What is the most personal song on Letters I Never Sent?
I would probably have to say “Neverland.” That one chronicled a lot of things that were happening in L.A. years ago when I was struggling, trying to find my way. There’s a lot of times in our industry that it’s easy to make excuses for not being able to accomplish certain things or find distractions to hide the pain of not being a success whether it be partying or whatever your vice may be. That song is me telling myself to put away the childish things, man up and really focus on what it is that your goals are, and leave this “never land” place behind. I think that one was more of a true story for me.
Describe the style of writing on this album.
On my album I think the style was just to try to be honest and try to have melodies that are memorable enough for people to have the lyrics resonate with them. I think a lot of times melodies really play a huge part in people remembering what it is you wrote. If you have a really catchy melody, even if they don’t immediately understand the lyrics, the more they sing that melody the more they’ll adapt the lyrics to that. We tried to pay attention to that on my album and of course we always do that with Bruno as well. If I had to describe the style it would be to try to make it as memorable as possible.
Given the résumé of artists that you've worked with, do you have a favorite musician that you’ve written for or recorded with that probably brought out the best in your craft?
We’ve worked with a lot of wonderful people. I do remember when we had the chance to work with Cee-Lo. That was incredible because we’ve been fans of his for years, even back in the Goodie Mob days. To finally be face-to-face with him and him being interested in what we had to say was a dream come true, and then of course to come up with the song “Fuck You” that to this day I think is still one of the best songs we created. To be in the studio with him and be a part of the recording process, like being in front of the booth and saying, “Hey man let’s try this or try that.” Him being so willing to work with us it was a really special moment, and to still be friends today is pretty awesome.
You've also worked across many genres from Reggae artists like Matisayhu to rappers like Wiz Khalifa. How do you immerse yourself in all these genres to write a hit song when each has so many unique elements?
I think we really like to tackle things that we like. We love reggae, we love rap music. The things that we aren’t generally listening to, we really won’t be drawn to produce because we don’t know much about it, but we were both having grown up in hip hop and the reggae we feel like we have a little bit of credibility to create something like that. The energy and the vibes from the artists that we work with kind of help compile this belief that we can get it done.