Meet Priority Beats, the husband and wife team that has been producing some of the biggest records for Polo G, Lil Baby, Anuel AA, Stunna 4 Vegas, Future, City Girls, Lil Tecca, Jacquees and more. Their recent placement on Polo G’s “Wishing For A Hero” – where they recreated Tupac’s classic “Changes” melody – is arguably some of the finest production we’ve heard all year. Their recent work on Anuel’s Emmanuel album, on the track Antes y Despues, also blew us away. But the young Atlanta-based couple wasn’t always producing platinum records for hip-hop’s biggest superstars.
Having recently welcomed their first child with a second on the way, wife Ashley (27) and husband Derrico (25) went from working nine to five jobs and struggling to pay bills to signing a six figure deal with Sony ATV this year. They both have masters degrees and have been grinding for years before their come-up, making their story even more inspiring for anyone who feels stuck in their career.
Ashley Peck is also signed to hip-hop royalty label QC as an engineer. Together the couple is developing emerging QC signee Jayy Fox. Between engineering, producing and artist development, Priority Beats is becoming a one-stop hit record shop. Read on to learn more about how they got started and turned their passion for music into a full-time career.
RESPECT.: Where you from and how did you both fall in love with hip-hop?
DP: I am originally from Burbank, California. My parents moved to Georgia when I was two and I graduated high school in Georgia. [Earlier disclaimer: I answer questions as if I was receiving an interview from my collegiate basketball experiences so i apologize in advance if they are heavily basketball influence haha.]
AP: I am originally from Philadelphia, PA. I moved to Greenwood, SC when I was 14, then Atlanta, GA in 2017 at 23. I fell in love with hip-hip as a child listening to Notorious BIG, Beanie Sigel, etc. on the radio. When I was nine years old my grandmother purchased a computer where I began to download different genres of music.
RESPECT: Who are your musical influences?
DP: My Musical influences were Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg as a kid. I still listen to Dre’s albums.
AP: Initially, my music influence was Alicia Keys. I taught myself how to sing from her music. It branched off to various artists as I grew older, such as Drake.
RESPECT.: How did you two meet and make the connection with the music?
DP: Ashley and I met on Instagram. I was home from college and was looking for more ways to get my music out there. A friend of mind suggested I find songwriters and sure enough, my wife had “Actress, Singer, Songwriter” in her bio. I knew at that moment it was TIME to work!
AP: Derrico and I met on Instagram. Ironically, my cousin was staying with me for the summer doing an internship; him and Derrico played college basketball together. Initially, I ignored his DM because so many people were hitting me up “to do music,” but when I realized my cousin was familiar with him, I gave him a shot. My cousin claimed he was a great guy and even better producer, so I went to personally meet him with my cousin one night. We made a few songs together and the rest was history. I was very attracted to him at first sight, so it actually caught me by surprise. I didn’t “shoot my shot” until a few days later while we were waiting in the studio and had a very intellectual conversation. It was at that moment that I thought we may have been meant for each other.
RESPECT.: When working on projects together how do you balance the chemistry with the team work history?
DP: Honestly, she keeps me in line. My wife does not mind telling me when something sounds “off” and I appreciate her criticism (she does not know this).
AP: Being in love with my business partner tends to make the balance both easier and harder. Easier because I’m so comfortable with doing whatever I feel around him, but harder because I’m very sensitive. So, the criticism sometimes goes over my head. But I have to realize he’s only instructing me to get better and out of honesty and love.
RESPECT.: How does it feel when the hard work pays off?
DP: Surreal. There is only one word to explain it. Honestly, it still feels so crazy to believe those skipped college parties, late night studio sessions, long hours away from one another. This lifestyle and road to success is definitely a journey and there are a lot of ups and downs through the journey that will test your passion and your confidence. At the end of the day, a your true character is shown when you’re experiencing adversity.
AP: When the hard work pays off, it feels like a job well done. We put so much dedication and passion into our craft that it makes the pay off so much more rewarded than just a monetary value.
RESPECT.: You just recently dropped “Wishing for a Hero” for Polo G. What was the process like creating the music and the story?
DP: This story is quite funny actually, my co-producers The Superiors are a production team based up north. We met through a collaborative project on Polo G’s debut album Die a Legend. To produce Lost Files my wife and I created the piano melody, our co-producer DeTrackz added percussion and The Superiors gave it some hard drums to finish it off. Fast forward to Polo G’s Sophomore album and I get a text from The Superiors requesting a sample flip of Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is,” which Tupac also sampled in his original master piece “Changes.”
