On Friday, Drake released a five-minute music video for his new song, "Laugh Now Cry Later," featuring Lil Durk. In the clip, Kevin Durant, Odell Beckham Jr., and Marshawn Lynch join Drake as he trains for something that involves shooting hoops, catching pigskin passes, and getting tackled out of his shoes.
The whole thing might just inspire you to break into a perfect push-up form, thanks to Cardo's uplifting production. The 35-year-old producer is leading the charge for Drake’s recently-announced sixth album, Certified Lover Boy, with a beat that's every bit as addictive as their previous collaboration, "God's Plan," which started Drake's previous campaign for Scorpion.
"The music just does something to your spirit," Cardo says over the phone, with a grin that stretches through the receiver. "If you're having a shitty day and you hear 'God's Plan' or 'Laugh Now Cry Later,' they're going to put some kind of smile on your face."
Fresh off the release of Game Related in January, Cardo is having a productive year in 2020, even in the midst of a pandemic. Building important relationships, he recently announced he joined the Isla Management family. And with the commercial success that "Laugh Now Cry Later" has already achieved, combined with a string of hits that begin with his "Cardo Got Waaangs" tag, Cardo is establishing himself within the upper echelon of hip-hop producers.
Complex spoke with Cardo about the making of "Laugh Now Cry Later" (which features co-production from GRy, Yung Exclusive, R Chahayed, R. La Tour, and R. Martinez), the impact of "God's Plan," what he's currently working on, and more. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
What's the story behind "Laugh Now Cry Later"?
We just have a good relationship with Drake and his team. We were already going through ideas or whatever. He hit me and was like, "Yo, I got something for you," and sent me the record. It was good for me. So, me and my cousin, Yung Exclusive, we knocked it out, man. We knocked it out of the park and sent it his away. The rest was history.
There are two other producers credited on the song. How did that collaborative process work?
That was really through Drake's behalf. I believe that they worked on the sample.
Do you know when Durk ended up on it?
I want to say the same night that he let me hear the record. He was suggesting who he thought should be on the record, and he mentioned Durk. I'm like, "Durk. Yeah. That's it right there." And then he goes, "I'm going to send it to him right now." When Drake has somebody on his mind, he's going to make it happen.
"I'm always excited about working with Drake. He's the Michael Jackson of our time, for real."
How do you feel that the song turned out?
Beautiful. I'm always excited about working with Drake. He's the Michael Jackson of our time, for real. To be working with somebody on that level and that platform, man, it’s hard to describe. We're not used to doing shit like this. So, it's probably me just humbly speaking, but records like this are rare. All in all, I’m blessed 100%. I’m in a new situation with Isla Management and all of this happening. What more can I ask for?
What did the success of "God's Plan" do for you?
It pretty much solidified our mark in the game. We got a lot of recognition and looks based on Drake's impact on the game overall. It's done a lot of things, such as buy me houses and stuff. I've been able to do anything that I wanted to do, fulfilling a lot of my dreams. But it didn't stop there. I kept going, man. I felt like I had more to do and more to prove.
How would you compare "God's Plan" with "Laugh Now Cry Later"?
They're both uplifting, first and foremost. They're both records that make you feel good because they are filled with energy. The music just does something to your spirit. If you're having a shitty day and you hear "God's Plan" or “Laugh Now Cry Later,” they’re going to put some kind of smile on your face.
Have your kids heard "Laugh Now Cry Later"?
Yeah. They heard it 100 times in the house. They just be like, "Man, what the hell, Dad?" Like, "We get it." They don't understand why, but they always hear my music. My son heard "God's Plan" and Travis Scott's "Goosebumps" when he's was playing Fortnite, and he told me one time, "Dad, you're famous huh?" I said, "No, I'm not famous at all, bud." [Laughs]. It's a dope feeling.
By the time they're finally out in the world, your kids are probably tired of them.
Man, my kids listen to the same songs over and over, every damn day. I don't think they are tired of anything really. Kids are different these days. They're like mini A&Rs. They know if something is hot or not and I'll be asking, "What did you think about it?" My daughter, she keeps it real. If she's fucking with it, she's like, "Oh, I like that a lot." Or if it's weak, she will be like, "Ah, it's all right." I'm like, "Damn, man. You are brutally honest." My kids loved “God's Plan.” Now they love “Laugh Now Cry Later.”
Do you have any more joints with Drake on Certified Lover Boy?
I can't even answer that, bro. I'm going to be real with you. God willing.
What was the decision like to join Isla Management? And what do you think this means for you in the future?
I feel like it was the best move. It was like Kevin Durant going to the Warriors, you know what I'm saying? The Warriors are already stacked up with the Splash Brothers, Draymond Green, and everybody else. I'm like, "Shit, man. How can I fit in?" I feel like the transition happened very organically too.
How has the pandemic helped or hindered your creative process?
Man, it feels like the old times all over again. It has a hint of that struggle because I'm in the house with nowhere to go. I don’t want to risk catching the virus, because I’m a responsible parent to my kids. It puts you in a tough spot. How do you stay creative in a place where you’ve just been staying put for the past six or seven months? I feel like I've just been way more creative than I'd usually be, and just playing around with sounds day by day. I’m just really trying to just stay on my toes with it. You can lose your passage so quick in this shit.
You released Game Related in January. What are you working on right now?
I'm really just focused on branding myself. I can't really go into too much detail about what I got in the pipeline. I'm just taking it day by day, really. I'm working on Payroll Giovanni's new album, which we should be putting out soon. Also, some stuff with Baby Keem and everything around that. Everything else, you have to look forward to.
Last month, you gave Megan Thee Stallion a shoutout on Twitter after she went public with her traumatic ordeal. Have you worked on any music with her yet?
No. Megan's just been a homie from day one. I know she went through some serious stuff and she's recovering. That's somebody I always wanted to work with, though, since she was freestyling. Hopefully it will happen soon. Maybe after this interview gets out and she sees this, she will know what time it is.
Before you go, can you share any producers who are inspiring you right now?
Man, of course. It's a lot, man. From Boi-1da to... There's a lot of people, man. I don't want to leave nobody out, man. Because they'll just be like, "Damn, bro, what the hell?" It's a lot of producers out there that inspire me. They keep me uplifted. You know what's going on. I listen to everybody. Everybody from KBeaZy to Metro and Southside. I fuck with everybody.