“Right now it’s 'Start It Up' and [that] was like 2010. It's 2012 now, I need that one joint,” explained fledging beatsmith Cardiak in an interview with XXL earlier this year. Since then, the 24-year-old has scooped up that elusive "one," along with a few others as well. Contributing joints for the likes of Rick Ross (“Diced Pineapples,” “Amsterdam”), Meek Mill (“Polo & Shell Tops”) and most recently T.I. (“G Season”), along with a slew of other familiar faces (DJ Drama, Joe Budden, Ryan Leslie, MMG) the New Jersey boardsman has steadily been adding more weight to his name. Just recently, he tacked another feat on to his résumé after Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't LP received the coveted Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. Speaking on his string of recent production credits,C ardiak caught up with to break down some of his favorite work. Prepare for flatline...Ralph Bristout (@RalphieBlackmon)

Joe Budden ft. Royce Da 5'9" & Kobe "All In My Head," A Loose Quarter (2012)

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Intended For: Slaughterhouse, Eminem

Original Title: “Dynasty”

"It could've went to Slaughterhouse or Eminem, I was just in that mindset [when making this record]. That's when I was working on a lot of joints for Eminem and the whole Shady squad. So, you know, me and Joe Budden, that was my first established placement back in the day so I wanted to link up with him but I didn't really have nowhere to get in contact with him. One day I reached out to my homey J. Cardim, he linked us up and then I sent [Joe] mad beats. He was like, 'Yo, you sent me some shit. All the beats you sent me, put them to the side.' That ended up being one of them."

"I actually worked on that with Kobe out in LA. I sent it and Joe was real excited about that one. I ain't even know he got Royce on there so, that was a plus—[especially since] I initially did it for Slaughterhouse. After Kobe did the hook, of course [the song was retitled] "All In My Head," but before that I named it "Dynasty." It just gave me that dynasty feeling, so I just named it that [Laughs]."

Meek Mill "Polo & Shell Tops," Dreams and Nightmares (2012)

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Intended For: Meek Mill

Original Title: "Know It's Real"

"I sent the beat to Meek a while ago and I was kind of surprised that he used that beat because I sent way hotter beats. I heard the track last year around the time of the Grammys, it was dope and it kind of grew on me. I like it a lot now 'cause that joint knocks crazy; everybody like that joint."

"Me and Meek go back to like Mr. Philadelphia. I did a couple joints on there too. Everybody like the chemistry so we just kept building. I called it "Know It's Real." I don't know why I named it that."

Rick Ross "Amsterdam," God Forgives, I Don't (2012)

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Intended For: Rick Ross

Original Title: "Risen"

“If I had a Top 3 that would be the third one. 'Amsterdam' came out exactly the way I wanted it to too. I made that exactly for Ross. Ross picked it up a while ago. I know he did the track but he was just saving it for his album and all that. That track I like a lot because he came out and tackled it the way I wanted him to, talking that fly shit on there. He just rode the beat the way I wanted him to ride the beat, so it [was all] perfect. I just about did the 'Rise' joint on Self Made, Vol. 1, I thought Ross was gonna rap on it too, but he didn't. I wanted to capture that same type of feel but more Boss type shit so, when I came across the sample [Cortez' “Prelude a (60round),” (1975)], I'm like, This the perfect joint to get Ross on the same type of feel. So, I switched it up a little bit, just gave it that bounce a little bit, the bassline and added a couple more instruments to it—it didn't take that long to make. It came out dope, I just wanted to give it that same type of feeling that 'Rise' had.”

Rick Ross ft. Wale & Drake, “Diced Pineapples,” God Forgives, I Don't (2012)

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Intended For: Drake

“Shout out to SpiffTV, he made that happen. I made that for Drake when he was recording his other album or whatever, but I ain't really have no way to give it to him so it was just in my archives. But I sent it to Ross along with 'Amsterdam'—they were all in the same batch. Those were the two he picked and told me to put them to the side a minute ago. This was like a year and half ago, so Ross was sitting on them joints—I know he had the songs done but he was just sitting on them, waiting. It was one of them beats where I was like, Ross gotta get a feature on this.' I knew he did the record, but I didn't know who he got on it until the track listing released. With Drake and Wale ending up on the record, that was like a plus.”

