Growing Up

Mike WiLL: “I was an athlete. I liked playing basketball, baseball, and football. I was always into the girls, and liked to be fresh. So I wanted new clothes and shoes, and stuff like that. I was just a fly young cat with hoop dreams. Then, my hoop dreams turned into music dreams, and I made those dreams come true.

"I really didn’t know I would start producing. My childhood friend Fortune would freestyle rap, and I had this little broken keyboard. The batteries were falling out of it and everything, but I’d hear something on the radio, and I would play it back on that keyboard.

“I remember playing the Big Tymers’ ‘Still Fly’ on my front porch like it was yesterday. My homie was rapping to it. Then, I’d switch it up and play something else that we’d heard on the radio, and he’d rap to that.

“At school, we’d be in the lunchroom, and I’d make beats by using my hands and tapping a pencil against the table. People would be freestyle-battling to it. So Fortune told me, ‘Man, you need to start making beats.’"