Two years ago, Kid Culture — a then 16-year-old producing prodigy from Seattle — created a bouncy beat with fellow producer Sasha Sitora. He later played the beat for Poo Bear, a frequent collaborator of Justin Bieber’s, during a trip to Los Angeles. “He loved it,” recalls Kid Culture today. “He played Justin my music, and he really loved it.”
In October 2019, Bieber turned the beat into the foundation of “Yummy,” the sultry, R&B-flavored first single, released Jan. 3, off the highly anticipated follow-up to his 2015 album, Purpose. Following its release, the track became Bieber’s 17th Billboard Hot?100 top 10, debuting at No. 2 on the chart dated Jan. 18.
Though Kid Culture (who prefers to keep his birth name a secret) has yet to meet Bieber, the producer credits his love of the pop star’s 2013 R&B-tinged compilation, Journals, for helping him create a sound that resonated with the superstar: “It made me think, ‘I used to sing his songs, what do I want to hear from him next?’?” says Kid Culture. Once Bieber finished “Yummy,” Kid Culture and Sitora worked with the singer’s engineer Josh Gudwin to finish the track, adding in keyboard chords that Kid Culture feels “really set it off.”
Along with traditional sales-boosting efforts such as vinyl and cassette offers (including pieces autographed by the singer), Bieber relentlessly promoted “Yummy” on social media in an effort to get it to No. 1. On the eve of the song’s release, he joined TikTok, using the app to lip-sync and dance along to his track and encouraging followers to do the same. Bieber has also released six different music videos for “Yummy,” including an animated collaboration with his Drew House clothing brand and a fan lip-sync.
Although “Yummy” fell one spot short of a No.?1 debut on the Hot?100, Kid Culture has worked on several other Bieber tracks that he’s confident have plenty of chart-topping potential. “That’s the last song I thought [Justin] would’ve picked for the single,” admits Kid Culture. “He saved some of the best ones for the album. ‘Yummy’ really set the bar for what’s to come.”