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.
Nick Papz has the skill to create beats that will shatter clubs. The man who made Meek Mill’s “Uptown Vibes” beat in five minutes has been cooking up while under quarantine, which is more than he can say for his most popular collaborator.
“Meek doesn’t really record at his home studio. He has a little setup at his crib right now. But, he doesn’t really record like that. We like the big studios,” Papz told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” Nick Papz discusses working on the follow up to Championships, making “Meek Mill-type” beats and more. Read below.
When did you start making beats?
I asked my brother one day, “Yo, how do you make these beats?” He showed me Fruity Loops (a music production software). I downloaded it and ever since, I fell in love and started putting “Type” beats on YouTube. They were getting millions of views. I started putting “Meek Mill-type” beats because I loved Meek’s sound and it was history from there.
How long after you put up your first “Meek Mill-type” beat did you link up with him?
I was putting beats on YouTube for about a year and a half, while I was in college. Google ads on those videos were my only way of making money. People were buying my beats for a couple of dollars. One day, I posted a video on my Instagram of me putting my camera on the speaker in my college dorm room, while I was making a beat. I tagged Meek, I went to class and saw Meek Mill liked my video. It was wild. I flipped my desk and walked out. I was a friend of Meek’s DJ, DJ Bran, and he put me on a call with him and one of Meek’s people. They said they wanted to sign me and from there, it was history.
You made the beat to one of my favorite Meek records — “Uptown Vibes.”
I made “Uptown Vibes” in five minutes.
As soon as I got the melody down, it was like a second language. It was so easy. I knew exactly what I wanted. I’m half Greek, half Portuguese, and I grew up around Spanish people pretty much my whole life. I love the Spanish influence on music. I wanted to mix Spanish with trap, which is the top two genres right now. We were at Jungle City Studios in New York, and every time I’m there, Meek asks if I have beats. I played it right before he was going to leave to go back to his crib. It was the last beat I played for him. I played it for him and he threw the mean-mugging face. He said, “This shit is crazy. Send this to my phone right now.” He wrote to it, went back to the studio a few days later, and recorded it.
You produced the intro on Championships. What did Meek tell you he needed for that?
He and I definitely knew it was going to be something special. He told me to pull it up on FL Studios (a music production software). He sat down next to me and then, I made it. I was vibing out, but I’m not the type to sit down with Meek or anyone and have them watch me make the beat. I sort of want to be by myself because that’s how I can really create without any pressure. The day after we sat down and made it, I went back in before he came and finished it. That’s probably one of my favorite beats I ever made.
How do you decide what sort of beats to give to him?
Now, I’ve developed and got comfortable, so I’ll give him the world sounds. Have you ever heard Meek on some Asian shit? Nah, no one really does that. That’s why I give him different shit because I know he’s going to like that. “Uptown Vibes” was some shit like that.
Have you two been working on the follow-up to Championships while social distancing?
As soon as Meek was done with Championships, we went right back to work. We’ve been working ever since. We have a lot of good shit coming out. We’re working. We’re just waiting to get over this quarantine shit, so we can really get back to work.
So, are you sending beats out to different artists during this time?
It’s tough to send these beats to these artists because, at the end of the day, 95% of them aren’t going to studios because of the Coronavirus situation. So, if you send a beat pack, they may breeze through it and are never going to play it again or not get the same feeling when they get back in the studio. You don’t want to waste a beat. You have to feel out what people are doing because most people are chilling...
Is Meek recording at home?
Meek doesn’t really record at his home studio. He has a little setup at his crib right now. But, he doesn’t really record like that. We like the big studios.
You also produced for Joyner Lucas.
Yeah, he actually lives 10 minutes from me. I’m huge into building race cars, sports cars, and stuff like that. This dude who works on my car for me is friends with Joyner and put me in touch with Joyner’s friend; who’s been working with Joyner for many, many years... I did the intro on the last album he put out. Joyner actually records in his house and likes to record dolo. A lot of artists like having 50 people in the studio. Joyner is not like that. It’s just him and the engineer.
Was there ever a session when you thought, “Yo, this is crazy”?
I know exactly which one. I walked in this session with Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys. That was wild because Swizz is one of the GOAT producers and Alicia is also a GOAT. We were all just having a good time and talking. That’s when it hit me, “Damn, this is my life. I’m surrounded by all of these celebrities. I used to dream of this shit and now it’s true.”
Is there an unreleased song you’ve produced that you hope to come out soon?
It’s a song with Meek featuring Quavo and Offset that’s a straight banger. I made the beat in my basement and I sent Meek a pack.
What should people look out for from you?
I just rebranded and changed my tag. My tag was my last name and my last name is long as f**k. It’s Papamitrou. People didn’t know how to say that. Meek calls me Pappa Moochi. That’s not how you say it (laughs). We made a new one that goes, “Nick Papz, make it slap.” It goes hard.