On Album Being Nominated for a Grammy: “It's a mission accomplished feeling, I'm trying to shoot to be the best and just inspire people, I think I captured that. I think I did that. Like with a lot of up-and-coming producers, not too long ago I was in the same position [they were in], so for me to be a Grammy-nominated producer and being a part of this album, it will inspire a couple other producers to do the same.”

DJ Drama ft. Jadakiss, Cee Lo Green, Nipsey Hu$$le & Young Jeezy “Never Die,” Quality Street Music (2012)

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Intended For: Eminem

Original Title: "Burn Out"

“That was another one. I was surprised Cee Lo got on there too. That was different for me. I never thought I'd have Cee Lo on one of my beats. I made that beat for Eminem, and I had Kobe on that hook at first, not that same exact hook but I had a hook from Kobe on the beat. So I was just sitting on that. My manager, one day he played it for Drama in the studio and he loved it and wanted it. I guess Drama had the whole idea for the record right there, so I put it to the side for him. When I heard the finished product, I was surprised. It came out dope. I actually liked it better than the one I did with Kobe. Cee Lo, that was left field, and that's what I liked about it so much. He was on the hook and then you had some of the realest niggas in the game spitting a verse: Jada, Nipsey and Jeezy.”

Ryan Leslie “The Black Flag,” Les Is More (2012)

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Intended For: Ryan Leslie, Young Jeezy

“I was in a session with Ryan and Young Jeezy and that was just one of the beats that I was playing for both of them and then he was loving it. I don't think Jeezy really gravitated towards it like that, but Ryan loved that joint and he asked me to change some stuff around and send it back to him. He put his twist on it with a couple of keys. I liked that joint a lot.”

Rick Ross ft. Stalley & Nipsey Hu$$le “Fountain of Youth,” Self Made, Vol. 2 (2012)

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Intended For: MMG

“That was in the same batch I sent over to Ross. When you hear tracks like that, you already know what me and Ross' chemistry is. Soulful, laid back, sample-driven, keys, whatever; just that sound. The same way he's got a sound with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, that sound right there is that Cardiak and Ross sound. The record wasn't only intended for Ross but also MMG. They have a sound, you got that hard trap sound and then you got that smooth Maybach sound.”

T.I. ft. Meek Mill “G Season,” Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head (2012)


Intended For: Various artists

“That was hot, I never heard T.I. on a Cardiak beat, so that was hot [Laughs]. I actually co-produced that with my boy Chinky P, we worked on that track a minute ago. He had sent me the sample (The O'Jays' “Shiftless, Shady, Jealous King of People”) with his drums on it and I just redid the drums and added more music to it. I forgot who we were trying to send it to but [we] ended up connecting with somebody to give it to T.I. He had the beat, did the whole song and all that, and they were like, 'We're keeping it for the album.' But Bow Wow also had the beat, because I had sent it to him a while ago, and he ended up leaking his version to the beat. We were like, Damn, T.I. probably not gonna use the beat anymore. Then to make that even worse, a lot of people ended up using it—'cause we sent it out before we sent it to T.I. and when we got word that [he] wanted to use it and keep it, that's when everybody started dropping their freestyles and songs to it. But, then after a while, the songs died and he still wanted to use the beat. So, it worked perfect. I changed it up on the final version, I changed the sample and drums a little bit.”

“At first, they had Game on that record. I don't know what happened with that. But when I heard that Meek was on it, I'm like that's perfect because I had already been working with him so he came through. Plus T.I. and Meek got their history, so for them to link up, that was perfect.”