One of the hardest working people coming out of the new Houston rap scene is Justin Riley a.k.a. BeatKing. The 31-years-old rapper/producer has been churning out music within the area for years. However, some wise moves literally made 2014 his breakout year due in part to four key projects. Yes, Club God released four quality mixtapes that sonically felt worlds apart.
The first was the sequel to 2013’s Gangsta Stripper Music properly titled Gangsta Stripper Music 2. Obviously meant for the strip clubs, the mixtape featured the Fat Pimp assisted “Smile.” Not only did the track become a local hit within itself, blogs and media began to take notice. Literally a month later, BeatKing released the slower paced Pole Sex EP which had 2014’s most fascinating cover art. However, nothing could prepare Hip Hop fans for the collaborative Underground Cassette Tape project with Gangsta Boo. Named one of HipHopDX’s most important mixtapes of last year, it served an important role for both BeatKing and Boo. Rounding out his projects was an epic homage to H-Town’s past, present and future through Houston Vs. Everyone.
Looks like BeatKing hasn’t let up for the new year either. Released in early February, Club God 4 became another grand entry for a series that’s been around since 2011. Featuring guest appearances from Riff Raff, Chamillionaire, Gangsta Boo, Danny Brown and Lil Keke among others. Expect that album to serve as a meaty appetizer for the rest of 2015.
Speaking with DX, BeatKing explains his love for Three 6 Mafia and Houston’s place in Southern Hip Hop.
BeatKing Discusses The Internet And ‘Underground Cassette Tape’
DX: Let me start by saying your “Ebola Freestyle” was the greatest loosie of 2014.
BeatKing: Awww man. [Laughter] That’s just me being childish man.
DX: That track was like a hybrid of turn up and flat out hilariousness.
BeatKing: I appreciate that man I’m like the class clown. I’m a comedian too so it’s easy. I’ve been working ProTools my whole life so it was nothing having it out there in two hours and freestyling that shit. I’ve been doing that shit for years.
DX: Considering the amount of content you’re able to pump out at a high rate, where do you find the time to enjoy the world of internet memes?
BeatKing: Man I’m always on the internet. We all are. When you’re on the toilet, you have your phone with you. We’re always on the internet. I’m mostly doing shows, on radio or something but when I’m not doing that or in the studio, I’m on the internet. If you want to see some funny ass shit, it’s there. For real, we all see that shit.
DX: My favorite mixtape of 2014 was also Underground Cassette Tape which seemed like a perfect blending of classic southern Hip Hop and technology considering the fact that you and Gangsta Boo never met each other during the project’s inception. How do you view the reception of that project several months later?
BeatKing: Already man, appreciate that. Three 6 Mafia is my favorite rap group of all time. I idolize them all. That’s how I do. Being able to work with Boo period was insane to me. I’m executive producing her new EP right now it took me back into that mode I was in last year. We just did the project together last year and didn’t know it was going to blow up like that. I just listened to it the other day and really understand why people liked it so much. It was very dark and very hood. We didn’t care about a single or non of that shit. We just did some raw ass shit. It was just Memphis culture and H-Town culture put together. From the skits to the production and all that, it was tough. We’re working on her EP right now and going in that direction. When we work together, we can’t help that shit and start thinking about old shit that we like. I’m a real Three 6 fanboy. It’s always dope working with her. She’s my favorite female rapper.
DX: Are you guys actually going to be in the same place physically when you work on the EP?
BeatKing: We haven’t met yet but we talk damn near everyday. When we go to SXSW, that’ll be our first time meeting. We’re going to do some videos and may get into the studio. For the most part, we’ve just been emailing. The crazy thing is that we don’t think nothing of it but everybody can’t do that. Most people can’t work like that and have something come out that good.
DX: Has your relationship with Gangsta Boo given you access to other members of Three 6?
BeatKing: Naw for the most part. Lil Wyte followed me back. [Laughter] Frayser Boy followed me back. I’ve met Juicy J twice but I never introduced myself for real, for real. It not like he didn’t appreciate or know who I was at the time. I figured I’d get to meet him again in the future and really get a chance to talk to him. This time he’ll know about my situation. I haven’t met DJ Paul yet. I mean I’ve developed my whole style around those guys.
BeatKing Explains The Role Strip Clubs Play In Pushing Music
DX: You also dropped Gangsta Stripper Music 2 over the summer. How exactly did you plan your 2014 roll-out?
BeatKing: The thing is, I been making beats for the last five years. I been making music for the last five years working hard. Last year, people started noticing me. Last year, I started getting support from the blogs and publications. I didn’t have a publicist so it was all real. Just like we’re talking. I didn’t have to pay anybody to get to you. When Gangsta Stripper Music 2, it was a good blend of what I do. You had the trap shit, the strip club shit and had a slow song called “Smile” that did real good on radio out here. It was just a lot of elements. That was the first time me and Gangsta Boo were introduced to each other through the internet. That mixtape sparked our relationship. I also dropped a slow mixtape called Pole Sex. Still aggressive but fuckin type songs. Then I dropped a Houston vs. Everybody mixtape almost featuring everyone from the city. I didn’t mean to roll it all out without warning but it sort of just happened.
DX: You also released Gangsta Stripper Music 2 last year as well. Some call strippers the new A&R in some respect, is there some truth to that notion?
