When you’re Travis Scott’s official DJ and the backbone of Cactus Jack Records, there’s not a lot you haven’t seen or done. Chase B just returned from Europe, where he accompanied Scott on tour, and the latest trek is just one of the many bullet points on his extensive resume.
He’s traveled the world and collaborated with A-list artists, but now he’s ready to take things up a notch and begin his own solo music career.
“I've been doing it for so long,” he tells Complex. “I found myself at the glass ceiling where I felt like my height was right there. I could either [DJ] for the rest of my career, or I can try to take this shit to the next level.”
To kickstart this new chapter in his career, the producer is dropping “MAYDAY,” the lead single from his forthcoming debut album. “MAYDAY” is a high-energy trap song that is bound to cause moshpits at shows. And to build on that undeniable energy, Chase B enlisted assists from Young Thug and Sheck Wes. The new collaboration is just one of the many first-time connections Case makes between artists on his upcoming album. Unfortunately, he didn’t tease any of the OG-rookie mashups that are slated to drop, but he did tell us about his new track, touring with Travis Scott, and more.
You can hear Chase B’s first single, “MAYDAY,” below, and continue for our interview.
What’s the backstory behind your new single?
I was in Atlanta in the studio. Thug was there. It was 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning. We were just playing a whole bunch of beats for Thug and shit. I really wanted him to get on another song. He was like, "Nah." So I played [“MAYDAY”]. He loved it. He probably heard three seconds of it. He loved it, and that's why his verse is mad long. At first, Sheck was just on the intro as kind of like a sample almost, and then we turned his verse into a hook.
You said Thug was going through other beats and stopped on this one. What made this the track?
You never really know. Especially with producers, it's always the one that you think everybody's going to love that might not be the one for the artist. They're just thinking of their pockets, and how they're going to sound on each beat. That one, I remember making a beat, [and] it was really different. At first, when I heard the melody, I got more of a dance or house vibe from it. I just needed more of a drop.
The whole album is a good ass time. It's very festival and club-ready.
What was the energy like during that session? Were there any crazy things going on while you were recording?
Not really. It was just a whole bunch of work going on. Like I said, it was probably 5:00, 6:00, 7:00 in the morning when we started that. We actually did another one after that. I'm sure you guys will hear it pretty soon. But it was just straight work. Especially Thug, he works hard. Every time he goes, probably three or four beats a day, he just tries to get those out as fast as possible. It was special, though. It was good that Sheck was there, too.
Was there anything memorable about Sheck's contribution during the session?
Yeah, Sheck was in the studio the whole time that Thug was on the verses. And then, as soon as Sheck got on the mic, I could tell he knew exactly what he wanted to say. A lot of other artists will get on the mic and they just put a skeleton down. Kinda mumble some fuzz on it, or whatever. Sheck got on the mic and knew exactly what he wanted to say. He came in super confident. It surprised me. I didn't think he was going to come in there hot.
What surprised you about that?
Usually, certain artists get on the mic and feel it out a little bit. Hear yourself on it and figure it out, but Sheck knew exactly [what he wanted to say]. He did it in three or four different takes. It wasn't a long process at all.
Is “MAYDAY” the lead single from your upcoming album? Can you tell us any more details about the album?
Yeah, recording-wise, I'm probably 60 to 65 percent in on it. I'm not going to give all the features away right now, but it's going to fuck a lot of shit up, for sure. There's definitely some interesting collabs. I don't think anybody has songs together already; they're all brand new collaborations, so far. There's definitely some new guys on there. There are some super OG legends on there that a lot of people never expect to link up with some of the newer guys. That's kind of the point I wanted to get across with my own album. When I started DJing and producing, I was super old school with shit. I used to be the one in college playing only 80s rap and 90s rap. When I moved out to New York and started playing in clubs, everybody knew me for it. And I played brand new shit because I was the younger one. Being able to bridge those two gaps is super important to me. It's been going super well so far. I'm excited for everybody to hear it whenever it's done.
What’s dope about “MAYDAY” is that Sheck and Thug have never done a song together before.
