In the July/August issue of XXL, Lil Wayne didn't bite his tongue when dishing on how he felt about today's crop of producers. “These niggas beats been suckin,” he said. He seemingly put his beat selection where his mouth was on Tha Carter IV, his latest offering which dropped this past Monday, August 29. Instead of tapping brand name producers like he's done on his previous releases (Tha Carter III had production from Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Jim Jonsin, David Banner and The Alchemist), Weezy hooked up with some names that may not be as familiar to the average listener. XXL reached out to the beatmakers who set the soundscape for Tunechi's latest opus to find out how their C4 records came about, their production history, and more.—Interviews by Ralph Bristout, Carl Chery, Mariel Concepcion, Adam Fleischer, Mark Lelinwalla and Amber McKenzie



Willy Will
Carter IV Production Credits:
"Intro," "Interlude" and "Outro"
Lil Wayne "Intro"

Lil Wayne feat. Tech N9ne & Andre 3000 "Interlude"

Lil Wayne feat. Bun B, Nas, Shyne & Busta Rhymes "Outro" How did you land on Tha Carter IV?

Willy Will: Well, initially I was on the We Are Young Money album that came out a year or so ago and that was my first introduction with Young Money/Cash Money. That was my first record with them and it was a song that Wayne really loved and that put me on his radar. But initially his engineer, KY— I’m from Kentucky— so KY’s like a friend of mine from back home, and he actually ended up landing that job with Wayne and that ended up giving me an inside man. So, I was giving a lotta work through KY, just tryin’ to stay on Wayne’s mind and he made the Young Money album and that opened the door to us possibly working on Tha Carter IV. I sent in a couple of records that he really loved. And he rapped on it and what’s crazy is he actually did the intro before he went to jail.

Oh, wow.

So I was just afraid that because Wayne does so many songs he was gonna come out and he was gonna do another intro and do a whole 'nother song and he was gonna forget all about my song being that he had been incarcerated for so long. He came out and actually Mack Maine called me and said, “Hey, you did the intro, right? Well we’re thinking about keeping it.

Did you get word that those songs would make other albums?

I got this thing that whenever you do a song with Wayne it’s like a post-dated check. So you just gotta wait 'cause it’s like he does so many projects a year. He’s doing his album, he’s doing Drake, he’s doing the Young Money collab album. Just like this record happened I could get a call six months from now letting me know that that other song we did is gonna go on this album. It’s crazy 'cause he leaked a couple of my songs. Wayne’s a good dude when it comes to that. He’ll call you and tell you, "You know what, I think I’m gonna just put this song out on a mixtape, but if I do that I’m gonna give you an opportunity to be on the album or what not." So it’s always an opportunity working with him.

Did you get to work with Wayne in the studio?

I’ve never worked with him directly on any of these records, but I’ve had a chance to meet him. We’ve met. He knows who I am. I'm not one of those guys who just sits and sends him beats. I’ve talked to him on multiple occasions; just never worked with him directly on any of these records. And he’s not one of those people who does the producer/artist thing in the studio. He kinda takes the beat, he’s his own producer. He’ll send it to you and ask you what you think and I’ll put some drops in the song once he finishes it and what not. He’s not one of those guys who wants a lotta people around tellin’ him how to do the song. He’s Lil Wayne.

What was the beat named before you sent it to Wayne?

It’s crazy 'cause the way I make beats, the way I categorize them, the way I keep them, is just a date. So it was just a date. So it didn’t have a name, it was just something that I kinda had whipped up.

In the July issue of XXL Lil Wayne said, “these niggas beats been suckin.” What are your thoughts on those comments?

Wayne gets a lot of records sent to him, he gets a lot of beats and you got so many copy cat producers and people just doing the beats that they hear everyday. Lex Luger’s the hot producer so everybody wants to do beats like Lex. Everybody’s trying to do beats like J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League as opposed to doing their own and be creative in their own way. And I think that’s ultimately what he was trying to say is like, "Yo, stop sending me the same beats over and over again. Get creative."



