Mr. DJ: "The 'ATL Freestyle' is a famous unreleased song I did with Wiz Khalifa. I got the track here, but it never came out. It's something I'm thinking about using— like, just make a record or something. My Snoop Dogg song never came out, 8ball & MJG song never came out, Talib Kweli song never came out. I got Andre 3000 stuff…that's not garbage songs. I'm thinking about doing something with them. To be honest, I think the people would be appreciative of that if I do it the right way."But Wiz Khalifa was this guy name Tick's artist. [Kenny "Tick" Salcido] worked as an A&R at Warner Bros. with another A&R named Orlando McGhee. I knew Tick back at DreamWorks. Wiz met me through his record company. The label briefed him, like, 'This the dude that produced OutKast.'
"Orlando and Tick brought Wiz by the studio one day and was like, 'Ric, can you work on a couple of songs with him while he's in town?' That was the first beat that we did. I wasn't in the picture on the YouTube video, but it was my beat playing in the background. I was making that beat for Wiz only. His manager, Benjy, might have been the one recording. At that time, Wiz was really into recording himself wherever he went—he was always that kind of dude, marketing-wise. That's how he caught fire.
"When I first met him, he was exactly what he is now: a hippie. This was before 'Black and Yellow.' You already know I smoke weed, and he love the weed—so that's what made the vibe between us so great, honestly. That's why he was freestyling so good, because he was on that kush. He came in with some purp. He's a connoisseur. And he offered me some, and I was like, 'Nah, I don't really like purp cause it get you down. I got this kush and it's kind of loud, like, it's gon' keep you going, excited.' And then he rapped about it. That's how I know that what he was saying wasn't written, cause he was like, 'And I like purp / I fuck with kush more.' He was really freestyling.
"The beat was playing while he was writing to it, so even though he was freestyling, he was writing as he was going along, like remembering stuff. He just kept freestyling and adding stuff to it. So his verses wasn't written. And I see a lot of people do that nowadays, like, instead of writing something down they'd find they little melody, and then they'd just keep rapping it until the right words pop up. I got him recorded doing that, but it ain't the same though. He finished it, and [the actual song] is a little bit better.
"I put Wiz on that ghetto hop. The beat was pure hip-hop. It had strings in it, but it was bouncy though. I always thought he reminded me of like a DJ Quik or Snoop Dogg and stuff. That was his whole vibe… skateboard vibe, whatever that vibe is. He had his hat all flipped up and he was really cool. I remember his manager texting me afterwards like, 'Thank you man, that shit hot.'
"I remember the label really liking the beat too, but all of a sudden they just dropped him. He went on and did his own thing and blew up. What broke him was 'Black and Yellow,' a ghetto kind of song.
"I haven't spoken to him since he blew up. And I'm going to be very honest and say that I haven't even heard or bought his album. But I love 'Black and Yellow.' I thought that shit was incredible. It was stupid. He has an incredible fanbase. That's apart of his demand, people really do fuck with him. But that was a great record we did, I loved that record, and I feel that record kind of turned him up."