On June 3, DJ Mustard will release his first mixtape, the appropriately titled Ketchup. Since breaking out in 2011 as the producer and co-writer of Tyga’s “Rack City”, the 23-year old Los Angeles native has dictated the sound of the region’s “ratchet music,” helping to mold the careers of Tyga and YG as well as being the man behind big singles for 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy and most recently, B.o.B. In April, it was announced that Mustard had inked a management deal with Roc Nation. So when he stopped by the XXL headquarters yesterday, we had to get the scoop on the deal, his new mixtape and how he plans on taking his sound to the next level.
What’s going on Mustard?
Just tryin’ to get rich bro.
Aren’t we all. So when did you start working on Ketchup?
I’ve been talking about doing this mixtape for about a year now. I actually really got serious with it about a month ago and started to put together the records.
Who’s going to be on it?
Right now, it’s YG, Tyga, Nipsey Hussle, Young Jeezy, Wale, Ace Hood, Casey Veggies, Dom Kennedy. There’s nothing you ever heard before on there. All original beats and everybody who’s on there’s not famous. I wanted to give back to the city and stuff too.
How did you like putting together a full body of work versus just making beats?
I like it more. I’ve got more control of what I want to do. I don’t got people telling me do this or that. Like this B.o.B. record I just did, somebody went in that shit and put a kick on top of my 808. It’s like “Who the fuck told y’all to do that?” I don’t know. I t was just weird. It’s all good, but I like to have control over my own records.
In terms of the sound, is the mixtape a continuation of what people have come to expect from you?
I got a lot of tricks. It’s some new shit. I got a whole new sound too. There’s a new format of how I’m doing my own records. So it’s a new sound to the old sound. A new way of doing it.
When you come in with a very signature sound and it finds a great deal of success, I imagine there’s pressure not to mess with that formula.
My whole thing is finding ways to do new things. Because it’s not gonna last. Dr. Dre came out with his sound then reinvented himself. Timbaland came out with his sound then reinvented himself. That same sound can’t last for years. It’s gonna get old. So you gotta come new. Figure out a new sound. It’s easy to make beats. I do those in 10 minutes. I could do that all day. The challenge is making it different from what I’ve made but still party and still club.
Did you expect the “Ratchet” sound to dictate California hip-hop like it has?
Everybody’s taking my sound right now. It’s like a million DJ Mustard producers out there in LA right now so you can’t tell who made what. Now you’ll be able to tell the difference, ‘cause I’m really stepping it up on some other shit.
What made you decide to ink a deal with Roc Nation?
It had been in talks for a long time. My lawyer actually hit Jay Brown a long time ago and was like “I think you should check Mustard out.” I don’t know what happened but I was gonna go with another manager and for some reason was just like “Nah.” I didn’t think I needed management at the time. At that point I had done everything on my own, so I didn’t think I needed anybody to tell me what to do. I didn’t need nobody’s connections cause I already had my own. So anyway, I was in a studio session at Atlantic and one of the dudes from Roc Nation, Omar, came and were talking and I just thought “Who else would I rather go with than them?” Ain’t nobody really bigger than them. I know they’re the ones to connect me to the Beyonces and the Jay-Z. Jahlil’s another one who told me to go over there. He was in Miami when I was doing the “RIP” record for Jeezy and he tld me if I was gonna go with somebody, go with them. I thought about it, a couple of months passed, and I finally said “Fuck it. Let’s go.”