Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel S. Eriksen aren’t names you typically hear in Hip Hop. That is because the Norwegian duo known as Stargate are just making their way into the genre after adding a few pop hits to their resume (Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” Rihanna’s “What’s My Name,” and Katy Perry’s “Firework” to name a few). After producing Wiz Khalifa’s double-platinum single “Black & Yellow” and his latest “Roll Up,” expect that to change.
The duo spoke to Complex about how “Black & Yellow” went down and fielding requests from none other than Jay-Z.
“We first heard about him from [our manager] Tim. I don’t know where Tim heard about him, but one day Tim came in and played us some mixtape stuff,” Hermansen said. “We were just blown away by his flow, and also his musicality. I think we heard instantly that he had a melodic sense in his approach to writing music, but also in the tracks he chose, and that they had some movement in them.”
“Tim was talking about Wiz way back, at least a year before we actually worked together, Eriksen added. “‘Black And Yellow’ was the second song we wrote. Even back then, just listening to the hook and the beat, we could tell that this was something great from the beginning.”
“He came with his crew, and they all had a blast,” Hermansen continued. “The whole Taylor Gang…He stayed here all night and finished up his verses. We stayed, and made sure that the hook was 100 percent. We worked three or four days I think. We did probably about three or four songs the first session, and then two or three others the second session. ‘Black And Yellow’ took probably about a day. 12 hours. He wasn’t in the booth for 12 hours. He wrote everything here, but who knows. He may have had that idea, and just waited for the right track. I think he did the hook on that one first actually. And we kind of went back and forth a little bit, on the structure, but it was all him pretty much in one go. And he did his verses. I don’t think he even went back and re-recorded anything. What you hear is what he did.”
The Norwegians have produced for Nas in the past (“America” and “Not Going Back”), and may move on to his former rival and boss. “We have people coming to us all the time now. Jay-Z actually came up to me the other day and said ‘I need one of those ‘Black and Yellow’ beats for J. Cole.’ [Laughs.] And then he said, ‘Shit, I need one of those ‘Black and Yellow’ beats for myself.’ So we were like ‘You know where to find us.’”