good music

Hit Boy Interview

Hit Boy Interview

Hit Boy went from his mom’s house to working with Lil Wayne, Eminem, Kanye West and Jay-Z in the space of two years. He released the quadruple platinum “Drop the World” and “Niggas In Paris” almost back to back and was on the stage with Watch The Throne when they performed the track 11 times. But, for him, it’s not enough. The 27 year old, real name Chauncey Hollis, spends every day thinking about the producer he’s working to become.

In 2013, Hit Boy left Kanye’s GOOD Music label and broke out on his own. Details on the split are murky and naysayers claim he shouldn’t have left Yeezy’s side, but Hollis doesn’t care. More focused than ever, he’s launched the Hits Since ‘87 imprint and modelled his career after Timbaland’s history of working with hand-picked talent. Hit Boy has since formed a collective including long term friends Audio Push, started a solo rap career and released music with his formerly incarcerated father Big Hit.
While preparing to release new tracks “Automatically” and “Show Me Something,” he talked about producing for Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre, and life after GOOD Music.

Was last year your quietest production-wise in some time?

As far as producing for a bunch of people, yes, because I took time to focus on my label. I put out We the Plug and I produced a bunch of songs on there, that if you go listen to those beats, there aren’t really a lot of urban beats that match that. But it’s just that we’re a growing label and we’re a growing situation so not as many people are paying attention to us right now, but we’re on the radar and we’ve been dropping just as much music as everybody else. It’s just that people aren’t paying as much attention because it’s a new situation, you know.

Other than the obvious choices like your squad or Jay/Kanye, is there someone particularly hands-on you’ve worked with?

Honestly, I mean there’s Bey[once] you know. She’s part of the whole Jay-Z/Kanye level, but she definitely knows what she wants when you’re working with her. I might do a drum pattern and she’ll tell me it needs to sound more “futuristic” or it needs to have different textures, so I like working with her a lot too. She knows exactly what she wants.

CyHi The Prynce - "Forever" and "To Be Real" freestyles

Depending on who you ask, CyHi The Prynce is either the most underrated or under-performing of Kanye’s friends. Much like King Chip, the “reservoir for metaphors” is a somewhat capable MC who has an equal amount of fans and detractors. CyHi remains album-less after four years of GOOD Music purgatory and even a co-sign from the Illustrious Beyhive has it’s limits. To keep busy while pondering why Teyana Taylor came off the bench first, the 30 year old released two freestyles last week.

As a sucker for prominent retro samples, “Forever” and “To Be Real”
sound golden to yours sincerely. “Forever” is a pledge of allegiance to the grind over a repurposed hook from matching outfit era Jodeci and chopped Keith Sweat sample. CyHi’s dense collection of bars is secondary to the throwback tunes, but the frustrated vibe from ‘Ye’s rumoured ghostwriter is hard to miss.

"To Be Real" hit 45k plays in 24 hours and the rework of Cheryl Lynn’s 70s disco hit is another production win even she commended. CyHi often trades in back to back simple metaphors e.g “treat rappers like trampolines. I just bounce on ‘em.” This is the specific technique that divides listeners into opposing camps, you either think the quick-wit works well with the bubbly beat or it makes you cringe. No matter what side you fall on, the beats are enough to overlook CyHi’s wordplay. As a fan of both, I happen to agree with the eloquent commenter who stated “anyone who doesn’t like these can head-butt a knife.” If the man who insists on misspelling prince and using elementary rhymes keeps his production team close, Kanye might just let him put some numbers on the board.