Studio Session: Meet Murda Beatz
Twenty-two-year-old Ontario-bred producer Murda Beatz has had a career run that most beatsmiths could only dream of at his age. Scoring his first placement at just 16 on Rocky Diamonds and Soulja Boy's "Young Nigga," Murda, born Shane Lindstrom, has gone on to work with Young Thug, Migos, Jeremih and, most recently, Drake.
Murda is known for crafting trap beats that get him compared to his Atlanta contemporaries like Metro Boomin and London on da Track, but if you catch a dub at a cookout this summer to the PartyNextDoor-assisted "With You," off Drizzy's Views album, you have the producer to thank, alongside fellow beatmakers Nineteen85 and Cardiak. "I feel like in the album, ['With You' is] a climax," says Murda. "That’s where the album climax switches up. It like flips the switch to summer."
Although his name is a new addition to the game in relation to Drake's discography, Murda has definitely paid some dues to get this far. The Niagara Falls-born musician, who cites producer Lex Luger as one of his earliest inspirations, has had a hand in creating some of the biggest mixtapes to come out of Atlanta in the last few years including Migos' Rich Nigga Timeline and No Label II.
He also looks to Boi-1-Da as a "humble" mentor. Murda has made sure to make networking a priority to expand his personal brand no matter what situation he's in -- a point he says many producers miss about the music business.
On the heels of one of the biggest placements of his life, XXL caught up with young Murda Beatz to see how he struck gold with Views, how he got tight with OVO and what else he has planned before the year is out. Murda's view is clearer than ever.
XXL: How did you start producing? Did you play any instruments in school?
Murda: I played drums since I was 6 years old. And then I got into producing music when I was about 16 or 17. Somebody showed me FL Studios, the program. My beats were bad at first, but then eventually they started to get good.
Would you say you were a natural though?
Well, just because I have music in my background, so…I have a musical background so it was easier to get a hang of.
Does anyone else in your family play instruments or anything?
Yeah, my dad plays guitar and my uncle plays like every instrument.
How did your working relationship with Drake come together for his album?
I’ve known Drake for about a year or so now. I’d say in Toronto, there’s XO, there’s OVO, so it plays a big part of the culture in Toronto. So, me bringing my sound of trap music and my sound coming from Atlanta, I just started to pay more attention to Toronto culture. I wanted to bring my sound back home and just get back into the Canadian vibes.
So, it was just getting my sound in the club and working with upcoming artists in Toronto. That’s how I bumped into the guys in OVO, that’s how I bumped into Party. And then, I just started seeing Drake around the same circles, and then yeah, me and Party were just working on some stuff and Drake wanted one of the records.
You were introduced to him originally through PartyNextDoor?
I met Drake officially for the first time two years ago at a Wiz Khalifa concert in Toronto. I was with Rich Homie Quan. Rich Homie Quan introduced me and Drake and he said I had good beats. And then on...you know.
That’s a good recommendation!
Yup. And then I kept seeing him around. I’m good friends with people in OVO and stuff, so he started to get familiar with my name and stuff. And then obviously Party too, so everything was a combination of that.
Can you give any specifics on how “With You” came together? Did you send the beat over? Did you visit them in the studio?
I actually made the beat in the studio with them. I made the beat in the studio with Party and then it was one of the nights where we were just going crazy and I think we made like 12 beats that night and we banged out 10 records.
And what did you think the first time you heard Drake’s words on the track?
I honestly just heard Drake’s bars on the track when it came out. It’s a good record. I honestly think, you know, not to be biased, but I think it’s one of the most fun, energetic songs on the album.
Is there anything or any part of Party’s sound that has changed since 2014? Do you feel he’s evolved?
We work really well together; we work at the same pace. We just bang out songs together. And his project's definitely coming out within the next few months. It’s definitely going to be something to look forward to.
Have you been inspired by him in any way?
Yeah, definitely. We all inspire each other. He’s a year old than me. I’m 22, he’s , so just to be young kids from the same area coming up together, and to just watch his come-up, it’s been a good story.
In the past, people pigeonholed you as a trap producer, but then on Views, you showed people you could do more. Is your new EP going to be mostly trap or is it going to be more island-inspired?
Probably mainly trap but then a couple others. I don’t want to be labeled as a certain style producer; I just want to be producer and musician in general. I don’t want my sound to be like, Oh that’s a Murda Beatz. I want to be able to make house music, everything I can make. Just random kinda.
Can you say any more names you want to be on the EP?
I don’t know who I can say right now…Jeremih. It’ll be a bunch of people.
Who do you want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Kanye. Beyonce Rihanna. Gwen Stefani.
So you want to go full-on R&B?
Not full-on R&B but just, take pop and R&B music to a different level. I just want to bring in more urban sounds into how I want to do it or we want to do it.
What do you think pop music is missing that you can add?
I’d definitely say right now it’s kind of watered down. I want to bring…I don’t want to say urban…just a different feeling. Because pop music just means popular music for America so I just feel like anybody can just come do their thing. If the labels fuck with it it’s going to be the new pop music.
Even though you’re young, you’ve been really successful so far. What do you think is a mistake a lot of producers make?
I think honestly they need to travel and move around and network a lot. More than you think. That’s something a lot of people don’t do. A lot of young producers will stay at home and make beats all day but making beats is only about 20 percent of the job. The other 80 percent is networking; that’s what I feel like a lot of people are lacking. You can have good beats, but it’s about getting out there, putting yourself out there, branding yourself properly to succeed and move to the next level.
Like, I’m a kind of social person, but the industry that I’m in just made me even more social because you have to get out there, talk to people. Sometimes you only get one opportunity to do something, so you have to be able to seize that opportunity and talk to that person when you see them. Things go by fast in this industry.
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