Carter IV Production Credit: "Blunt Blowin"
Lil Wayne "Blunt Blowin" How did you land on C4?

Develop: I flew out to Miami personally when he had come home [from prison]. I would say about 10 days before he was coming home—everyone had already known they was throwing him the party—so I knew I was gonna go out to Miami to see him. And I knew I’d go to check him in the studio. I made that track "Blunt Blowin" about 10 days before he got out, before I left for Miami.

Did you make that with him in mind?

Yeah, I made that for him. I thought about it, I was like, "Aight, my nigga comin’ home, I need to make some silly shit." Eight months in, I know he wants to go crazy. He wants to just lose his mind on it. So I had all that in mind. When I was making it, I was thinking super cinematic, walking through hell, fucking shackles. I was thinking all these things. That’s why the intro is so long. I wanted him to just make it very movie-like. And then explode into the traditional Wayne shit.

Were you in the studio when he was laying vocals?

Hell yeah. That was the first night. He came home, I think it was on a Thursday, then they had the party Sunday in Miami, the welcome home party. And then Monday was the first day he was back in the studio. So that Monday when I got in, he was recording I think “Fire Flame (Remix).” There were a bunch of people there. People sending beats. People playing beats. Everyone was walking in and out. It was a happy moment. We were all excited to see him. A lot of people played him stuff before me, and I guess he wasn’t ecstatic about anything in particular, so he asked me what I had, I was like I got this, and that was the first joint. He just heard it, went crazy and was like, "Alright, this is what I’m gonna record to. It was pretty much his first song when he came out of jail. We were there for two days working on that record.

You said you had some other things that weren't on there?

Yeah, that didn’t make Tha Carter IV, but they were for Tha Carter IV. On my birthday, Banger hit me up asking me for a record that I had done a while back. It was almost around the Rebirth time and it was Wayne and Drake and it was done before Drake was poppin'. I guess they had redone it and got on it, so it was Wayne, and Drake. But I guess they didn’t end up choosing it.

What was the name of the beat before you gave it to Wayne?

“Passion’s Pain.” It’s funny. Have you ever heard Lil Wayne’s “Brand New”?


The name of the track was “midnight in Aspen”—that’s what I named the beat—and Wayne starts the verse off, “I’m cold like a midnight in Aspen.”

In the July issue of XXL Lil Wayne said, “these niggas beats been suckin.” What are your thoughts on those comments?

Yeah. I agree.

What are your thoughts on him saying that?

The last four months, I’ve been out in Europe, and in Europe they don’t play none of this shit. At least where I’m at I don’t hear no rap music at all. So my ear’s been kind of maturing a little bit maybe to the other side of the world.



Carter IV Production Credit: "MegaMan"
Lil Wayne "MegaMan How did you land on C4?

Well, I have a very close relationship with DJ Folk, Young Jeezy’s DJ, and he has a close relationship with Josh and a couple of guys from Cash Money. I was hearing the Wayne album was finished, closed, so I gave up on that. He actually had a record from me already that was supposed to be on the album that was suppose to feature Amy Winehouse, but it didn’t go through. I don’t know details. But then I heard the credits reopened. Someone told me he was looking for a hard track. I created something new, off the top. I just thought of Wayne and went from there. The beat came out the way it came out. I made sure it had that Wayne feeling, that Wayne vibe. I sent it to Folk, and he sent it to Josh and the rest is history.

And the first track you made, the one that was suppose to have Amy Winehouse on it… How did that almost end up on Wayne’s album?

I got a phone call from Boi-1da, he said, “I might have a placement featuring Amy Winehouse.” He would know more info more than me, but that would’ve been epic. It was a track I had, I had a reference on it from Liz Rodriguez. She’s a songwriter signed to Universal. She did a reference for me and Wayne heard it, he liked it and wanted to put Amy on it. But, it didn’t go through and I don’t know details as to why. That beat wasn’t even meant for Wayne, though. It was meant for Jay-Z, Kanye or Lupe. I just learned that you don’t… I stop making beats for artists based on what they’ve done and started doing stuff I wanna do and go with that. Artists don’t want to come out with whatever they came out with already. They want something new and they trust you to know what that is.

