Produced by: Brandon Carrier
Wiz Khalifa: “That was a good one because one of the things that I wanted to focus on making the album was not to force anything. I wanted everything on the album to be natural and off of inspiration. If I wasn’t inspired, I just didn’t do anything. I came to the studio and around like eight or nine, and I started going in and picking through beats, smoking, and just chilling. Nothing was really coming up. I wasn’t really getting that inspiration so it got to be about 12 and that's when I was getting really bored of just being at the studio.
“So I started drinking a little bit and I was like, ‘Yo, I’ma just go to the strip club.’ [Laughs.] I went to the strip club and I just chilled with some of my homies and we drank some more, spent some money, and we was just seeing some females and just hearing the music in the strip club I was like, ‘I need a strip club song.’
“I was in Pittsburgh so I went to this little hood joint called The Pretty Kitty. [Laughs.] It’s like a real hood spot. I think it’ll work in the strip club. [Laughs.] I think about all types of strip clubs. Not just hood joints, but really upscale classy ones as well. Like, the music and how slow it is and how dreamy it is.
”It plays on different crowds. I’ve been to a strip club and they dancing to my songs. In Miami, they’ll go to the strip club and they’ll get their songs played in the strip club for thousands of dollars, so any time a chick hears that song she thinks about money. That’s a foolproof method right?
“So I went back to the studio and listened to the beats just with the strip club in mind and when I heard ‘Hopes and Dreams,’ it just automatically made me think of the song that I wanted at the strip club. And of course, being a little bit drunk it sounded it really good. I drink Bombay Gin. I drink at nighttime. I don’t drink during the day, but sometimes a couple shots, it’ll knock the edge off. I get talkative when I drink. So, sometimes I just talk about something and that’ll give me the idea that I want.
“I think that’s where the singing came from in the middle of the verses, the laziness. A lot of people talk about how lazy the flow was, but I want you to feel how faded I was at that time so I really emphasized that. I laid it in there and made a record about what I seen at the club that night. I stayed in the studio ‘til like five o’clock in the morning. I recorded that whole song that night. It was just a beat, but when I left in the morning, that muthafucka was a whole song.”
Brandon Carrier: “I was in the studio in Fontana, CA and I was just going through some samples, some loops, and all kinds of stuff. I came across a sample, I forget the name. I had to chop and screw it all. Everybody liked the beat, but nobody could find a perfect song to it so we just started shipping it out.
“I met Wiz at Record Plant [Recording Studios] when we had a session with Chris Brown. I personally walked up to Wiz and told him, ‘Yo, I produced ‘Hopes & Dreams,’ because he didn’t know who did it at first. I told him who I was and that I was with Surf Club. He told me, ‘Yeah, that’s one of my favorite joints from the album.’ After that, I knew there was some kind of chemistry [between us]. We exchanged phone numbers and emails. He said he wanted to work with me again and I know for sure I want to work with him.
“I met him before in Atlanta a couple years ago. He kind of remembered because we were supposed to do a session with him, but I guess he had a show or something and he had to leave. ‘Say Yeah’ was his record at the time. Back then I tried to get him beats, but you know how it goes.
“I liked his creativeness, so I used to always bang his stuff. People would ask who I was playing. Eventually, he started to grow on people. Just like he told me, ‘It’s not the music that I make, it’s just that I have to force my music up on people to like it.’ That’s the same situation that Lil B is in. He puts out so much music that he makes people hate him to like him. He puts out so much music, even though you don’t want to listen to him, you listen to him to say how sucky he is. But at the same time, you grow to like him.”
Benjy Grinberg (Executive Producer and CEO of Rostrum Records): “Nipsey Hussle was supposed to be on the record. On my computer I have him on it. He did a dope verse for it right before we were mixing the album. Everybody thought that he was out of his deal over at Sony, and that the clearance wasn’t going to be a problem, but it ended up that the paperwork wasn’t done yet.
”When Sony found out we wanted it on there, it was looking like it was going to be a big hassle in figuring out how to clear it, and they were going to want all these rights for all this stuff, We love Nipsey and his team, we’re cool with all of them, but we had to take it off because we weren't going to be able to clear it in time to put the album out. He always looks out for everyone when we’re all in L.A., and him and Wiz are close, so it would have been good to have it on there, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Zvi Edelman (Vice President Of A&R, Atlantic Records): “Everyday I used to email a batch of my favorite beats to Wiz and he would write to what he felt. It’s really like a very low pressure thing. That was one of the first things I sent him and he was like, ‘Oh, I fuck with that,’ and he went and made a song to it.
“We loved it from the jump but no one could fucking figure out who sent it. Like every day I would have it in my calendar on my BlackBerry to figure out who produced 'Hopes and Dreams.' For months me and Benjy, who are two really organized people, couldn’t figure it out. I was afraid I was gonna have to take it off of the album.
”I’d say a month before we turned the album in I just had a weird moment of intuition that it came from Hit-Boy and Chase, but it wasn’t labeled in the way they normally label their beats in a uniform fashion. I just happened to be texting with Chase one day and was like, ‘You sure you didn’t send me this song?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I did. I didn’t produce it by myself. It was me and my dude B-Car. That’s why it’s not labeled like this.’
”I was literally like, “I have to call you back.” and I called Benji and it was like ten months of trying to figure it out cause we worried because it was like, ‘What are we gonna do when it’s time to turn this album in.’”