Hit-Boy Is Trying To Recreate Quality Vibes With His HS87 Imprint, Audio Push Project
Today, Drake officially drops his highly anticipated third studio album, Nothing Was The Same, in stores nationwide. NWTS leaked onto the Internet last week, allowing fans to get an early listen of the project; however, a few days later, Drizzy hinted at some additional songs that he's itching to drop. Taking to Instagram, the Toronto native posted a fantastic Degrassi meme of himself that read, “Wait...Drake still has more songs to drop??” The most interesting tidbit from this post—other than the fact that Drizzy still has some more heat in the chamber—is that he tags Hit-Boy. The young producer has already gone on record saying that he has been in the studio with Drake, but of what the duo has recorded, not one emerged on NWTS. Which begs the question, what do these two have in store for?
Hit's team, HS87, worked with the OVO general for his NWTS trailer video that premiered September 10, co-producing the backing track to the 30-second clip with Raymond Martin, fellow Hits Since '87 member. XXL caught up with the producer/MC on the phone last week to discuss his work with Drake, his thoughts on Nothing Was The Same and his work with hip-hop duo Audio Push. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)
From your knowledge and experience, how do albums leak?
You have to give up control in order for people to press up your album. You got to send them out to different companies. That’s pretty much how the main leaks happen, getting it in the wrong hands and it just gets out there. I’m sure [artists assume it will happen]; unless you’re going straight digital, it's going to leak. That’s just the day we live in. [Artists] try all types of stuff as far as, like, guarding drives. But the only way you can protect it, is put straight out on the Internet first. That’s the only way you have control now. Just put it out yourself
Have you spoken to Drake about the leak?
I just seen him last night, I partied with him and we had a good time. The album was already out, we just hit the club and had a good time.
What did you work on with him?
We worked on a bunch of ideas, none of those ideas are anything out right now. Just got some song ideas. I met Drake over Myspace in 2006. He used to hit me up for beats and we just got cool. He used to hit me up for production. That was way back then, before Cash Money even thought of him. He’s real hungry, he likes for people to give him real opinions. It's natural, that’s been the homie, he always just comes up with ideas.
Have you heard the whole album yourself?
Yeah, I love it, it's crazy. I like the energy of it. All the music on it is good. I can’t really say what’s the best to me, he just knows how to put bodies of work together. Which is something I appreciate.
You've worked with Jay Z in the past, particularly on Watch The Throne. Do you have a favorite Jay Z memory?
When I first met him, definitely. I was up in New York, around 2011 working on Watch The Throne. I didn’t even know I was about to meet him. It was freezing cold; it was about 20 degrees over there. It was super cold. I remember I had left the studio, and as soon as I left, I got an email from Kanye saying, “come back to the studio.” So I walked back in the freezing cold. And when I walked back in there, he was just sitting on the coach, watching the Lakers game. He just embraced me; from the minute he met me he was just being receptive, asking me where I was from and what I was about and stuff like that. He always was cool with me.
Do you have an album coming out soon?
Nothing right now, I’m just working on new music. I’m seeing how things flow, 'cause I just finished working on Audio Push's new project, who also signed to my label HS87. Now I’m just going to start working on ideas for myself and see where it goes. My team is first 'cause that’s all I’m repping, that’s all I’m doing. It’s a team effort. I’ve been around so many different camps and I've seen how the best of the best work. They have a real team, and they really—everybody plays their position and everybody does something better than somebody else. I definitely have that with my camp. I grew up with Audio Push; I knew Oktane from the group since he was like 13, I was 16. We’ve known each other for over 10 years, from when I first started making beats. Like the very first month I start making beats, I met Oktane.
Audio Push’s Come As You Are is a quality tape. When did y’all put that together?
We were on tour opening for Lil Wayne. We did about 40 dates and we had a studio bus, a fully functional studio. We just started out on beats, and it started to take shape on its own. We kept making great songs and we were able to get all the features, 'cause naturally everybody just wanted to be a part of the project that’s on it. It was an organic thing. The project just kind of took shape on its own. This is the first time I really went in with Audio Push, even though we were friends for so many years. This is the first project I put together for them and I feel like it’s just some of the best music I made in my whole life.
What do you want the HS87 legacy to be?
I’m just trying bring back that real music; just different stuff, just different types of energy. And I feel like a lot of people get stuck and make the same type of music and just recreate shit. I feel like I’m one of the only producers in this whole entire universe that every time you hear a beat from me it don’t sound nothing like the last beat. It’s kind of hard to find that. I really pride myself on that. I strive for that. I like to challenge myself. 'Cause most of the stuff I really listen to is my shit, my homies. I want to make something that I can really listen to. I really do this because I really love making music. I’m not doing this solely for the check, or solely for the fame. I’m really in this to create music. Just trying to recreate vibes that I got when I was a kid. I can remember my mom playing quality music. I’m not trying to make no shit that I don’t feel like its quality and get it out to the people. I’m just trying to recreate the vibe man.
What are some of your influences?
Definitely R&B stuff, I grew up on producers like Teddy Riley, Babyface and The Underdogs, stuff like that. I’m a feel type of person. I don’t really make music from a technical standpoint; I just do what I feel. That’s why none of my shit sounds like these other producers. It’s all about the vibe. To be honest, I don’t listen to a bunch of older stuff. I listen to Mary J. Blige's What’s the 411, Joe's My Name Is Joe—that’s one of my favorite albums—a lot of Brandy stuff, some Beyoncé stuff. All types of different music.
What's the difference between Rapper Hit-Boy vs Producer Hit-Boy?
I’m more personal when I’m working on my stuff. When you’re working on another person's project, you’re trying to help them tell their story. But when I’m working on mine, I can be as free as I want to, say what I want to, make the type of music I want to make, exactly how I want to make it. It’s just more personal.
Is it hard sometimes to switch hats?
Naw, it’s been years, its always been that way. I don’t really put one over the other. I just like music.