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.
FOREVEROLLING has produced more records for EST Gee than almost anyone. So, if you’ve heard his production in any other artists’ songs, just know Gee heard it first.
“He knows anything I make, I play for him first. I played the beat for Lil Durk and Lil Baby’s ‘2040’ song for Gee before they got it. I just sent Gee 30 beats and he only liked eight of them,” FOREVEROLLING told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” the producer explains what EST Gee bangers were made in 15 minutes or less, leaving a baby shower to produce for Moneybagg Yo, and how the pandemic affected the making of I Still Don’t Feel Nun and Bigger Than Life Or Death. Read the chat below!
How did you connect with EST Gee?
He had got out of jail and we were just at the same studio a bit. This was near the end of 2018 going into 2019. When I met him, he had just got off of house arrest and started going to the same studio as I. It made sense because I was making beats there and he was one of the up-and-coming artists. I saw he was on YouTube all the time. He had a project before El Toro called Die Bloody. We had our first session for that project.
What did you notice about his creative process early on?
Looking back on it now, he was really consistent. As a producer, you don’t know how some artists are going to be and what the outcome of the song’s going to be. But, everything he was hopping on of mine was coming out perfect. He doesn’t punch in or do any of that. He writes it right into his Notes. I know if I get him a good uptempo beat, he’ll know the songs out the 15-20 minutes easily.
What’s his personality like in the studio?
He’s going to be laid back. If he’s around people he’s comfortable with, it may be a different story. If he doesn’t know people, he’s trying to figure out who they are and what they’re doing around. If he’s around people he’s comfortable with, he’s joking and no different than anybody else.
Of the songs you two have worked on that have been released, what were the fastest to make?
“Lick Back,” “Get Money,” “Price Tag,” “Make It Even.” Actually, “Make It Even” was one of the last songs that went on Bigger Than Life Or Death. We were in Cali and he wrote [it], did the hook, and everything in less than 15 minutes. I was with him when he did it.
How many songs do you two usually do in a session?
It really depends. He’s been on the road a lot now, so I may not be with him as much. But, if we’re in the studio together, we can easily do 4-5 records quickly. I’m going to always have the beats prepared and if I don’t have the beats all the way laid out, I’ll have the session and just arrange the beat when I get with him. I’ll go through a lot of ideas, play them, and figure them out when we’re together.
El Toro was the project that put him on my radar. What was the process like making that?
Working and putting songs together took about a month. That was when we were really locked in together and in the studio damn near every day. It might’ve been less than a month because we recorded maybe 20-30 songs and just picked from those. It wasn’t a long process.
Since you’ve made so many songs with him, what is the EST Gee sound?
It was really just me trying new stuff and sending it to him. If he raps on it, I know he likes it and I’ll keep going in that direction. If he doesn’t, then I’ll try something new. “Price Tag” was different than his usual lane. I made sure to get him on a record like that by keeping it in his ear like, “Rap on this” every time we got together. He liked the beat already, so I knew he’d rap on it.
What’s the ambiance he needs to make his best music?
For me, I smoke a lot of weed. He doesn’t smoke or anything because he is on papers. He just smokes Black [& Mild]. So, he’ll smoke a filtered tip Black & Mild. That’s about it. He doesn’t do anything else too much. He’s a simple dude. He might like some drinks, but he doesn’t need too much.
You have a production credit on almost every song on I Still Don’t Feel Nun. How did you make that happen for a project released during the pandemic?
Just working. At the time, he had a house out in Atlanta. I was just going over every day. That was around when he just got signed to CMG. Everything was go mode and there really wasn’t anything else to do but work on music and try to put it out. I think it was the best time because people weren’t putting out music really. It was nothing too major. We worked on that before the pandemic started and we were still working when it started. There were no shows going on. So, we were just recording music all the time. I’d say we worked on this from February to around April. When we were out in Cali, it was like the whole CMG was there. We definitely liked with 42 Dugg in the studio, fasho. That’s Gee’s man.
You were working with EST Gee before he got signed to CMG. How has signing affected his music making?
Maybe as far as handling business differently. But, nothing has changed with making the music. I think that’s why his music comes out the way it does; it’s organic. We didn’t switch up anything from how we were making music in 2018 to now.
How did you two link with Jack Harlow for “Mall Map”?
Jack ended up DMing Gee. They started sending each other records to get on and that was one of the ones he hopped on. He got on two or three records... It made sense at the time, as far as the feel and vibes of the summer. We knew it would be good for the city but unexpected.
Two months ago, you two dropped Bigger Than Life and Death. What was making that album like with all the new producers added like TM88 and Southside?
It was really the same process. I made it my duty to make sure we were making beats and records on this tempo, so let’s keep speeding it up. I think the momentum and tempo of the records are what got him switching up different rap cadences. It was really just trying new stuff and sending stuff. Even if I didn’t make the record, I’d know if it was one of them ones. When I heard the records he had with TM88 and Southside (“Riata Dada” and “Capitol 1”), I knew they both were going to go.
Are there any beats you’ve given to other rappers that Gee heard first?
He knows anything I make, I play for him first. I played the beat for Lil Durk and Lil Baby’s “2040” song for Gee before they got it. I just sent Gee 30 beats and he only liked eight of them.
Did he hear the beat for Moneybagg Yo’s “Go” first?
I can’t say that. That’s the one beat he didn’t hear first. But, Bagg asked me to make that beat specifically. He called me saying, “I want something specifically like this and with this tempo.” I made something just like that. He asked for that beat around late February or March. I was at my boy Ronnie Luciano’s baby shower and I left it early to make that beat over at my boy Finch’s crib. He helped make the melody with me. Bagg wanted a Detroit feel, and my boy Flex makes records with 42 Dugg the way I do with Gee. He sent it back to me and I sent it to Bagg, and it was pretty much history. Bagg hearted the beat on the text, asked for the files, and that was it. It may have taken four to five hours from when Bagg first hit me up to when we sent the beat to Bagg. I pulled up on Bagg in Atlanta after that, heard the record, and built a relationship like that. It just is organic.
What do you have coming up for the rest of the year?
I can’t really say too much about what Gee got going on, he’d kill me (laughs). Just know he got some special stuff going on. There’s a lot of stuff coming out. We be working.