Future’s 2015 smash hit “March Madness” might be the best modern example of a cult classic in musical form.
Technically, it’s not even a “hit,” having never cracked the Billboard 100’s Top 40. The first single off last year’s 56 Nights mixtape, which was entirely produced by de facto 808 Mafia leader Southside save for “March Madness.” The song, driven by its Sci-Fi sounding melodies and deep bass, quickly became a fan favorite.
Through Hendrix’s meteoric rise over the last year and change, which encompasses two albums and five mixtapes, “March Madness” is widely considered the Freebandz leader’s solo tour de force.
Let Future fans tell it, if the second coming of Christ had a soundtrack, Jesus would be descending from the heavens whipping a Bentley Continental Flying Spur like a M.A.R.T.A. bus with “March Madness” blaring from the speakers. The way things are going, the song might in fact be popping all the way up until the rapture occurs.
The hyperbolic praise extends past the realm of #FutureHive constituents whom refer to the track as the Black National Anthem. LeBron James has spent the entire last year of his life turning up to the revered track whenever he gets a chance. The god Nas, who hadn’t dropped a solo track in over a year up until a couple days ago at SXSW, decided to dust off his pen and shoot his shot over the gaudy instrumental back in January—a full nine months after the song was released. It even got a figurative Grammy nod from known narcissist Kanye West. The track was played at a recent Bernie Sanders rally, for crying out loud.
The man behind the madness is producer and Gary, Ind. native, Chance “Tarentino” Youngblood. A member of the Atlanta based production outfit 808 Mafia, the 23-year-old beat maker has placements with Gucci Mane, Chief Keef, Juicy J, Lil Durk and others. His first time working with Future was last year when he alley-oop’d the rapper the brain frying instrumental that would help change the course of his career.
In commemoration of “March Madness’” one year anniversary last week, we asked Tino to break down how the avant-garde soundscape that eventually turned into Future’s magnum opus came together.
This was your first time working with Future. How did you guys link up?
I always wanted to work with Future because he is one of my favorite artists. I hit him up on email, Twitter or one of them. He hit me back and gave me his number. I was sending him some beats and they were all traps beats. I knew that’s the wave he is on. He hit me back and he was like, "Bro, don’t send me no trap shit. Send me some different shit. Send me some shit that you wouldn’t normally send me."
After that I got to brainstorming. I was at my sister’s crib in the kitchen. I wasn’t even in the studio. I just had my laptop and the Beats by Dre portable box. I’m brainstorming and shit. I was high as shit, mind gone. I just started creating some shit, just fucking around on Fruity Loops.
Take me back to when you were cooking up in the kitchen. How did the beat come together?
I was in Fruity Loops browsing through sounds. I was looking for some sounds that would catch the ear. Melody is everything. I don’t want it to be trap-ish. But I want it to have that trap feeling. The [Virtual Studio Technology] I use is an old ass VST. So, I was like I’m going to use these melodies in here because these melodies are soft and Future is on some different shit.
I started off with the melodies first. That’s when I switched it up to put a little trap sound in it when I threw in the 808s and hi-hats. Then I just had a mixture between some good vibes and that trap sound to let motherfuckers know that it’s still Future but it’s a different wave. That’s what I’m all about. The new wave.
How long did it take you to make the beat?
I make beats quick as hell. The only time it takes me a while to make a beat is when I’m trying to mix it down. I made that beat in probably 20 minutes tops.
What was the name you originally gave the instrumental?
It was Mac 107. I was naming my beats “Mac” because I had just bought a Mac computer. Producers, we’ll name our stuff anything. If it’s raining outside, I might just name the beat Rain 1. I had just bought a Mac and that was the 107th beat I made. So I named it Mac 107.
When you were finished with the beat, were you thinking it was special, or was it just another beat you made?
I knew immediately, man. I was like I don’t know what [Future] gone do to this shit. I don’t even know if he gone use it. [I figured] my chances were high. The beat is crazy. I sent the beat to Future in an email. My exact words were, "Bro, this gon’ be a hit."
Did you get to work with him in the studio with the song, or did you pass the beat off to him and hear the finished product later?
I actually passed him off the beat. I’m still out here in the Chicago area. I had moved back this way with my moms to help her out, out here. I wasn’t in Atlanta no more so everything I was doing I was emailing.
DJ Spinz actually told me about the song. Me and Spinz were collabing and I was sending him some samples he could collab to. I made a mistake and sent him the Mac 107 beat. He hit me back on my Twitter and was like, "Future got a hit to that Mac 107. You might want to put that shit in a vault."
Next thing you know my phone was blowing up from all the websites, like new song from Future, “March Madness” produced by Tarentino. I’m like, "Damn let me hear this shit." I played that shit and I’m just like, [Deep sigh.] I was just speechless.
What was the response like when the song first dropped and people found out you produced it?
I produce a lot of Gucci songs. I probably have over 50 records with Gucci. All them shits is trap. So when I made that I was really stepping out of my comfort zone. It was hard to believe I made the beat because it’s not something I’ll usually make. I like making trap shit but I like making different type of waves. I try to give the world new sounds. The only reason why I’m used to trap is because that’s what I came up on. I came up on Southside and Lex Luger, Sonny Digital and Shawty Redd. It’s cool that I came up off that shit but I don’t want to need to stick with that. I can come out with my own wave.
That’s the biggest song off that tape and probably Future’s biggest songs to date. How does it feel to have had a hand in that?
I always say “March Madness” is a blessing. I don’t even know how to explain it. Every time I just give my thanks to God. I feel good because I have a lot of people telling me that’s the hardest song that Future ever made out of all his songs.
56 Nights was entirely produced by Southside save for this one track which kind of made it an anomaly from the beginning. How did that end up happening?
I think [Future] was already working on that mixtape. Then around the time we linked up, he was already done with it. So he probably was like, "This song is so hard I have to throw this on here even though I’m done with the tape." I was looking at the same thing, too. Like, all this shit is produced by Southside, and I got that one track. I personally fuck with all the songs. But people are saying that’s the hardest song on there.
I knew it was going to be a hit, but I didn’t know it was going to be a smash hit to where it’s still popping to this day and we back in March again. Most songs, they’ll be a hit and they die off by the time the next year hits. Motherfuckers telling me today on Twitter, "I’m still jamming 'March Madness' like it just came out yesterday." I’m like, "Bro, me too man."