Toronto producer Boi1-da has his plate full these days. Aside from dishing out new beats for the likes of Drake, 50 Cent, Schoolboy Q and more, the Grammy Award winning beatsmith has officially dived into the film world. He recently scored a Tribeca Film Festival worthy picture and plans to follow in the footsteps of RZA this year. While on a break from the studio in the City of Angels, Boi spoke to VIBE.com about working on Drake’s new project, expanding into movies, upcoming records, and the next Canadian star, PARTYNEXTDOOR.–MikeyFresh
We heard what you did with “No New Friends.” Was that all Drake’s concept?
Drake kind of led us in the direction of where he wanted it to go with the beat. From when I first heard the verse that he did, I just knew it was going to be a big song. But the beat was a collaborative effort between myself, Vinylz and 40.
And of course “5 AM In Toronto” made everyone say “Drake’s spittin’ again.”
Sometimes I feel like we have to give the world daily reminders of why he’s one of the best. Forget about the hit songs that he makes and the catchy stuff that he does and remember that the boy can actually rap. So it was a great reminder to the world to just put something out that says: ‘Hey guys, don’t forget I can really do this!’ [Laughs] And, it definitely happened at 5 AM in Toronto. People always ask.
The “Yay Yay” record you recently cut with Schoolboy Q also caught a lot of attention. Did you guys record anything else for his upcoming “Oxymoron” album.
I’ve been working with Schoolboy a lot, so I think we have another joint that we worked on that’s going to be coming out soon. I love his music. Super talented and a super cool guy.
I’m not sure if everyone is aware of him yet but I love the music you’ve been doing with Ben Stevenson. What made you want to work with a new singer?
His vocals were just different. The way he sounded… I had given him some of my beats to record to and everything about him was just different. I’m actually out here working on his album, too.
You’re moving into scoring films now. I just watched the Lenny Cooke documentary that you scored and it’s getting great reviews at the Tribeca Music Festival. How did you get involved with that project
I’m a huge basketball fan, so a friend put me in touch with the movie’s directors and producers. Before I even watched it I was very interested in the project. This guy was up there with Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James in high school and he just went completely the wrong way. He didn’t want to train or work. He thought he could take it the big stage of the NBA with just talent. I was moved by the story, so coming up with the music was easy to me. Because the documentary was shot from the early 2000’s until now, I tried to keep the music sounding like it was from that time period, too. It wasn’t like I put anything new in or anything that sounds like new age hip-hop now. It was just very fun to work on.
I think it’s definitely an inspiring story that resonates with hip-hop fans. If a new rapper scores a hit that doesn’t always mean he or she will have a successful rap career.
Exactly, it’s all about keeping the reality bar. Not dwelling about success and not dwelling on one achievement. You just got to keep going no matter what you do. It takes hard work to do everything. I’m definitely going to be doing more films.
Aside from movies, when are we going to an actual Boi-1da album.
When the time is right. Right now there are just a lot of other things going on and things I have to do, but when the time is right. It’s definitely been talked about and I definitely want to put something together.
One last thing, we recently heard a new artist from OVO, PARTYNEXTDOOR. Are you working with him, too?
Yea, I’ve known Party for a long time. He was introduced to me by a producer friend named Jordan Evans. Party is dope. I love his music, and he’s an amazing artist. He’s also from Toronto. His music is just incredible. One of my favorite artists right now.
Is he just a singer, or does he rap and produce as well?
Man, that boy does it all. He’s just an artist. I think he actually produced “Make a Mil.”.
How can you describe his sound in your own words?
Just Toronto man. Him doing him. His music just speaks for itself. I can’t say too much more.