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Bizness Boi is far more than a producer, he’s a mogul in the making. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, real name Andre Robertson has an ear for hot music and a knack for telling stories through his beats. While the placements speak for themselves — PARTYNEXTDOOR’s “Don’t Know How” and “Don’t Run,” 6lack’s “Let Her Go,” Swae Lee’s “Hurt To Look,” the list goes on — it’s Biz’s understanding of artists that allows them to whip up the best tracks possible.
It was in middle school when he started making beats, fondly remembering his grandma getting him the game MTV Music Generator for the Playstation. In his own words, “I’m just a producer from Milwaukee tryna put the city on and help people reach their goals while reaching mine.”
If you’re an artist and you step in the studio with Biz, he’s already researched you. In his mind, he has a jumpstart on whatever vibe you carry and what you’re looking to create. In 2020, Biz plans to work hard like he always does, but also smarter. Each session he steps into needs to be of the utmost quality. In addition, he’s channeling his focus into his own label titled Bizness Boi Music Group.
REVOLT caught up with Bizness Boi at Coffee Commissary in Burbank to discuss his career, dynamic with Jessie Reyez, recent Grammys nominations, and endless plaques. Read below.
What’s it like being from Milwaukee?
Being from Milwaukee, it’s a blessing because it’s a lot of hustlers there. It’s like a baby Chicago. Chicago is an hour and thirty minutes south, so it’s real street. Real reckless. Everybody thinks it’s farms and cows, this and that, but it’s real street. If you come on the north side of Milwaukee, south side, east side, there’s a lot of black people. It’s real cutthroat. It’s hard making it out being a black man. The statistics are against us. Top five most segregated, top five most racist. A lot of people get jailed for petty stuff, it’s crazy.
At what point did you realize you wanted to pursue this music thing for real?
Probably when Twitter first came out. I got on there in 2008 or 2009. I was in college and I sent Yung Berg — well Hitmaka — some beats. He was on Ustream, I thought, ‘Oh shit! Somebody in the industry is rocking with my beats’ because I was doing local stuff. Then, me and Jae Millz worked probably 2010, I was on his mixtape. When Lil Wayne was in jail, I had this shit called ‘Crown,’ so I did his intro.
From then, I knew I could really pursue music at a higher level. Moving forward, I started working with Trae tha Truth. Did a lot with him, we did a song with Young Thug called ‘Try Me.’ I got my big break with PARTYNEXTDOOR in 2016, when P3 dropped. It was crazy, I had four records on there. Then, [Ye Ali’s] TrapHouse Jodeci dropped, Free 6lack dropped, so it was all back to back.
Congrats on your two Grammy nominations! What was your reaction when you found out?
It was great. I got up early for the announcements. I woke up like, ‘Oh shit, I’m nominated for two of them!’ I was prepared because Lil Nas X had a crazy year, then people were really messing with the Dreamville album. So I figured, but you never know until it actually comes out.
How did you link up with Lil Nas X?
My manager, James Supreme. We flew to New York late March, we had plenty of meetings. We had a meeting with Columbia, my homie Wes was like, ‘Yo, you want to work with Lil Nas X?’ I said, ‘Of course.’ This was before the remix came out. We had a session, we booked it for the Saturday after ‘Old Town Road (Remix)’ dropped. He was sitting on the top of the world, humble as hell in the studio acting like he doesn’t have the biggest record. Even though it was still new, everybody was talking about it.
Entering the studio with a new artist, I know you do your research. What does that entail?
I see what kind of beats they like, but I also try to give them different stuff because a lot of times, you hear what kind of beats they’re doing and you try to bring those, but you also have to bring something different for them. They’re artists at the end of the day, so they want to try new things. Try different sounds, different bounces, all types of shit. I just do my research and see what they like, so I can go in every session prepared.
Best memory from the ROTD3 sessions?
There weren’t any egos. Everybody was cool. I talked to J. Cole, he knew who I was. I introduced myself, he’s like, ‘I already know who you are, man. You dope!’ Then Ibe was right next to him because even before I came down there, I was sending J.I.D. hella beats. Even before the camp was announced, so it was organic. J.I.D. really rocked with me. It wasn’t like it was announced, then I’m trying to get onboard.
The record I got on there wasn’t even made while I was there. I was sending J.I.D. beats and he’d be bringing up every beat. They had FaceTimed me like, ‘Yo, Big K.R.I.T. just hopped on this! Earthgang just hopped on this! Me and this person hopped on this.’ It was crazy. Everybody was cool, wasn’t no egos.
What were those conversations with 6lack like when you guys found out you got nominated last year?
Oh, I was with PartyNextDoor when I found out. We had damn near a 12-hour session. It was crazy. I didn’t l expect it because it was his first project. It was really a mixtape in his eyes. It was a blessing. We were in cold ass New York… Everybody was cool.
