Interview: Stargate Talks Producing Wiz Khalifa's "Black And Yellow" And "Roll Up"

Interview: Stargate Talks Producing Wiz Khalifa's "Black And Yellow" And "Roll Up"Mikkel S. Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen

On Making “Stoned”

Tor Erik Hermansen: “‘Stoned’ was a quick one. I love the fact that the record is just telling a story. It’s personal, unfiltered, and real. I always think there’s something special about an artist’s first record. I mean, he’s had the mixtape shit out, but he’s never had a real album out. But to listen to that album that was written before he became a star, that’s always fascinating, whether it was Jay-Z’s first album, or it was a Tracy Chapman album. That album was made when he was still poor, when he was still struggling, still trying to come up. He remembers it fresh. He knows it, because he’s in it right now. So after that, you have to kind of re-live it to keep it real, but right then it’s who he is. And he’s doing Coachella this year, which I think is going to be great. And by the time Coachella is here, I think he might have had another big record, so he’s going to go there looking like a star. After we did ‘Stoned,’ his label got real stressed, and they were like, ‘This is not what we need. This is too this, and this is too that.’ His A&R Zvi, who signed him, and has been our point person the whole way, he’s got a great sense for Wiz, and where he needs to go. He’s a real guy with good ears. But he came here to get a hit, so when he didn’t hear a hit within the first 30 minutes, he got a little nervous. [Laughs.] We were like, ‘Chill out. This is the get-to-know-you song. This is the one where we feel each other out. We’re just playing around having a good time. Don’t panic, don’t try too hard. It’ll come.’ And sure enough, on the second record, when he started laying that hook down, we knew we had something special. And everyone else heard it too.”

Mikkel S. Eriksen: “You never know, ‘Stoned’ might be a hit too. It’s a great record, too.”

On working with rappers

Tor Erik Hermansen: "Obviously we’ve got the Rihanna and Drake record so we’ve dabbled in it, but we haven’t made full-on hip-hop records until Wiz. We’ve done some Nas stuff (‘Not Going Back’ and ‘America’), back in the day, too. We have such versatile tastes. I’m just as excited by making a Rihanna record, or a Beyonce record, as I am by making a hard rap record. It’s all music to us, so we always felt that we could do it, but no rapper came through our door looking for us to do a song together. We’ve done some stuff with Norwegian groups, but to make real hip-hop you’ve got to come to America. We always wanted to do it, but all we needed was a break. I think a lot of the established guys, they have their own people that they’re comfortable with. I think what we needed was to get with someone new, that was open minded and excited by what we do, and that’s what Wiz did. He’s a smart guy. We’re excited. We have people coming to us all the time now. Jay-Z actually came up to me the other day and said ‘I need one of those ‘Black and Yellow’ beats for J. Cole.’ [Laughs.] And then he said, ‘Shit, I need one of those ‘Black and Yellow’ beats for myself.’ So we were like ‘You know where to find us.’”

Tags: music, stargate, wiz-khalifa
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