The Canadian hip hop producer discusses his platinum hits and rising the ranks
Seated backstage in the underground lair that is MTELUS’ green room, following A$AP Ferg’s “Floor Seats” tour stop, Murda Beatz reflects on his childhood exposure to music.
“I grew up on classic rock, hard rock, metal – Metallica,” he said. “That’s what I grew up on. That’s what I got a taste for as a kid. That’s why I wanted to play drums. I wanted to make a band and do all that shit because I had a rock background.”
No, Murda Beatz is not the stage name of a drummer for an up-and-coming rock ‘n’ roll band. Instead, Murda Beatz is one of the most successful hip hop producers of our generation, with an extensive catalogue that dates back to the early years of the decade. Most impressive, perhaps, is that the shaggy-haired Canadian from the southern suburbs of Toronto has become a contemporary staple in the Atlanta trap scene and beyond.
“If there’s 20 thousand producers in Toronto and you’re trying to get to Toronto artists, how are you so different than anyone else?” Murda asks. “You have to catch someone’s attention to make you different. So I went to Chicago, got in the drill scene, got my name established in the drill scene – enough to hit up the Migos and be like ‘Yo, I’m Murda Beatz, I work with Chief Keef and these guys’… Until your name holds weight, your credentials are going to hold more weight than your name.”
Murda tells the story of his early days while his thick “MURDA” chain glistens atop his pendant of a chef – a symbol for being the master at cooking beats.
Following his collaborations with Chief Keef, Murda became one of the main producers for Migos, the Atlanta rap trio credited with being some of the early forefathers of the ad lib trap rap that currently dominates the market. The exclusivity and credibility that came from that honour then allowed him to collaborate with other industry chart toppers. In the last two years alone, Murda has been responsible for creating hits like “Butterfly Effect” by Travis Scott, “Nice for What” by Drake, and recently 10x plantinum record “FEFE” by the incarcerated rainbow-haired rapper 6ix9ine and Nicki Minaj.
Murda acknowledges that he typically knows when he has a hit on his hands. While that criteria depends on a few factors like the artist and the beat itself, a lot of the magic happens when the song is made live in the studio.
“Most of the Migos stuff is in studio,” he says, “like ‘Pipe It Up,’ ‘Motorsport,’ some new shit we got coming out called ‘GNF (Give No Fucks)’ with Travis and Thug. ‘Butterfly Effect’ was done on FaceTime. ‘FEFE’ was in studio. Most of the special ones come from the studio – most of them. I think it’s just the synergy, you know what I mean? It’s just different. But some stuff, artists might hit me up and like ‘Yo, I got some crazy shit,’ which is not in studio. Then I’m gonna do my own shit, make a call, and say ‘Ey, we got a record.’”
Murda recalls the time he collaborated with the recently departed Juice WRLD, a Chicago rapper most known for his highly successful track “Lucid Dreams.”
“So me and him, the day before he signed his deal, I hit him up,” Murda says. “I became a fan, you know what I’m saying, me and Cole Bennett, we started talking a few years ago. So I was always on his page, watching his shit, so I saw the ‘All Girls Are the Same’ video, said ‘This kid is fire.’ I was bumping that shit every day. So I found out he was in LA, hit him up, went to the studio, and we made 14 songs in six hours. Crazy. He’s the fastest working man possible on this earth. We made 14 songs in six hours. That shit was crazy. None of them came out, unfortunately, some of them leaked and stuff. Hopefully they might come out in the future, you never know. It’s definitely music that should come out. Everyone would appreciate it, and it’s definitely some of my best music.”
While Murda is in high demand among a wave of both new and already established artists, there are still dream collaborations that he wishes to cross off his bucket list in the near future.
“Definitely like, Rihanna, Beyonce, Bieber, Kanye, [Jay-Z] … Ed Sheeran,” Murda says. “I think me and him in a picture together would break the internet. If we did a music video together – if I was Ed Sheeran and he was Murda Beatz… that’d be crazy. I should definitely hit him up. We’ve talked back and forth. I was supposed to go to his show a few months ago but I just got too busy, but yeah, we got to do some shit. If he was me and I was him in a video, that shit would go crazy.”
Murda Beatz’ success shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
“New songs coming out in 2020. Album in 2020. The years just keep getting bigger and bigger.”
Photos by Chris Carpenter (@cb43media)