Dallas-based producer, J. White Did It, has been through the motions when it comes to the pursuit of happiness in the music industry but past the rain, the sun shines bright. He is best known for producing Cardi B’s chart-topping singles like “Bodak Yellow”, “I Like It”, and “Money.” The 34 year old producer continued his rise into stardom recently producing tracks on Gucci Mane’s latest album, Delusions of Grandeur.
RESPECT.: How did you first get involved in music?
J White: I started in music back in Kansas. I grew up in church like most black people. We grew up in church and playing music. I was drumming for church and from there I just began my love for music. My grandmother raised me, so I would always get to go to church early because she cooked for the church. I would play piano and drums and practice what I saw and heard the night before because I would be in church every day. There would be singing programs and that was around age 10 or 11. Around 15, when I was in Kansas my uncle bought me a keyboard from Radio Shack and that’s when I began to program beats. I thought I was going to make it. Man, I thought I was that dude at 15. I was like “yeah man I’m about to be rich at like 17 or 18. I’m about to get real big making beats.”
What’s crazy is like my very first beat I made, I actually was in high school. I was a freshmen and this dude he was like “You make beats?”. I was like yeah I make beats, I’m lying though.. I’m thinking I don’t know how people made beats. I had a love for Timberland. He did beat-boxing on his tracks and I didn’t know. I had a tape player and a book so pretty much I was beat-boxing and beating on the book. I gave the dude the tape that I beat-boxed and made with my hands. The dude was like “This ain’t no beat.” I was like “Yeah it is dog” but I didn’t understand what a beat was until I got that keyboard . When I was 15 I kept going on. I thought I was going to be on bro and from there I kept going at it man. It was a lot of trials and tribulations. There were a lot of people that helped me along the way. I had friends that had better equipment than me. One of my good friends pretty much let me use his keyboard after the keyboards that I had. He had a Yamaha Motif. That was like the Golden Bridge right there so I was like I’m in here, in here now. In 04′ my quality got way better man. It got real good. I thought I was going to be on then but I wasn’t. I graduated in 2003 and my grandmother who raised me passed. I was 18 just out of it and what not. All I had left in my life that I thought I had left was my mother, my sister, my uncle and the music. Everything else was kind of obsolete at the time. Also around that time, I was going to join the military. I went to MEPS and did the whole one-two steps. I did the whole thing. Pretty much, on the opposite square end my cousin called me and was like “Nah, you don’t want to all do that.” I was like “Not, really but it is good job for me. I can do my music in the military.” This was during the war bro like deep in it like when it was cracking, cracking. I called my recruiter and I left. I called my cousins who I was staying with and they were older, I was like “I’m not doing the military anymore.” They were mad at me but you know I just kept going man from like 04′ to 06′, every day I was just making beats and making more beats. I was in a group with my friends and I was just honing in on my skills. I made 10 beats a day because Kanye West said he made 5 beats a day. I said ok hell if he did five I have to do 10 then. That’s just what it is.
RESPECT.: How important is sampling when it comes to producing?
J White: If that’s what you want to do, you have to know what it is. I feel like there is an art to sampling. I feel like if you are going to sample another record or a vibe, I feel like you have to know what to pull from and create that energy. You have to know what you’re doing. Pretty much it’s a feeling just like when I sampled Cardi B’s “I Like It”, when I chopped that up. It’s like these are the best takes from the sample, let’s put it together and make it a vibe.
RESPECT.: Who are some of your musical inspirations and influences?
J White: Timberland, Quincy Jones, Juicy J, DJ Paul, Lil Jon, Jazzy Phae, Scott Storch and Dr. Dre. These were the type of producers back in the day that I would emulate myself after. I would take their beats and copy their beats and see if I can redo it.
RESPECT.: Explain your style of music, what is your signature?
J White: My drums, bro. The way I program my drums and the way I transition my music, I feel like that’s my thing. It’s like a roller-coaster vibe pretty much. It’s like playing with your mental. Just like how “Bodak Yellow” was created and “I Like It” and the other records I’ve done like “Money” and what not you know.
RESPECT.: You have made a string of hits as well as assisting Cardi B with her first Grammy nomination and win. How was your process getting to that point of the music not knowing that you’re just one hit away?
J White: I mean, each record that I’ve made I felt like it was that record, personally. It was something about “Bodak Yellow.” That track and beat when I made it, it just felt good. I didn’t think it would do this, that it would be almost Diamond now. It wasn’t the thought. My process watching a lot of Pursuit of Happiness and just trying to create that record. I felt like I created that record over and over again. Now I feel like the world is finally getting the opportunity to hear out what i’m trying to do.
RESPECT.: As far as the game is right now with producers, what is the right energy to have in the game right now?
J White: I go to the field and I go to the lab and do whatever. I really don’t know another producer’s process or what makes them tick. I just go off of what I feel man. It’s no science with me or superstition. I just do what I do. I really don’t have no certain way. I might feel like one way today and another way tomorrow. I’m just going to shoot and I’m going for the bull’s-eye.
RESPECT.: You recently produced five tracks for Gucci Mane’s new album, Delusions of Grandeur and brought forth the new single “Love Thru The Computer”. Is this going to be the Summer Anthem of the Year?
J White: I hope so. We have to let the people decide. I think it’s going to be dope. I’ve been reading the reviews. Alot of people were like “What the hell, Gucci on a bounce beat?” It’s either you’re going to love it, you’re going to like it or you’re just not used to it yet. I feel like this is the dark horse of the summer. It’s going to grow on everybody and everyone is going to talk about it.
RESPECT.: What advice can you give to upcoming producers about staying the course of their process?
J White: Just trust the process and respect it. You have to believe in what you are doing and believe it more than anyone else. I feel as beat makers and producers you can never be at your peak. You always have to study and at the end of the day don’t be afraid to fail and don’t be afraid to lose everything in order to gain it all. Don’t stop learning. Before our conversation, I was working but I was studying as well. I was studying other people that I can use with my game so I can be better. Whether you’re young or old it doesn’t matter when you started doing music. It might be something that you’re doing that I can learn from.
RESPECT. What else do you have in store for the remainder of 2019?
J White: Honestly, the same hard work. I went in with Usher and that was a dope experience. I cut two records with him. I went in with Mary J. Blige already and cut two records with her. What I’ve been focusing on is my label and company which is More Hits on the Way Records. I’ve really been scouring Instagram, Twitter, and the clubs or wherever else looking for that perfect female rap artist that I want to break for me and what I feel like a female artist should sound like. That’s what I’m focusing on with More Hits on the Way.
RESPECT.: What does RESPECT. mean to you?
J White: In life, RESPECT. means respecting yourself and knowing what your actual purpose is in life. You have to know that it is okay to fail and be good. You have to respect yourself to know your truth within yourself. I feel like there are a lot of people out there that are not respecting themselves as in their calling. I don’t want to be spiritual and get into God but there are some things that we are good at that we run away from because we want to be the next Jay-Z but you might be the next Obama. You might be next whoever. I feel like it’s important to walk in your light and be the very best that you can be. You might be the person who comes up through the ranks of McDonald’s and own your own or a chain of McDonald’s. Respect yourself enough to give yourself that opportunity. I feel like that’s the same way in music; it all comes together like that.
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