The remarks didn’t sit well with the West Coast producer, and it pushed him to respond with a few lines aimed at Hitmaka and others — such as Metro Boomin and Southside — on “Slipping Into Darkness” with The Alchemist. From there, the friction between the two spilled over onto social media.
The producer world has been lit up in flames since these two beatsmiths began taking shots at each other, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, as Hitmaka revealed he’s with all the smoke.
During a conversation with HipHopDX for his collaborative album with Jim Jones titled Back In My Prime, the Grammy-nominated producer doubles down on his comments and explains he wasn’t wrong about anything he said about Hit-Boy.
“I love it because it’s part of the game, and it’s all competition, but at the end of the day, I don’t think what I said was false,” Hitmaka says. “Maybe the way I presented it and due to us having a history to where it’s not like we’re not collaborators. We never worked together before, but to be honest with you like I said what I said, and I stand on it.
“I just could have presented it in a better way. I could have said, ‘You know what, Hit-Boy is great at what he does, but I’m more of the mainstream guy.’ There was DJ Premier and there was Puff Daddy, they both existed at the same time, and they were both on similar albums. They both can work with Nas, you know what I’m saying? When they wanted ‘Hate Me Now,’ he pulled up on Puff for an album cut, and I love DJ Premier, and I love Puff, but it’s just different lanes, bro.”
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Hip Hop has always been a place where creatives have to co-exist. They’re all in the same spaces and contributing to the culture that has expanded since DJ Kool Herc held that back-to-school party in August 1973. For Hitmaka, there’s no need for anyone to fuss over their status in the game, as the playing field is already big enough for anyone to shine.
With all the space there is, though, also comes the opportunity to collaborate. Hit-Boy showcased that when he linked up with The Alchemist for the explosive “Slipping Into Darkness” track. Unfortunately, fans won’t see the same for Hitmaka, as he has no interest in collaborating with his newfound rival.
“Absolutely not,” Hitmaka says when asked if he would ever collaborate with Hit-Boy. “There’s enough room for both of us to breathe in this lane, and it’s enough room for both of us to exist ’cause we both been existing this whole entire time this whole thing been going on before this little rift on the internet began. But in all actuality, no thank you, and I’m just continuing to do me. I don’t know what aesthetic he brings to what I’m creating, like I got my pocket and he has his.”
He continues: “Hit-Boy might want to lean into the boom bap records and serve that crowd. I might want to cater to mainstream radio, and like I’m a keep it honest, I want women playing my shit. I don’t see no chicks playing his shit like that.”
Hitmaka’s comments made Jim Jones light up with excitement and he chimed in telling his Back In My Prime partner: “Here we go. This is why the shit is going on cause you don’t stop. You gotta stop.” But Hitmaka reassured him that he won’t be stopping anytime soon.
Hitmaka knows Hip Hop is a competitive sport and that artists are always gunning for the top spot. The last thing he wants to do is take his foot off the gas and have his peers think they can keep up with him, especially with the journey he said he took to get to where he’s at today.
“To be honest with you, a lot of people don’t understand like I’m still Yung Berg,” says Hitmaka. “I know what it’s like to go through adversity. I know what it’s like to kinda like have the whole industry turn its back on you, kinda like you off limits. I done been in Hip Hop purgatory before, so to me, it’s kinda like I know there’s somebody that wants my spot. As you see, with whatever happened on the internet, there are people that want to be in the position that I’m in, so I can’t take my foot off the gas.
“This is my life. I don’t have no kids, no significant other, this shit is really my life and I take this shit very seriously. So I’m just trying to put that work in and let all my people that’s around me get inspired because if I’m the top dog and I’m at the studio first, and I’m the n-gga with the bag, then it’s like it should bleed into my crew. That’s all I’m focused on.”
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Hitmaka came into the industry when he was at least 12 years old and went through every facet of the business, from becoming an artist to producer to music executive. He looks at the game much differently than others who may have received a co-sign from established people, something he says he never had.
DMX signed Hitmaka to his Bloodline Records in the early 2000s, but those dreams were shattered when he was shipped away to military school. He returned in 2003 and made his debut years later as Yung Berg and after moderate success at the tail end of the 2000s, he transitioned into becoming a full-time producer.
“My shit from the muscle like I ain’t never had no Kanye [West] take me under his wing and shout me out and tell you I’m the big dog and I’m a great producer,” Hitmaka said. “I worked with all these talented people on my own and got my shit off the hip. There is no co-sign, there is nothing else applied to that and if you just go and pay attention to what the radio saying and go back to what these women are saying I didn’t say nothing wrong I just coulda presented it in a better way.”
Although he understands how he could have worded his comments better, Hitmaka is still standing tall and willing to put up his catalog of hits against anyone, including Hit-Boy. He believes their respective catalogs are “beautiful things,” and fans should be able to witness the greatness that would come from such an event, but he claims Hit-Boy doesn’t want the challenge.
“I don’t care if he gets me with just one song, we got 19 more after that, my boy,” he says confidently. “We can serve this one up since it’s already on the platter. I said I wanted to do a Verzuz with Mustard, he got upset, got in his feelings and went on the internet and to do the same type of thing. I’m hogging up a large percentage of volume in music and just projects so it’s more so like whoever really want it because I’m confident in my 20.
“I’m a be honest n-ggas don’t even know that I co-wrote Pop Smoke’s ‘Christopher Walking,’ that’s my record. There’s no Hitmaka tag on that record so what happens when I bomb one of them or something like that. N-ggas don’t know that I co-produced ‘John’ by Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. There’s no Hitmaka tag on that. N-ggas do not know that I’m a co-producer and co-writer on French Montana featuring Drake’ No Stylist.’ They don’t know that I’m involved in a record called ‘Jaded’ by Drake with Ty Dolla $ign. What are we talking about here? I’m the underdog to smoke that man out his boots, right out those Chuck Taylors.”
Jim Jones suggests that a Verzuz of that magnitude would open the door for all types of artists to perform their hits with both producers, which leads to Hitmaka bringing up Hit-Boy’s frequent collaborator, Big Sean.
“Big Sean is his best friend. He’s done a bunch of work with Big Sean in the recent past,” he says. “He can play a Big Sean record…I produced and co-wrote Big Sean’s biggest solo record in his whole career, ‘Bounce Back.’
“Let’s get more interesting with this. My OG Puff Daddy himself jumped in the comments when Timbaland and Swizz had their Verzuz smoke. Diddy tried to jump in there and said, ‘No I think Mike Will and Hit-Boy would be better.’ You go look at my response in the comments I said, ‘No, great let’s do it. Put me on your card so I can smoke him before Jermaine Dupri smokes you. Like let’s do that. Hit-Boy versus Hitmaka, Diddy versus Jermaine Dupri. That’s a night to come out and see.”
Stay tuned for more of HipHopDX’s conversation with Jim Jones and Hitmaka coming soon.