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.
Deanté Hitchcock is such a prolific lyricist he recorded most of his latest album, Better, in less than a month. But, the world around him has stifled his inspiration lately.
“I’m not going to cap. I don’t have the desire to write protest music. First off, I wish we didn’t have to protest about this s**t,” Hitchcock told REVOLT. “Also, it’s hard to write during the quarantine because the inspiration is low and s**t feels more dreary. But, you have to push through it.”
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” Hitchcock explains why he didn’t ask J. Cole for a feature during the Dreamville sessions, talks recording under quarantine, and what rapper would be his dream collaborator. Read below.
How long did it take you to make your album Better?
To keep it a buck with you, we made most of that album in two to three weeks after we got off of the “Catch Me If You Can Tour” with JID. We did two songs before that. We did “Circles” before anything that y’all heard on Better.
What was the studio setup when you were making the album?
I was at the crib. Brandon Phillips-Taylor produced the whole album. He’s my roommate. He stays in the room right under my room in the house. The studio room is right next to his. We record right in the crib. My producer likes it when it’s night time. He can’t record during the day. He’s too tired like a grandpa and s**t. So, usually, we are recording at the wee hours of the morning. But, any ambiance anyone brings, I can adapt to. I’m just trying to get these raps off.
How did you get the 6lack and JID features?
We already met those guys before. When we were on the “[East Atlanta With Love] Tour” with 6lack in 2018 and on tour with JID in 2019. We had built a relationship with them already. The only in-person studio session we had on the album was the St. Beauty feature. JID was the last feature that came in.
What was your reaction to seeing Ella Mai singing “How TF” on her Instagram?
That s**t felt fire as hell. I was on IG scrolling down my s**t. I looked and it said someone was following me back and it said Ella Mai. I was thinking, “This has to be some fan account.” I clicked to on it and that b**ch had the blue check on it. Then, she hopped in the DMs saying, “Yeah, I f**k with the song.”
How do you play this? Do you wait a year to ask her for a feature now that you know she’s a fan?
I believe s**t’s going to happen when it’s supposed to happen. There be instances where I want to be a little thirsty and shoot my shot. We had a little conversation. I didn’t ask for the feature, but I was thinking about it.
What was another moment where you held yourself back from shooting your shot?
When we were at the Revenge of the Dreamers sessions, I wanted to ask J. Cole for a feature on one of my songs, but I chilled because I didn’t want to ruin it and n**gas send me home. It was the right thing to do.
Those sessions are part of history now. What were the funniest moments?
We were recording one day. By the time we looked back, Giannis [Antetokounmpo] was and the entire Milwaukee Bucks were there with donuts. They were like, “Yeah, we brought everybody donuts.” Then, Smino, Buddy, Montee Booker, and I in the room called “222.” It was small room that could probably fit 15 people maximum. Behind the door to get into that room is a seat in the cut. You can’t really see who’s behind that, but we knew somebody was there the whole time. Somebody closes the door, that n**ga gets up, and it’s Chris f**king Bosh. Chris Bosh was in the cut making beats for two hours. He was over there jamming for two hours and nobody knew.
Are there any verses from those sessions that ended up on Better?
Yes, on the song “Growing Up/Mother God.” On the second verse on that song where I’m having a conversation with God, I use that for a song meant for [Revenge of the Dreamers III], but it didn’t come out.
You’ve been recording during the quarantine?
Yeah. The music don’t stop just because the world stops. We putting s**t on the low. Getting the next pieces together. I’ve recorded about 15 songs during the quarantine.
What are the conversations you’re having with artists you’re collaborating with?
Most of the time when we talk to each other, it isn’t on some music s**t. We’re just checking in on each other to see how everyone is doing and s**t. When it comes to music, it’s no thang. If Guapdad  sends me a verse, he know I’ll have it to him by the end of the week. We’re real patnas first and we just be talking patna’ s**t like everybody else.
I saw you were at the George Floyd protests in Atlanta recently. Do you have plans on writing about it?
I’m not going to cap. I don’t have the desire to write protest music. First off, I wish we didn’t have to protest about this s**t. Also, it’s hard to write during the quarantine because the inspiration is low and s**t feels more dreary. But, you have to push through it.
What is your dream collaboration?
I want to collab with Young Thug. That’s the first celebrity feature I want. That’s my dream feature. What would it be about? I don’t know. You get a feature from Thug, you might get six different records. He’s on his melodic s**t right now, but I need either “About The Money” Thug or “Harambe” Thug.