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.
OG Parker has been one of Quality Control’s premier producers since its inception and has grown into a hitmaker. He knows more than anyone that one session with Migos can potentially change your life.
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” the multi-platinum producer discusses the early days of Quality Control, producing Megan Thee Stallion’s next single “Thot Shit,” and why he’s now becoming an artist. Read below.
How did you connect with Quality Control?
I connected with them through OG Maco after he made a song called “Bitch You Guessed It” and it went viral. He got signed to QC and I started pulling up to QC every day with him. Coach K and Pee were like we have to make something make sense, so I ended up signing over there. I met the Migos, Johnny Cinco and I didn’t have any money or car, so I used to be in QC’s studio and sleep there two or three nights in a row because I didn’t have a ride home. There was a shower in the studio. That had me hungry. I would cook up and make beats all day long, me and my boy Deko. We were making songs like every day.
How was Migos’ chemistry early on?
They had great chemistry. Quavo is the hook man, so he’s always starting it off. Deko and I would play some beats, they’d find something they liked, and Quavo would start it off. Offset would go in and throw a verse on it. Takeoff always likes to go last. They always had good chemistry. They find a concept and run with it.
You also worked with Murda Beatz in 2014 before his success. How did you two help each other’s come up?
Murda was already working with the Migos, so he came down to Atlanta to work with them. We started cooking up in the studio every day, too. Then, he went back to Canada. When he came back, he needed somewhere to stay, so he stayed at my house for two months. We were just cooking up every day for two months. I was just with him in L.A. talking about how far we came.
What’s a memorable session between you two?
Warner put together this camp in Vegas. Murda and I got invited to the camp, and we were staying at a hotel attached to a casino. We were gambling and then going down to the studio to work. I had been gambling all day and then went to sleep. I woke up and it was 4 a.m. Murda was like, “Come down to the studio, let’s cook up.” I went down there, and he and his producer Joseph were working on a beat. I started adding to it and going back and forth. We only made one beat and it ended up being “Say You Love Me” for Chris Brown and Young Thug.
What’s the biggest smash record you made the quickest?
Definitely Migos’ “Slippery.” The first day Deko came back to Atlanta after being in L.A. for a year, he came to my house and we made that beat. I sent it to Quavo that night. I ran into Quavo in Miami and he was like, “We have a hit. We have something special.” It’s a weird beat. I knew he’d like the drums because I know how they like to flow on beats. But, I knew the first sound was so weird.
How long have you been working with Migos on Culture III?
I feel the way they are, they just work. I’ve just been sending them beats and Quavo will tell me, “I got on this one,” or they’ll put a snippet on Instagram. I just never know. They’ll tell me, “This is on there. Ahh, we took it off and switched it out.” I didn’t know which exact songs would be on there. I do know one song I do have on there is called “Birthday.” I think it’s going to be a song everyone is going to play on their birthday. Very celebratory.
You’ve worked with Migos for over seven years. What is your favorite studio session with the trio?
It would probably be the first time we were all in the studio together when I was first on the come up with QC. I played some beats, they got on the beat, and I felt accomplished because they were the first huge artists I worked with. The song never came out, but it was a huge accomplishment.
I’m also hearing that you produced Megan Thee Stallion’s new single “Thot Shit.”
What’s crazy is, one of my best friends, Shawn “Source” Jarrett, is her engineer. He was like, “I’m in the studio with Meg, she needs some beats.” I sent a couple to him. He hit me back on FaceTime, she grabbed the phone and was like, “Every beat you just sent me is mine.” I was like, “Say less.” I kept sending her beats and now we have too many records. This “Thot Shit” is the one though.
What about that beat made you know it would work for Meg?
Her producer Lil Ju lives in L.A. He came to Atlanta and hit me up like, “Yo, I’m in Atlanta.” I told him, “Pull up to my house.” We made about seven beats just chilling and playing the game. I sent the beats we made to her the next day and she was like, “Yo, we got one.”
You’ve worked with so many artists. Who is someone you still want to lock in with?
I need to work with Drake. I have songs like “Loyal” and “Walk It Talk It,” but I want to work with Drake. I haven’t even talked to him.
I thought you would’ve been linked with Drake, especially with your relationship with Murda Beatz.
(Laughs) I haven’t even seen Drake in person before.
You did “Walk It Talk It” and never had a conversation with Drake. How’d that come about?
That was a beat I sent to Quavo and he told me he made the hook in the hotel room. What’s funny is, one day I was at QC, he walked up to me and was like, “I’m finna make you a millionaire.” I was like, What are you talking about?” He was like, “Just know I’m finna make you a millionaire,” and he was just laughing. That’s what he was talking about. The next week or two, they told me I had the one with Drake on it.
That came out four years ago, so did Quavo keep his promise?
I definitely made a lot off of that song (laughs).
What made you transition from producing to becoming an artist with this latest release “Rain Down”?
It’s something I wanted to do for a long time. I saw people I looked up to like Mustard drop these hit songs and albums. I knew I had to wait for the right time. So, I was just building up my catalog until I felt confident enough to where I can be the flagship artist on a song. This year is the time.
You have Latto, PnB Rock, Chris Brown, and Layton Greene on this song. How is your working relationship with each artist?
Chris is like my brother. When I’m in L.A., I just pull up to his house to kick it. We probably have dropped 15 songs in the last two years in terms of features and everything. I already knew he had to be on my first single. I believed in Latto for a long time. Before she changed her name, I actually produced the song “Latto” on her last mixtape. We’ve been working together for a long time. Layton is my label-mate and I needed a female singing on there. PnB Rock had been working and he already had a verse on it. It was Chris and him first.
How’s the EP looking?
I’m about 70-80% done. I was in the studio with PartyNextDoor, Kehlani, and Tyga. I don’t want to give away too much though (laughs).
What is your creative process like with Kehlani in the studio? Her songwriting is so organic.
She’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with. We were actually in Malibu working for a couple of days at a studio house. I’d pull up a beat and once she finds a beat she really likes, she sits down and goes. She really writes.
I saw you in the studio with Rick Ross and Wale. What’s going on there?
I have Wale’s next single. I don’t want to say who’s on it and spoil it, but it’s about to come out really soon. He’s super creative. We made a few songs actually. I was in L.A. with him a couple of weeks ago. He’s really hands-on. He found a beat he liked, but instead of saying, “Pull it up,” he made me make changes. He was like, “Play some chords on this. Change the drums up to be more like this.”
What do you have coming in 2021?
A lot of hit singles. I’m really trying to go on a radio run. A lot of music is about to come out. This EP is going to be different. No producer has come out with an EP that’s all hits.