DJ Khalil Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Clipse f/ Kanye West “Kinda Like A Big Deal” (2009)

DJ Khalil: “That's a song that I produced with my production partner Chin Injeti. He's from Vancouver and he's an incredible musician. He plays guitar, keyboards, and all kinds of stuff. We put together that beat. He played the guitars, I chopped them up, and we just kinda made samples. We ended up making this beat with just crazy drums and percussion. Later, my manager called me and he was like, 'Yo, the Clipse wanna come by and they wanna hear some stuff.'

“It was real late, so Malice wasn't there. It was just Pusha T and his manager Steven Victor. I remember playing them beats and Pusha T was falling asleep. He was tired so he just kept falling asleep. So it was just Steven that was listening and he was loving everything. But he was like, 'Can you go back to track number two?' When I played it, he bumped Pusha T, and he woke up and was just looking at the screen. And you could tell he was just like, 'What am I listening to? This is crazy.' He just started rhyming to himself. Then he was like, 'Play that again.' So I played it again and he kept rhyming to himself and he was like, 'Yo, I need this. Make me a CD.' I made him a CD and didn't really talk to him for a while. I would talk to his manager. Then they came back to LA. They stopped by the studio and they were like, 'Yo, you gotta hear the joint, it’s crazy. It's gonna be the single and we put Kanye on it. ' They came into the studio and they played it for me and I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is crazy.’ It was just crazy because Kanye murdered it. I think, Ab-Liva wrote the hook with Pusha T and it was just a dope record because it was so different. They were really going against the grain using that as a single, [because] it was really an underground record.

“I don't know how I got on their radar, but I think that their manager Steven Victor really knows music. He's really in tune with stuff and he really seeks out up-and-coming producers. He's really a student, he studies producers, and he's really on the lookout for something new. And it just seemed like they were on the lookout to really go in another direction, creatively. They're still looking for something new. You never know what they're gonna come up with. So Steven, I think I was on his radar. But I don't think Pusha T even knew who I was or knew anything about what I had done. [Laughs.] I mean, it's cool. He had probably heard stuff but he didn't know who I was. But Steven, he knew.”

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