BeatKing: Oh yeah it’s true. What I peeped is when you making a single, the best way for it to get hot is for it to be a club song because you don’t have to put any real money into it. If it’s jamming, it’s going to grow legs and the DJ is going to support it. That’s the best way to get the music in front of a mass amount of people every weekend. If you’re a lyricist, it’s going to take money, it’s going to take a lot to get music to a big mass of people without a label or machine behind you. You have to go broke or have an investor and all that shit. When you make a club hit, that shit connect to you, you not lying on these songs and that’s really what you do; people feel that shit , you grow faster. Strippers of all people, if they feeling the song, they’re going to dance to it and request it for their show. If they keep playing the song, everyone starts to make money off of it. I be in there eating though, I don’t be trickin. I be there eatin wings.
DX: I feel you. That’s one of the reasons why I go to the strip club myself.
BeatKing: For real man, there ain’t nowhere else you can get chicken at 3AM man. Straight up.
DX: What would you say is the fundamental difference between Houston strip clubs in comparisons from Atlanta or Miami?
BeatKing: For the most part man, strip clubs are the same. The only difference is the music you hear. You go to an Atlanta strip club, you’re going to hear stuff from Atlanta artists you’ve probably never heard of before. It’s the same way here in Houston. You come here to Houston strip clubs, you’re going to hear Sauce Twinz, BeatKing, Chedda Da Connect and shit you haven’t heard before. Houston has a big profile now, everybody got a hit single. Everybody turning up. I’m excited because I’m involved this time. Ten years ago, I was twenty-one watching Slim Thug and them on BET’s Uncut.
DX: Yeah man, I use to live in Houston and one of the first things I did was go to The Blue Flame.
BeatKing: Ah yeah man you need a change. When you come back out here, I’mma take you everywhere man. We have so many strip clubs man. We got Dreams, Highrollers, Crazy Horse and way more
DX: I think I also went to I-10 Cabaret as well.
BeatKing: Yeah you was in the trap man. I mean the bitches there weren’t, you know immaculate. They weren’t exquisit. Naw man, I gotta take you where it really go down. I’m sorry to hear that man. That’s not the flagship stripclubs you’re suppose to take out-of- towners. They had you in there with the ugly bitches with a body. Man, fuck with me next time you come out here.
DX: Fa sho bruh! Last month you dropped Club God 4 and that series is nearly four years old. How exactly has your approach to music making changed over time.
BeatKing: On the artist side, I’ve been making more anthem music. For the most part, I was known as the person who made twerk songs. In the black world, twerk is kind-of almost dead. Last year when Miley Cyrus went commercial, it was cool at all the colleges and whatnot. For the most part now, you go to the clubs and all you hear is anthems. Just look at “Flick Of The Wrist” or “Coco,” it’s all about anthems. I’m working on a mixtape now that’s about four songs until it’s complete called Houston 3AM. The whole mixtape is nothing but anthems. Just anthems to turn-up to. That’s because this is what everybody is on right now.
BeatKing Talks Relationship With Danny Brown and Houston’s Current Scene
DX: Club God 4 features the “BDA” remix collaboration with Danny Brown.
BeatKing: Yeah, yeah that’s the homie. He was just hear a while ago and he was like I love Houston.
DX: You worked with Danny Brown on Underground Cassette Tape track “Rambunctious.” What’s a night out like with BeatKing and Danny Brown?
BeatKing: You know what? It takes a lot of responsibility. I’ll just put it like that. It takes somebody like me cause Danny Brown ain’t fake with it. He really do drugs. He really do drugs and turn up like that. We had a 48 hour day. I’m use to that but I was like you want to hit that strip club up too? But naw, he’s super cool man. Basically, that was our first time meeting too. He was there like two weeks ago and said he needed some inspiration for his next album and Danny Brown is pretty much an A&R his damn self. He always know what’s up and what’s hot. He said he was fuckin with my music every since summer of last year with Gangsta Stripper Music 2. I didn’t even know who he was. I knew his music and I knew the guy with the teeth and the hair. But, I didn’t know he was the same person. All of sudden he started tweeting lyrics from my mixtape. Ever since then, that’s been my Detroit brother man. We were just talking yesterday because I’m about to be on his album too.
DX: Dope bruh!!
BeatKing: Yeah I just did a hook for him. He sent me a beat made by Aarab Musik.
DX: Nice!! The “BDA” track samples Juvenile’s “Ha.”
BeatKing: Yeah man we shot the video for that when he came out here.
DX: Oh shit dope bruh! When should we expect that?
BeatKing: Shit, whenever that hoe get through being edited. Trying to make sure it’s perfect.
BeatKing: Hell yeah. I was joking with a friend about that. I’m like he’s from Texas so that nigga was dead serious. He wasn’t playing around. It’s real at Rap-A-Lot.
DX: Where does Houston stand now in terms of Southern Hip Hop?
BeatKing: I say like four or five years ago, what made me stand out was that I was the only one making music for the club. Now, this year, everybody is in the club. Everybody has a club song. Everybody is turning up. Everybody got energy now. Just that now, our identity is still screwed-up. We’re still on lean, we’re still on the slab. For the most part now, we have energy in the clubs now. I think that’s what held us back for years. Not saying we had to copy Atlanta or copy Memphis but H-slang is in the club. That’s where songs start now, in the club. That’s where Atlanta’s strength lies in the club now. Those anthems. Basically you come to Houston, you’re going to go to our clubs and feel that. Texas is like five states, we’re going to get money. The only difference between now and 05 is that we’re not beefing now. We all get along. I can call anybody up and get verses and everyone can call me up for verses. We’re all on some community shit right now.