Exclusive – The eyes of platinum Pittsburgh producer Girl Talk lights up with a bright glimmer of excitement as he remarks on his approach to the sample-based production he provided for Wiz Khalifa, Big K.R.I.T. and Smoke DZA for their recent Full Court Press collab album.
As RFC head honcho Smoke DZA quietly focused on filling a backwood with Source cannabis’ pineapple mimosa hybrid weed strain, Girl Talk, whose real name is Greg Gillis, explains to HipHopDX the joy he found in finding samples in newer, modern music, rather than digging through crates.
“There are a couple more modern samples on it and I feel like stuff like that is, you know, slips by people, you know, stuff that is more modern, but has an older feel on it,” Girl Talk said in part. “The record with K.R.I.T. and DZA ‘Revenge of the Cool’ that to me sounds like a Parliament sort of like ’70s funk sort of thing.
“And that’s like from the past five years, it’s like a weird band, that like does that style of music — an awesome band! So I think, you know, even though the sonics of it is modern, it kind of channels an older sound. I feel like a lot of times some producers don’t necessarily listen for current stuff as much, but I love, you know, kind of diving in everywhere.”
According to Girl Talk and Wiz Khalifa’s manager, Will Dzombak, work on Full Court Press unofficially began as early as 2017. Remnants of those early sessions between the pair of Pittsburgh creators lie in their collab with veteran Taylor Gang rapper Chevy Woods for “Steam Room,” which was featured on Wiz’s Bong Rips EP.
However, it wasn’t until 2020 when the official framework for the album was laid out, at which point Girl Talk chopped up a portion of R&B singer Michael Wycoff’s 1982 song “Looking Up To You” for Smoke DZA — who was crafting his 10-track Homegrown album.
“I think the ‘Santos Party House’ record that came from the sessions that eventually led the Full Court Press, and you know, I don’t think it was a throwaway or anything,” Girl Talk said. “I really loved the record. It’s just sometimes, I think when I’m putting together a full project, I’m really thinking about, is there anything else that sounds like this? Did we cover any of this?
“There were certain things that I wanted to be on the record that were kind of covered on ‘Santos Party House’ So I wanted to use it for something else. And I was really happy that this wanted to put it on his [Smoke DZA’s] record cuz I thought it stood really well as a single.”
Smoke DZA went on to remark about his experience locking in with Girl talk for “Santos Party House” and explained how he and Girl Talk, whom he refers to as Greg, built a bond due to their dedication to perfection.
“I love working with Greg man,” DZA said. “As you see, I, you know, I can work with Greg on my own time too. Greg is a fucking phenomenal producer. He’s one of the few producers that makes me do shit over. [Both Girl Talk and Smoke DZA share a moment of laughter]. And I respect him. I respect his ears.
“So I don’t fight ’em on it, I just do it. And it pushes me, you know. And then, I love to rap and I love working with creatives. And we all great, and greats learn from greats. So, you know, I love working with Greg man he pushes me to my potential.”
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It’s clear Smoke DZA isn’t the only artist in the industry who respects the musical ear of Girl Talk. In 2019 alone, he helped Tallahasse R&B titan T-Pain launch his overwhelming comeback due to the production handiwork he provided on “Getcha Roll” featuring Tory Lanez.
His biggest highlight came at some point in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to a calculated move by “The Jackie” lyricist Bas, Girl Talk managed to etch his name in the bedrock of Hip Hop history via his contribution to Dreamville’s standout Revenge Of The Dreamers III compilation.
“It’s, it’s crazy because I didn’t go to those sessions, like the legendary Dreamville sessions,” Girl Talk revealed. “That was just me and Bas, doing a song together and then, he got Cozz on it and they were into it, and then it ended up in that album. It was kind of a random thing. And I love working with Bas. We put out another song out called ‘Fallen’. But overall, I was really happy with the way that came out.”
That “random thing” ended up becoming the fan-favorite hit “Outta Pocket” from ROTDIII. The standout track also serves as yet another timestamped relic of Girl Talk’s prolific genius and prowess in the art form of sample-based production, due to his ability to seamlessly combine samples of Nelly’s hallmark “Air Force 1’s” hit with an obscure sample from pop-rock band Gong’s 1975 track “Bambooji.”
In the end, Girl Talk and Bas’ collaboration resulted in a platinum certification for the producer after the entire album became the most collaborative LP to ever go platinum. The entire saga helped change Girl Talk’s sentiments as a producer, ultimately paving the way for Full Court Press.
“I was just kind of surprised that, you know, it landed on that album,” he said. “And I think, you know, in my experience I used to kind of have to be in control of everything myself with my own stuff. So I think the more collaborative work I’ve done, the more you see it is good to just get out there and do as much stuff as possible. Cause you never know where something’s gonna end up.”
Stream Full Court Press below.