As we now know, Nicki Minaj's deleted countdown was indeed a setup for the release of her singles "Chun-Li" and "Barbie Tingz." And helping her stealthily create and drop those singles was up-and-coming Atlanta producer J. Reid.
Reid, whose resume is sure to get a big boost, did an interview with XXL where he shared details about what went on behind the scenes. He first managed to link up with Nicki when a partner of his, Brinx Billions, was working on a song with her. When Nicki asked who made the beat, it was J. Reid, and she made short work of flying him out to Miami.
"She was just like, 'I love your music. You're talented, I'm just trying to put some stuff together.' So I was like, 'I'm ready.' From that, it's just been ballgame. Coming back and forth, going in and out of town, working at home and showing out," Reid said, revealing he made 15 different beats for "Barbie Tingz" but it only took hearing two of them for Nicki's inspiration to kick in.
"I played one beat, [then] I played the second beat and she was like, 'Stop, pull it up, I'm about to go in.' I'm like, 'This is crazy. Is she really finna go rap on my beat, like, freestyle?!' And went crazy," said Reid. He described feeling "enlightened" watching Minaj's creative process.
Reid was also grateful the rap vet was able to explain what kind of beat she was looking for, something many artists can't do, he says. He attributes her level-headed approach to having some time to herself, not churning out albums. The whole process, Reid said, happened in an instant. "So it just came together like that. Two days later, I flew back home. She was like, 'Yo, this song is so hard. I'm about to shoot the video.'"
When it came to producing "Chun-Li," the process was pretty similar. Reid flew to California to finish mixing and mastering "Barbie Tingz," and Nicki asked to hear some more beats. She gave Reid a little taste of some bars so he could get a sense of the vibe, and the two went back in to shuffle through about 13 beats before making the final selection. "The format is the exact same. She went in [the recording booth], started rapping, came out, arranged it, went back in, finished it," Reid said.