Behind the Beats: Cardiak Breaks Down His Six Most Crucial Records


With an artillery of heat under his belt, 23-year-old rising producer Cardiak is ready for that top spot. After making his first big impact on Lloyd Banks' 2010 Kanye/Swizz Beatz/Fabolous/Ryan Leslie collabo “Start It Up,” the Willingboro, New Jersey boardsman has since went on to work with 50 Cent (“Outlaw”), Wale/Rick Ross (“600 Benz”), Fabolous (“Ya'll Don't Hear Me Tho”) and more. Responsible for crafting two joints on Meek Mill's Dreamchasers 2 (“Lean Wit It,” “Erryday”), caught up with Cardiak to breakdown six of his favorite produced tracks. Prepare for flatline...Ralph Bristout (@RalphieBlackmon)

Lloyd Banks ft. Kanye West, Fabolous, Swizz Beatz & Ryan Leslie “Start It Up,” H.F.M. 2 (Hunger for More 2) (2010)


Original Title: “You Know What I Like”

Intended For: N/A

“Start It Up” was old as hell. I did not expect [Lloyd Banks] to use that beat. I just put that in [the zip file I sent them] ’cause I was running out of beats to send. So then they hit me back like, “Yo why didn’t you send this beat a long time ago.” They were like, “Yo Banks really fuck with it, it might be a single and all that.” When I went to New York to hear the record, they were like “We might get Fab or Kanye on it, but keep it on the low,” I was like, “Word? That would be crazy if you get Kanye on this 'cause I never heard Kanye on this type of beat like that before. I’m used to hearing him on some soulful type of shit.” Initially Banks had a hook to it, but they took it off and then 50 Cent had a hook on it. Then I got a call and they said Kanye and Fab was on it with Swizz Beatz and Ryan Leslie. I had the beat in the beginning with my flatline tag but they took it out but, shoutout to Jay Mckenzie he got them to put it in the middle of Fab verse. If you listen near the eighth bar you hear the flatline.

Wale ft. Rick Ross & Jadakiss “600 Benz,” Self Made, Vol. 1 (2011)


Original Title: “Super”

Intended For: Meek Mill

I made that track for Meek at first, ’cause that’s when he first got signed to Maybach Music and I thought it would be a dope joint for him and Ross. So when I made it, I sent it out to Spliff and then I went to New York and heard Wale and Ross on it. ’Kiss wasn’t on it when I first heard it. The beat was originally called “Super” ’cause it was super hard. When I heard the [finished product], I thought it was dope.

Fabolous ft. Red Cafe "Yall Don't Hear Me Tho," The S.O.U.L. Tape (2011)


Original Title: “Yall Don’t Hear Me Tho”

Intended For: Fabolous

“Yall Don’t Really Hear Me Tho,” that joint was made for Fab ’cause he told me what he wanted. He was like, “I need a soulful vibe.” He leaked the track, when he rapped over the Kanye beat “Devil In A New Dress.” He leaked that and was like “I want some shit like this.” So I went to my boy’s crib and we was on Tinychat and some boy was on there talking about, “I got some samples—shout out to my nigga Esco Beats," he happened to play that, and I was like “That shit sound crazy, that would sound ill for Fab.” So, he just sent it to me and I chopped it up and did what I do from there. It’s soulful, but at the same time it’s still hard and has that Cardiak feel to it. I knew he was gonna rap to it, but I didn’t think it was gonna fit in with what he was doing. I thought he was gonna use it for something else. But it did fit in, and when I put that “lil” sample in the beginning, it’s like some Italian-Mafia-type shit. That was dope. It came out exactly how I pictured it was gonna come out. “Yall Don’t Really Hear Me Tho” is like one of my favorite joints ever. It’s top three, or two.

Meek Mill “Lean Wit It,” Dreamchasers 2 (2012)


Original Title: “Pulled Strings”

Intended For: Meek Mill

I made the beat for Meek. I just wanted to make a hard-ass beat for him, ’cause he be rapping on hard shit, but I wanted to do something different. Matter of fact he did a freestyle to “Yall Don’t Really Hear Me Tho,” and I liked that shit. So I’m like, “Yo, I wanna make him a beat like 'Yall Don’t Really Hear Me Tho,'" where I want it to be hard and street gritty and shit. I used the same snare in “Yall Don’t Really Hear Me Tho” in “Lean Wit It,” if you really listen to it. I just wanted to give him that hard shit with that bounce. I think that’s what I’m talking when I say I wanna develop my own sound and come up with some crazy shit. I’m getting there, that was like my first joint where I was actually showing off my own sound. The [record] was originally called Pulled Strings. When you listen to "Lean Wit It," he formatted the beat differently, but when the snares come on it got these violent strings, 'cause I’m big on strings. Those are violins in there, basically there’s a lot of strings on that shit, so I just called it that.

Pill, Wale, Teedra Moses ft. CyHi the Prynce & Curren$y “Rise,” Self Made, Vol. 1 (2011)


Original Title: “Rise”

Intended For: Rick Ross

The “Rise” joint, I did that joint for Ross. I heard the sample and I thought, “Yeah, I think Ross would fuck with this shit.” ’Cause I was trying to do some Maybach Music type melodic, musical shit. Came out on some smooth shit, when I put the horns in there and bass line. Ross didn’t get it on, but I was there in New York and he was putting some adlibs on it. I guess it didn’t make it to the final mix. But Wale, CyHi the Prynce and Curren$y and all them killed that shit.

50 Cent “Outlaw” (2011)


Original Title: “Shoot Y'all”

Intended For: 50 Cent

I did “Outlaw” for 50, it was an easy beat that didn’t take long. I just gave him like a hard joint, with that bounce. Matter fact he did that track, around the same time Banks was working on his album. So that track was old, it was done a couple months before it dropped. Around the time I was sending joints to Banks, [the G-Unit folks] was like, “Send me some joints for 50.” So I put it all in the same folder and that’s how “Unexplainable,” “Start It Up” and “Outlaw” came about. It could’ve been a Banks record since they were all in the same batch.