans over until the release of his forthcoming album Keep God First 2.
In our latest installment of our series, we chop it up with Murda Beatz about his production process, the backstory behind his most popular records and what he's got up his sleeve next.
The Origins of Your Production Tag:
Me and Baka, who is Drake's boy and signed to OVO now... were in the studio and we were doing a song called 'AKA' and in the song he just said, 'Baka AKA Not Nice. Murda on the beat so it's not nice.' And then I was talking to Sonny Digital and I was like, 'Yo, I got this song I did with Baka that might be cool for a tag' and Sonny was like, 'Yo, you should try it man, you never know.' Drake used to love the song and then one day Drake was like, 'Yo, put the Baka tag on the '[Portland]' beat when you send it to me." And from then on I kept using it.
Tools of the Trade:
I use the Kontackt Komplete Keyboard 49 Keys. I use a Razer Laptop, I use a Razer mouse. I use Babyface Interface. XLR cables and Yamaha HS80 speakers and Fruity Loops. FL gang for life, man.
Your Process as A Producer:
It's kind of different every time... usually, I just start by cooking up a melody and then do a drum idea. [Sometimes] someone will send me a loop or melody and I'll add the drums to it, and produce it up from there. But recently, I've been getting cool little drum bounces... and then I'll just add a melody after that.
Producers Who Have Influenced Your Style:
Boi-1da and Lex Lugor, definitely. Boi-1da, coming up from Canada and stuff, he really invented the sound of Toronto and Drake... And Lex Lugor, I love trap music so much and that was the guy at the time [so] I decided to make trap music.
Favorite Artists You've Worked With:
Migos, for sure. We just built a great friendship over the last seven to eight years and we've had strong chemistry from the beginning. Secondly, PartyNextDoor; Me and Party have great chemistry in the studio and he's a creative genius and pushes me on my boundaries on my end and makes me a better producer every [time] I work with him. And thirdly, I'd say Travis Scott. He's a very talented artist, I feel like he has the sonic part of music down... how they sound as a whole always comes out as a masterpiece every time he does it.
Three Beats That Have Defined Your Career:
'Nice For What' [because] it [impacted the world] out of all my records. 'MotorSport' because it was crazy to get Nicki [Minaj] and Cardi [B] on a record together and that shit went crazy, too. And the third favorite beat of mine, maybe [Travis Scott's] 'Butterfly Effect.'
You initially built a buzz as one of rap's hot new producers with your work alongside the Migos early in both of your careers. How did your relationship with the group originate and how would you describe your chemistry with them?
We first linked up through social media... I hit them up on Twitter and then I sent them beats and then they started loving what I was sending. And then from there on we just built a great relationship that's lasted years on years without falling out. So that's how it came about.
From the perspective of a producer, what would you say sets each member of the Migos apart from one another and other artists as a whole?
Quavo is just super-talented all around. He's got crazy hooks, got crazy verses... Offset has like a hard rap flow and in the last few years, he began to have some of the best hooks in rap music as well. At the beginning, Quavo was the hook-man, Takeoff had the verses and Offset had the verses. But now Offset is coming in the label having some crazy hooks as well. And Takeoff, [has] the craziest flow in the game.
Your biggest hit with the Migos so far has been 'Motorsport,' featuring Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. What do you remember about creating that beat and what attracted the Migos to it?
I actually made that beat on a speaker in my boy's condo in Toronto and I called it '6 Anthem.' I made it for Drake, but I don't know if I sent it to him. And then a couple months later after I made it, I was in the studio with the Migos in New York. I pulled it up and me and Quavo made 'MotorSport' on the spot.
Another artist you've struck a working relationship with is Travis Scott, whom you worked with on his Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, Huncho Jacko and other occasions. One collaboration that really struck a chord with listeners was 'Butterfly Effect', which was certified triple platinum. What do you feel it is about that instrumental and your production on it that helped make it such a big hit?
I feel like the simplicity of it and how it starts with the 808s, I feel like that's a big intro.
Being that he's one of the biggest stars in music right now, what has it been like working with Drake and how where does that connection stem from?
Working with Drake [has been] amazing, he's a very talented guy and he really knows what he wants. Like when we worked on the 'Nice For What' record, he was like, 'Yo, I want like a female sample, some '90s R&B stuff' and we narrowed it down to Lauryn Hill. But I met him through mutual friends in Toronto... The first time I met him was actually at a Prime Boys show.
Your first bonafide hit with Drake was 'Portland' featuring Travis Scott and Quavo. How did that track come to life?
