Mike WiLL Made It is in the midst of one of the best runs of any producer in the past few years. He's put out numerous hit records, dropped a mixtape and the first single to his debut album, and was the driving force behind Miley Cyrus, the one-woman twerking phenomenon that swept the country. Now just two months into the year, Mike WiLL already made some noise by being named the executive producer of Future's highly anticipated sophomore album, Honest, as well as being the producer behind Rick Ross and Jeezy's beef-squashing, mega single "War Ready" and Diddy's go-to man for his upcoming album, rumored to be called MMM. XXL got Mike WiLL on the phone to discuss "War Ready," his longtime friendship with Future, and what he's got in the tank. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)


On Producing Rick Ross' "War Ready" Featuring Jeezy
Mike WiLL Made It: DJ Khaled, man, he reached out to me that Ross was working on his new project. He knew me and Ross had previous hits before with "Tupac Back," "King Of Diamonds” and “Marble Floors.” He actually did all three of those records at the same time. Khaled reached out to me and told me he had a list of who Ross wanted to work with. I [got] to work with Rick Ross, he’s a legend and his albums are always crazy. We make great music together.

I came to Miami to fuck with Ross and Khaled and went to Ross’ house and went through some beats but he didn’t hear anything right away. He reached out to me and said that he needed something crazy, with the crazy 808s, the meanest beat you can possibly do. "I’m about to do a song with a game changer, someone who you might not even think I would do a song with." I had a idea that it was Jeezy. So I went through some beats and sent it to him. He told me he heard one right away and was excited about the song. At the end it came out good. I was proud of the song. I started working on the 808s, then Jeezy sent his vocals in. We just kept mixing the record. Everybody had their opinions until down to the wire with the way they wanted to sound. Everybody just worked hard when it came to this record. We knew that it was going to be a moment in hip-hop. It’s always good to see rappers come back together when people don’t think that they work with each other anymore.


On His Relationship With Future
Mike WiLL Made It: I’ve been working with Future since Dirty Sprite. Future is an artist that I invested a lot of time into. I used to be sitting in the studio with Future and listening to how he works, whether it was my beat or not. Just sitting there vibing with him and seeing his choice of melody and his fans and his whole coming into the game. I have seen everything. We have a certain kind of chemistry that’s priceless. It happens once in a while in music like Dre and Pac, or Dre and Snoop, or Puff and Big and Zaytoven and Gucci. It’s always that producer-artist combination that comes around in music, in all music. With Future, we got that kind of chemistry. We built this up, and I feel like there’s no other producers that understand Future like I do. I think he knows that. Future knows he can come to me and get an honest answer about what he's working on. We just trying to continue to build and make solid projects and make sure he’s on top of his game and for him to keep me on top of my game and keep building up A-Town and do this new movement together.

We told each other that we was going to do swag up street records just to get a buzz and do bigger songs when we were able to when he got a deal. That ending up happening when we did “Turn On The Lights.” “Turn On The Lights” ended up being his first gold record. A lot of stuff happened in between the last album and this one coming out. We had a lot of songs. He just hosted my last mixtape. We kind of built up a movement. We like dong it like a group with out even trying. We always make special music together, whether it is on my beat or someone else's beat. It's certain things I might tell him while we’re in the studio, change this, or change that, or you should get a certain feature.


On The Beginnings Of Future's Honest
Mike WiLL Made It: At first it started as Future Hendrix, and “Real And True” was one of the songs. Then we was working on other music more focused on our core audience, like “Shit” and “Move That Dope.” We was working on type of different type of music, we just didn’t know what way to go with the album until late last year when we had “Shit” and “Real And True” out. We saw what the people wanted. He hosted my mixtape and we released a couple of exclusives. We had the song “Faded,” “Against All Odds," “Wolf,” and people was responding to those just as good. Everybody was asking when the album coming out.


On Making "Move That Dope" With Future
Mike WiLL Made It: “Move That Dope” was not a record that he just went in, heard that beat and recorded the song. It was a record where I had him do a verse for another record that I had for somebody, and he came up with the verse that was on "Dope." Right after he did that feature I let him hear the beat for “Move That Dope” and he came up with the hook. The hook was crazy. One of my producers who worked on the beat, P, he did another hook on that beat, too. That’s why you hear the, “Popping bottles, don’t it make you feel good.” And I had taken that as ad libs on the hook that Future already did. Then I was listening to Future’s verse that he did as a feature and I thought, “This verse may sound dope on this beat with this hook.” I had grabbed that verse and snapped that hook, just on some producer shit, and I let Future hear it. He was like, “This song can be big, this song is crazy,” and we had that, like, last summer.


On Getting Pharrell, Pusha T And Casino On "Move That Dope"
Mike WiLL Made It: Every time we would listen to it, it reminded us of “Grindin'”; it had that grimy feel that Pharrell and Clipse had back in the day. I had another session with Pharrell and let him hear different records, and when he heard the "Dope" record, he went crazy and was going crazy over this song. When “Grindin'” came out, it wasn’t sounding like anything. I feel like that’s what the position this song has in hip-hop right now. It's new; you never heard a beat like this. Pharrell was like, "I love this shit," and I’m like, "you might as well go Skateboard P." So he ended up hopping on the song after I left it with him.

At the time we didn’t know what was going to happen to the record. We didn’t know if we was going to use this for a interlude or what we was going to do. Pharrell had the song for a couple months. We were like, if we're going to get Pharrell on here, we might as well get Pusta T on here. So I reached out and he liked it, so him and Pharrell knocked it out at the same time and sent it back. Everybody was into the record. Casino was there when Future first did the hook. Future just did a quick hook and just left the studio and we went to the club. We didn’t even think it was nothing crazy or anything, but when we left, Casino had went into the studio and got on it. His verses were dope so I added him onto the song. Now we have "Move That Dope" and everybody likes it, its been getting great responses.


On Executive Producing Honest
Mike WiLL Made It: Honest is going to be a classic album. We went into the studio, and the approach we took on this album is that we have to make this a new classic. This is his moment in hip-hop. When T.I.'s I’m Serious came out, it got overlooked, but it’s a classic album. When Trap Muzik came out it was even harder, but you can see the growth. With anyone’s sophomore album you want to see the growth. It tends to be their moment in hip-hop. Everybody has their moment where they drop their classic album that changed the game. With this album right here, we just feel like this is the album that can change the game. This is Future’s moment in hip-hop where he can change the game; trend-setting type of stuff. When you go into the club now, you generally hear artists sounding like Future or producers sounding like Mike WiLL. It’s all about creating new sounds and making a classic album.


On His Confidence In Honest
Mike WiLL Made It: Because we worked really hard, it’s a classic to me. It’s a classic to Future, and that's where it starts. It starts with us creating the music. When it comes out, everybody is going to have their own opinion. To Future’s fans that appreciate his music and like dope music and understand him, this is definitely a classic future album. I’ve been around all his products. This album is way better than Pluto.