From: Toronto, Canada
Drake, “Best I Ever Had” “Forever” “Juice”
Kardinal Offishall f/ The Clipse and Dr. Dre “Set It Off”
G-Unit “Red Light Green Light”
Andre 3000 “Lookin For You”
Follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BOI1DA
Interview By Jerry L. Barrow
Nodfactor.com: Like a lot of producers you started out rapping. How did you make the switch to making beats?
Boi-1da: Back in H.S. I used to rap but I didn’t have anything to rap about. This is back when everybody was on that gangsta rap tip and I’m just not gangsta. It was actually uncomfortable for me to rap. And I’m not a person that really likes the attention anyway. So I liked music so much that I found another way to incorporate myself into music without having to be on stage with all eyes on me. I found this program called FL Studio, Fruity Loops and got addicted to it. I staid in making beats 24/7. People are out partying and I said “Nah, I’m gonna stay home and make beats.”
You’re the first person I’ve heard admit that they paid for Fruity Loops. Most folks disconnect their computer from the Internet so the trial doesn’t expire.
[Laughs] Or they reset the time. Just buy it. It’s only $100. I like the simplicity of it. It’s the easiest program for me to use. It doesn’t boggle your brain. Just click, drag, press play. It was user-friendly so I just stuck with it. A lot of people say Fruity is robotic but I put a lot of swing on it. People think I use an MP, but I don’t. I don’t keep stuff in a straight line on the grid.
What’s the story behind Drake’s “Best I Ever Had”?
That song was made in maybe January I think. Drake hit me on his Blackberry and had an idea for a song, he spit me the hook. Because you got voice notes on Blackberry I was listening to the hook over and over and I made a beat around it. I sent it to him and he liked it. He sent me back a finished song in like 5 hours.
Please clarify once and for all how Kardinal Offishall and Drake ended up with the same beat for “Bring It Back” and “Forever”?
Drake was doing a lot of hooks for me and I was sending him beats so I could shop some stuff. He did a hook on that beat and I sent it to Kardi. He liked it but he didn’t end up using it. Drake ended up doing a song with Wayne and it leaked on the Internet. Then Kardi didn’t want to use it. He had Rock City re-sing the chorus and his version leaked on the Internet as well. It was pretty much just that. People took it out of context and said Drake is biting. Two people wanting to same beat happens all of the time.
How much of Drake’s album are you producing?
I don’t know just yet. I just have a few joints we’ve done so far but I don’t know exactly what the story is because Drake’s on the road all the time and he’s getting beats from everybody. Just depends on the outcome when it’s finished, but hopefully the whole thing.
Did you produce “Successful” as well?
No, that was produced by Forty 40. He is also Drake’s engineer.
So how did you meet Drake?
I met Drake in 2005 or 2006 and my friend introduced us over IM. He was like “this is my dude, he’s on TV, he plays Jimmy on Degrassi and he’s rapping now and he’s amazing.” I’mma be real I kind of slept on [him]but he added me on the messenger and sent me a song called “Money.” Ever since I heard that song I was like this kid is sick.
How did it feel when “Best I Ever Had” blew up the way it did?
It felt great. Drake has been making hits and people are finally recognizing that this dude makes hit songs and he’s not an artist whose music you listen to once. He makes timeless music and it felt good to be part of that. But I don’t dwell on that too much. I want another #1 record.
Who are some other Canadian producers we should be looking out for?
We got a lot. Mega Man did “Congratulations” for Drake. Rich Kid is really dope. Obviously we got Saukrates who is a legend in Toronto. I know I’m forgetting some people but there are a bunch.
You’ve got three beat battle championships, when did you enter your first competition?
I was always that kid in h.s. that makes beats and my dude and his cousin were putting together this Battle of the Beat Makers when I was 17. I signed up and made it into the competition and the first time I was the youngest person in the competition. I had never won anything in my life and I ended up winning three years in a row.
Do you use any hardware with FL or just by itself?
I just started using a midi-keyboard but I used to use my typing keyboard to do the melodies. People don’t believe it.
Did you do “Don’t You Have A Man”?
Yeah, I co-produced that with D-10, another guy that produces for Drake. I did the drums and he did the keys.
After Drake’s album do you have any artists your producing for yourself?
I have this singer from Canada named August who is very dope and trying to get on other projects.
So are you actually working on Detox?
I’ve been submitting beats to Dre. I’m not in there with him but he was on the Kardinal and Clipse remix and he liked that beat a lot said he wanted a beat like “Set It Off.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned coming up as a producer?
Not being complacent. If you get a song out there you have to keep riding the wave. Someone is always going to have a next hot song. And be consistent.