Tracking down the hottest producer in the game isn’t always an easy task. And right now, DJ Mustard’s about as hot as they come. His “Mustard on the beat, hoe” catchphrase has been the lead-in to more than a few current radio hits as his signature production has created the framework for so many artists, ranging from Tyga (“Rack City”) and 2 Chainz (“I’m Different”) to YG (“My N*gga”) and Ty Dolla $ign (“Paranoid”).
As the mercury on his career continues to rise, so has his workload. Still, we were able to catch up the L.A.-based producer at the Brisk Bodega on Thursday while his busy schedule continued throughout SXSW. In our quick chat, we broke down what’s behind some of his signature sound plus what’s next to come as he heads into the release of his debut album, Vato.
On executive producing YG’s My Krazy Life, maintaining the traditional West Coast sound and not adding any instruments on the album:
We studied. We did a lot of studying. He studied a lot of Dre. I studied everybody. From Biggie to Pac to Snoop. We really did our homework. We came to play ball this time.
I’m just not extra’ed out with the music. Sometime I don’t add the extra music because I just don’t know how. I just do until… “This is it,” until it feels good, you know what I’m saying? You know how a basketball player know how to watch a play? Go through the legs? You know…but it might not be the time to dunk it. That might be the time to lay it up or pass the ball. Same thing. You just know. You can feel it.
I actually use more sounds now than I ever did. Like, “Up, Down,” the Kid Ink song, “Show Me.” Those are more sounds than I ever usually use. It’s still building the beat, but it’s like less is more. I use Reason. Fruity Loops. Logic. Whatever I can get my hands on. I use a MPC. A MPC 2500.
I actually just did a sample on YG’s album. Yeah, it was Dogg Pound, “Let’s Play House.” But, yeah, I don’t really like doing samples, man. They take too much of your money. I’m cool. [Daz Dillinger] That’s the homie. Them the big homies. Whatever I wanted to do, they was going to give it to me regardless. Them are the OG homies. You gotta’ respect that. It was their record first.
On the benefits of being managed by Roc Nation:
You gotta’ understand, with Roc Nation, people know not to play with them. I didn’t have a manager for a long time, because I wanted a manager that people were scared of. I just wanted somebody who was respected. It was a serious move. People see, “Oh, Mustard with Roc Nation. That’s serious.” It had to be serious. I didn’t want no manager from the streets. I wanted people to know I’m not playing.
On upcoming plans:
I’m doing an album right now. It’s going to be out around summer time. The first single dropped today. It’s called “Vato,” with YG, Jeezy, Que. Amazing record. Amazing.
Again, shouts out to Brisk Bodega for the assist. Check out the official recap video for their Summer Concert series below.
Keep up with DJ Mustard on Twitter, @DJmustard.