Back for the first time. As an up-and-coming producer, who’s already locked in production placements with some of the game’s hottest and brightest stars (from Rick Ross, Fabolous 50 Cent, Young Jeezy and more), 23-year-old Cardiak is building himself quite the résumé. Real name Carl McCormick, the Willingboro, New Jersey native who goes by the name Cardiak Flatline—“When you hear the flatline, your heart gon’ stop,” he tells XXLMag.com—is on the rise after contributing joints like Wale and Rick Ross’ brooding 2011 ambitious anthem “600 Benz,” Lloyd Banks’ piercing 2010 smash “Start It Up” and more recently on Meek Mill’s current street-appetizer Dreamchasers 2 (“Lean Wit It,” “Erryday,”).
Currently carving up joints for Ross’ upcoming MMG compilation, Self Made, Vol. 2 as well as for God Forgives, I Don’t and records for Fabolous, Lloyd Banks and more, Cardiak steps out the studio to speak to XXLMag.com about becoming one of the game’s rising go-to producers, relationship with Meek Mill and MMG, what fans can expect from Lloyd Banks’ V6 mixtape and much more. Prepare for flatline…—Ralph Bristout (@RalphieBlackmon)
XXLMag.com: With all the placements you’ve garnered alongside heavyweight artists such as Young Jeezy, 50 Cent, Rick Ross and more, do you still consider yourself a burgeoning producer?
Cardiak Flatline: Yeah I still consider myself an up and coming producer still because I feel like I still haven’t gotten that one crazy record yet. Like I did “Start It Up” and that was my starting joint. The joints that I was doing after was hot but werent that ‘one’. I feel like I’m still on the rise, but I still need that one joint that is going to turn it up for me.
That’s something that you aim for on each produced record.
Most definitely. On every joint I make. It’s just a matter of getting it to the right artist.
You go by the name, Cardiak Flatline. How’d that go about?
My boy Kesan, you might know him from “G’s to Gents,” he’s from Jersey too. [But] This was around the time he was an artist and he was out here, and this was when I was in the beginning of making beats. We got a chance to get in the studio and he was like, “What do you go by?” At the time I had a whack name that was like, “Young C” or some other shit. He was like, “You should use Cardiak.” I was like ‘Cardiak?’ and he gave a heartfelt speech like heartfelt, “It’s Cardiak, when you hear the flatline your heart gon’ stop. [You] bring back life into a track,” or something like that. My tag used to be “Cardiak” but I needed something to be original with it so I was like, “Yo, I should use a flatline, and make the flatline extend into the beat when the beat drops.”
That’s become like you signature slogan sort-of.
Yeah, so I started doing it and it was catchy. Matter of fact, since I had mad beats on Banks’ [H.F.M. 2] album and they all have a flatline on every track, they was going to take ’em out. But, since “Start It Up” was gonna be a big record I was like, “Will you please put the flatline in the joint, just find anyway to put it.” It was [originally] where Swizz Beatz was talking but, they didn’t wanna have it there [and] moved it to Fab’s verse. If you listen to all the other joints, the flatline is in there. I’m trying to brand the flatline so people [are] keeping it when they mix it.
Now you had a couple heaters on Meek Mill’s recent Dreamchasers 2 mixtape, and was also present on his past Mr. Philadelphia mixtape. What’s the relationship like between you guys.
I was pretty much cool with Meek before he signed with Maybach Music. When he signed to Maybach he put me D with Spiff TV, he Ross A&R but he be around everyone in Maybach Music. So I would send him joints and he would play them for everyone. So, with me being a versitle producer and having mad styles that is how you would hear a joint like “600 Benz” and then “Rise.” I just flood everyone with joints, if they use them they use them.
What’s one of your favorite produced joints off DC 2?
“Lean Wit It,” for real, for real. “Lean Wit It” is definitely up there. When you talk about hard beats, I try to top everyone beat I do, when it come to making hard beats. That beat right there was just hard as shit. I didn’t really expect Meek to really rap on it. I mean I did expect him to rap on it, but I didn’t expect it to be the way the way it is now. That shit is crazy, that shit is wild.
How would you describe your sound?
I dont know, I mean I’m really still finding my sound. Like I mean now, I’m starting to find it but like [from] 2008 to now, I just kept trying different [things]. On one track I will have live drums, then the other I’ll have hard-hitting drums or samples. If you listen to my production, a majority of the production doesn’t sound the same. Now they are starting to sound the same ’cause I am starting to find my own sound but when I first started a lot of stuff was different.
You were initially started rapping before becoming a full-time producer, correct?
Yeah, I was rapping at first. This was in like 2002, I think. Back then rapping in school was cool. Like in high school that’s what everyone was doing. I was always listening to Jay-Z and stuff like that so I thought I should rap, battle rapping and all the crazy stuff. Then later I started putting my own songs together but needed beats and I didnt know who to get beats from, I was rapping off instrumentals but wanted my own shit, orginial [instrumentals] so I came across Fruity Loops, and started making my own tracks. [Soon after] it started getting real crazy with the beats so after awhile I was like, ‘Forget rapping beats is where its at.’
What and when was you first major production placement?
It was like in 2008, I got my first joint with Joe Buddens on his Halfway House project. I used to make beats on the side for fun or I would sell them to local rappers, just like a side hustle. Until one day I saw Joe Buddens on Usream, he was on that heavy, and him and Killa BH was on there and [were asking viewers] to send beats. I was like fuck it I’ll give it a shot. Then later on that night or early the next morning, I got a message from BH saying, “We fucking with the joints you sent. Joe likes them a lot.” So from then on, I was like maybe if I keep reaching out to people on the internet I can make some shit happen.
The internet is such a powerful tool man. Who was the next person you reached out to?
Ace Hood, and a couple other artists. Just working through the internet. I could’ve went to NY if I had the mindset, but with me reaching out to people through the internet I wasn’t even thinking about all that. I don’t really depend on nobody to do nothing for me. I go out and do it on my own, that way I dont have to give nothing to the middle man. Me working through the internet was really like me connecting with the artist. I wouldn’t flood them but I would use whatever placement I had at the time to promote what I was doing. I had the Joe Buddens shit, then when Freeway was working on the ‘Month of Madness’ I reached out to him. I hit him like “I did this joint check it out,” but I guess he heard it so he hit me back and was like “Yo send me some beats and after he was done with the ‘Month of Madness,’ I would use those songs also to build my platform.
FOR MORE ON CARDIAK’S UPCOMING WORK, GO TO PAGE 2