Five years ago today, on July 17, 2015, Future released Dirty Sprite 2, which is regarded by many as the crown jewel of his discography.
Future was in the midst of a hot streak, coming off the release of three hit mixtapes, Monster, 56 Nights, and Beast Mode. But 808 Mafia producer Southside, who has credits on over half the songs on the project, says they were all a little nervous about sharing DS2 with fans.
“We were nervous because it was a new sound and a new swag,” he explains to Complex.
It turns out there was nothing to be worried about. DS2 was quickly met with critical and commercial success. The project charted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and tracks like “Stick Talk,” “Fuck Up Some Commas” and “Blow A Bag,” are still played with the same enthusiasm in 2020 as they were five years ago. Southside suspects that DS2 will continue to live on for decades, pointing out that the project is responsible for influencing many of the artists we hear on the radio and streaming today.
In honor of DS2’s five-year anniversary, the producer shared some of his favorite memories from working on the project and explained why it’s still so influential. He also hinted that Future and Young Thug have multiple Super Slimey projects in the can. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
Your run with Future has been going for years now. Why do you think you click so well?
We’re both from the streets. The same things he puts in his music, are the same things I use in the beats. We both come from the same things: same patterns, same problems, same everything. We just see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. It’s a natural chemistry.
How did you first meet?
I met Future from Propane back in the day, and really Metro Boomin. Metro’s my twin. That's my brother. Metro really introduced us. It was him and [TM]88. He was always working with Future too. It was those three people that put me with Future. Then me and Future just ended up clicking.
After working on his previous projects, did you always know that you were going to be on DS2?
Yeah. I knew because I made the whole 56 Nights. And 56 Nights was his biggest mixtape, before DS2. There was no choice. I had to. We created a sound that we couldn't run from. It was undeniable. It was timeless music.
Did you and Future speak about the goal for DS2 before you made it?
Yeah, we did. We were already on the path of certain things. Future was the first person to ever tell me, “Man, if you’re not nervous about your music before it comes out, it's not it. You didn’t go that extra mile, and you didn’t try something different. If you feel like it's it, it's never it. If you’re nervous, and you tried something else, that's when it's going to be it.” He told me that, and I looked at him and I'm like, “Damn, that makes all the sense in the world.” If I'm not nervous, that means I didn’t try anything new. Then it’s the same thing that everybody else is putting out.
So you all were extremely nervous when it came to this project?
Yeah, we were nervous because it was a new sound, a new swag. The world was accepting everything we were doing prior to that, even the mixtape he did with Zaytoven, Beast Mode. Me and Metro did Monster. I did 56 Nights. And then DS2, Metro executive produced it. So they were accepting everything and we didn't want to miss. We had to make sure it was right.
I spoke with TM88 earlier this year and he said it’s normal for Future to make dozens of songs at a time. Did he have a similar process while working on DS2?
Man, he makes like 12 to 13 songs a night, every day.
That must’ve been a lot for you to keep up with.
No, it takes me five minutes to make a beat. Back then, I was making 30 or 40 beats a day. That's why me and him clicked so well, because I can keep up with his appetite. A lot of producers can't. I can.
“I remember when it came out, I was riding around in regular cars. Now I'm riding around in Lamborghinis, still playing DS2.”
If he was recording at least a dozen tracks a night, what was the selection process like?
Metro has the ear for that. That’s Metro’s gift. Metro’s gift is to make a hit and put an album together as a body of work. We knew from the time he made “Stick Talk.” When [Future] first made it, I wasn’t even with him. I was in a separate studio making beats by myself, and he called me. That’s when I always know he made something crazy. When he made “Fuck Up Some Commas,” he called me and said, “I just made something so crazy.” He's usually real hard on himself. He'll make something, and we'll think it's a hit, and he'll just be like, “It's okay." So when he calls to say, “I just made one of them ones,” it’s always one of them ones.
How would you describe your relationship with Metro Boomin throughout the making of DS2?
As far as music, that’s my best friend. To this day, that’s my brother. I go with him sometimes and we don’t even work. That’s really my best friend. Me and Metro have the ultimate chemistry.
You don’t always see that bond between two producers who are reaching new heights in their careers at the same time.
See, the difference is, I knew Metro since he was 13 or 14 years old. I was the first person to ever talk to Metro. He DM'd me on Twitter back then, and I DM'd him back, because I already had stuff going on with other things. Metro looked up to me back then, but I didn't treat him like a kid. I always treated him like he was my equal, even though I was older than him. Over time, we grew up.
What did you learn from one another while working on DS2?
Metro’s more of a perfectionist. I’m fast. I could produce quantity, but Metro’s going to produce quality. Metro teaches me to just slow down sometimes. And I put the rush in Metro, like, “Yo, come on, we need to do 100 beats in two days.”
What’s your favorite memory from working on DS2?
“Rotation.” Me and Metro made the beat directly in front of Future. Then he really rapped everything that was going on in the room. He really bought all the sodas at the gas station. He rapped everything that was going on. It was just funny. I'm like, "This man's crazy. We really just made this beat 10 minutes ago, and he's really rapping everything he sees in the room.”
You mentioned “Stick Talk” earlier. Can you go into more detail on how that came together?
