Congrats on producing Ludacris’ “I Do It for Hip-Hop” and “Last of a Dying Breed.” How did “I Do It for Hip-Hop” come about?
Thanks, I appreciate it. I was working with DJ Nabs, who’s a pretty well-known DJ in Atlanta and he’s pretty good friends with Ludacris. He actually brokered the deal for me. I did that and “Last of a Dying Breed” with Luda.
You’re becoming the only dude that can work with Jay and Nas at the same time as well.
(laughs) I’m two out of three right now. Shout out to NO I.D. too. That’s really crazy. I guess Luda just heard the music and was inspired by it and I’m fortunate that he wrote what he did about it and him being on Def Jam got Nas and Jay on it.
Most people would be happy working with Jay or Nas once.
(laughs) It’s crazy how things align sometimes. It’s not like I’m big time and I call Jay and Nas and tell them I want to do it again. It just worked out that way.
Jay and Nas have very different styles and like different styles of beats. What do you think it is about your beats that make them both sound good at the same time?
One thing I can say is that those are the two main MCs that I grew up listening to along with Biggie and some other cats. Into my 20s I was pretty much listening to Nas and Jay. Their DNA is in my music. I really can’t put my finger on it. That’s an advantage to growing up when I did and I’m making music inspired by what I heard. I listened to all of Jay’s albums and all of Nas’ albums and I was able to come up with my own format.
After hearing your underground beats with artists like Stimuli and UnLearn and then your bigger beats like “I Do It for Hip-Hop” and “Black Republicans,” one thing I can say is that I never knew it was you doing the track. Is that a good thing right now?
Oh, man, I look at that as the best thing ever because that’s exactly what I was going for. When I first got into the game a lot of the big-name producers were doing the same thing and they said you had to do the same thing over and over so that you had the branding and if you fell off you had to rebuild yourself. My goal was to be diverse with it and to show my talent and to show my range of skills so you would never hear a beat and say, “That’s a Wyldfyer beat.”
How much longer can you go before people say, “That’s a Wyldfyer beat.”
(laughs) I got thousands and thousands of beats. Those beats were two or three years old on the Luda album. I got so many different beats and styles that it’s ridiculous. It probably won’t happen. The only thing I can control is what people pick. I never thought Luda would have picked the beat for “I Do It for Hip-Hop.” But he picked it and he made it a great song. The only thing I hope is that I can influence what people pick so we don’t do the same song over and over but we do work in the copycat industry.
As far as working with Ludacris, did you try to do anything special for him to accommodate his style?
Yeah. It’s crazy because a lot of my friends know that these beats are pretty old. This is not even new stuff. If you look at “Last of a Dying Breed” with Wayne, I did that one too. I did that beat three years ago and when I did that, I honestly had Luda in my mind. I didn’t have any placements at that time. It was a high-energy beat and there weren’t too many that could pull it off except for maybe Luda and Busta. I never thought about Wayne. But when Luda wrote what he wrote and Wayne jumped on it, it was perfect.
How did UnLearn’s “Better Days" come about?
Man, honestly, I’m down to work with anybody who’s dope and UnLearn is dope and the uniqueness about him is that he also has a very relevant message. He’s actually saying something which is very rare and very hard to find in today’s music. UnLearn was an easy pick. Other guys like Sha Stimuli are talking about what’s going on in the music. It’s just really about talent.
You’ve also done a lot of work with Kida. What do you see in Kida?
Kida is ridiculous! When PhD first let me hear Kida’s stuff, I heard it over the phone first of all. I heard talent and he’s from the West Coast and he doesn’t sound like Game or anybody else out there. And he’s a real hip-hop head too. He’s not a gimmick rapper and he’s not a commercial rapper. I hope people get into him and want to hear what he has to say and that he has some commercial success. He’s not a corny rapper. He’s got talent and he’s ridiculous. I’m a hip-hop fan and when I hear somebody saying something, I’m hooked right away.
From what I understand you’re also working closer with Focus today.
Oh yeah. A-Fam is the movement. That’s a funny story. I used to be in an R&B group eight years ago and we were going to work with Focus then. He was real cool. I kind of patterned myself after Focus. It’s all about the music with him and if he likes what you’re doing he’ll work with you. I wanted to bring something to the table and work with him. We got back in touch two or three years ago and A-Fam is the label now.
How important was it for you to join an already successful team?
It was a blessing. It’s hard to find people that do good music and keep the politics and BS outside and that actually have talent. I think Focus is one of the dopest producers in the game, period. No matter what big name producer you want to bring in, Focus is nasty with it. And he’s not industry whatsoever and he really could be based on who he works with and who his father is but he’s just a great dude with great music and that’s the movement you gotta get down with.
Will you have an easier time getting beats to big-name artists based on your placements and your team?
