Interview: Hit-Boy Wants HS87 To Take Over The World
At 27, West Coast hitmaker Hit-Boy already has a stamp as one of the curators of hip-hop’s evolving sound. His production list in the past three years alone has been ridiculous from Beyonce’s “***Flawless” to Drake’s “Trophies”, Kanye West & Jay Z’s “Niggas In Paris” and a host of other tracks. The demand for his production hasn’t just stopped behind the boards, he’s also spearheaded the careers of his HS87 collective including Audio Push, Kent M$ney, K. Roosevelt and more.
Speaking with VIBE on the heels of his recent collaboration with Footaction for their Style Means campaign, Hit-Boy sounded relaxed and happy with the final turnout of the commercial — which captures him in his element — behind the boards in the studio. He didn’t leave a stone unturned when it came to upcoming projects and his hopes for HS87 .
In terms of HS87, you guys recently dropped We Are The Plug and then “Grindin My Whole Life” just catapulted you to another height. Did you see the record getting as big as it is now?
Hit-Boy: Man I played it for some people I respect, and they told me it was a hit! Before it was just an idea and people would come through my crib and tell me, “That’s the one.” I mean, you never really know but when you got 14-year-old girls doing Vines to it then you know it’s in the culture.
Does it still freak you out to see people wild out to your music now? Like watching Paris light up when they hear “Niggas In Paris”?
That always brings me back to the humblest times, watching that type of stuff. Before I had met Hov I remember going to The Blueprint 3 concert and seeing Hov, and thinking he was pointing at me in the crowd. I felt like I was the man! So having him perform on my beats is unreal.
You do have a hand in creating music for the first family of music. It’s inspiring to young cats that chase every avenue they can.
That’s awesome. That’s what I’ve been working for. There’s no real guide in getting there and that’s what I’ve been noticing more and more. You just gotta keep working and the work is gonna speak for itself. I can just go to the mall and hear kids tell me I inspire them and that makes me keep going.
Who else are you working with right now aside from HS87?
Man, everything’s pretty major man. Not just working on The Plug but Casey Veggies, Joey Bada$$, Rockie Fresh. You never know, you could just see something pop up on the net that says, “produced by Hit-Boy,” and you gotta click it — listen to it.
One project I know had people jumping over the summer was K. Roosevelt’s Journey project. Take us through creating that. What’s the difference between molding an entire R&B project compared to an entire rap project?
The best part about it is that K. Roosevelt molds it himself. He writes, play the keys and all I have to do is tell him I like the song. At the end of the day there’s not much to critique. I mean, I give him my advice but he knows how to get that sonic presence. He has it. He picks the melody that I wish I could think of and that’s what makes us better as a team. We all can up and inspire each other.
That is perfect summer music right there.
It always damn near feels like summer here in L.A. so we’re immune to it. Honestly, this is the spot for me. I love Cali.
Outside of making beats and pushing HS87, what’s the next major thing you want to accomplish?
Getting number one [records] on my label! That’s really, you know those real number one albums and hits? That’s what we’re pushing for. Just trying to break through in the culture, letting people know we’re coming from a different avenue. Trying to build the label up.
How does it feel watching Audio Push grow like this? To see them hit 40,000 followers on Twitter and throw out five new songs that immediately get accepted?
That was unreal. That’s what we’ve been working for, you know? Making all these songs, doing all these shows. To see people really want it now and know they get a certain quality when they hear HS87 and it’s just gonna make us better.
Lastly, what’s at the top of your list for what you want to do this year? Touring? Making more music with Big Hit? Dropping another album?
Most definitely touring. That’s at the top of the list. I want to put on Plug concerts and have the whole clique perform on some different artistic levels. I’m just trying to figure it all out. Working on BMACTHEQUEEN’s project, Kent M$ney’s just came out, Audio Push’s new project is coming, my new proejct is coming. It’s all love.