The song is named after you. How did that happen?

I honestly have no idea. I was talking to Josh from Cash Money. He was like, “Congratulations.” I was asking him what the name of the song was and he said the song is called “Megaman,” and started laughing like it’s a joke. I started laughing, like, funny. I was like, “I won’t bother asking for the name, whatever.” Later on he confirmed it. We kept talking after that. Later on when they confirmed it made the album, they confirmed my track, I knew it was on there 100 percent. But he messaged me and told me “the ‘Megaman’ track was confirmed for Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV.” I said, “thanks.” I asked him, “are you gonna tell me name of track?” Actually, he messaged me and said, “the track is still named ‘Megaman’,” and laughed. So I thought it was joke. Come to know, I get a call from Folk and he had gotten the tracklist and it was indeed called “Megaman.” That’s how it became. I have no idea why, Wayne’s just trying to bless me with it.

Was it a trade off? Like, give me this beat for free and I’ll name it after you? Or was there actual money involved?

There is money involved.

Ok. Good!

Yeah [Laughs]. Actually, we were talking about that yesterday. The only other person to have a song named after them was Rockwilder.

Did you get to work with Wayne in the studio?


What was the beat named before you sent it in?

I usually give all my beats names. This one was called “Hold Back.” Wayne knows about me. He knows who I am, he knows from a while ago, from when he first signed Drake. I’m not really in the circle, or that involved, but I’m close to Boi-1da and T-Minus. I’m just not down with circle like that.

In the July issue of XXL Lil Wayne said, “these niggas beats been suckin.” What are your thoughts on those comments?

I was laughing 'cause this was way before I gave him that beat. I was like, “Whoa, for him to say that, he’s not happy with his beat selection.” I was shocked cause producers I heard on the album, I was like, “If he’s not happy with what he’s getting from these producers, then….” But, personally, I don’t know if [producers] were trying to short cut him and give him whatever, from what I know they would give him their best work. I know how producers think, depending on who you are they give you what they give you. These producers are giving Wayne their best work then they need to step up, I totally agree with him. Still, it’s hard to think these guys need to step up their games, but at the same time, I agree with him. If you send OK beats, then that’s a mistake. I never do an OK beat for Wayne, Jay-Z, Kanye. I give them my best work. They deserve that respect. Maybe that’s why he’s working with new producers this time around.



Carter IV Production Credit:
"She Will"

How did you land on C4?
Pretty much I was working on Drake’s album. We were finishing up Take Care and what happened was, he got a phone call from Wayne, he wanted to do a record so Wayne hit me up and he was like, “Yo, man, let’s just do a record for this Carter IV project." So that’s pretty much how it happened.

So Drake started the record and then handed the record to Wayne?

Pretty much, yea. I was pretty much chipping out beats for Drake and then he took the beat. He did the hook on it and then Wayne took it from there.

Is it the same thing that happened for “I’m on One?” DJ Khaled, Drake recorded his part and then sent it back?

Exactly, we just work together. We collaborate on a bunch of projects. Whenever an artist comes, or whenever somebody comes ask for a record, usually me and Drake will just kinda collaborate and do that.

Did you work on any other songs for Tha Carter IV?

“She Will” was the only record I did.

And obviously you were in the studio with Drake, but not Wayne for those sessions.

I was in one session one time with Wayne and Drake where we were building stuff, but nothing really came of any of the records. Pretty much I was there during the process of Tha Carter IV, but the only record we came up with was “She Will.”

What did you name the beat before you and Drake started working on it?

Oh, that’s so funny. I named the beat, it was actually called "Amp Violin Beat." What happened was when I was creating the beat I took this violin sound and I put this amp over the top of guitar amp and it kinda gave it the effect of a guitar. It’s actually at the beginning beat. If you listen closely there’s like a guitar sound. I just named it based on what the sound of the beat was.