Keep in mind this was around 3 p.m. and I was at work. I normally got off at 8 p.m. but called my wife and expressed the importance of this sample flip. I let my boss know I was leaving for this placement opportunity and my entire workplace knew I had one goal: get a 9-5 check and make beats in the studio until we get that one hit. All we need is one and I was leaving my job. I’m 6’5 and weigh 210 pounds. My body frame screams NBA, not 9-5 cubicle sitting in a chair. However, my passion for music grew stronger and I had no choice but to choose.
AP: The process behind “Wishing for a Hero” was very long and tedious trying to recreate such a classic, historical, and meaningful song. Originally I provided the vocals for the hook which was passed as a reference to BJ The Chicago Kid. I wish we could’ve kept the original because it felt so powerful but the end result was much better!
RESPECT.: What are you currently working on?
DP: After signing with Sony, I feel like answering that question with the word “EVERYTHING.” That’s simply because our manager Verse is constantly texting us about multiple opportunities and artists working on music. Sometimes I think we are overwhelmed and then I realize there are so many other producers just now starting their journey and watching their first Tutorial. We came a LONG WAY and this is the best feeling to have. I’d rather be overwhelmed from everyone requesting Priority Beats!
AP: Currently, we are working on numerous projects for various artists; Sony and non-Sony. We’re not only producing, but also songwriting.
RESPECT.: Any advice you have for upcoming producers about how to stay in the business long-term?
DP: For my young producers and upcoming producers, keep your nose clean. Don’t sign any contracts without representation and please learn this business before anything. I’ve always said making beats is a two man job. Some are able to achieve this with teams, themselves, or like me, my partner, spouse, and best friend! Now in the future we plan to expand on our Production Team and help upcoming producers understand the business and act as a mentorship label in a sense. To educate and represent a brand that is excited to expand.
AP: Literally never give up even when the road gets rough because it will get rocky. Not everything goes as planned always and damn near everything changes at a very fast pace. I say that to say stay grounded and humble. My motto is “if you bless others, God will provide for you.” Stand firm in what you believe and it’ll all work out. You aren’t given these desires for no reason.
RESPECT.: Anyone you would like to work in the future?
DP: I’d love to work with more upcoming artists that have confidence in themselves. It’s cool to get placements but when you’re building a friendship and relationship with an artist, there is no better feeling than watching the hard work pay off. We encourage upcoming artists. I have not been wrong about my opinions on music. Every hit record that is out, when I heard it, I knew if the record was a HIT or miss!
AP: I’ve always wanted to work with Drake. It’s been my dream to be a background vocalist for him as well as produce and engineer him. I’d love to write for him and build that relationship. Same goes for Beyoncé and Wiz Khalifa.
RESPECT.: What’s next for you in the upcoming year?
DP: For the longest time, I told my wife I want to be more than a beat maker. It’s cool landing placements but no one wants to “chase” placements. Essentially it’s like chasing a check if you were working 9-5. Unfortunately, this is not everyone’s story because chasing placements can cause you to consistently search for that “feeling” of landing a No. 1 hit and the truth is only a small percentage of creators actually maintain success after receiving a No. 1. Success to my definition is having your own empire/label where artist development is occurring, and a team of musicians and engineers are coming together to create each selected artist that makes it through. I’d like to eventually create my own program or label that covers a lot of points. If run correctly, a lot of lives can change. Music is therapy regardless of your values and beliefs. Music is therapy.
AP: More songs and interviews added to our catalog and a new baby. The recognition we truly deserve because it’s been a long road and it hasn’t been easy, especially being a woman behind the scenes.
RESPECT.: What does RESPECT. mean to you?
DP: Speaking from a basketball coach/professional, respect to me is the result of your effort. Ultimately we live life searching for a purpose. The greats leave a legacy that others look up to. I’d like to leave a legacy that ultimately commands the respect of others due to our efforts. One thing you cannot question is my efforts because my parents instilled in me to always give my best effort. As long as your best effort is given, you can live with the results. Respect is earned and if you’re demonstrating your best effort with consistency your respect level will continue to exceed others.
AP: To me, RESPECT. means loyalty, truth, and honesty; honor. Anything you have respect for, you hold to a higher standard and/or regard for as well as treat with precious care.
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