It’s been almost 10 years since Arthur McArthur has been interviewed. However, since fellow Toronto native and collaborator Drake became embroiled in potentially the biggest rap beef in recent Hip Hop history, the Grammy-nominated producer couldn’t remain silent.

McArthur first worked with Drake as a co-producer on “Uptown” for the rapper’s breakout mixtape, So Far Gone, but he never could’ve anticipated the role he’d play in the ultimate showdown between Drizzy and Kendrick Lamar.

REVOLT spoke to the producer about the architects of Toronto’s sound and the lore behind the now-deleted “Taylor Made Freestyle.” Check out the exclusive conversation below.

You don't really do interviews. You stay in the cut. What made you decide to do this one?

I don't tend to do a lot of interviews, but there's a funny story behind [the beat for “Taylor Made Freestyle”] that kind of adds to the excitement of what's going on and everything.

It's so crazy that your first placement was Drake. In retrospect, did you realize how big of a star he was going to be? So Far Gone is a classic.

I meet people [now] and they tell me, “That was a very important project.” And when you're making stuff, you just don't tend to think of it that way… I don't think you can sit in the studio and go, “This is gonna be the biggest song in the world.” I've tried to do that and then you end up making really terrible music. I'm actually frequently surprised that the things that I think are going to do really well don't do really well and then the things that I'm like, “Whatever” [about] end up being my biggest song.

You’ve said Drake opened doors that helped you get out to Los Angeles. Some have claimed he’s done nothing for Toronto. How do you feel about that?

Producing songs for him opened doors…Toronto was not looked at with any kind of seriousness from Hip Hop period. He legitimized what everybody was doing and made Toronto hot. It opened so many pathways for Toronto creatives.

I think there's some bitterness... Maybe they felt like they should have been on OVO or Drake should have promoted them personally. The idea that Drake didn't put on for Toronto or that he didn't completely change the creative environment over here is bogus. Producers alone, he's put on like 50 people, so it's like what are people talking about?

There’s also been a lot of chatter about Drake’s authenticity. What are your thoughts on these types of perceptions?

There's a large distance between the internet and reality. Narratives that don't have a lot of truth to them can become dominant. Toronto has a lot of different people from different backgrounds. There's a sense of collaboration between people. [Drake is] a creative guy who expresses his creativity by playing a lot of different playing fields. Of course, if you do that, there will be accusations of someone being an outsider. But Toronto has also had an outsider mentality from the jump. Those accusations were going to happen no matter what he did.

Ebro Darden implied that Toronto doesn't have a definitive sound and neither does Drake. What are your thoughts about that claim?

Drake has had a long run and has done many different styles. His versatility is highly unusual. You can point at him and say, “Well, he doesn't have a sound.” It's like yeah, he's got like four or five different ones. And they're all representative of a time and a place.

In terms of Toronto having a sound, I was involved in what we were doing... Everybody that I was talking to in Los Angeles was like, “Oh, man, that Toronto sound is great. The way you guys approach records is really unique.” You can’t explain the success and the runs of Boi-1da, T-Minus, 40 and WondaGurl without there actually being a strong regional basis for what we were doing.

How would you define the Toronto sound?

Songs like “BaKardi Slang”/“Ol' Time Killin'” by Kardinal Offishall and “Let’s Ride” by Choclair influenced me in the late [’90s] and early 2000s. [Since then], there's two main threads of the Toronto sound, influenced by 40 and Boi-1da, respectively. I'd say the golden years of that specific sound is 2011 to about 2016. Then it started shifting.

There's a dark melodic, sort of ethereal instrument vibe. Then, in terms of drums, it's aggressively mixed snares and punchy kicks and bounce. That's a lot of what Boi-1da was doing. Typically, there's a lot of beat switch-ups and there's a general sense of aggression.

When you think about [any regional sound in American Hip Hop], you have the benefits of decades of stylistic segmentation there, where it really became defined pre-Internet. We were coming to the spotlight in the dawn of social media. So, what we did very quickly percolated out of Toronto and into mainstream consciousness and became just part of the pop music blob very quickly. That's why some people might not be aware of the Toronto sound.

If you were to give folks specific examples that undeniably showcase that sound, what would those songs be?

The quintessential Hip Hop Toronto album would be If You're Reading This It's Too Late. Take Care [has] more R&B elements, but even “Swimming Pools” by Lamar [has] a Toronto-sounding beat. A lot of stuff that T-Minus was doing, “I'm On One” [by DJ Khaled], Travis Scott’s “Antidote” [and] WondaGurl. There's a lot, but I'd say those are some of the better examples.