I don’t know how he knew “Stick Talk” was going to be a timeless song. I remember he called me, and he was like, “Bro, this beat is timeless. It's going to be a timeless hit. It's going to be a hit for the next 10 years.” I was high. I was really high off all kinds of shit, and I'm like, “All right, I hear you.” And now we're sitting here five years later and it still plays in the club. Everybody still sings the same part.
What do you remember about creating “Fuck Up Some Commas?”
I was at DJ Spinz’s house. He played the piano for it. The piano didn't even sound like that. I took it, redid it, finished the beat, and made it sound like something else. We made “Commas” on October 30. Spinz took Future the beat, him and Esco called me, and they were like, “Man, this was going to be one of his biggest hits." Monster came out October 31, the next day. So we actually made that song the day before they put out Monster, and that's what was special about that. Me and Future, we’re kind of like Shaq and Kobe. Or Jordan and Pippen and Rodman with me, him, and Metro. And Esco, too. I cannot leave out Esco, because Esco really plays a very, very major role.
Is there a story you remember from working on “Blow A Bag?”
I can’t speak on that. “Blow A Bag” was a great experience but that was a personal moment for us in the studio. Me and Metro always just went crazy on the beats. Metro, he’ll break it down to a whole other level, but I can’t tell that story.
You mentioned DS2 being timeless. Why do you think this project will last another 10 or 20 years?
Because we are the originators of that swag. We’re the originators of that type of trap beat. When you originated something that’s timeless, everything that everybody is doing now is either an imitation or it's almost close to the same.
Do you think DS2 is responsible for inspiring the new generation of rappers and producers?
Yeah, because that was the time of when everything was transitioning to streaming. You’ve got to remember, at that point, it was the biggest thing to come from the mixtape world, becoming a platinum album. That made a lot of kids believe, “Damn, I could just get me a producer that's from the hood, from the trap. I could be from the trap, I could be from the hood, and we could make an album that will end up being timeless like DS2.” It gave a lot of people hope that they could really come from nothing and become a superstar.
“[Future and Young Thug] have five ‘Super Slimeys’ right now. All hits, if they wanted to drop them.”
Is there anything that fans don’t know about this project?
You can't make a superstar and not have a team. It’s just like a championship team. We were all team players, and everything just meshed right. It was organic. We didn't try to do the things we were doing. Everything just happened. This was our fate, this was our destiny. This is what we were supposed to do.
Where would you rank DS2 in Future’s discography?
It’s top 10 of the decade.
Do you think it’s a top 10 album of all time?
For sure. I remember when it came out, I was riding around in regular cars. Now I'm riding around in Lamborghinis, still playing DS2, and still excited like I was five years ago when it came out.
You produced several singles on High Off Life. What was your favorite memory from working on that album?
When he made “Hard To Choose You,” he skipped over the beat a couple times. I had to go back in the studio and tell him, “Bro, pull this beat up, please. Just do this beat for me.” He did it, and when he did the hook, he said the shit was so hard. He's like, “Man I want to go to the club." I never go to the club with him. I just be on straight studio time. But I went and put on all my jewelry. When I pulled back up, he's like, “Damn this is how we going out?” Then we came back after the club, he finished it, and that ended up being one of the ones. He’s one of those people where he watches the room. So whatever's going on in the room, that's where he’s going to get his energy. That’s how he’s going to get his vibe to make a hit.
Looking at the time between DS2 and High Off Life, how have you changed as an artist?
It's easier to me now. [Future] can call me and tell me, “Hey, I want to go this vibe." And that shit will take me an hour. It's different now. The more hours you put into anything, the better you get at. They say 10,000 hours makes you great. I feel like 40,000 hours makes you great. So I got my hours in. I got experience. I’m seasoned. It’s the same shit from back then, but I'm just more seasoned now.
How has Future changed as an artist in the last five years?
It’s all the way elevated. He’s a real A-list celebrity, elevated completely. But he’s still doing as many songs as he was doing back then right now. He's doing more songs because he's better. There's more stuff we have to pick from. It's harder.
Will fans ever get another Super Slimey?
You want me to be honest? They’ve got four or five of them right now, ready if they wanted to. Thugs’s one of the only other artists I've ever seen that is just as talented as Future, as far as recording off the top of their heads. But when those two get together, they’ve got artist chemistry. They just know how to record together. They’ve got five Super Slimeys right now. All hits, if they wanted to drop them.
Sounds like we just have to wait on it.
Yeah, that's all it is. That's the thing, if somebody could trade ears with me for a day, they'll probably never be the same after they leave.
What will be DS2’s legacy decades from now?
I think it will for sure [last decades]. I still play T.I.'s first album and get the same feeling I used to get when I was a kid. I still rap word for word and ride around feeling like I'm a dope boy. I feel like [DS2] is going to be like that. People who are in my age group, and probably five or six years younger, are still going to [play DS2]. That's just like my mom and my step-dad, and the music they play. My step-dad will come in the house drunk and he's playing Too Short from 1992, singing that shit word for word like it's modern today. I feel like it’s going to be the same thing.
What’s coming next for you?
I'm getting ready to drop the 808 Mafia album. I got a lot of new Future singles on there.
When can we expect that?
End of the year.