Metro Boomin announced his new record label venture, Boominati Worldwide, in partnership with Republic Records and Universal Music Group in February 2017. Up until this point, the label was home to a number of releases from Metro himself including the Offset & Drake-assisted single “No Complaints” and the 2018 album Not All Heroes Wear Capes.
Now, there is a new face of Boominati Worldwide, directly under the wing of Young Metro. Meet 23-year-old Atlanta native SwaVay, the first and only signee on the producer’s imprint. With an impressive résumé that includes his placement on the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack and his numerous writing credits, SwaVay is finally gearing up to release his debut album through Boominati.
Following the releases of his Pure Infinity and Pure Pack projects, HipHopDX spoke with SwaVay to learn more about his upcoming debut album, his relationships with Metro Boomin and his goals for 2020.
HipHopDX: How are you feeling right now? A lot of stuff is going on for you. You just dropped your EP Pure Pack, which is somewhat of your debut release through Boominati Worldwide and Republic Records. How are things going for you?
SwaVay: I feel, ahhh — I don’t know. I was talking to my friend the other day and I was like, I kind of don’t really feel anything. Like everything is kind of happening so gradually, you know, step-by-step with me. Everything in my life seems like it has kind of been step-by-step.
I take every single step individually and when I’m on that step, it takes me some time. So like I said, everything happens very, very gradually. But, I’m taking it all in and I’m super appreciative — like, nigga my shit was on the hot tracks on Apple Music. Even that I was like, ‘What the fuck?’ But it’s like, I don’t know — it’s kind of weird. I’m kind of excited, but at the same time, it’s like I don’t really feel it because I still live so regularly because everything happens so gradually.
HipHopDX: Speaking in terms of gradually progressing, I wanted to ask you about your progression from strictly producing to being a full-fledged artist. How did you find your voice?
SwaVay: Well, producing for me was always very easy, just because I feel like I always knew what I liked to hear. I said this the other day too when I was talking to somebody — my mom, my parents weren’t really playing shit in the house. Like my dad wasn’t really in my life, but when he would come around he would play the g-funk shit. So, I kind of grew up on hearing a little bit of Dr. Dre, a little bit of Snoop, Mack 10, DJ Quick, like that type of shit.
And my mom was super, super religious. Like to the point where, if my pops wasn’t around, nigga — and he would visit every four years bruh — like I was not hearing that shit. Like not in the car, not nothing. But fortunately for me, she worked a lot, so when she would be at work, I would just be on the music choice channels studying rap, like listening to shit. That’s just what I like, I love the way it sounds.
And from there, I kind of started producing. My mom always knew I had a little niche for music, so she would take me to my uncle’s house and he had like a little studio set up there. I would drum on some tracks and make a few beats there. And then I met my best friend and he’s the one that kind of pushed me to rap. I mean when you’re a kid like everybody kind of freestyles or spits some lil’ bars every now and then, but he was like, ‘You’re actually nice bro, you should really rap, like we should be rap stars.’
Like that is exactly what he said. And I was like, ‘Shit, I’m with it bro.’ So from there it’s kind of like, I never really put the beats down. I still produce a lot of my shit today, but rapping just became everything. And then from there, once I knew that rapping was gonna be what I was doing, I studied everything. And not just what was current at that time. I went back and did my research and just fell in love with everything Hip Hop. And R&B as well.
HipHopDX: Can you speak a little bit about the process of creating your Pure Infinity project? What intentions inspired the project and maybe what point in your life you were at when you made it?
SwaVay: The project took me like three years to make. During that time, I had started it because I had just finished a mixtape before that. I had started it and the first song I had recorded for it was “From Her.” And the version that you hear on the album is the version I recorded, the first and only version I recorded of that song that made it.
From there, so much shit had happened — like I ended up meeting Metro and I ended up signing my deal and getting introduced to the label. Label shit was happening, new management, all this shit. And then on top of that, I was kind of just trying to perfect it. Like I knew Pure Infinity was going to be kind of like a breakthrough project for me, so I wanted to make sure everything was right. And I wanted to make sure from the words to the production that everything made sense, and I really meant everything.
As far as inspiration, I was inspired by life and things I had seen and my own relationships. At the time I had a girlfriend, she really kind of single-handedly inspired the whole shit for real, for real. It’s kind of interesting to see in everyday life that a lot of men become men due to a very special woman in their life — she’s that for me at the time. So, just things that we were going through and just seeing shit in my everyday life and stories that I had heard. I wanted to just make a whole bunch of songs that had longevity to it and was going to last a lifetime.
And I wanted to make sure that it was like the purest version of myself. I wanted to make sure I told nothing but the truth and spoke from the heart — and that’s why it’s called Pure Infinity. I wanted it to just be super pure, me all the way to the fullest, even with my insecurities in music. I didn’t really care if you felt like or I felt like I wasn’t really the best singer or if you felt like or I felt like I wasn’t the best rapper.
I wanted that to not matter. I just wanted it to be pure. If I felt like singing then that’s what I was going to do. If I felt like rapping my life out, that’s what I wanted to do. And the infinity part came from, just because like I said, I’m a big person on longevity man. I’m not like the type of artist who kind of wants to just get in and get out. I want to be here for the long haul, and I want to make music that is going to last forever.
HipHopDX: Was it always in your plans to release the Pure Pack EP as a follow-up to the Pure Infinity project?
SwaVay: Nah. [Laughs] My fault, man, but if you want me to be completely honest with you, Pure Pack was not part of the plan at all. So, with Pure Infinity, I ended up putting the project out myself. I’m signed to Boominati, Republic and shit, but I ended up putting the project out by myself. I put up $100K of my own money to kind of market it and do everything I felt like needed to be done to get the project kind of moving. So, originally I wanted to just keep pushing it and keep pushing the project until my debut came out, but I wanted to push until I felt like it couldn’t be pushed anymore.
