Christian Rich is having their best year yet. The producing duo (yes, they’re a duo, not a person) comprised of twin brothers Taiwo Hassan and Kehinde Hassan, have been catching production credits since 2003, but they’re looking to keep building on their catalog this year after producing “Sparks Will Fly” on J. Cole’s Born Sinner. But that’s not all, they're also slated to produce four cuts on Earl Sweatshirt’s highly anticipated debut album, Doris.
Born in Nigeria and raised in Chicago, they have an eclectic musical palate that allows them to seamlessly arrange miscellaneous references into cohesive tracks. When they are not producing, they’re DJing sets for house music crowds, designing Christian Rich merchandise, or grooming other artists. All while completing each other's sentences in true twin fashion. We had the duo swing by the Complex offices to talk about how they knew J. Cole’s album would be a hit and why Earl will always hate Complex...
Interview by Imani Mixon (@ImaniMixon)
How was it to work with J. Cole on Born Sinner?
Kehinde: Great experience. You know we’re all Aquariuses if you believe in stuff like that, so we think alike. Creators, very innovative. Watching them shape the album from what it is now, it was a little bit different initially. It’s just dope to see where it went and then to see how it evolved in sales.
Did you predict that the album would be such a great commercial success?
Taiwo: It was crazy because there was a bidding war for that beat for “Sparks Will Fly,” the song we did. And we went with him solely because we knew this was going to happen, you already knew it. We saw the first album and we saw the way he moves, his team, what they do. We knew off the bat.
Kehinde: We fight all the time, we work separately. “Sparks Will Fly” was like one of the few records that we actually agreed on everything.
You guys worked with Earl Sweatshirt a lot for his upcoming album, so how is that coming?
Kehinde:The album is crazy. I won’t say too much about what he’s doing because I don’t want him to feel a certain way, but working with him is like working with your little brother. He’s like a sponge. He’s just soaking knowledge and information and tracks. How to be around bigger figures like Pharrell and RZA and Jay and stuff like that. So, it’s always dope to show the young generation how to be. But musically, he doesn’t need any help. He goes in, does his thing, he’s very smart.
It reminds me lowkey of good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Not necessarily the tone, but just the experience. - Kehinde
How did you guys get partnered up with him?
Kehinde: Our publisher talking to his. And we already did records for the label so everyone was familiar and it was just like, "Okay, no brainer." Thank god it worked out.
Did you know from the beginning that you’d be working on that many songs together?
Taiwo: No, we thought it was going to be like one song. He just felt really comfortable with us and we felt comfortable with him. He’s about the same age as our nephew so there was a very familiar feeling.
Were you in the studio with Earl while he was making the album?
Taiwo: Three months straight. In the beginning of the album, pretty much EPing the album with him. We just did five tracks, four made it. A lot different things happened and things shifted a little bit, but we orchestrated for him to get with Pharrell and Chad. We are very involved in that album.
Is he hands-on in the production?
Taiwo: Yeah. I mean we showed him the ropes on how to do certain things, enhance his production. He learns real quick. He’s hands-on. For the album, we had stuff already made. Like “Chum” we all did together, but other stuff we had it made. But that album is album of the year. Well him and Drake. Them two, that’s it.
Kehinde: Because now that everyone’s kind of came out, we kind of saw the playing field and was like, okay. It’s literally setting him up just to be that kid. It reminds me lowkey of good kid, m.A.A.d. city. Not necessarily the tone, but just the experience.
Is there more pressure when you’re producing for an artist’s debut album?
Taiwo: No. You just go on and bang it out. Debut album, last album, whatever. You gotta show up every time, so that’s what we do. We show up.
According to "Chum," Earl doesn’t really have the warmest feelings about Complex...
Taiwo: He would have to explain that on his own because I guess he went through it. He’s a very private person, comes from a very educated family, so he understands when the media is trying to do certain things. You guys will continue to get blasted out by him by the way. The whole OF will continue to blast Complex.
Kehinde: You’re habitual line crossers. You guys crossed the line.