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.
Before he released Before Noon in April, the A$AP Mob founding member hadn’t released a project since 2017’s 12. His next full-length project, Noon Yung is set to be released in the first week of October since the world delayed its completion.
“For the album, I didn’t get to record anything for Noon Yung from February until July. So, I didn’t get to work on my album at all because we took quarantine super serious and my main producer was like, ‘I ain’t having any sessions,’” Twelvyy revealed to REVOLT.
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” Twelvyy talks having his new album stolen and recording another one, how A$AP Yams kept A$AP Mob in check in the studio, and details songs on Noon Yung. Read below.
You have a new album coming out called Noon Yung. How did you put it together?
I started recording the album last summer in August 2019. The process was a roller coaster. I hadn’t recorded an album in about two or three years. I was trying to get out my deal. I had an independent mind state, but I was signed to a major and the major wasn’t doing what they were supposed to. They fumbled the ball. I also had a manager who was in it, but wasn’t really in it. He wasn’t heavily active like I needed him to [be]. I had an agency that wasn’t really servicing me. I was going through wild trials and tribulations. I had a surgery, so I was healing. I was trying to find my sound. For the first time in my life, I put all of my focus into moving and really creating an art piece. At first, it was easy because the music was clicking. But, then I hit a crazy halt.
The album was done in December. A few days after the album was done, somebody broke into the studio, took the computer and took the hard drive. I had to start from scratch. I had to do all of the songs over and I wasn’t feeling it. [What] I ended up doing for Noon Yung was keeping about three or four of the original songs. All of the other files I had, I put out Before Noon.
Before Noon wasn’t supposed to come out, but I needed to buy myself some time because I hadn’t put out music in about three years. The pandemic caused me to really sit down and focus. Throughout the year, I was able to experience everything from really being in the protests in L.A. and walking in it to witnessing the rioting and looting at night. I really was there driving through in a Lamborghini (laughs). It was on some Batman s**t. All that energy from August until now is put into Noon Yung. I’m talking about the racial issues, politics, Sallie Mae shit, and even my love experience.
How did being in the protests affect your recording?
The protest were on my birthday on May 30. I was recording a couple of days prior, around when George Floyd did get killed, and then days after. So, the day of my birthday, I wasn’t actually recording. I was trying to enjoy it. This was the most revolutionary birthday I’ll ever have.
With the original version of Noon Yung being stolen, what songs from it did you wish you still had?
I can’t even remember them. That’s the issue. I kept “95 Madden.” I kept “Team Dark-Skin.” I kept “Still I Rise.” But, [I lost] “Satellites and Limousines” and “Fahrenheit 2020.”
You have a song coming called “Team Dark-Skin” on Noon Yung?
Yeah (laughs). “Team Dark-Skin” is me going for my woman demographic. Every woman is beautiful and I’m just trying to speak to them. I’m trying to speak that poetic shit to them. My whole night, I’ve been on some Morris Chestnut, team Dark skin vibes. I know the ladies saw me in the Snoh Aalegra video (“I Want You Around”), so I really got to go for it.
How was recording during the pandemic?
For the album, I didn’t get to record anything for Noon Yung from February until July. So, I didn’t get to work on my album at all because we took quarantine super serious and my main producer was like, “I ain’t having any sessions.” I’ve been in a professional studio to knock out a feature, but Noon Yung was done in the crib. The crib setting is more organic and you don’t have to worry about so many energies when you go in the studio. This was the first time I got to complete a whole project in one area. Usually, I’m doing a song in Paris, I’m doing a song in Germany, I’m doing a song in Australia. I’m used to recording abroad. Now that I’m recording at home, I’m learning more shit, and understanding the sounds and reflecting on myself. This is some of my best work yet and I’m only going to get better.
I’m glad you got better at your craft during this pandemic. Let’s go back. What was your first ever session like?
My first ever session had to be me recording on Kanye West’s “Through The Wire” instrumental. That was about 2003. I’m in the project building with my homie Danny who had a desktop computer that he can record audio on. We through the “Through The Wire” joint on there, I rapped, and the next thing you know, it was like Nas with his [1991 demo] tape; the freestyle was circulating from the hood. I’m from the [projects], anything that bubble in the ‘jects is going to bubble in the whole city. I learned how to record in my project building, so that’s why my 12 album is a picture of my project building.
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Chill session in Studio B with A$AP Twelvyy and Sam Silver! As New York moves towards phase 3 reopening, we’re available for small, socially distanced sessions. Check out our (brand new!) website for a breakdown of what steps we’re taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and give us a call took book your next session
Speaking of 12, its three-year anniversary was last month. What’s a song session from it that you vividly remember?
“Strapped” because we did it when Method Man was in the studio because [A$AP] Nast was shooting the Trillmatic video. Everybody was there. It was Nast, [A$AP] Ferg, [A$AP] Illz, [A$AP] Rocky, and [A$AP] Yams. He talking to us like he knew us his whole life. If you’re in the gym with an elite player, you going to have to play elite. His energy made me go to another level. Everybody was around and being part of the song. Yams would say, “Yo, Rocky, I think you should do this [Ahh ahh] on the song.” That shit was amazing. When it came time to the turn in the album, “Strapped” was the last session I found because I forgot where and how we did it. I’ll never forget that song.
What do you need in the studio to make your best music?
I need purple lavender lights, soul food or Italian food — you have to eat like a boss. I like to eat towards the end of my session or when I have at least two songs done because after you eat, you get the itis and get a little lazy. I like women in my sessions, but not when I’m doing certain shit because she’s not going to understand the language at the moment. I like video games, but only to a certain extent because I get distracted. I need my computer because I like looking at Kobe Bryant highlights. That’s my thing.
Are there any songs you wrote or recorded while watching Kobe Bryant highlights?
Recently, I made a song called “Satellites and Limousines.” That was one of the last songs recorded. Probably “What A Day” too. Kobe passed earlier this year and most of the new shit I made was me in the studio just watching his highlights. Shout out to my man Vino. I got a song called “Vino” with [YG] Addie.
What is it like when the entire A$AP Mob is in the studio?
Bro, to be totally honest, it’s a surreal feeling. A lot of my brothers freestyle their verses coming up. So, me knowing they’re going to take their time and do it a certain way, I used to sit back and write. Being able to see Nast, Ferg, Rocky, Addie’s, and whoever’s writing process is amazing. That’s some of the best stuff because most people don’t get to see the verses people didn’t use, the cadences they tried. Everyone is on the same wavelength. We never had any teachers. We never had any A&Rs, no one told us what to say, or any of that. It’s us being us and creating iconic work.
What are the funniest moments you remember from an A$AP Mob session?
We’re the prototypes. There wasn’t really anything popping off before us besides Wiz Khalifa, Drake, and Kid Cudi. I remember Yams used to be like, “Y’all niggas is not hot. I don’t know why y’all acting like y’all hot.” Imagine you think you’re really lit and your brother telling you that you’re not really that hot. It used to be really funny because we’d be like, “Yo, bruh, why you shitting on us? (laughs).” It was a brotherly love.