Meet Menace, the 22-Year-Old Producer Behind Desiigner’s Hit “Panda” – Exclusive
Words: Emmanuel C.M.
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
From across the pond, beatmaker Menace, real name Adnan Khan, crafted Brooklyn breakout rap newbie Desiigner’s hit record “Panda.” The Manchester, U.K. native started producing as a hobby when he was 12 after listening to his father play 1980’s hits from artists like Michael Jackson and Billy Ocean.
By 2014, Menace had sold his first beats including the one that would eventually become “Panda,” the record that helped Desiigner get signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music. Now the 22-year-old self-taught producer spends his days working as a mobile repairer in Rochdale, U.K. and his nights making music. Here, Menace describes life before and after “Panda,” and being credited on Kanye’s The Life of Pablo album.
XXL: When did you make the “Panda” beat?
Menace: I made the beat late 2014, roughly. The beat itself took about two hours from start to finish, ‘cause it was a style that I was quite known for. The name of the beat was “The Menace.” I’m Menace; I made the beat to pay homage to myself.
When you made that beat, what was your feeling?
I was feeling the vibe from it and was just thinking this was going to become a hit one day. I was really feeling the vibe, it had a really bouncy feel on it as well. It was full of energy. And I knew that one day something was going to happen. I had a good feeling. I had previous beats; “Maniac” was one of them, which wasn’t quite popular. But this one, it had this edge to it, which I knew it was going to go one day and pave the way for me to blow up in the scene.
How did Desiigner get the beat?
His manager reached out to me and told me that this was going to become huge and asked what I wanted to do next with this beat. That was around the time he was getting the song played at the clubs. Everybody was asking, “Who is this producer? Who is the one who made the sound”? When they found out that it’s someone from the U.K., people said, “Whoa.”
So, management hit you up, you sold him the beat for $200, what happened after?
The track itself had so much energy. I told him this was going to be something big, it’s going to get him signed; it’s going to get me signed. The production and the flow of his lyrics went well together.
So how many people have been blowing up your phone since the song?
A lot of people have. Every 10 minutes I get emails asking if I can make a beat similar to “Panda.” Since January, I’m just looking at it all. I’m at the door now.
How exciting is it to be credited on Kanye’s album?
Yeah, when I heard about that I was thinking, “It can’t get any better than this.”
Check out more from XXL’s Spring 2016 issue including Big Sean’s cover story, the Letter from the Editor, Macklemore’s thoughts on White privilege, Kodak Black's Show & Prove interview, Doin' Lines with Boosie BadAzz, Flatbush Zombies' serious comic addiction and more.
See Exclusive Photos From Big Sean's XXL Magazine Spring 2016 Cover Shoot