In 2006, you had an opportunity to meet Chase N Cashe and Hit-Boy. What sealed the deal in them wanting to work with you?
It wasn't like just a one-time thing. I had been around them a couple of times, and they would let me come around the studio sessions, like when they were working with Diddy. I was kind of a quiet person, not really in your face so I remember vividly one of them saying, "I like that about you."
You're PARTYNEXTDOOR's right-hand man. You collaborate frequently and are longtime friends. What is it about you two that click so well together?
It comes down to music. Just the style of the music I grew up with. Obviously he's a singer. I used to try for so long to try and make really hard rap beats. Some friends of mine were like, "No, just stick to the R&B stuff." I didn't like it at the time, so I would go so hard to try and prove them wrong -- but [R&B] is what I'm naturally better at.
Where does the inspiration for Colours 2 come from?
One night PARTY randomly sent me a text message saying, "Hey, I haven't told anyone this, but I'm doing an EP over all of your beats." It's really his genius. I guess I just got lucky sending him the right beats at the right time. Once he told me that though, every day I would make a new beat and send it to him, and then another song would be done.
What made you include the conversation with your twin brother, who is incarcerated, in the intro track?
For the intro of the project, I used a recording of a call with my twin brother Roland, who is currently in jail. To me, it's important because for years I've been so open about his situation… You see references about him and "#FreeRoland" hashtags across my social media. He was incarcerated in 2011, and at that time, I was making beats out of a makeshift studio in my bedroom. He always encouraged me, and knew that I was going to make my passion for music into a real [career] one day, but he was having a harder time finding his passion.
He's still my best friend and biggest supporter regardless of his decisions. He told me when he would watch TMZ and hear the mention of news around [Drake's album] More Life that he would get excited and nervous for me. It's important that his voice is heard, so that he, and everyone, knows that he is a big part of my journey and success. My publishing company is named Ryan and Roland Publishing Group Inc., so this is the branding moment for us.
You and PARTY recorded the set in five days. How many songs total did you record in that time frame?
It was like probably about 9 or 10 songs. Some of them are going to other projects.
What was the song that almost didn't make it, but still ended up on the project?
It's tough to ask, because me and [PARTY] have different minds. To me, it was "Freak in You," because it was really different. It was a slow beat and his cadence was different. At first, I was kind of like, "I don't know." But once I listened to it more and more, I was like, "This is dope." Also, sometimes I can't understand every word he's saying. Once he explained the song to me, I was for it.
In addition to your projects with PND, you also worked on Drake's More Life. How was collaborating with producer Noah "40" Shebib?
Literally a week before it came out, 40 texted me like, "Yo, Drake turned two songs into one song," and I did half of it. He took a picture of the session, so I could see my beat and Drake's vocal. It was at like 1:00 in the morning, so 4:00 or 5:00 in Toronto. I was just kind of like, "This [text] is random," and it didn't really feel real at first. But it was real.
What was the situation with "Nothings Into Somethings"?
They just hit me up saying, "Hey, we need the files." Drake's manager Oliver reached out to me after PARTY's album P3 came out. He had played the song that I produced ["Problems & Selfless"] on P3 on OVO Sound Radio. He played it a few times on his radio show so he just sent me a Twitter DM and asked me to send him beats.
I read somewhere that you met PARTY on Twitter. How else has Twitter helped you professionally? Have you met anyone else on there?
First of all, Twitter changed my life, just because of that alone. I remember when it first started around 2007, 2008, I was trying to be too cool for Twitter. One of my friends was like, "You need to get a Twitter." Mind you, Hit-Boy and Chase already had a Twitter. But I wasn't trying to be like, "Oh, they got a Twitter. Let me get one too." But one of my other friends was like, "Why don't you have a Twitter?" I was just like, "Twitter is dumb."
But eventually I made one, and thank God because that's how me and PARTY connected. It really has changed my life. Even on Instagram, reaching out to artists and stuff.
Is there any particular artists that you linked up with from Twitter or Instagram?
Swae Lee on Instagram.
How did that story go?
Well we had a conversation. I don't want to say too much besides that. [Laughs.]
Any other people you've met through social media?
Of course Oliver, Drake's manager. And Drake followed me, even though we've known each other for a while. That's how I knew stuff was kind of clicking.
Who's a dream collaboration of yours?
It would have to be with Kanye [West], and I love Future a lot.
What advice would you give to up-and-coming producers?
Just don't give up. I don't have a story about this all coming fast for me. I just never really gave up. So as long as you don't give up, you're going to stumble across something. You put in so many hours -- 10,000 hours, or 10 summers, as they say -- you're bound to find something if you love it.