Los Angeles, CA – Taking the lead from the sound New Jack Swing pioneer Teddy Riley championed back in early ’90s, Bizness Boi’s production can set the tone for any occasion. During the three years he’s called Los Angeles home, the beatmaker has nabbed a Grammy nomination for his work on 6LACK’s debut album Free 6LACK and produced major placements for PARTYNEXTDOOR’s sophomore debut PARTYNEXTDOOR 3.
Hailing from Milwaukee, Bizness Boi could easily be considered one of the forerunners pushing forward a more revitalized R&B sound. Digging through his own crates, Bizness Boi was gracious enough to put together a smooth R&B Spotify playlist for HipHopDX. He also speaks with us about his experience getting into the music industry and the sacrifice he made in his quest to fulfill his dreams.
PARTYNEXTDOOR — “Don’t Know How” — I was in Hollywood in my kitchen just cooking. I had got these new drums and these sounds. I probably cooked that beat up in 20-30 minutes and sent it to him. He hit me that same night and was like this pack is crazy! Then the next day he tells me, we got a smash, the label loves it, we’re going to make it a single. We dropped it a week or two before the album dropped.
Ye Ali — “Rodeo” — Me and Th3ory made that beat. We started with the vocal sample and put the melodies in the backend and then I just did the drums. We made that beat at probably 2:00 a.m. one night at the crib just vibing out and then Ye heard it and he was going crazy. I think he wrote it on the spot and we just recorded it. We just knocked that joint out and the rest is history.
Xavier Omar — “Afraid” — [Xavier Omar] reached out and told me he wanted to work with me but he wanted it to be right and make sure that I got paid. Down the line, maybe two months later he was like Red Bull hit me up and we’re going to do the Red Bull Sound Select. It’s crazy because the day I had the session we was on tour, so I had to leave the show in Oakland, get a few hours of sleep and be at Red Bull at noon. When I pulled up over there we were just talking for an hour about what was on his mind and I made the beat from scratch. He just went into the booth and killed it.
Majid Jordan — “Give Your Love Away” — It’s one of my favorite songs. It sounds like some vintage Janet Jackson … of just the ’90s. That feel good. That club ’90s stuff. The lyrics and the melody and everything about that song is a smash to me.
A.CHAL — “Matrix” — It was a sample and [A.Chal] already had the sample. A.Chal loves my drums so he was like yo I have this idea, pull up! I go to the studio and I finish the beat right on the spot and he said it was going to be one of the singles. He’s another artist who is just blowing up right now.
Baka Not Nice — “Live Up To My Name” — This is probably one of the best songs of 2017. Its just crazy. The writing the melodies, the beat, it’s just like a club banger. That’s probably like one of my favorite club bangers this year.
K. Forest — “Reverse” — That’s a smash for sure. I rock with K. Forest a lot and he dropped that song a few months back. The whole sound of it, the aesthetic, it’s just well put together … the mix, everything.
Blackbear — “Double” — Me, Th3ory and Prep made that beat. Blackbear reached out to me while I was with PARTYNEXTDOOR, and he was like I’ve been hearing your stuff with Party and I need that sound. I sent him a pack around New Year’s and he sent back “double” and said it was going on the album. It’s just a different sound for him. I have a reverse sample in there. I kept it minimum and he killed the lyrics and the harmonies.
6LACK — “MTFU” — Me and [FWDSLXSH] went in on that beat. That one has some real dark sounds. We wanted it dark but we wanted the drums to hit. We didn’t want it too dark to where it scare people away, but dark enough for 6LACK. He’s such an emotional writer, that’s why we gravitate to it because we can all relate. There’s three versions of it.
PARTYNEXTDOOR — “Don’t Run” — Me and Sevn [Thomas] and Larry Sanders. Larry Sanders left the NBA and wanted to live a more free, relaxed life. At this time we are just making beats together and I am showing him the ropes. We ended up making a beat and that’s one of first songs that me and Party got. That was just a dope experience, just cooking up in a mansion and it was just super dope. We just got a different vibe to make beats. I sampled my homies from overseas, they just be sending me crazy loops and stuff.
Guy — “Let’s Chill” — That’s just a classic. It was one of my favorite songs growing up. I remember hearing it back then … like the melodies and chorus. Teddy Riley was doing everything back then, but out of everything he produced that’s probably my favorite. That whole ’90s aesthetic and the aura back then was crazy.
The Sound of Bizness Boi
HipHopDX: How would you describe your music and sound?
Bizness Boi: I got songs like “Afraid” by Xavier that’s pretty melodic and bright. “Don’t Do It For You No More” by PARTYNEXTDOOR is pretty bright. I just try to give people a platform to write on. Sometimes I give them more happy sounds and they’ll pick the more dark sounds. Whatever they have on their heart, they can just spill it on the beat.
DX: How much of your music would you say is inspired by Teddy Riley?
BB: A lot of it. I watch a lot of documentaries and I have just studied him in general and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
DX: Do you feel like you’re helping to bring R&B back to life?
BB: People tell me that but I’m just trying to keep getting better and keep the waves going and provide the world with different vibes. We all go through a lot with different emotions so I try to make beats for every emotion. If you want to club, get some stuff off your chest, all different type of vibes … street shit, whatever.
Working With PARTYNEXTDOOR & 6LACK
DX: When did you begin to realize some of your early sacrifices were beginning to pay off?
BB: When stuff started dropping with PARTYNEXTDOOR. I had credits with Young Thug, Trae Tha Truth and some other stuff but working with Party, and us dropping stuff back to back was crazy. I was a fan at first, but my bro Prep started engineering for him, he’s from Milwaukee too. He moved out here a little after I moved out here.
