Photo: Maury Phillips / Stringer via Getty Images
  /  02.15.2023

“Godfather Of Harlem” has returned for its third season on MGM+, and not only are the scenes showstopping, the music is too.

Swizz Beatz has been the executive music producer for the series since the beginning and continues to deliver eargasmic records, including the theme song he performed, “Just In Case.” The new season will “find Bumpy Johnson, [played by Forest Whitaker], continuing to battle for control of Harlem with other aspirants to the throne, namely the Cuban Mafia from neighboring Spanish Harlem. Taking on the Cuban mob will put Bumpy, his loved ones, and his community in the crosshairs of not only the rival Italians, but ruthless Latinassassins and, ultimately, the CIA,” a press release states. 

The superproducer and Verzuz co-founder spoke with REVOLT about the music fans can expect in season three, which veteran artists he would love to hear on the show’s future soundtracks, and provided an update on “Verzuz 3.0.” Read our exclusive chat with Swizz Beatz below.

You started as executive music producer for “Godfather of Harlem” in 2019. Fast forward to now, what has been the biggest blessing and greatest challenge? 

Holding this position and being the music producer on “Godfather Of Harlem” is the biggest blessing. Working with Forest Whitaker and the team has been unique because the process of making the music for the show isn’t just thrown together. When I started, I was doing writing sessions. Then, I began to score and make tracks around that. The challenge is coming back quicker — I feel we’re going to start shooting season four because we were transitioning and changing things around, but now, the show is back in motion.  

Describe the tone of season three and how the music will complement it. 

This season is going to get real Malcolm X plays a big part in the season, and while I don’t want to spoil it, we know what happens to him, and it gets played out this season. Bumpy [Johnson] is switching his organization up. In season two, he lost his house, and the stash burned down, so he’s starting anew. The Italians have the advantage over him now, so he’s working on not letting that happen, although they sense he’s weak at this point. It gets crazy. 

Is there an artist you would love to have submit their music for future soundtracks? 

I would love to hear Sade, who will give us some vibes, or Lenny Kravitz, who is calling me now (laughs). 

Truly great series have quality music that’s just as good as the show. What’s your secret to stepping it up each season? 

Stepping up the story, the plot, and the energy because the music is a character in a show. When I make the music, I create it like I’m Bumpy Johnson’s thoughts, like what he is thinking in this moment. 

If you had to choose one of your songs to describe season three, which one would it be?

The song is called “Get Money, Hustle, Repeat,” which is performed by Jadakiss. It’s the show’s theme because Bumpy has to hustle and repeat what he did to become the king of the streets again. 

What’s the most challenging track you’ve ever produced and why?

Music has never been difficult for me because it flows. Now, if someone were to ask me to do a remix, that may be difficult because I already know how the song goes. I’ve been horrible at remixes. 

Many consider you one of the godfathers of music production. Can you share the key to discovering a fire beat? 

The key is knowing what you feel and if the music moves you, it’s going to be all good. 

What do you and Timbaland have in store for the future of Verzuz?

We’ve been changing the infrastructure because when we started, it happened in the garage and then moved to a significant platform. Now, we changed the whole way we’re moving but not entirely, so people won’t feel like it’s not the same. We have a fantastic lineup with people they wanted to see and even battles they think wouldn’t happen. Announcements will be coming soon. 



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