And due to the success, the label, they were planning to re-release it. And it got down to it, we had a conversation and they were just like, ‘You know I feel like Pure Infinity is going to be what it’s going to be and it’s already doing that by itself, so you don’t need to re-release it, so how about we just kind of put out some songs, maybe really closer to the project and kind of feed off that and give it more hype?’ And I was just kind of like, ‘OK, bet.’ I’m a big person on like, I don’t like moving backward anyway, so I was like fuck it, let me work on some songs and get em’ all the way right and then we can do that. But yeah, it was not apart of the plan at all bro.
HipHopDX: One line that stood out on the Pure Pack song “Dog Food” was the bar “Real Atlanta nigga/Get you knocked off with your attitude/Never had no pet but I got dog food, cash rules.” I wanted to ask you a bit about the pen game behind that and more specifically, how your background in Atlanta factors into creating tracks like that?
SwaVay: “Dog Food” is a track that’s actually on the album that I am working on right now. And the album is kind of based around Atlanta and them stories and just my life period. It definitely is strongly influenced by Atlanta whether it was the sound, the stories, just the culture period. So the Atlanta part, that’s where it came from. But the dog food part is kind of like a play on words, and I’ve been kind of pushing myself to do that shit a little bit more because I’m a big fan of that shit.
Like when Frank [Ocean] does it, he’ll have like triple entendres and fucking when Kendrick [Lamar] does it, you know when he has deeper meanings to things, I love that shit and I live for that shit. I’m a ‘lyricist.’ Shit like that just gets me going. So, the dog food line is a play on words where it’s like I kind of was talking about a time in my life when I was selling drugs to get what I needed to get done and to live a little bit more comfortably and one of those drugs was the street’s term for heroin, so dog food. But I also kind of wanted to play a little bit on the word dope. Never had no pet but I’m still dope, so that’s where it kind of came from. That is kind of cap though, I’m not going to lie. That is kind of cap though. I did definitely have a dog like a couple of months ago.
HipHopDX: How does it feel to go from growing up in Atlanta and seeing the things Metro Boomin’s been able to accomplish firsthand to becoming an artist on his label and actively working and collaborating with him? What has that creative relationship been like?
SwaVay: That shit’s incredible — like my whole life that was my biggest dream was to sign a record deal. And I didn’t ask to be signed to one of the biggest producers in the world, if not the biggest producer in the world, right now. So it’s like fuck, man, I’m extremely thankful. I’m honored to just be able to be around Metro and peep some of the things he does, and I’m definitely learning a lot from him and he’s one of the wisest niggas I know.
He’s incredible bro. I can’t even describe it, I’m thankful bro. This is a one in a million type of thing to happen, so it’s just fuck the fact that he believes in me as strongly as he does, especially enough to sign me to this record deal. And then to be the only artist he has signed to him is like fuck, bro, that shit is insane. But we definitely have had talks before where it’s like we know our intentions and our intentions are both to be great, and we know the success we want to model and all that shit. So, I’m honored, straight up!
HipHopDX: What type of things can we expect from Boominati?
SwaVay: Right now, we’re just making sure everything we do is specifically masterful and great not good and hold some type of longevity. Like me and Metro are both — I’ve never met a perfectionist that I feel was just like myself, but he’s the same way. I’m gonna be honest: I’ve seen this man sit in the studio for a whole day focusing on tracklisting. That type of shit. So, I think what you can expect from Boominati is just shit that’s gonna continue down the lane of longevity and masterful type shit. We only want to get better. And I think that people are going to be happy with what we produce, man.
HipHopDX: I also wanted to ask you about your relationship with James Blake, who you have said multiple times is like a big brother or a dad to you. You guys released “Untitled” and “Billy” together this year; can we expect more music from you two?
SwaVay: Yeah, me and James have an album together but we just … James is one of those guys who — he’s like me and Metro — he’s a perfectionist, bro. We’re actually close to wrapping that up, but we don’t have no date on it or nothing yet. Yeah, man, James is more than a friend to me, he’s my brother and like a dad in kind of way, which is weird. We joke about that shit.
HipHopDX: I recently saw those trailer/promos for the Pure Pack tracks. Are we going to see visuals for those?
SwaVay: Yeah, definitely. I’m wrapping up the one for “Dog Food” now, we gone shoot— they want me to shoot all three, but I’m a big person on perfection like I said and if the videos don’t match, if the videos don’t make me excited they not coming out, bro. It’s been a lot of shit.
I’ll be honest, bruh, I’m one of those guys. I definitely know if I have fans or whatever, it’s definitely one of those situations where I know a lot of them would be pissed just because its a lot of shit that wouldn’t come out just because I’m not just going to throw it out there for the fuck of it. If it’s nice and beautiful and it makes me happy, then yeah, by all means. I just gotta get ’em right, bruh.
HipHopDX: With a little over a month left in 2019, I’m curious to hear your goals for 2020 considering the amazing year you already had in 2019. What can we expect or what should we be on the lookout for?
SwaVay: My goals for 2020 are really to make the best debut album I can. I want to make sure it’s up there with the Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, Good Kid M.A.A.D City, all of that shit. I want to make sure this album I’m working on right now satisfies me and beats all my expectations.
I definitely don’t want to hear the narrative that I am a slept-on artist no more in 2020. I kind of want people to wake up to the sound and kind of just be, if not a household name, then close to it. And I just want to make the best music, bro, that I possibly can in 2020. Have the best videos, the best merch, get more connected to fans, all that shit, man.
Stream SwaVay’s Pure Infinity and Pure Pack projects below.