FEATURE: Boi-1da, A Star Is Born
Drake isn’t the only star emerging from Toronto. T. Dot producer Boi-1da is steadily making a name for himself behind the boards—crafting noteworthy singles over the past 12 months, including Kardinal Offishal’s “Set It Off,” Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” and the monster collabo “Forever” featuring Drizzy, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem.
With a growing clientele that includes G-Unit, the Diplomats and Andre 3000, it looks like Boi (born Matthew Samuels) is just getting started. XXLMag.com recently caught up with the beatsmith to speak on his role on Dr. Dre’s mythical Detox project, his interest in the Jonas Brothers and his work on Drake’s highly anticipated debut, Thank Me Later.
XXLMag.com: I read that Drake is trying to come up with his own sound instead of using big name producers. You have definitely cemented your place as one as Drake's signature producers. How many tracks have you done for the new album?
Boi-1da: Right now I have three that I know of. There are a lot of other beats that he likes. There is one that he wants to use and there are like a couple other beats. The thing is, [the way] Drake works is differently. He won’t write a song exactly when he gets the beat. He’ll want ‘til it comes to him and than after that he will write.
XXL: How many of those songs has he recorded already?
Boi-1da: One of them [he] recorded that’s finished and one of them he just said, “Yo, this has to go on my album.”
XXL: I could already kind of pick out when I hear your tracks. I’m interested to hear how would you describe your sound?
Boi-1da: I will describe my sound as loud. Dr. Dre is my favorite producer and when I hear Dr. Dre beats it’s like they’re loud, they hit you hard. So I try to make myself, like model myself after Dre albums and just make my sound like the hard-hitting music like it smacks you, and you can’t go nowhere because it's gonna like smack you back into place. I try to make my music ‘smacky.’
XXL: On your wiki page it says that you're working on Detox, is that true?
Boi-1da: Yeah I was actually submitting tracks for Detox through my boy Brandon, who’s [the] A&R for Dr. Dre. After he heard the “Set it off” track that I did for Kardinal, he actually wanted that beat. I had already gave it to Kardinal and it was already on his album but he liked the beat so much that he didn’t even rap in three years and he came out, he came out and started rapping and did a remix over it. Everybody was like, “What the hell, Dr. Dre ain’t rap in like three years.” So they were hollering at me to get a beat that was like similar to that.
XXL: You got some track record, man. You got Dre rapping, you putting out Eminem, Kanye and Wayne on the same track. What other projects are you working on?
Boi-1da: Right now I’m working on an artist from Toronto I’m developing named August. He’s an R&B singer, amazing R&B singer. Like he’s really, really good. We’re working on his stuff. I’m working on a lot of stuff with Sean Garrett. He’s writing to a lot of my beats. I submitted some stuff for Usher. Usher is cutting, I think he cut a record of mines yesterday.
Boi-1da: Who else? I’m trying to work with the Jonas Brothers. Like I’m just trying to get in with it where I fit in. You know?
Boi-1da: I don’t even care. I just, I’m just trying work with whatever, whoever, why ever, however. You know what I am saying?
XXL: You’re actually submitting to them or that’s just like a dream of yours?
Boi-1da: Yeah, they’re actually coming down to Toronto soon and we’re supposed to get in the studio.
XXL: So how much has your price gone up after “Forever” came out?
Boi-1da: A billion dollars. [Laugh] I’m joking. [laugh] I don’t even know yet. It went up obliviously, but like you know, I’m not that kind of, I’m not even worrying about like how much I’m getting paid off of a beat. I’m just trying work with everybody and make hits with everybody. You know?
XXL: Right, so Sean Garrett, Usher, Jonas Brothers. Any rappers that been hollering at you?
Boi-1da: Any rappers? Actually I’m working on Busta Rhymes's new album, his new project coming out right now. He got a lot of heat coming off that album. I was in L.A. the other day with The Game and I gave him a few beats. He actually recorded a song to a few of my beats. Also Nipsey Hussle. I’m working with Nip.—Jesse Gissen