How do you have stamina for 12-hour sessions?
Party is my bro, and then my bro engineers Party. I grew up with him, his name’s Prep. So I feed off their vibe because they keep going and going. I’m like, ‘Alright, let me keep making beats in the headphones.’ I’m just trying to pump out as many records as possible.
A lot of people are responding more to ‘News’ by PND than ‘Loyal’ with Drake. How’s that feel?
It feels good. My bro made the ‘Loyal’ beat. I feel like they’re responding more to that because it’s a familiar Party sound. Some P1, P2 vibes. I love both records, but I do understand why old Party fans would respond better to ‘News.’
Why didn’t Drake’s verse for ‘Don’t Run’ ever come out?
It was crazy, yeah. But Party, it’s some records where he’s like, ‘I’ma keep this.’ Party and Drake collab a lot. That was one of the ones where he decided to just keep for himself.
How did the new single with 6lack and Kaash Paige come about?
I seen 6lack tweet her, he’s like, ‘Yo, link up.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, let me just link it up in a text.’ I texted her first like, ‘You see 6lack tweeting you right?’ She said, ‘Nah, I’ma go check it out.’ I put them in a group chat.” 6lack’s like, ‘I appreciate you, Biz!’ They started talking like, ‘Let’s set up a session. Biz you gotta be there, you the producer.’ Pulled up, it was just good vibes.
We were really kicking it. We did a couple records. We did a solid record. We was working, but we was kicking it. They were getting to know each other. This was my second or third time in the studio with Kaash. Everything was good vibes. Me and the homies pulled up. I brought two guitars, they brought a guitar. My homie Jaasu was there. We produced three or four beats. That was a 3 pm to 3 am session.
What persuaded your mentality for staying independent vs. signing a publishing deal? Do you ever think back on that decision?
I like doing what I want to do at the end of the day. I don’t have to answer to nobody, but myself. I really went from having no money to making six figures without answering to nobody. Just having a team, I have a team of songwriters and producers. The way I move, I build with the artists because that’s the main thing… That’s how you get in the room, that’s how you get records out. Nothing wrong with a pub deal. I might do one one day, but right now, I’m just doing me.
How excited are you to have Jessie Reyez’s album come out? Her voice is so unique.
I’m super excited because the record we got is crazy. Especially her, we did five or six records. It’s supposed to be two on the album. She still feels strong about it, but it might just be on the deluxe version. She just sent me another record two weeks ago that’s super crazy. She might end up throwing that one on there. So, I might have a couple records on the album.
That session was long, right?
Yeah. I pulled up at 7 or 8 pm and didn’t leave until 9 in the morning. Because I was tired in the middle of the night, but her energy was so good, she’s like, ‘Y’all wanna keep going!?’ I’m not no quitter, so I said, ‘Alright, let’s keep going.’ When I get in with artists, I’m trying to get as many records as I can anyway, so I got a high chance of making the project.
You’ve met Quincy Jones before. What did you two talk about?
He asked me what was my birthday, that’s the first question he asked me. I guess he felt my energy. His birthday is in March, my birthday is March, too. I told him I don’t have no kids. He’s like, ‘You gotta have kids one day, so they can continue your legacy.’ We were talking about Lil Nas X, I was telling him my beats on the project. Just music stuff.
Are producers finally getting enough credit?
It’s getting there. They’re becoming rockstars. With the tags on the beat, they could make a name for themselves. Wheezy, Murda, Jetson… mine’s just Bizness Boi. I just started bringing out the tag. I don’t put them on every beat because I make a lot of R&B, it doesn’t make sense. But Dreamville, Lil Nas X, the stuff I’m Grammy-nominated for is what I have my tag on.
How many plaques do you have?
I don’t even know now, probably 10 or 11. I got some more on the way, too, like [with] Chris Brown. We did ‘Tell Me How You Feel’ with Tory Lanez. They’re at the crib. I had them all in the studio, but now I got them all in my living room.
What do your parents think about your success?
They’re proud of me. I was raised by my grandparents, so seeing me from starting out to now, they’re like, ‘Damn you really made it happen.’ My grandma helped me move to Atlanta. She gave me $600 like, ‘I’ma pay your cousin to take you down there, so you can start your journey.’ Because I was finna get a job, she’s like, ‘Nah, you going to be tired. You’re not going to be creative, it’s going to be all about the money. I’d rather you go down there and start your journey.’
Do you have any goals for yourself aside from winning a Grammy?
Well my artist Symphani Soto, I want to help her become what she’s dreamed of. I love helping people, so I want her to become a household name. Help my producer Ninety Four. He has a record on PartyNextDoor’s album. Really just helping myself help others, focusing on Symphani, Ninety Four, and I’m about to sign new artists. Sharrod Sloans, he’s from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s super dope rapper, but he can do the melodic stuff.