Mike WiLL Made It doesn’t need a team. Since landing his first placement on Gucci Mane’s 2007 mixtape, “No Pad, No Pencil,” at 17, the Marietta, Ga., native has elevated his production profile without a manager or label deal, instead establishing relationships with rappers like Future, Waka Flocka Flame and B.o.B all on his own.
Now 22, the Atlanta-based producer is piggybacking off a string of recent successes including crafting Meek Mill’s “Tupac Back” (featuring Rick Ross) and “No Lie,” the lead single from 2 Chainz’ upcoming Def Jam solo debut, “Based on a T.R.U. Story.” “Lie,” featuring Drake, is No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, In addition, “Est. in 1989 Pt. 2,” a mixtape compilation of singles, newly minted cuts and unreleased songs, arrives July 24. (Another WiLL-produced song, Juicy J’s “Bandz a Make Her Dance,” rises 92-81 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.)
“Est. in 1989 Pt. 2” follows last year’s “Est. in 1989” and includes appearances from Sean “Diddy” Combs, T.I., Young Jeezy and Mannie Fresh, spotlighting the producer’s self-proclaimed “trap pop” style as well as his expanding circle of influence.
“It’s really a joint that ties everything together and showcases that I can make this kind of beat and that kind of beat,” WiLL says of “Pt. 2.” “When I was making tracks with Gucci, everybody always liked the way my tracks would hit so hard and be so loud and reckless. When I take that to the pop game, I pretty much stick to the same script.”
For WiLL, going it alone has helped him develop his sound. After meeting Gucci Mane in 2007, he received an offer to join a production team under Mane’s 1017 Brick Squad imprint but passed on the opportunity and instead established his own Ear-Drummer Entertainment. He recently hired a manager, but only to ease the stress that comes with juggling music and business.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” WiLL’s entertainment lawyer Vinny Kumar says. “I don’t really need to do too much. He really does it all himself. Every few weeks, he’s got a new placement.”
WiLL recently hit the studio with Brandy, Ludacris and Akon for upcoming albums, and is also fielding production deals from major labels. Additionally, he linked with Kanye West to helm tracks for next month’s G.O.O.D. Music compilation, “Cruel Summer,” as well as West’s upcoming album.
“I made it this far with no management, no deal,” WiLL says. “There were a lot of people who said I couldn’t do this or that unless I do it like this. I’m here to show young cats you can do anything.”