In today’s hip-hop industry, it’s not just rappers who get to enjoy the spotlight. Producers, songwriters and DJs are taking center stage as hip-hop has become increasingly mainstream One of the most recognizable names in music today is Murda Beatz, who’s worked with the likes of Travis Scott, Migos, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West and Drake. Murda came into hip-hop as a teen from Ontario, Canada, but in a few short years, rose the ranks by committing to the grind and rubbing shoulders with industry heavyweights. Today, he’s not only producing beats for multi-platinum hits, but releasing solo music and appearing on headlining tours. This is only the beginning for the 25-year-old hot shot.
What was your upbringing like and how did you develop an interest in producing music?
I was born in Niagara Falls, Canada and my dad—RIP my Pops—played rock music around the house all the time. That’s where I developed my love for music, and growing up I started to make my own music. I liked the beats of rap music and from there, got into making my own.
Did you model yourself off a specific producer that inspired you?
At the time, I was really inspired by Lex Luger, Boi-1da, a lot of those producers who had a presence on the internet. But my come up was really just my own, because these producers didn’t have Type Beats on YouTube and weren’t thinking about making SoundClick.
How did you get yourself in the position to network with big names in hip-hop?
For me, the first step was building relationships online. I networked online, using Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram—I used anything that I could to hit someone up. Getting to know people a little bit and then going out, staying with them and making music in person.
What sacrifices did you make to become as successful as you are?
Man, from age 16 to 25, this has been my whole life. I sacrificed a lot of time, relationships, friendships to be dedicated to what I do and put in the hours. There’s no faking artwork, there are no shortcuts. To actually be successful, you have to put in the work. So, if someone’s not happy with where they are in their life, it’s because they’re not putting in the work. I don’t want anything that happens overnight either. I see a lot of overnight success happen nowadays, but that [usually] doesn’t last longer than six months to a year.
In the past, you’ve spoken about working for free during the beginning of your career. What did that teach you and how did you get to the level of understanding your worth?
It taught me discipline, because everyone at the time was using SoundClick to sell beats. They were doing 10 beats for $100 or one beat for $50. I was about to do that because I really needed the money. But last minute, I decided not to because I didn’t want to be in that category of producers for the rest of my life. If you’re putting your worth at $100 a beat, you’re not going to make $100,000 a week.
As someone who’s hustled to make this career, do you believe that you can teach hustle?
I feel like you can to an extent, but it really is something in you. I might be able to bring it out of you, but it won’t happen if you don’t have it. Everyone wants to be in this industry because everyone is a fan of music, but not everyone can do it. You either have it or you don’t.
How does a producer establish a brand for themselves and what’s your brand?
You have to create a brand around your name and you have to diversify yourself. You want artists to say, “Yo, I’m going to hit up Murda for this.”I’m one of a kind. I can go into the studio with artists and make a hit. I know how to bring the best out of artists. My sound is the ambiance of Toronto and the Dirty South of Atlanta.
How do you see potential in people and what do you look for in the up-and-coming?
I look for talent, skill, hard work and confidence or cockiness. I was super confident when I was first coming up, even when my beats were trash in high school. Kids made fun of me because I was so cocky and my music wasn’t good. But I knew where I was heading. If you can’t handle my confidence, you’re going to say that I’m cocky. So whenever I see an artist or a producer like that and their music is fire, that’s good because you need that presence, it’s part of the package.
What’s your formula for a hit song?
I don’t think anyone knows that, especially nowadays. The most random songs go number one.
What's a song that you worked on that you're surprised became a big hit?
“Fefe” with Tekashi 6ix9ine. We knew that was going to be big, but we didn’t know it was going to be one of the biggest selling singles of last year. I made the beat on my kitchen table and the next week, I went to New York. My buddy was like, “Yo, you should get in with 6ix9ine.” I was like, “Fuck it,” and we made that record.
What about solo music, what's in the works?
I released a song a few months ago with Sheck Wes and Lil Pump called “Shopping Spree.” We just released the PnB Rock and Nicki Minaj single “Fendi,” which is the theme song of the new Fendi campaign that Nicki released. I’m about to keep dropping more singles and I’ve got some big stuff coming out at the top of 2020. I want to be at the forefront of the music, not just be a behind-the-scenes producer.
Besides music, what else do you aspire to produce in this lifetime?
Kids. I also definitely want to act and create music software. I don’t want to tell you everything because I feel like I have some great ideas.
Styling by Sebastien Day
Murda is wearing Filling Pieces