For Evian Christ, 2013 was an eye-opener in more ways than one. The young British producer went almost overnight from ambient, underground electronic beat-maker to full-fledged Kanye West collaborator, contributing the beat to "I'm In It" off Kanye's critically-acclaimed and divisive Yeezus last June. And things got better from there—last December, Christ signed a publishing deal with Kanye's multi-dimensional creative company DONDA, which allows him to work not only with Yeezy's G.O.O.D. Music clan, but also the entire Sony/ATV roster, opening him up to placements within and outside the hip-hop realm.

"Growing up, Kanye was one of my favorite artists, and I got every record when it came out, so to be a part of that crew is an amazing thing for me, for where I'm from," he says in a phone interview with XXL last week. "On a professional level, it gives me good opportunities to go beyond working on more projects with just Kanye. [It] gives me an opportunity to work with artists from pop music to rap to whatever I'm interested in, really."

But before he begins working with others, he's gonna drop his new four-song EP Waterfall on March 17 on Tri-Angle Records, his first release since signing his DONDA deal. "It's super noisey, industrial, heavy rap beats, basically," he says about the EP. "And then the last track is just a weird take on dancehall. That's the vibe."

But Waterfall isn't the only thing Christ has going in this year—he'll also be touring both Europe and the United States, and is working towards a full-length album, though that project may be put on hold for the beginning of 2015. And, of course, he's always making beats. "It's definitely helped, it's definitely put it out there, but I'm still grinding, for sure," he says. "I'm still an outsider to this shit; I'm not a straight rap producer, I'm doing different stuff, so I'm still a gamble at this point."

With a big year on the way, XXL asked Christ for a wish list of five rappers that he'd most like to collaborate with—and who we may see him working with sooner rather than later.  —Dan Rys (@danrys)


Young Thug

Evian Christ: I've spent most of last year listening to 1017 Thug, the Young Thug mixtape, when that dropped. And I was like, "Oh my God, this kid is insane." No one was really picking up on his shit back then. But he's blowing up now, doing tracks with Nicki and getting co-signs from 'Ye and Drake. But he's one guy I'd be super stoked to work with.

young thug



Kevin Gates

Evian Christ: Another guy is Kevin Gates. Kevin Gates is really, really underrated. For me, he has the potential to be, just purely pound for pound, he's likely to be one of the best rappers of his generation if he can be put out there like that. He's got content. Not many rappers now have that much content; he's got shit to talk about, which sets him apart from a lot of rappers who've come up with mixtapes from the South.


Jay Z, Drake and Pusha T

Evian Christ: I was sorry to miss out on the last Jay record; I had sent them some shit that didn't end up making the cut. Oh yeah, Pusha's my number one, definitely. Hell Hath No Fury is one of my favorite records of all time, it's dope. But Drake, Kanye, Kendrick, any of these guys I'd be super stoked to work with.