Buda Da Future earned his name when he started producing for Dave East in 2014, years before most people knew the Harlem rapper. Throughout his career, Buda’s worked with Rick Ross, Jadakiss, and Fred The Godson, and he’s still a student of the game.
“I learned a lot from [Swizz Beatz]. I’ve seen him push Dave, but I also saw him tell Busta [Rhymes], ‘Yo, do this.’ Busta’s a legend, and for him to trust and follow his lead made me love my job even more,” Buda Da Future told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” the longtime producer talks Dave East working out while he records; unreleased music featuring Rick Ross, Jadakiss, and Fat Joe; and making music with East while the emcee worked through loss and grief. Read our exclusive interview with Buda Da Future below.
You worked closely with the late Fred The Godson for years before his untimely passing in 2020. How would you describe his work ethic in the studio?
Fred was an outgoing, charismatic person. He was always funny. He set the tone for the energy in the room. His creative process was weird because there would be times he was sleeping in the studio, and you would think he wasn’t listening to the beat. Then, the minute you try to change the track or something, he’ll wake up. I would see Fred take naps in the studio, and it seemed like he was writing his raps in his dream. Then, he’ll wake up and go right in the booth and spit his music out. Each session, Fred would do anywhere between four to seven records a day. He was a machine. The only two eople I’ve seen do almost 10 records a day were Fred and Dave [East].
Do you remember the last session you had with him?
Our last session was at the studio of Rsonist of Heatmakerz in the city. I think the last record we did ended up becoming a record he did with Kevin Gates that is actually unreleased. That was probably a few years before he passed. So, it was around 2019 or late 2018. When he passed, I had my daughter around the same week.
Your production credits say you helped produce Rick Ross’ “Mayback Music V.” I thought Justice League did all of those records.
Me and my partner Grandz [Muzik] are actually the only producers outside of Justice League to make a “Maybach Music” record. Shout out to my boy DJ Sam Sneak, my brother Geter K, and hip hop pioneer Hov from The Bronx. They actually linked us with Ross. During that time, we went on a run working with Ross. We did a couple of of records. We did one for the UFC video game featuring Anthony Hamilton called “God of War.” We were continuously working with him, and we caught a vibe in the studio. Surprisingly, I didn’t expect that. I thought the record was going to be an album cut. When they told us who was on the record, I was in shock that we were part of the “Maybach Music” series. We got to work with Ross in the studio multiple times.
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How’s his creative process?
Him and Fred are very similar when it comes to creativity. They lock in their zone. You have to give them their space. They’re very reserved. But, when it’s time to hit the booth, you can tell it’s game time for them. His vibe is dope. He has one of the best ears for production and picking beats. So, he’s very picky when it comes to production.
Dave East is the artist you’re most connected to. How did you link with him initially?
I connected with Dave through my business partner at the time, Wayno. We had a company called Triangle Offense. He introduced me to Dave and wanted us to work together. From the first day we met, we created “The Offering,” which was one of the prominent tracks from his major project Black Rose. From there, we continued to work. That was around the end of 2014.
What’s a typical session like with East?
They usually start with a dope conversation every time. We talk about our day or how we’re feeling. Through talking, we get a vibe of what direction we could go with the production. Then, he’ll tell me what kind of vibe he’s in — if he’s in a bad mood, if he’s in a mood to lyrically spar, if he’s [thinking of] a certain concept. I might come through with an idea before we even start the conversation. But, every day is unpredictable.
The studio is a safe place for artists to be emotionally open. Do you remember any moving sessions?
When my brother Alistfame and I produced “Eternal,” my mom’s last voicemail is the intro of that track. My mom passed away in 2015. That felt like closure for me. He thought it set the tone for the outro of the album, especially with what he was talking about on the song. Then, to have Kiing Shooter walk out the album, it fit perfectly to close out the album.
Speaking of Shooter, he was one of Dave East’s closest friends. What do you remember about his mood after Shooter passing?
It was dark. He was not in a good mood. I had never seen him in that state of losing somebody that close, so it was different. It was a sensitive topic. In the studio, you have to give that person space and provide whatever they need sonically to express themselves properly.
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East told us years ago that he and Nipsey Hussle were working on a project together. You were in the studio with Nipsey before he passed. Were you a part of that project?
Nah, I actually got to work with Nipsey before I met Dave. Our first session ever was in LA in 2014 — shout out to J Stone and Beat Butcha. They allowed us to come through that session, meet Nipsey and work with him. Then, years later, one of the records we placed ended up being on Jada’s album, featuring Nipsey and Ne-Yo, called “Ain’t Nothin New.”
Dave East is a fit dude who was recently featured in Men’s Health. Does he bring his fitness routines to the studio?
When we worked on a lot of stuff with The Lox, they’d all be doing pull-ups. My fat a** ain’t doing that (laughs). There have been times when they’ll definitely hit the pull-up bar and then go to the booth and hit the pull-up bar over there too. It’s like steel sharpening steel. They’re mentally preparing themselves while they’re on the pull-up bar, and it’s keeping them active. I think it actually helps the creative process because you’re burning energy while trying to be creative. It’s like being on the treadmill and you’re getting ideas and being inspired.
Being a producer affords you the opportunity to be surrounded by stars. Any memorable sessions stick out to you?
I’ve been in sessions at Baseline Studios with producer Amadeus and Young Gunz. I’ve been in studios with Just Blaze, and I’ll see JAY-Z come in the room to hear some music. I’ve been in the room when Sony Studios was up back in the early 2000s with legendary producer Focus. I’ve been in sessions with him when he’s playing his music. Recently, Dave brought me in the session when he was working on music for “Godfather of Harlem.” It was me, Dave, Swizz and Swizz’s dad. In the other room was Meek Mill, Jadakiss, and a whole bunch of people in there.
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How did Swizz Beatz direct Dave East while they were making that record?
Swizz is a major creative. I learned a lot just observing him. He’s extremely hands-on when it comes to creating the music from the beginning. He walks it all the way through, including his involvement with concepts, the way he pushes and challenges artists… I learned a lot from him. I’ve seen him push Dave, but I also saw him tell Busta [Rhymes], “Yo, do this.” Busta’s a legend, and for him to trust and follow his lead made me love my job even more.
What’s an unreleased song you did that you hope comes out?
I did a commercial song that’s supposed to have Rick Ross, Fat Joe, and Jadakiss, and my daughter is actually featured on the track as well. It’s supposed to be for a big sports company. It’s like a commercial song. Hopefully, we’ll see it in the upcoming weeks during All-Star and Super Bowl week.
What else do you have coming up in 2023?
We have a workshop platform called Steel Session. It’s been running for the last five years as a traveling workshop for producers, engineers, and aspiring artists. We’ve been teaching people the tricks of the trade of the music industry from producer etiquette, how to get placements, how to build your brand, to sharpening yourself with the knowledge on how to maneuver through the industry. It’s also a safe haven for creatives to build the community amongst themselves to get better. We have a studio in the city down by Wall Street, and we’ll be making an announcement soon for the label situation that we’ve been working on. We’re also still out here developing artists and working with brands — doing commercials, scoring films, doing documentaries.