Yeah, definitely. Focus is a huge help and I also have a guy by the name of Askia at Timeless Entertainment that I’m partnering with and he’s very well connected. He’s another good dude. I was introduced to him by St. Nick, the guy that discovered me. It’s a blessing. These are good people and they’re well connected and they know all about great music. Hopefully it’s a little bit easier to get good music out there so the world knows about me. Hopefully at the end of the day more people will be asking more about me and I’ll be able to get these beats out.
Do you think you and Focus will work on any beats together?
We actually have. We actually have. I’m still trying to play catch up with Focus and every time I try to catch up I hear something else like, ‘Man.’ We’ve actually done a joint together and it’s a hard beat. I believe Eminem is writing to it.
If you get Eminem on a track you can retire right there, right?
(laughs) Everybody tells me I shoulda quit after “Black Republican.” I have a strategic goal to touch on different aspects of the game. I got blessed to work with Nas and Jay early. I still want to be on a Jay album. I live in Atlanta and I’ve been down there for a little while now. I’m from Philly but I live in the ATL and I really, really needed to get somebody in the South on some joints and just to display that style so getting Luda, that was a blessing. Eminem is in the Midwest and I’m also working with Slum right now. After that I only have the West Coast, right?
And I’m real cool with Young RJ and Scrap Dirty. I’m trying to get some joints on Slum Village’s album.
You have a style that changes from song to song and is really hard to identify. Where does your sound come from?
If I didn’t know about Atlanta I wouldn’t know about the bounce and 808s. The South has a good grasp on the music and I’m pretty much down with that. I was pretty much baptized into the South. I used to go to the clubs after classes and hang out all night and it has definitely influenced my style. I was just making 1990s DJ Premier hip-hop beats all the time. I’m not DJ Premier. He’s a legend. So I wouldn’t be able to branch out the way I’m able to branch out. I wouldn’t be diverse. Being in the South definitely influenced my sound.
I heard you also like to get the accapella to the song and build the beat around it. Do you still like to do that?
Yeah, I like to do that a lot. My artist N.O.V. knows knows. He’ll tell me he needs a new beat for something so he’ll send it to me. It’s really fun. That’s how I got started when I did demos. It’s really fun because you already have the song and you can keep building around it to get the best beat. I still do that today. Send me the accapella and the tempo and I’ll build around it.
Do the bigger artists have the patience to let you do that?
No. The bigger artists don’t send it to me. They might send me an accapella and they want to run with a remix. I know Puffy’s done that before and Luda’s done that before. Usually someone passes me an accapella like LES and I can work with it. If you give them a hit, most likely it should have no samples and there’s a lot of politics involved in that too.
What do you enjoy more, hearing Jay and Nas on one of your beats or building a beat around an accapella to make a great song?
I like making a beat from scratch and having the artist know that I can build the beat and come up with a great song. I’m not really into the status aspect of it. Nas and Jay are cool but I still can’t walk up to Jay without getting body slammed. There’s a lot of politics and you don’t get the chance to really know these people. This may sound weird but I don’t feel like it’s as much of an achievement as I probably should. I see Timbaland and 9th Wonder, they actually get the chance to get in the studio with these guys and bounce ideas off of them. I’m not at that point here. With the Unlearn situation, we were building the beat from scratch and deciding where to add the drops. It wasn’t a favor somebody did for me.
How can you get to the point where you get to work with bigger artists in the studio?
From the outside looking in, you would think that when you get big enough there will be a point where they want to get in the studio and work with you but knowing a couple of the producers myself, it really depends on who the artist is. You have some artists who really appreciate the artistic aspect of it and then some of them just want to go. They have their own studio and they want you to send the mp3. I like working on something. The game is just getting so impersonal these days. It’s really hard to say.
How does sending beats via email and not building with the artist in-person affect the music?
I have a couple cats in my corner like LES and St. Nick and these are cats that are real producers and when you do the mp3 thing, you take away the real producers. I’m here to produce a record. It’s hard to say it without giving an example. If you ever saw Puff in the studio with Keyshia Cole, Puff was actually producing her and he was able to get what he wanted out of her. He was able to get a great song out of her. That’s half of what we do, those of us who are producers and not just beat makers. We make an actual hit, not just getting a song out. If you do the mp3 way, somebody will put something down and the beat maker will say it’s hot and you won’t have the best song.
When you look at your biggest songs like “Black Republicans” and “I Do It for Hip-Hop,” do you ever hear anything in the songs that you wish you could change?
(laughs) It’s funny you say that. I don’t like how “I Do It for Hip-Hop” was mixed. I had some chords in there to give it a real warm feeling and that’s really what set the tone for the song itself and I listened to the finished track and the strings are turned down a little bit. The track that inspired the song that you guys hear is not the track that is the finished product. I just have to do a better job of getting my stuff out so that I can be a bigger name so I can songs through and mix the song.
And you can actually hear the original version floating around the internet. There is one with one Luda verse and another version with a Luda verse and an open verse for Nas and Jay. I had an old school feeling that inspired the actual song and a different drum pattern.
