One glance at Dun Deal's production discography is enough to believe that the young Atlanta-By-Way-Of-California producer is going to have the streets on lock for a long time. Gucci Mane, Future, Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug, Kevin Gates, Ty Dolla $ign, Migos—the list goes on and on, with each track a banger. But he's not necessarily new to the boards—Dun got his start in production around a decade ago, initially by necessity instead of an interest in crafting sounds.

"I was rapping at first, me and a group of friends, and we ended up being signed to a label," he said during a phone call with XXL last week. "They gave us some budget money and stuff, and my friends spent their budget money, so we really couldn't get any production. I took my money and bought some music equipment, and just started producing. Just trying to figure it out."

From there, Dun Deal's career took a sharp turn, as he stepped away from the microphone and stepped into the musical driver's seat. "I had never done anything with any type of music before, as far as production," he said. "I just kind of had an ear for it. I knew what sounded good. So I just stayed in my mom's basement for about a year trying to figure it out, and I ended up getting it."

From Thug's "Stoner" to Migos' "Hannah Montana" to Kevin Gates' brand-new "Stop Lyin'" off his mixtape that dropped today, By Any Means, XXL asked Dun Deal to break down the stories behind some of his biggest productions. Turn up. —Dan Rys (@danrys)


(Photo: Cam Kirk)

Young Thug

Dun Deal: I met Thug when he was 16, 17 years old. He's always been super talented; he's been rapping for a long time. I had already started on the track before he got on it. I had a couple of tracks in mind for him, and when he came in I ran through some beats, and he picked the one that I didn't think he would pick. So I wound up finishing up that beat, and it became "Stoner." I finished it up while he was in the studio, and we ended up just knocking out.

I love simple hooks. I think that when he started it up, he already had the melody, and when he figured out what to say with it, he was killin' it.


(Photo: Ryan Muir)

"Hannah Montana"
Young Rich Niggas

Dun Deal: I had done that beat, that beat's probably two years old. And DJ Spinz had told me that he had Migos at the studio, and that I should send something for them. So I was like, sure, and I sent the beat [that became] "Hannah Montana." And he was like, "Hey, you gotta head over here." And I went over there and mixed the song, and it ended up turning out really great.

When I first heard it, I said to myself, "Hannah Montana?" But then I was like, I guess this is a new generation, and young people will get it. Hearing the song, it sounds like a hit. And then, I work in the studio with a lot of people—it's not just me and Spinz, a lot of people will share the building with us at the time, a few other producers that are out and about. And every time we played "Hannah Montana," people would walk in the room and be interested in what the song was.

They're pretty quick [in the studio]. We had done a track before that called "Walk In With Me" with Gucci Mane, and that song came out real quick, so I already knew that they were fast workers.


Gucci Mane
"Point In My Life"
Trap House 3

Dun Deal: He's a workaholic. I appreciate that about him. Even when he takes a nap and says, "Make me a beat," or "Finish the beat up," you'll be like, okay, and then he'll wake up as soon as you finish the beat and go in the booth and record and do a full-fledged song.

I'd have to say "Point In My Life" [is my favorite we've done]. We both just did something different. That's what I liked about it. It wasn't a natural Gucci song for him to do, it wasn't like a Gucci doing, "This is what I do," type of song. But it was a different type of Gucci, and it was a different type of me. I appreciated that he went a different way with it.


Ty Dolla $ign
Beach House 2

Dun Deal: Spinz had a relationship with him already, and they came in to town for a session with YG. Ty wanted to get in the studio, so Spinz kind of set that up, and from there we just did some songs. "Irie," and a few other songs that haven't come out yet.

Spinz had started on the beat, and I just came through and added the horns and some extra drums to it. I had no idea that Ty was gonna be doing the song, so when he picked that one out out of everything, I was like, "Dope."

ty dolla sign

Kevin Gates
"Stop Lyin'"
By Any Means

Dun Deal: I've done plenty of work with Kevin Gates. We've been in the studio a few times; some of the other songs we did were just sending them back and forth. But yeah, I recorded some songs with Gates—"Money Magnet" and "Stop Lyin'," that's a new song he's about to drop. It has kind of pop progression chords, but it's kind of a deep song.

Really, I'd have to say that he takes a minute on his writing process. He sits down and writes and puts it together; a lot of people in Atlanta don't focus on writing so much.


"Beautiful Child"
Unreleased (So Far)

Dun Deal: My favorite track I have with him is called "Beautiful Child," with Future and Drake. I was actually at my house at the time, and I had this old idea in my head, some Temptations-type music. It was more like, instead of it being like some Down South stuff, I was thinking more along the lines of The Temptations, more than anything. And when I put the track together, I automatically thought to myself, "Future needs something like this." And he's the first person I sent it to. He loved it, he definitely loved it. He recorded it that day, and then he left the second verse open, and of course he didn't tell me why. And I found out later that Drake hopped on the song, and I was really excited about that.

He didn't tell me Drake was getting on it. I went to the studio one day to work with [Future] again, and everyone was talking like, "Yeah, that's the guy who did 'Beautiful Child'." And I was like, "What's going on?" And they were like, yeah man, that's an amazing song, and someone [let slip] Drake, and Future was like, "You weren't supposed to tell him." But yeah, someone mentioned it in the studio that Drake got on the song, and from there, you know, I was super excited.


Previously: 8 Atlanta Artists Break Down Hip-Hop’s Buzzing Movement