I made the beat in L.A., it was like 124 beats per minute (BPM). I sent it to Drake and [he] was like, 'Yo, speed that shit up like 20 BPM.' So I sent it back to him at like 146 (BPM)… and then he sent me back the verse he did and he was like, 'Hey, you should hit up the Migos and get Quavo on it.' So I hit up Quavo [and told him], 'Yo, Drake wants you to hop on this shit…' and then he sent me back his verse in like two hours or something. And then the 'Hell nah' part, we cut it up and made the hook of that song… and [Drake and I] came up with the idea to put Travis [Scott] on it. I pulled up on Travis in L.A. and I edited the beat for his verse because he wanted the beat to kind of change up when it came to this verse and then he recorded his verse in the next couple of days, too, and then boom, we had the song together… it took a little time [for me] to get everyone on it and get it all figured out, but it was a good experience… I feel like that's a more meaningful story out of all of my records [because] I had to put in the footwork to get in front of everybody to get [them] on the record.
Of all the records you've produced, 'Nice For What' by Drake stands out as the biggest, thus far. How did it feel to have had the biggest record in the country for weeks on end?
It felt amazing. But I'm never satisfied so whenever I exceed my expectations... I always want more. So, when I got the number one, then it's like, 'Damn, what's next?' I always feel like nothing's good enough, but it was a blessing, man, it felt great. I got used to it... [the song] was up there for like eight weeks (laughs).
On a handful of your biggest hits, you were working alongside CueBeatz who co-produced songs like 'MotorSport' and 'Portland.' What's the backstory behind your collaborative history and how would you say your styles complement one another?
We did a lot of work last year together. I ended up seeing their name on a couple of production credits and they ended up reaching out to me and [we got together] and started pumping out stuff... They're definitely the leaders and trendsetters of the new era of producing music that I see a lot of people trying to do so shout to them.
You teamed up with Smokepurpp earlier this year for the collaborative album Bless Yo Trap, which marked the first time you released an entire project with an artist. Why did you want to work with Smokepurpp in that capacity and how would you describe that experience?
[Because] I feel like he has a good grasp on the youth. He's pretty young... so he has the youth crowd and he makes crazy mosh pit music and stuff, his shows are lit... sonically he's a dope artist so I wanted to get in there. We ended up picking up a vibe in two weeks and became friends, too, so it was really easy and enjoyable to make the project together.
Speaking of collaborative projects, who are some other artists you'd want to work on a joint-album with?
Me and PnB Rock are doing an album right now. That's sounding crazy, too, we got some shit. We [are] just sticking down the guns right now and shooting. Other people I'm [working] with [are] Polo G, we did some shit.
One production credit that's a testament to your growth and reputation as a producer is 'Yeah, Champagne,' with Madonna. What did it feel like to be working with a musical icon with such a rich history, especially having gotten your start in hip hop?
It was a really big blessing. Quavo came in the studio with a Madonna acapella, I said, 'I'm gonna take this shit to the bando' and made it a trap beat.' He did the crazy song for it and then he played it for Madonna a month later and she liked it so much, she did a verse to the record... And then Cardi [B] blessed it, too.
You recently released your debut single as an artists, 'Shopping Spree' featuring Lil Pump and Sheck Wes. What made you wanna step out from behind the scenes and put yourself at the forefront?
I feel like I [have] always been like that as a producer, so I did my deal with Interscope a year or two ago and I decided it's time to start dropping songs. I dropped the 'Shopping Spree,' video coming soon. I wanna keep dropping music… so just stay on the lookout... I'm here for the fans and I wanna drop music that the fans are gonna love and I wanna push music forward in all genres in any way I can.
Lil Pump and Sheck Wes are known for their riotous anthems and club bangers. Given their personalities and energy, what was the creative process like working with those two?
It was dope, me and Pump did the record in L.A. in one night at his crib and then me and him posted a little video of us vibing to the record when we made it. And then from there Sheck commented on it and put him on it... it's just a little one to get out to the fans and not keep them waiting too long for new music. It's getting a good little buzz, the video's hilarious... so I know y'all are gonna be playing that on REVOLT [TV].
You've been teasing your Keep God First 2 album for a while, is there any time-table on when it will be released?
Not really, it's gonna come soon. I'm just focusing on the DJ stuff, expanding the brand, merch and our joint project so I'm keeping some time for myself, collecting records.
What would you say has been your mission while spearheading and recording this project?
Just having music I enjoy and music... that you can play for a few years to five years to 10 years. Like the first project had all my boys from Canada on there. I had Playboi Carti on there before he popped off and I Offset on there before he dropped 'Bad and Boujee.' I had Swae Lee... So just break artists and do everything I can do.
What can fans look forward to hearing from you next?
[PnB Rock and I] got an album coming out... Me and Martin Garrix are working on some stuff. Me and Drake are always working, me and Migos are always working. I'm going on tour with A$AP Ferg in November and December so we might drop some music before we go on tour. That's about [all] I can tell you [laughs].
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