Are you originally from Atlanta?
I am originally from Chicago.
When did you first approach music or what brought you closer to music when you were young?
Growing up in church and being with my grandparents. The typical kind of shit that always plays music.
Did you have your first instruments as a child?
I’ve always wanted to play drums, but I ended up learning to play the piano later in childhood, around the age of 12 or 13.
And the production? Do you have a first beat you can aim for?
I was in high school when I made my first beat, but I really started in college, like freshman year when I started recording myself and making music, producing songs and stuff like that.
Was it in a dorm room?
You can say so, but at Morehouse College we had a production workshop to go into and use.
What is the first project you remember working on professionally?
The first place I got was my friend Ohana Bam, also from Chicago. We went to school together and around 2014 and 15, he was with Atlantic [Records]. And it was like the first time I got a check from a record label.
How would you feel?
I was like, ‘Wow, you can only make money by doing shit.’ I thought it was some kind of cheat code.
I’ve looked at your resume ever since. Summer Walker, Baby Rose. You’ve also been on tour with Rose. Who did you work with for the first time between the two?
It was summer. I made an album, a project of my own. I sent it to all the girls on my phone. One of the girls I knew used to work at LVRN and showed the project to her manager. That’s how it all started.
Was it common for you? Are you just sending your music to everyone on your phone?
I mean, I was just trying to find a way to make people … I guess people perceive things differently when you package them up than when you send loose files. So it was just something I realized at the beginning, it’s like packaging and presentation, at whatever level, are just as important.
You mentioned sending stems to Kendrick via text and this is how it would give direction to your ideas. But how and when did you meet Kendrick?
It was 2020. He was interested, from the sound point of view, [Baby Rose’s] To myself album and where it came from and I was interested in my sound if you like.
Did he connect with you or Rose first?
And did they have a session together? How it was?
It was fire. Two talented songwriters, artists, unique voices.
And what was it like for you to spend time with Kendrick? He must have been special for the first time.
Much of what I like about music has come from its music. He was really influential for me. So the more I thought about it, the more it made sense, because I felt inspired by the eponymous EP, you know, right up to the present day. I’ve always been a fan of how he and his team have been able to creatively create albums
And what is it like to know that you are now part of that legacy?
I don’t know if it has really hit me yet. Just because I’m at a different point in my life, where I had to develop my confidence even to get to this point. But it’s really humiliating.
What was it like working on these tracks, were they all texted or you joined him in the studio at some point during the Mr. Morale sessions?
It was practically all remote.
And how many tracks in total?
Maybe three or four more. But I think working with him, you know, he’s really very careful not only about how good it sounds, but also what the meaning behind it is. It’s a bit like writing a book, do you know what I mean? There is so much good music that it was created out of what people got from the album.
You posted a text message that he sent you saying you cut the album. Did she give you any other information when you sent the stems?
It was just like, ‘This shit is tough.’ Really enthusiastic. [We’d talk about] how i became this producer i am, my background, kind of like this interview and shit. He was just a normal guy. When you like something, you like something.
What was it like receiving that lyrics you wrote for the album?
It was like winning a ring. I guess that’s what it feels like. One part is sport. I see creation as a competition in a sense. Being able to stand up to the thousands of ideas that have been created in the process is just super special.
I’m sure there may be producers reading this article who are always dreaming of working with their favorite artists. How do you manage to stay composed in a situation where you are getting cues from someone whose career you have followed and inspired all these years?
You just have to remember what brought you there if you are there. If you have the opportunity to work with someone you really like, they respect your job too. Just remember what your level of taste is and create things that you want to feel, that you like. Because sometimes it is impossible to imagine. Even when someone says “I want something to sound like this”. Like, it’s usually our perspective and interpretation. So it might not be exactly what they’re looking for, but just think about what you want to hear and play it.
When you worked on this album, did it give you an idea of the idea for the album thematically?
So were you surprised when you heard it?
Yes. It was a kind of synergy. These are very personal ideas that I have created. And I guess it worked. But I had no idea of the actual concept, I was just making things.
Is it a special moment to hear your work interpreted in different ways?
It is like that for everyone. Everyone takes what is their own life experience, interprets it in whatever way they interpret it. It is special. It gives it new life.
“United In Grief” is # 10 on the Hot 100. Did you mention anything on Instagram that it wasn’t # 1. But do you see it for yourself in the future?
I see myself making a record no. 1. It’s just that moment.
Before discussing your solo work, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned working with Kendrick?
Patience, intention and creativity. These three things are bound to create something special.
If you have the opportunity to work with someone you really like, they respect your job too. Just remember what your level of taste is and create things that you want to feel, that you like.
What does the name NOT THE TWOS mean to you?
It means the one.
There is not much information on this project. In addition to the website for A girl who sold drugs which I believe you said were beta versions and are not on DSP yet. What was your vision for this website?
Last year I had a wild summer where I went out a lot. And celebrate a lot. And at the same time, I was interpreting what it felt like through the music.
I tried returning to this site and it is now password protected, what was the idea behind it?
Well, I’m in the middle of mixing it up. And it’s really for sharing purposes. But I will release the album on DSP.
What have you tried to prove about it?
Just how to get out of the vocal, sonic point of view and make the most of three instruments. I wanted to translate from a phone or music player or whatever into a live performance. I wanted to translate in a really fluid, realistic way.
How long did it take you?
A few months. I don’t try to be in a hurry. If I hear a song in my head, I’ll do it. But lately, my process of creating things, or just looking for things, hasn’t been so consistent. I will wait to be inspired by anything.
What inspired you the most while forming NOT THE TWOS?
I had a binge on the Beatles. I began to realize how experimental Paul McCartney and the Beatles were 50 years ago. It’s a little mind blowing. A lot of the things they’ve been able to come up with given the technology, things you’re probably going to say “Oh, you could do it today”, because you have Logic or whatever. They did it with instruments, like tape recorders and things like that. It is really tight.
So many people heard your music for the first time via Kendrick’s album before you had a chance to share this solo material, what’s that feeling like?
It’s really cool, it’s really good music. Many times people don’t have the opportunity. There is a lot of amazing music in the world. And sometimes people don’t have the opportunity to find out. But that just gives me a platform to be heard, to share myself.
Do you think it will be an easy transition for fans of these three tracks to join the LP?
At all. It’s difficult. I think we’re just on a day where we like to hear a lot of different things. There are some elements in black music that are like a plus, you know, it doesn’t matter what we do, it doesn’t matter what we create.
Do you have any tips for artists looking to grab the attention of their favorite MCs with their creations?
Turn off the music. All equal. Everyone listens to music. Everyone is looking for inspiration. Some of these people are like our heroes, but you realize they are not our saviors. Like Kendrick said. They are just normal people like you and me and they are looking for inspiration. You’d be surprised what many of your favorites go through, like writer’s block, even producers. So it gets better.
What do you hope your album means to someone who comes across or finds it via Kendrick’s album?
If they are creators like me, I hope I have inspired them. Even if they aren’t, I hope it’s inspiring and feels. They are real emotions.