One of the many unsung heroes of the music industry is the producers. I decided to sit down with Charlotte, North Carolina’s own IGot20OnMyBeat — the producer of hit songs such as DaBaby’s “Walker Texas Ranger” — to talk about his origins and most recent rise with DaBaby and Stunna4Vegas.
Above, I got to see 20 conduct a Genius-style beat deconstruction of Stunna4Vegas’s hit song, “Double D’s.” Check out the video and the short Q&A that derived from our sit-down.
– – – – – – –
First of all, I appreciate that you had me over here. When did you start producing?
I started about 20 years ago, back when my brother was working with Rico Wade from the Dungeon Family. I was pretty much just being a brother and supporting. After a while, though, I started to take it seriously with my friend Joseph Fields, going to the crib after school and making beats on Fruity Loops. From there, I just stuck with it.
So what were you listening to back then? Who inspired you coming up?
Oh, man. I was listening to Timbaland, Missy Elliott, a lot of Ginuwine. Also, since Rico Wade was in my ear the whole time, I was also listening to a lot of Goodie Mob, Outkast, and even the artists that they had coming up, including Future.
Were you born in Charlotte?
Nah, I was born in New York. I probably lived like 2-3 years in New York then moved to Charlotte.
What would you say is different between the music scene back then compared to the music scene now?
It’s a lot different. More people are starting to focus on simpler vocals rather than having stacks on top of stacks and cuts on top of cuts. Like now, when I’ve been recording, people hear one main vocal and then move on to ad-libs. Back then, they use to stack a few layers of vocals on top of eachother.
When did you get your first taste of success?
When I went to New York and was working with 50 Cent and Uncle Murda. I had nothing to do with music production at the time, though — it was more on the video side.
Tell me about the first time you linked up with DaBaby.
I linked up with DaBaby way before his success came about. I was in New York and Atlanta, working with all these people before they popped off. It felt like I was always in the loop because I was either in the studio working with everybody, making beats, or I was always promoting myself. I was on social media doing everything — DaBaby saw me working and I saw him working, so we decided we might as well work together. It wasn’t always like “oh, I want to work with you,” it was more that he kept seeing me and I kept seeing him, so we put it together.
How did you first link up with Stunna?
The story on Stunna was that Stunna knew me way before I knew him. He was actually trying to work with me a year before I met him. He’d come by the studio and I wouldn’t be there, or our schedules wouldn’t work out, so I never met Stunna until the day I was supposed to meet him. Then, I was in the studio and he was working and recording. That day, I noticed and was like, “yo, he’s about to pop off.”
Tell me about the song that you co-produced with Jetson, “Pull Up” with Lil Keed, Lil Uzi Vert and YNW Melly. How did that come about? How does it feel to be appreciated by people outside of the bubble you created for yourself?
People see that I’m everywhere, so when you hear something different from me, it’s never really expected. That was more or less like the situation with Jetson. We made that when we together and that’s honestly it. That was pretty much a get-in and get-out kind of track. That was when I first met Jetson, and right off the bat, it like “yo, we should collab.”
Who do you want to work with in the future?
Honestly, as far as mainstream people, I don’t really have anyone in particular — it’s pretty much the people I’m working with right now. Fat Dave is pretty much the next guy, in my opinion, though; we’re about to take over. If you know him and hear what he raps about, it’s interesting because you know that that’s him. It’s easy to identify with that honesty.
Other people I recently started working with are Nitty Beats, Jhxines, Rico Barrino, Fantasia, Anthony Hamilton, and Yahtzee. I want to work with Missy Elliott and RZA in the long-run.
It got added to Baby on Baby at the last minute, like day of. They pretty much called my manager Lyric and was like “yo, we’re going to put it on Baby on Baby and carry it over”. I’ve never seen a label take a song from one album and add it to a brand new album, and I was already doing well on Blank Blank, so that was pretty much my breakout song to the world. Once the video came out, I was seeing the song everywhere, so it was a smart decision to carry it over to the next album.
– – – – – – –
*Speaking to Fat Dave
So Dave, tell me about your relationship with IGot20OnMyBeat.
When I met 20, Stunna told me to get in front of him, because 20 is one of the best producers right now. When 20 was recording me, he was like “what the hell? I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t record him.” But after we recorded a couple of times, he and I built that relationship where we can hop in the studio and we already know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
If I say a bad bar, he’ll delete it, and say “you can go harder than that.” Even when he makes a beat I don’t like, I’ll be like, “nah 20 — I’m not feeling that.” We just go in and feed off of eachother’s energy. It’s fun to record with  — I know it’s supposed to be all about work, but we’re really having fun at the same time.
Me and 20 are guys for real. I call him just about every morning when I wake up, all that.
Do you two come into the studio with a track in mind? Or do you come up with ideas once you get there?
He’ll usually already have something that he’s excited about, like “bro, I feel like you’ll crush this.” For example, we’ll start with a sample — that Full House sample from the TV show was my idea. But even with that, I can only speak to how I want it to sound; 20 can actually bring that to life and make it sound good.