Dwane Marshall Weir II is a 22-year-old student at Tennessee State University, studying Arts and Sciences. He's also the beatmaker behind one of the year's biggest rap songs, Meek Mill's hit "Amen."
"People see me on campus, like, 'You're the dude that did 'Amen'!" says the producer better known as Key Wane. "I'll get out of class and there'll be this kid just waiting to ask me questions. It's kind of crazy. At the end of the day, I’ll never let it get to my head. I’ll stay humble about everything. I don’t act like I’m better than any other student. I’m just a regular student blending in with everybody else. I just be doing music.”
His success in music doesn't make it easy for Wane to blend in, but he'll be graduating this December, so it won't matter for long. But for now, it's a complicated existence: “It’s stressful for the most part. I want to make beats all night, but fuck, I got to get up and be ready to go to class at 8 and sit through an hour long lecture. It’s even worse when you get up and you got ideas to make beats, but you keep looking at the clock like, ‘Shit.’ You don’t want to be late, you don’t want to be absent."
We spoke with the young producer about some of his most important tracks and what it's like balancing schoolwork and his new day job. Wane has produced for a variety of artists, including Big Sean (one of his earliest collaborators and supporters), Tyga, and Roscoe Dash. Despite that, Wane sees the advantages of staying in school. "It teaches me how to handle things with time, how to be on time. It teaches me how to multi-task, how to do more than one thing at once. I’ll be doing a term paper and making beats."
Wane's currently working on new tracks with Drake, Jhene Aiko, and even putting in work for Beyoncé. Although it's clear that the best is yet to come, he's focused on the immediate future. "I just registered for my cap and gown," he says about his upcoming graduation date. "Just got to finish up these last credit hours and I'll be ready to go."
As told to David Drake (@somanyshrimp)