Since producing the title track of Grafh’s 2006 mixtape, Bring That Money Back, as a teenager, Jahlil Beats has laced Meek Mill, Big Sean, Jeezy, Bobby Shmurda, and a litany of other new school hip hop royalty. He was there when an unsigned Meek Mill was confined to house arrest and still hungry. And he saw how some of the building blocks of the Philly MC’s career were laid.
“[‘Burn’] was Big Sean’s record first. I remember Big Sean showing up, coming in, and getting Meek on the record,” Jahlil Beats told REVOLT. “Then, Meek said, ‘I’m taking this record.’ It ended up being on Dreamchasers 2. Big Sean had the artwork done and everything.”
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” the production veteran discussed a mega mixtape between three rap legends, how a Myspace interaction set in motion songs that would change his and Meek Mill’s lives, and the unreleased collaboration coming on his compilation album. Read the exclusive chat below.
Throughout your nearly 20-year career, you’ve worked with legends before they were stars. When did you first link with Meek Mill?
I reached out to him on Myspace. He had dropped Flamerz 1. I told him, “Yo, your mixtape is fire.” He hit me right back, saying, “Yo, send me some beats.” I sent him three beats, and they all made it to his second mixtape, Flamerz 2. I made this record called “So Fly,” which ended up going on radio and in heavy rotation locally. I also made “Hottest In Tha City,” where I did the hook for him. But then he got locked up for about eight months. He would call me every week saying, “When I get out, we’re going to get this studio and lock in heavy.” When he got out, he was on house arrest. So, I would come by and give him a bunch of beat CDs. Once they let him go to the studio, we first did a record called “Make ‘Em Say.” We ended up leaving the studio, going straight to the radio station, and giving it to Cosmic Kev. That made the Billboard charts. I think it put both of us on the map. We made that record in about an hour.
Keeping to the theme of pre-fame legends, you produced Meek Mill and Big Sean’s first collaboration, “Burn.” How did that come to be?
I think we were in LA at the Boom Room Recording Studio. That was Big Sean’s record first. I remember Big Sean showing up, coming in, and getting Meek on the record. Then, Meek said, “I’m taking this record.” It ended up being on Dreamchasers 2. Big Sean had the artwork done and everything. The energy was crazy in there when they recorded it.
What’s your favorite Meek session?
I will always say, “I’m A Boss” because that record changed both of our lives. That record was for Jeezy’s mixtape It’s Tha World. I brought my little brother, The Beat Bully, to a Meek session. When we got there, my brother only had one beat with him. When he played it for Meek, it wasn’t really where he was going. He asked me if I had a beat, and I had one beat on my thumb drive: “I’m A Boss.” From that record, I ended up being managed by Kevin Liles. Jeezy was a bit mad about me giving that beat away. I told Meek he should get Ross on his record. He said, “I’m going to send it to him. If Ross does this record, I’m going to sign with him” because it took nothing for Ross to do that verse for “Rosé Red (Remix).”
Between 2011 and 2014, all the big artists were always in the studio together. What was a particularly star-packed session you found yourself in?
I’ll never forget this. One day, No I.D. had me working at his studio in Burbank, and Meek was in the Boom Boom Room. I remember working on beats with J. Cole in one session, and then down the hall, I was working on a bunch of stuff. That’s how “Burn” was coming together. One night, it was just me, J. Cole, and his manager, Ib, in the studio working on stuff. We were working on a record that Big Sean, Meek, and J. Cole got together that never came out. I went with Cole and Ib to Meek’s session because Cole wanted to link up with Meek and listen to Dreamchasers 2. That was supposed to be the Dreams & Nightmares album at the time. He ended up putting it out as a mixtape. So, we ended up going there, and he ended up playing “Amen” for J. Cole. That was a crazy moment because J. Cole, Jeremih, and Travis Porter were in there. It was like a party in there. They were letting “Amen” ring off all night. In another session, a big pop star gave me an edible, and I was tripping while Kendrick Lamar and Meek Mill were doing “A1 Everything.” I was in there tripping!
I have to stop you. There’s a 2012-era song with J. Cole, Big Sean, and Meek Mill that fans never heard?
Yep, and it’s finished. It never came out. I swear on a stack of Bibles; I think they were supposed to do a mixtape together — Cole, Meek, and Big Sean. That’s what Cole was trying to put together. I swear to God. Cole and Meek can vouch for that, for sure. That song was on my beat. The beat ended up becoming Styles P’s “I Know.” I ended up giving it to Styles because the record never came out. They sat on it. I still have it on my hard drive. I got so much on my hard drive. I got a record I did with Nas that I’ve never dropped that I’m trying to put out on my compilation.
Speak on the compilation. What are some other unreleased songs on it?
I’ve been working on this for the past three or four years. I have records with Anderson .Paak, Gucci Mane, Meek, Dave East, Jadakiss, Scarface, and Lil Wayne. I’m trying to put them all together. I’m hoping to have the first single out by summertime. Outside of that, I got this kid named DJ Crazy. He’s the hottest producer in Philly right now. I signed him to my label. He’s making records with all the biggest artists from Philly right now. We just did a record for this kid doing his thing called D. Sturdy. He got a record that blew up called “Shake That,” but we did a remix with Lil Uzi Vert. It is insane. I also just did a record with TJ Atmos that got picked up by Under Armour’s next campaign.
What will you have going on in 2024?
I’m working with DJ Crazy on his album. We did a record with Meek. We got 2Rare on there. We got Freeway on there. We got D. Sturdy and Uzi on there. I’m just putting everything behind him as a CEO. I got this school called Jahlil Beats Academy at Chester Community Charter School. We just finished a deal with 300 Entertainment. Shout out to Kevin Liles and Mike McArthur for helping with that. It’s a school for the arts that teaches students how to make, write, and learn the business of music. Right now, they’re making songs, doing videos, and all of that, and we’re going to put it out through 300. We also created an incubator, so they can send music to the A&Rs and get placed. That’s what the whole school thing is about.