Exactly! They've always wanted to, too. Thug is super involved with Sheck. He really loves him, and it's the same thing from Sheck to Thug. For me to be able to provide those first collaborations, it's cool. A lot of times when artists are putting their own albums together, you got to figure [out] so much other shit. Will this make sense? What am I trying to say in the moment? So when I come in, it's less pressure.
Can you share one collab that hasn't been done that's going to be on this album?
Not yet. The other thing with producer albums, there's all these fucking clearances and that type of shit. There's so much you have to worry about before it actually comes out.
What prompted this music release? Why now?
I've been around this industry for a long time. I started running around, doing shows and traveling in late 2012, early 2013. I've been around for a while and getting my feet wet with the whole DJ thing. That took a couple years. I found myself arriving on the DJ scene probably two or three years ago. I was always doing the cooler parties around New York. I was always doing the Met Gala after-parties. I've been doing it for so long. I found myself at the glass ceiling where I felt like my height was right there. I could either do this for the rest of my career, or I could try to take this shit to the next level. A year ago, I started taking a lot less gigs and flying around, so I could get in the studio and figure out how I wanted my sounds to come across to everybody. I've been making beats for a while, but I did get to a point where I was like, "That old shit was whack." I want to make sure that my first one is something I was really proud of.
When I changed my career, I didn't need to sign a record deal or anything like that. I was good financially. Creatively, I wanted to see how far I could take it. I wanted to step all my shit up to a whole other level, that I never even expected when I first started. The timing was perfect.
What do you want fans to take away from your sound and new music?
It's not even the sound, but as a presence, the whole thing is always the energy. The whole album is a good ass time. It's very festival and club-ready. I don't want any type of fillers or a cool interlude. It's all high energy.
Being in this industry for a while, you've worked with lots of big names. What have you learned from artists like Travis Scott, Young Thug, and Sheck Wes at this point?
You can't compromise too much when it comes to your whole vision as far as your whole career goes. You're running through a lot of shit where people want to pull you different ways. You really can't compromise that shit. It's patience, too. People have been asking me to put out music for so long. I wanted to wait for that perfect time. It has been, not a struggle, but it has been hard for me to sit back and wait my turn. You do have to be stubborn with what you [believe] in and your whole aesthetic and your art in general.
You just came back from Europe, right? What has tour life been like for you? Any memorable moments on the road?
Yeah, that shit was wild. European festivals are so different from American ones. I wouldn't say they appreciate it more, but it's kind of like the shock value. I feel like in America, you might see however many concerts a year. When you go to Europe, everybody is there at the same time. Like July, August, when everybody goes out there and knocks out all their festivals. The energy is so crazy. The sun doesn't go down in certain cities. It's a totally different experience to be out there in Europe. I think I got there June 24, and I just got back this morning. We were in London for the most part, going out every night, just feeling the temperature of the streets. That's really important to me: going out, not even for alcohol, just linking up with all the DJs over the past couple of years. It was a fun experience.
It looked crazy from videos circulating social media. Everyone was moshing to “MAYDAY”...
Exactly, it's wild. It's only so far you can take shit creatively, from the DJ set. A lot of DJs get put at festivals, and they'll have a couple songs, but for the most part, you're playing other peoples' shit. I've done that, time and time again. To see my own shit get that type of reaction was definitely an eye-opener. Even people in our own [group] were like, "Oh shit, that's your song?" They didn't even know. That was the first time a majority of the world heard that song... I kept it under wraps until I really had something going on.
While you were out in Europe, you did play Travis Scott’s "Highest in the Room." What was the thought process behind previewing that in London?
Not really a good story. Travis wanted it in the setlist. It feels like it's out already. The crowd knows every word. Travis was working on music, and he just fell in love with it. We all fucked with it. We started performing it and it turned into an everyday thing. That song is like a phenomenon. Everybody is waiting for it to come out. We got something special planned for it ,though.
Can you tell us what that is?
Anything we left out about “MAYDAY” or the album?
Everybody knows what to expect. Everyone wants to hear the rest of Thug's verse. Sheck's verse as well. It's definitely one of the best verses this nigga's ever done. I didn't think he was going to even let me keep the song, to be honest. We had conversations, I was like, "You know this is for my shit, right?"