Six months ago, producer D. Hill was sleeping on couches. After deciding to pursue a career in production around 2017, he began commuting to Atlanta studios with the hopes of creating beats and networking with artists and fellow creatives.
“When I first came out here [to Atlanta], I was just crashing on people’s couches who would allow me to do so,” he tells Complex. “Because of that, I stayed in Atlanta for months at a time on people’s couches.” And on other days, when he got tired of crashing at other people’s homes or had a long studio session, he “would sleep in the car just to save everybody else from inconvenience.”
D. Hill’s tireless work ethic, along with what he describes as a knack for taking risks in his sound, helped him land gigs. He worked with Quality Control’s Kollision, as well as some of Gucci Mane’s signed artists, but his biggest credits to date came in January 2020 with Drake and Future’s two newest collaborations, “Life Is Good” and “Desires.”
D. Hill produced the beat for Future’s high-tempo half of “Life Is Good” months before the duo decided to combine it with Drake’s half, which was co-produced by OZ and Ambezza. “I sent that beat to Future months ago,” Hill says. “I’m glad they merged the two songs together. That was a good collaboration opportunity, and it’s going crazy right now.”
“Desires” came next. Hill vividly remembers making that beat because of the circumstances surrounding its creation. “See, that was one of those beats that I really, really remember because I didn’t know what to do with it. I got stuck,” he says. But he pushed through the roadblock.
With two Future and Drake collaborations under his belt, the hope from fans is that he can nab more appearances on the long-rumored What A Time to Be Alive 2. Hill insists he has no clue whether a joint project is in the works or not. For now, he’s committed to working hard. “It's a tremendous amount of work I put in, and it’s going to reflect in time,” he adds. “Nobody had ever heard of me, and a lot of people still don’t know about me, but I’m going to keep doing my same thing, just popping up.”
Complex spoke with D. Hill about how he connected with Future and Drake, the creation of “Life Is Good” and “Desires,” and what’s next. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
When did you get started as a producer?
I’ve been making beats since I was about 12 or 13, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until 2017. I started coming to Atlanta to get more connected with artists and build relationships. My earlier work started with Kollision. He’s a QC [Quality Control] artist. Me and him went crazy. Then I got some stuff with Gucci Mane’s artists. That’s about it as far as my earlier work.
You tweeted last week that you were sleeping in your car six months ago. How did you go from that to working with two of the biggest artists in rap?
When I first came out here [to Atlanta], I was just crashing on people’s couches who would allow me to do so. People had more open arms for me because they knew I would come to their spot from the studio late at night. They didn’t really look at me as leeching off of them. It was like, “Okay, he just got in from the studio. He doesn’t want to drive back home to where he came from.” Because of that, I stayed in Atlanta for months at a time on people’s couches. Sometimes I would get tired of asking people or I would get in at 6:00 a.m., so I would sleep in the car just to save everybody else from inconvenience.
“I sent that beat to Future months ago. I’m glad they merged the two songs together. That was a good collaboration opportunity, and it’s going crazy right now.”
How did you first connect with Future and Drake?
I was really just working. It’s kind of impossible to get to the big artists, so you really have to work. First, it’s about working with people who appreciate your sound. My sound is kind of unorthodox, so I had a hard time finding people who would know what to do with my beats. There’s a guy named Guap Tarantino and he’s a Freebandz artist. After working with him and staying consistent with him, everything else started to unfold.
What do you think it is about your sound and your beats that attracts artists to you?
I feel like a lot of producers worry about the volume. I push the limit on what’s acceptable and what’s not. Sometimes my 808 might be super loud or my hi-hats might be kind of offbeat in a way. I like everything to be kind of “off.” I really describe my sound as “off-white.” Even though it’s kind of dirty, it’s clean at the same time.
Which beat did you make first, “Life is Good” or “Desires”?
I think “Life is Good” came first.
Can you tell me about how “Life Is Good” came together? What was your contribution to the record?
Future’s part is solely produced by me. Future’s transition, that's my production. OZ, he works closely with Drake, so that was his production, along with Ambezza, a producer who is super talented. The idea of them merging two songs together, that’s something [Future and Drake] did. I wasn't a part of that process, other than making Future’s part. I sent that beat to Future months ago. I’m glad they merged the two songs together. That was a good collaboration opportunity, and it’s going crazy right now.