In the July issue of XXL, Lil Wayne said, “these niggas beats been suckin.” What are your thoughts on those comments?

I don’t know, man, I guess that’s his own opinion. I guess he’s not really reaching to me, Boi-1Da and Hit-Boy ‘cause those are my boys. Recently we’ve just been killing shit. Hit-Boy recently, he did the “Niggas in Paris” [for Jay-Z and Kanye West] and I’m proud of him for that. And Boi-1Da he’s just been doing it. That’s a big influence on the record.



Carter IV Production Credit:
"How to Love"
Lil Wayne "How to Love" How did you land on Tha Carter IV

Detail: It was an organic process of Wayne getting a bunch of music together and wanting to do something different and it worked. We approached something different with no features and something he could just sing on. Wayne is always open to that type of stuff if it’s hot. I just think it’s the magic of it. We did it for ourselves. We embraced the song so much for ourselves that once it got to the world, they just felt what we felt.

How did you get word that the record would be a single off the album?

As soon as we did the record, we all felt big about it. We felt so big about the record. You probably heard the record that wound up being leaked out called, “You the Shit.” I did that record too and that’s a singing record. We just got into that zone and felt big about “How to Love” more because it had a positive effect. It’s something that’s talked about that people don’t really talk about. Even the video, everything. We knew exactly what we wanted to target. I saw MTV Jams played it and then [Tupac’s] “Brenda’s Got a Baby.” When I seen that it made me feel good. Somebody connected with what we did and delivered it to the world like that.

How many songs did ya’ll wind up doing together?

I’d say about six.

How about the other records that y'all cut? Were they similar to "How to Love" in sound or were they very different?

They were all pretty much similar. Everything I did was pretty much singing.

In the July issue of XXL Lil Wayne said, “these niggas beats been suckin.” What are your thoughts on those comments?

Well, not to speak down on any producers that didn’t make the album and I can only speak for myself. When it comes down to the whole music shit, I’m very versatile. I’m probably the best out here. If you put me on the scale with any other producer, I’m very diverse and I’m probably the best nigga in the game. I like when an artist is looking that deep into producers and looking around and hearing the same shit. That’s where I come in.


Carter IV Production Credit: "Mirror"
Lil Wayne feat. Bruno Mars "Mirror" How did you land on Tha Carter IV?

REO: Well, I actually made that beat probably like 2,3 years ago. I had it for a while and a lot of people liked it. Mike Caren [A&R at Atlantic Records] heard it and played it for Bruno [Mars]. Bruno loved it and wrote a hook and we shopped it around to [Young] Jeezy, Drake, Nas had it for a little while, and all of a sudden I just got the call Weezy recorded it and it was a wrap. I was like "Oh shit," and that was like a month ago. So, even then you know, he had like a lot of songs and was still unsure yet. It's kind of crazy how it works nowadays like when it leaks, it's a bad thing but it's also a good thing for the producer because you get to hear that it made it or that it's going to.

You said that the beat was shopped around so, you didn't get to actually be in the studio with Wayne?

Nah man, you know just in this day in age you just gotta do the e-mail thing or have somebody play it or whatever.

What was the name of the beat before it was sent to Bruno Mars?

It was called "Jurassic." It actually reminded me of Jurassic Park, like I was just humming that melody one day and I heard this lady's voice in my head.

Did you get in contact with Wayne in anyway about you guys possibly recording again in the near future?

Nah not yet, I haven't gotten to talk to him, but I'm sure that's going to happen at some point.

In the July issue of XXL Lil Wayne said, “these niggas beats been suckin.” What are your thoughts on those comments?

The even crazier part is that I have a lot of peers that also make great beats that have hits and Grammys and I was out last night and they were just all like "Man, you got the best [beat] on that album," this, that and it's like so dope to hear that from people you respect.