‘This that RZA meets Dilla shit’-Westside Gunn
That’s a line from ‘Camouflage Hilfiger’, a raucous solo cut from our guest Juelz White’s debut album ‘This Shit Aint Free’. Bold? Sure, but it does help describe how Juelz goes from jazzy somber productions to tracks that could soundtrack a riot. Using a combination of well-flipped samples, live instruments and an endless supply of cracking drums the man cooks up a lot of flavors. After producing all of Turbin (Gold Chain Music)’s Sean Sisero album Juelz went on to release TSAF and the stellar Ricky Williams EP. We caught up with him to discuss these projects and his future plans
RD: What’s your history? You are a relatively new artist to us
JW: I started making beats in 2009 when I was 17. Grew up around a lot of jazz and classic rock. My dad has been playing bass for 50 years, that’s the instrument I pay the most attention to.
RD: You produced a full-length for longtime GCM member Turbin, how did that relationship come about?
JW: We met through a mutual friend when I was 21. He had taken a liking to my beats and wanted to start working together. Over the next few years we became good friends while putting together the Sean Sisero LP. During the making of, I met Planet Asia, Phil The Agony, Dirty Diggs, Rah Digga and more artists that I was able to build a relationship with.
RD: Take us behind the scenes for the making of ‘This Shit Aint Free’. It features everyone from Planet Asia/Tristate to newer favorites like Westside Gunn/Conway and Hus Kingpin. What was the selection process like? How did you decide who to put on songs together?
JW: It was magic, and it started with Gunn blessing us with a 3 minute song instead of just a 16 bar verse. Then I had to follow it up quickly with another hard joint, that’s when I hit fashawn and sent him the Braille instrumental. Most of the features rocked with the beat I had set up for them. Hus I had sent like 8 to choose from and he picked the Only For Pretty Girls joint. Phil The Agony chose the Erewhon beat over the ESMVP beat, S/O Esem, and then Phil surprised me with the DJ Babu cuts. The Conway feature really was unexpected as well, we had came up on some extra money when rapping up the album and agreed he’d be the perfect addition. When the album was done I played it for Phil and he took me to Fat Beats to set up a deal.
RD: You followed that with the incredible ‘Ricky Williams EP’ that brought Willie the Kid, Recognize Ali and Ill Conscious into the fold. Tell me about putting that together
JW: S/O Official Crate Music for making the Ricky Williams EP what it was. When we started I reached out to Fash first and sent him a couple beats. He chose the Xanax joint and layed that first verse. I reached out to APlus Tha Kid for a hook and Mikels for the second verse. We made that the first release of the project. Fly Thoughts happened after Supreme Cerebral linked me with Recognize Ali and ill Conscious. I had been wanting to work with Rec Ali and ill Conscious and Supreme and I have a solid amount of work together since we met at a Planet Asia Show in 2015.
RD: You just dropped a beat tape called ‘Draft Day’, I take it your a big football fan?
JW: Indeed, thanks to my brother Vince. He’s a football guru.
RD: What’s your favorite record of yours to this point?
JW: Camouflage Killer aka Camouflage Hilfiger. I had sent Gunn that beat early in 2015 in hopes it will end up on FLYGOD or something. He liked the beat but nothing had come of it. So i hit him back in December to get a quote for a verse. Let him know I’m putting together my debut project and I wanted him to be on the first single. Shot him the doe he asked for, expecting a 16 bar verse. He recorded the rough draft same day, Christmas Eve. Flew back to Buffalo from ATL after Christmas and re-recorded it at Daringer’s studio. Needless to say we bugged out when we heard it, got it mixed and mastered right away and released it.
RD: What’s your ultimate goal as a producer?
JW: My ultimate goal is to never stop creating. I have many plans outside of producing hip hop music. I wont ever stop digging, spinning vinyl and making beats but I’ve always wanted to get into movies and TV shows, doing the music on those.
RD: Plans for the rest of this year and beyond?
JW: Chris Mikels debut album will drop this year. Me and Phil The Agony have some work on the way. And possibly we’ll hear the long awaited music from Antony Harp this year.
You can purchase This Shit Aint Free here https://www.fatbeats.com/products/juelz-white-this-shit-aint-free-cd
Official Crate Music bandcamp (Ricky Williams EP and an old beat tape of Juelz’s)
Juelz media= iamjuelzwhite (Twitter) juelzwhiteyo (IG)