“I never even imagined Drake being on the beat, but listening to the actual song, I’m like, ‘Wow, this fits him perfectly.’ This is really old Drake vibes, and I didn’t even know it.”
How did you go about constructing Future’s portion of “Life Is Good”? Did Future tell you what he wanted, or did you take the reins on that?
Yeah, I always just do what I do. That’s why I go back to reflecting on working with artists who appreciate your sound. I like working with artists where it’s a no-brainer. I know they’re going to kill my beats. It takes people who don’t mind pushing it to the limit or trying something new. I was just doing my thing. I was sending beats, and this just came out that way.
How did “Desires” come about?
See, that was one of those beats that I really, really remember, because I didn’t know what to do with it. I got stuck. I was like, “Damn, I don’t know what to do with this. What should I add?” And I went back two days after I originally started it. I was told to send some beats that particular night. Sometimes when I don’t have any beats to send, I’ll go back and finish some. I’m kind of in a forced position. Like, “Well, fuck it. I got to do something to the beat so I can have something to send.” So I added the finishing touches on that particular beat, and I didn’t think too much about it. It just so happened to work out perfectly. I never even imagined Drake being on the beat, but listening to the actual song, I’m like, “Wow, this fits him perfectly.” This is really old Drake vibes, and I didn’t even know it.
At what point did you realize that the beats you sent had both Future and Drake on them? Did you find out after they were released?
Yeah, I kind of knew and I kind of didn’t know. I knew that I had music with those guys, but I didn’t know anything else. You got to think, there was a snippet for “Desires” [that leaked] back in August 2019. So, with that being said, yeah, I knew. And from inside sources I was told that Drake was on my production. So, it was something I had to keep on the low for a little minute.
How does it feel to receive such positive feedback from both of these tracks?
I don’t know. It feels really regular. I really don’t feel nothing because it was always expected. Just the situations I went through, I always had a level of faith so high that this was going to happen. All of this is really orchestrated. Every decision I made in my career has led up to this point. So, it feels good to see people’s reactions. Other than that, I don’t really know how it feels. I’m kind of numb to it. I’m really a monster. I don’t like to stop making beats. That’s all I do. I like to put in work. I don’t check numbers. I don’t even see the charts. I just know when people tell me.
Has this experience open doors to work with other major artists?
Yeah, for sure. That’s going to happen. And it’s one of those things: I never wanted to be famous. I still stress that to this day. I like to stay under the radar and have my freedom as an individual. But there’s some things we get in life that we didn’t ask for. So whatever comes out of that, I know it’s going to be something good. A lot of opportunities have definitely come my way from the newfound fame.
“The beat to ‘Desires,’ I really wasn’t a big fan of that beat, but if I never sent that beat because of my own opinion, we wouldn’t be talking about the record right now.”
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned so far from working with artists like Future and Drake?
I mean, there’s a lot of things. The main thing is, as a creative, our opinion matters last at the end of the day. Yeah, it matters, but it only matters to a certain extent. Like, the beat to “Desires,” I really wasn’t a big fan of that beat, but if I never sent that beat because of my own opinion, we wouldn’t be talking about the record right now. You’ve got to have faith in your product no matter what and just let it do what it’s going to do.
The two singles suggest a full project from Drake and Future is coming soon. Will you be contributing any more music to that album?
I don’t know if there’s a project or not in the works. I just be making beats.
What’s next for you this year? Any new collaborations coming up?
It’s a lot on the way. It’s a tremendous amount of work I put in, and it’s going to reflect in time. Nobody had ever heard of me, and a lot of people still don’t know about me, but I’m going to keep doing my same thing, just popping up. I’m going to be all over the place. I’m working with a lot of people, but I can’t really say because sometimes songs don’t release. Just know there’s a lot on the way.
What’s one thing you want people to know about you as an artist right now?
This is my life. It’s so deep that I can’t even explain it. Making music, it’s what I’m put on Earth to do and inspire others. To the day I die, that’s my purpose. That’s what fulfills me and makes me happy. I’m really not myself when I’m not making music. And I’m resilient. I don’t like giving up. I love taking chances. I get a thrill off of riding with my tank on E, because there’s the thrill of me knowing I am going to make it to the gas station in time or not. I’m just a real weird guy. A lot of people don’t understand me, but I like to make beats and that’s just it.