We dropped “Cuffed Up” with Quavo and “Don’t Do It To Me No More,” then I have the third single on P3, “Don’t Know How.” That was a crazy time for everything to come out at once. Just the way the last year ended with P3 and 6LACK dropping right after and people knowing 6LACK but not really knowing who he was. He blew up fast. He put in a lot of work though, that’s how it goes.
DX: So, after you moved to L.A., how long was it before you got a chance to work with Party?
BB: I moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta and spent about three years there networking. Then I moved here from Atlanta in April 2014. I was grinding in all the studios, hitting events and meeting all these people. Prep moved out here two and half years ago, and the homie Edgar had linked up with Party because he needed an engineer. They’ve been working together ever since. He gave me Party email but he was like, yo don’t send nothing yet we’re still building. I wasn’t trying to mess it up. A few months later I was making some beats and could hear Party on them, so I just sent him some beats. That’s when “Don’t Run” happened. That was the first song we did. Drake actually has a verse on there but it will probably never see the light of day.
DX: That’s unfortunate. Tell me how’d you end up working with 6LACK, though?
BB: I heard his song “Prblms” headed to Malibu. It was like a road trip with me and my peoples, we was like two cars deep. I was like yo, who is this? They told me 6LACK and I was like okay, I got to get hip. I did the Shazam joint, saved it to my phone and looked him up. Probably like a week later Loshendrix, he’s with Sonder and Brent Faiyaz, he plays the guitar and we collab a lot. He had a session with 6LACK, and most of the beats he was playing was our collab. Los hit me the same night, like, “Yo, 6LACK likes our music.”
Me and FWDSLXSH made the “MFTU” beat [on Free 6LACK] and the rest was history. From there everything has been going crazy. The whole year just keep going up. Now, we’re already on the second album and it’s sounding crazy.
I really believe in building a foundation. I like working with people before anybody even really know who they are. That’s what a producer is really supposed to do. Some producers look for the big placements, like the Rihannas and the Beyoncés, when you could be developing your own Beyoncé and Rihanna from the ground up. That’s how I do it. 6LACK, Ye Ali, K. Forest, Xavier Omar, A.Chal. I work like that. I don’t try and chase placements I just live this music organically.
DX: You did a lot of work on Ye Ali’s Traphouse Jodeci. How did you two meet and start working together?
BB: We met through mutual friends in Atlanta. We didn’t make music at first. We ended up moving together in a big crib with me, him, my NBA homie and we was just working, working, working. It happened organically. We was just in the studio creating.
Finding Out About First Grammy Award Nomination
DX: Where were when you found out were nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album for your work on 6LACK’s debut album?
BB: I was at PARTYNEXTDOOR house working on [his] next album. It was like six in the morning…I forget the time. My homie tweeted me like yo my bro Biz is Grammy nominated … I was like oh, shit. At first it was like, let me see what he was talking about because I had to do some research, like how does he know? I don’t want to get all excited. He said it was on the website and that the list came out. I’m always excited, but I’m weird … I’m excited but I need to be working on keep getting better. I need to win the Grammy, I need a #1. That’s just how I am. I’m happy, but I’m never satisfied. I’m always trying to outdo myself. Every year I just try to make it better than the last. It was a dope experience but now I am focused on these albums and making them top-notch.
— Bizness Boi (@Bizness_Boi) November 28, 2017
DX: Can you believe it?
BB: Yeah! I work hard. You just got to like believe in it. Being a human being, you just got to believe in yourself because it’s crazy. When nobody believes in you, you have to believe in yourself. God gave us willpower, he gave us divine energy and if you use the energy right you can have whatever you want.
Since I graduated high school, I knew I was going to do this music and that’s it. I don’t care if I got to be broke, if I got to sleep on couches or use my last to travel. I always moved like that. I was homeless, sleeping on couches, cars, but it was cool though! I was around my people so it was like I’m going through it but I still got good energy around me. It was a crazy balance. Coming up in music is crazy because you have to catch up to your name. You can go five-six years and make a little bit [of money], but you just gotta keep going until you catch up to your name. Your name will be out there, people will know you and think you living this way, but you’re really just trying to get to where you deserve to be. It just makes you appreciate everything.
DX: Did you know anything about the music business when you left Milwaukee?
BB: I knew what I needed to know. It was people getting played out here. At least know the basics and learn from experiences as you go. I was learning about mechanical royalties and licensing, producer fees, publishing side, the writers side, ASCAP and just how to move. I was studying how people moved.
How Bizness Boi Makes A Beat
DX: How involved are you in the music making process? Are you the type to get in the studio with the artist or the type to randomly send your beats out with a prayer?
BB: I barely send beats unless its Party or 6LACK when they’re on the road. Nine times out of ten I’m pulling up to the studio to where we really lock in. I want to know the direction, I want to know how you feeling so we can really make it happen and get the real vibe. I’m not shooting in the dark when I’m sending beats off. At first I used to send beats, but as of recently we gotta hit the studio, I’m pulling up on you.
DX: How do you know when the beat is done.
BB: I just make it until I can’t make the beat no more. I don’t try to force it. Working with writers and singers, I learned to do less with my beats but make them full though. If I through all these sounds and melodies in the beat it’s kind of hard for the writer to get off on their melodies. It would restrict them. Lately, I just make sure it’s very full and very open. If I feel like I got a solid platform, I just let the writer get on there and just do they thing. Then sometimes they’d want post-production to where we will do the whole song but want to add something else in it or make a transition sound even crazier. When I start, I don’t try to have all these sounds in there I just let them do them. Have it simple but full.