Jim Jonsin Talks Producing for T.I., Yelawolf, B.o.B and Jeezy
Jim Jonsin is one busy man. The South Florida producer has been in the lab lately carving out beats for the likes of T.I., Mary J. Blige, Wiz Khalifa, Usher, Yelawolf and B.O.B.
Here, the producer extraordinaire sits down with XXL to talk creating for an All-Star cast, how he hopes to produce more for T.I. and land a beat on Jeezy’s Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition album, being in the studio with Eminem and Yelawolf and how Diddy’s former group Danity Kane passed up on Weezy’s “Lollipop.” Bet they would ask for that one back. —Mark Lelinwalla
Who are you currently producing for?
Jim Jonsin: Wiz Khalifa, T.I., I got stuff for Usher, and a Mary J. Blige record — it’s called “Mr. Wrong.”
You have history with T.I.
Definitely. Tip’s my homie.
He’s in the halfway house and is almost home. What kind of record did you submit to him?
I just want to do great songs for him. I can’t [think] for him, but when we get in, I’m going to get out there to Atlanta and he’ll spell that out. T.I. is his own man. He’s a writer. He does his own thing, he’s got his own vision, so we’ll follow what he wants to do and then produce it. He’s a genius. He’s been through some tough shit in the past two years–a lot of bumps in the road–but he’s going to get past that. We’re just hear to help however we can.
From one ATL rapper to another, we seen the YouTube video where you’re constructing a beat for Young Jeezy. What’s the background story to that?
Well, here it is. Jeezy will hit me occasionally, like just random hit me, ‘I’m looking for some music,’ and I’ll send him some music, something I think he might like working on, and it hasn’t transpired into anything yet. So, I’m eager to get a record on Jeezy’s [album] because I like him as an artist and as a person also, so I’m trying to really make something. So, it’s become this running thing like if I’m doing an interview on TV I’m like, I’m making a beat for Jeezy. I was in a session with LL Cool J and I was making a beat for Jeezy. So, that’s that. I’m really trying to make a smash for him. So, I make a couple of beats for him. He has the option to [record over that beat].
TM103 is coming up soon…
With every album there’s a process from the label standpoint to the artist’s. The artist believes he has something, the label believes they need something. They bring in producers to give him something they think is for the radio. It’s funny because it could be the first three records recorded on the album that are the biggest records and because they heard them so much they got used to them, but they’re looking for that fresh meat, that flavor. So, it tends to be the last songs cut for the album that tend to be the singles. Doesn’t mean they should be. Jeezy probably feels like, I got a record and then the label might think otherwise. So, they’re looking for that one because you have to lead off with something. Right now we’re all learning from the Internet with artists like Wiz, Mac Miller, Yelawolf. They’re kind of dictating how shit goes themselves. You don’t need a label to tell you, a program director, a Jim Jonsin… you need your fans. Artists like Tip, Jeezy, they need to really adjust to that, have faith in their music and see if the kids like it. I could tell you what sounds great, give you an 80%-100% chance it’s a hit, but I can’t guarantee that. If I’m in a room and I kind of see people talking like, ‘his shit is crazy,’ I know I got something. You just came up on a diamond.
Talk to me about the B.O.B. and Lil Wayne record.
As far as a lead off, I think it’s good to drop something like that. I’m not crazy about the record, personally, but I think it’s a good lead off, a good teaser. B.O.B. got some joints. This [second] album is better than the first one…by a long shot. He’s killing it. B.O.B. is a whole new beast on this project. We’re slated to get back together real soon.
What’s good with your guy Yelawolf?
I was just in Detroit with Yela and Eminem. We did a couple of songs. We did like three records–one called “Alabama,” another called, “Yeah, That Boy.” The “Alabama” record is a heartfelt record for the state of Alabama. It’s a smash.
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