Speaking of your drums, you don’t have one drum pattern or an easily identifiable snare like other producers. Is that a conscious effort?
Yes. That’s very important. I was telling Focus that I never use the same drums twice. I don’t know if eventually that’s going to change but I tell him that even if it ends up sounding similar, I try to change something. I never open up a template with the same drums and I don’t know how long I can keep on doing that because there’s only one 808 drum set. It’s about having an imagination and switching it up on tracks. You can keep using the same snare over and over but people are going to get sick of that and I want the people to be wondering about what I’m going to do next.
And one thing I’m going to cut down on is putting so many beats on my beat CDs and micromanage more. The bigger I get the more control I’ll have over what people pick and if I can keep that going that should open me to the next level and what I really want to do as I get more of a reputation I want to move towards producing a whole album because I’m so diverse and because I have some great producers I work with and some great up-and-coming producers like 151, that’s my little brother and he produces too. I feel like I have so much access that we can do a whole album together. You give me $150,000 and I’ll do your whole album.
And making that happen, that will probably be about the politics. That’s about the people I’m working with. I was talking to Ski about that the other day. It really has to do with getting more work and getting your name out there. I can’t get on the Timbaland or Kanye or Just Blaze level right now but somebody like Polow
Da Don, he could probably do a whole album if that was something he was interested in. And if the artist was more interested in a great album, we could do a whole album for what they’d pay for one super-producer’s beats. They can keep their money.
You placed “Black Republicans” on Nas’ Hip-Hop Is Dead through LES. How closely do you work with him today?
We’re actually working on some joints right now for a couple of artists. I know he mentioned Jadakiss and you never know what’s going to happen with the next Nas joint. Yeah. L’s my big brother. We’re always going to work, for sure.
When “Black Republicans” dropped, LES got the majority of credit for producing it. Did that bother you at all?
It’s noting against L. I ran into DJ Drama and I told him what I did and he said he thought LES did it. Taking nothing away from L, I realize that I have to step my game up. It kind of put me in a hole a little bit. That’s the game. You don’t just step to the top, you have to work your way to the top. It taught me a lesson.
What up-and-coming artists are you working with today?
You already know about Kida. We’re getting Kida popping. We got the American Fresh Club, which is with my artist Chriz Clark. He’s got that thing blazing. He’s in Atlanta right now. I’m working with my artist N.O.V. That’s primarily it right now for new artists. I’m also working with some producers like 151, Joe Gus and Cash Hits. And I’m still meeting new people through the connections that I’m making. You never know who you’re going to meet. If I can get these guys off the ground then I’ll be looking for new artists.
How has your production style evolved in the last year?
You guys are hearing old beats so it’s hard to explain! (laughs) The beats that I’ve been fortunate enough to get placed are real old. The new beats are different. You can get frustrated because the industry works very slow and you can get down. The stuff that’s coming out now is very, very dark. I’ve been told by my friends that it sounds like some soundtrack stuff. I’ve been told I can score a movie so I just picked up Logic to see if I can do that. It’s real theatric, no pun intended with Luda’s album. People are still doing the sped-up sample. My first placement was “Black Republican” and I started with the show tunes. I haven’t heard a lot of stuff like that and my southern stuff is real up-tempo and real energetic and then I have the real dark stuff. It’s all about placing the right track with the right artist.
Do you like Logic so far?
I haven’t really gotten too deep into it. I was in the studio with Focus and he was going through some songs. I was sitting there with my door open and my little brother walks in and he says he has those sounds too. I’m sitting there like a kid in the candy store. Once I get going on that and with the plug-ins, I don’t know where the music is going to go. It’s just got some really, really great sounds.
Will we see Wyldfyer producing some R&B as well?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Definitely. I play the guitar and all that stuff. We’re working on some rock. We’re working on some alternative stuff. Pop is kind of like popular music. There’s not really a sound to pop but I'm definitely looking to work with some more popular artists. I’m looking to score some movies and get into some video games. What you’ve heard is not all that I am. Hopefully people don’t label me. I play guitar and I do rock music. There’s all kinds of music out there, I just have to get it out to the world.
What’s your main focus right now?
I’m working on Kida and Focus is working on Detox. Hopefully I’ll sneak one on there. And then I’m writing to a few joints. Definitely working on the American Fresh Club. I’m just keeping my ears open and looking for something fresh in Atlanta every day. I’m working with Askia. I made a list one day and it’s hard to remember the list because you have to get people to listen to your tracks and then write to your tracks and then submit the tracks and then pay you. I don’t want to be the guy you see them working with and then you never hear from that guy. Oh, and I got a killer song from Chino XL featuring Immortal Technique and I can’t remember the other guy. I hate that I forgot, but it is crazy. He just sent it back to me. I got a joint with Kurupt. I’m trying to get with Yung Joc and I’m definitely trying to get with Jadakiss. I feel I’m well-rounded. I’m still working with Sha Stimuli and Hometown Heroes. There’s a variety of folks.
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