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.
Earl On The Beat has been making music for Lil Yachty since grade school and their sonic bond has been inseparable ever since. Now, the “Oprah’s Bank Account” producer is working on the rapper’s Lil Boat 3.
“We’ve been recording for a whole year, so we have a year worth of songs. We just keep going, though. We’re in quarantine right now, so why not. No one can do s**t,” Earl told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” Earl On The Beat talks about how City Girls’ “Act Up” was created, how he and Yachty have been recording during the pandemic, and what happened to an unreleased Playboi Carti collaboration.
You and Yachty went to school together. When did you two start making music?
We used to play around back in the day in 8th grade, 9th grade, and 10th grade. We started doing it for real around the 11th or 12th grade. Once we hit the 12th grade, that’s when I thought, “Oh, he might be taking it a little serious. He might be trying to do this for real.”
What’s the biggest difference when you go to the studio today with Yachty compared to those high school days?
His content. Everybody got their songs where they don’t be talking about s**t. His s**t just grew over time. He gets better over the years when it comes to the recording process, writing, sometimes freestyling, the beat selection, and certain essential s**ts you have to be on.
Let’s go to your latest hit with Yachty. How did the “Oprah’s Bank Account” beat come about?
The inspiration behind making that beat was I needed another big record to be out. “Act Up” was out for almost a year at the point when I first made the beat. So, I was cooking up and trying to tap in. I made that and sent it to Yachty. I made the beat on Oct. 11 and sent it to Yachty a week later because I wasn’t sure if I was going to send it to him. Yachty had done his part by himself first. Yachty recorded his verse in October. The song was another way at first, but then he went back and redid some things. We sat on what he had for a week, two, or three. Then, DaBaby came through to Atlanta for a homecoming show. That’s when they linked. Drake hopped on it early or late November.
That homecoming show was for Clark Atlanta University. Did he record before or after the show?
It was before the show. DaBaby had something going on at Clark in the daytime before the show. Yachty pulled up on him early in the day and was with him all day. Then, they were like, “Let’s go to the studio” or something. They went into the studio and recorded.
Yachty is coming out with Lil Boat 3. How many times are we going to hear Earl On The Beat on that album?
A lot. We’ve been recording for a whole year, so we have a year worth of songs. We just keep going, though. We’re in quarantine right now, so why not. No one can do s**t. I’m making beats every day, sending it to him, and seeing what he does. I’m testing him out right now to see what’s what with the sound.
What song did you two make the fastest?
I’ve been there when he recorded hella songs. It didn’t take him a long time to do “Act Up.” I sent the “Act Up” beat to him through text to send to the girls. I made it for them. He was like, “That shit is hard.” The next day or so, we went to the studio and did that s**t. He was in the booth, said what he said, I heard it right there, and I never heard his version ever again (laughs).
When did you know “Act Up” would be a hit?
Instantly. The song came out to the public in October 2018. We made that song in January 2018. The thing was they had just come out. I remember when we made the song and a few months passed by, I asked, “Y’all going to put the song out?” JT was like, “We’re just not big enough for that song yet.” She got locked up and Drake’s “In My Feelings” came out and that made them big. It was time for them to drop an album and they put “Act Up” on there. Some songs you just know and you have a certain feeling. You never know what’s going to be the one, but you know a little bit. I believed that one was the one before anybody really heard that. On my end, I played it for a few friends that were girls, asked them what they thought about it, and they were like, “This s**t is hard. I f**k with the City Girls.”
Have you been in the studio with City Girls?
I’ve been in the studio a lot with JT. Not recently because it’s [April 17] now. But, from the time she got home from prison until January.
How many songs have you two made together at that time?
I’m not even sure. I know we got a few though.
What was her work ethic like in the studio after she got home?
She was serious. There was no more playing around. They were trying to get s**t together. She wants to be consistent and make fire music.
Let’s get back to Yachty real quick. What’s the word on that Playboi Carti and Lil Yachty song we heard a snippet of a while back?
I did the beat, but it got leaked, so it’s not going to come out. That s**t was crazy. I made that beat in the summertime. Yachty had this video shoot. If you ever see a video of them together in front of a car as if they’re shooting a music video, that’s when they linked up at the studio after the shoot. I just played them beats.
What’s their vibe like together?
The vibe was fire. It was a cool session. Everybody already knew each other for a long time. Yachty and Carti knew each other for a long time, so it’s regular to them now.
What has the recording been like since quarantine? Are you and Yachty hitting the home studio?
Really just the home studio. I haven’t been to a real studio in a month. Everything out here in Georgia is closed. I just pull up to his crib and he record there.
What’s Yachty’s home studio setup?
He records in a closet, but it’s a big ass closet. It’s his shoe collection.
How many songs would you say you two made in the first month of quarantine?
I really don’t know. I haven’t been leaving my house. At first, when the Corona[virus] s**t first hit and n**gas didn’t know it was that serious, I was still maneuvering. Once they were like, “N**gas out here dying and s**t,” I went into the house. I just be sending my s**t. But, around February/early March, I’m pulling up to his spot. We got a lot of songs done.