After dominating the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards with their cypher and performance, the sky is the limit for TDE’s success. The crew—who graces our October/November issue—have kept a tight circle for their collaborators. One of them is producer/rapper Terrace Martin who recently released his album 3ChordFold featuring a number of the label’s artists. Martin isn’t signed to TDE, but he’s a close affiliate who met Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock during his teenage years. “This is my family,” he says. “Paperwork don’t hold me down. Love and loyalty do.”

Martin believes chemistry goes a long way when it comes to making music. The Los Angeles native was behind some iconic TDE songs, notably Kendrick Lamar’s “Real” and “Ab-Soul’s Outro.” The reason he keeps collaborating with the same people is simple: they make good music to vibe to. Here, Martin talks about working with TDE, why Problem is the best MC out now, and how the legendary Kurupt influenced a lot of West Coast artists. —Eric Diep (@E_Diep)