For “Studios Sessions,” we delve into the stories behind the long hours in the studio and all that goes into making an album by talking with artists, producers, engineers, photographers, and more who are intimately connected to the recording process with some of the biggest artists in the world. These are the stories that rarely leave the booth.
The value of a producer like Dougie on the Beat is beyond the boards. He’s produced for major artists such as Meek Mill and G. Herbo, and it’s their personal respect for him that affords him access to moments that turn into songs.
“Meek had a dinner out in L.A. and afterwards we went to the studio. He was rapping about something he was going through that night. I remember us having a discussion about that in the studio,” Dougie recollects to REVOLT. “It was something about girls. He was rapping about what girls do today and the type of girl he wants.”
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” Dougie on the Beat describes working with Meek the day after he squashed his beef with Drake, discussions with G Herbo, and recording Beanie Sigel. Read below.
When was the first time you were in the studio with Meek?
First time in the studio with him was when we were in a studio in New York when we did a song that’s not out yet. It’s called “Target.” He was like, “Pull some beats up” and when I pulled them up, he grabbed my computer and said, “I want to play them myself.” He picked the beat I was going to skip over. The beat was about five years old. I sampled JAY-Z’s “Say Hello” and put my twist on it. It probably took him an hour and some change to record the whole song.
What was the vibe in the studio?
It was a good vibe. He’s the type that when he feels a beat, he’s passionate about it and goes in. His energy lights the whole room up. He always gives me tips like, “You should add this in your beats” or “You should add this type of bounce,” and helps better what I’m doing. He always has good input. We’re from the same city, so we know what’s going on. We talk about things like who’s next out in the city and what we can do to make the city better.
You were in the studio with Meek the day after he and Drake made up. What was that session like?
It was different. I just felt like his energy was up more. He’s always the same way, but I felt it was breath of fresh air. You could even hear it in his music. Championships compared to Wins & Losses has a more turned up vibes. You could feel his energy was different. Around the time of Wins & Losses, a lot of people weren’t really on his side that much.
How have you seen Meek’s longtime engineer Cruz help his sessions?
They have really good chemistry. Cruz knows exactly what to do, how to set the mood, and everything. Cruz controls the room when he is in the session. He’ll know what vibe Meek is looking for. When Cruz plays him beats, he already has folders he could play for the mood he [is] in. He’ll already have the booth set up for him. He’ll make sure everything is cool and the room is straight. He’ll make sure the levels are cool and the mic is the right height so Meek doesn’t have to adjust anything. He’ll make sure the headphones are working. He’ll do all of that. I actually recorded Meek before I ever did a beat for him.
I interned at a studio in Philly called Heat Factory. I recorded Meek when he was working with Beanie Sigel and Omelly [in 2016]. Beans rolled up last. At the time, the session was legendary because you had Meek and Beanie Sigel in the same room. You had the past generation and the new generation. That was crazy at the time.
You’ve really worked closely with G Herbo. How did you two link up?
I linked up with Herb through Trav in New York. He was like, “Y’all my little bros. I hear y’all together.” This was about four or five years ago. Herb and I built a relationship from there. We weren’t even doing music in the beginning. We were just linking whenever he came to the city. I didn’t produce a record for him until two years after we met. We were building a genuine connection.
What’s it like making music with him?
He’s quiet for the most part. He’s just listening. When he catches a vibe, he goes in.
What songs have you made together?
It’s unreleased. We just did a song in the studio that I think is going to be called “Killer Season.”
After the pandemic hit, when did you return to the studio?
A week before today (Oct. 5) was the first time. It was cool. I know the people around him already. I already know him, so it was normal.
Did you and Herb talk about the state of the world during that session?
Yeah, he really into that. We both are. We were discussing Trump.
What’s one of your favorite stories about working with him?
One time he had an afterparty and while we were on the way to the afterparty, I told him I had some beats for him that I wanted to play. I played a beat that had the [Bone Thugs N Harmony] “Crossroads” sample in it, it’s called “Hood Legends.” He heard it, said it was the one, and started writing to it right there outside his hotel in the sprinter for a couple of hours. He had a flight in a few hours. When he got back to Chicago, he laid it.
Similar to your Herbo story, have you ever been out with an artist at the club and then went back to record music?
That happens all of the time. One time I was out with Meek in New York and we slid to a club. It was about 15 or 20 minutes. It was a quick walk in, walk out, and then we went right back to the studio. I also remember this one time, Meek had a dinner out in L.A. and afterwards, we went to the studio. He was rapping about something he was going through that night. I remember us having a discussion about that in the studio. It was something about girls. He was rapping about what girls do today and the type of girl he wants.
Artists bring all sorts of stuff into the studio. What’s a studio amenity that really sticks out?
This is going to sound crazy, but the most standout session was in Atlanta when they brought in warm chocolate chip cookies to the studio. In Philly, we don’t have any studios where people bring you food. I was with Herb most of the time in Atlanta.
What are you working on for the future?
Herbo and I are talking about doing a joint project together. Everything we dropped did numbers. So, why not? I put it up on Instagram basically saying, “All the songs we’ve done, imagine an EP with these vibes.” It was getting a lot of feedback about how it’d be crazy. I ran it past him and he said it’s a go. Now, we have to figure it out. We still have songs in the tuck that we don’t have out yet.