Speaking of Lamar, let's get into it. You produced the very controversial -- and now deleted -- “Taylor Made Freestyle” with Boi-1da and Blank. You said on X that it was made a few years back. How did the collaboration come to be?

Yeah, so this beat got made in 2009.

Wow. That's more than a few years (laughs).

When I heard it, I couldn't believe it. I was like, “Why is Drake posting this old beat?” Boi-1da had sent it to me. They had the idea with the drums and the pianos, and I replayed the piano and added a bunch of instruments. The funny story about [it] is that you might notice it sounds like a West Coast beat. [It was what] Dr. Dre had been using for Detox. So, he was sitting on [it] for years. I think it was supposed to feature Keyshia Cole or something. There'd been a hook written by a Toronto artist called Shi Wisdom on it. I think Drake wanted an old-school, West Coast-sounding beat, so it got sent over to him.

No one caught that because no one knew, but that's funny. It’s a wonder how the beat got from Dr. Dre to Drake, given that Dre is one of Lamar’s biggest mentors.

Yeah, I know there's a strong affiliation between [Lamar and Dr. Dre]. That adds a layer of comedy. I wonder what Dre was thinking when he heard that too.

What’s it like to suddenly be affiliated with rap beef?

This is one of the more historic beefs that I've witnessed. Things were kind of getting “samey” for a while, and this really just rocked the boat and shook everybody out of a stupor. I like that a lot. Competition's good and battles are good and yeah, it's definitely been a trip.

“Taylor Made Freestyle” came out relatively early in the beef before things took a turn. Did you anticipate it getting as dark as it did with the accusations on both sides?

No, I can't say that I did. It's gotten quite dark and that's been the shocking, demoralizing component. I thought it was gonna be “Who’s a better rapper?” It turned into “Who's a better person?” It's very polarizing. I hope that nothing that any of them are saying — the worst things they are saying about each other — are true. That would be the best-case scenario.

What are your thoughts on how social media has affected perceptions and reactions in real time?

It's like you're live-streaming a war. We're gonna look back on this and just be like, “This was one of the craziest moments in Hip Hop this decade” because of how people are weighing in on what's happening and shaping opinion in real time. It feels like it's become its own subculture — that this battle has just taken on its own niche within society, which is something I don't think we've seen before. JAY-Z and Nas or Tupac and Biggie were big… but this feels like it's on another level.

Some praised the ingenuity in Drake using AI to mimic Snoop Dogg and Tupac’s voices. Others condemned the precedent. What are your thoughts?

In terms of the battle, I think it's hilarious. It’s like if you're fighting the last boss and he summons the ghosts of your mentors to do battle against you. I mean, come on, that's hilarious (laughs).

What did you think of Tupac’s estate threatening to sue?

I mean, we were never getting that cleared. There was no way that, that was ever going to last long on the Internet. They have a right to defend their IP and take care of Tupac's legacy the way they see fit.

OGs like Cam’ron and Mase feel this beef reinvigorated Hip Hop. Then there’s Questlove who stated, “Hip Hop is truly dead,” expressing worry about violence ensuing. How do you perceive things?

I'm not sure how [Questlove] could say that after Tupac and Biggie. We lost two of the greatest to ever do it, and Hip Hop survived and evolved. I obviously hope nothing bad happens. [There is a] fun side of it — the competition, not the nastiness — [and] I don't see how this would be the death of Hip Hop.

Who won the beef?

I'm not sure it's over. I like the Drake songs more. I am, however, severely biased, so take that with however much salt that you want. Of course, Lamar is brilliant, and a lot of the raps were incredible, but I've got Drake up by one right now.

Do you think that the release strategy plays a role in terms of who wins? When Drake dropped “Family Matters” and then, minutes later, Lamar followed up with “meet the grahams” and then “Not Like Us” ... the timeline was going insane.

That was wild. The people who think Lamar is winning, if Drake put out the best song of all time, would they think Drake is winning? [And] vice versa. Or are people just so in their camps that they’re not changing any opinions? It’s like, you can't even concede that there is anything decent about the other person, even just as a human being. It’s just war. Absolute war.

It’s become ugly for sure. So where do we go from here? There’s definitely been a shift.

My prediction is that this will become a legendary moment and something we all talk about for a long time as being one of the great battles, and we keep on making great music. I don't think that there's any fundamental reality shift that's taken place. This is just one of the big battles in history.