For the latest edition of Behind The Beat, Goose explains his pop-minded approach to producing and how he complements the unique styles of both Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan.
When one hears “Goose wit another one,” expect to experience the full star quality of whatever rapper comes on the track. Goose has spent much of his young career alongside two particular stars, Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan, whom came to fame together as the duo known as Rich Gang, which dissolved in early 2015. Goose was there for most of Rich Gang’s regrettably short-lived takeover, assisting in the production of several songs on the Birdman-hosted tape, Tha Tour: Part 1, now hailed as a classic.
Thug and Quan both possess a freedom with their artistry that sets them apart from other rappers who began their careers making street-focused music. Trap is rightly a genre in itself, one that looms large over most all of Atlanta hip-hop, but the word never seemed to neatly encompass either member of the Rich Gang duo. Their music comes packed with an array of feelings -- romance, sadness, rage -- each one expressed purely so as to resonate on a universal level. Goose sees it as his role to create the proper ambiance for his artists to fully express themselves. “If it weren’t for the producers that Thug and Quan around,” he explains, “their message would probably be different. You gotta take advantage of the position you’re in and understand it.”
He sees artists like Thug and Quan as not rappers but full-on pop stars. He knows they’re capable of using their voices to convey nearly transcendent emotional experiences, and it’s his job to give them the right backdrops to do so. Accordingly, he also brings the sounds of pop -- experimenting with lighter, more delicate melodies than many of his peers -- into his beats. He takes influence from acts like Maroon 5 and Ellie Goulding, the latter whom he sampled for Thug’s Slime Season track “Calling Your Name,” which Thug apparently called “one of those superhero beats.”
“That style has always been my wave,” says Goose of euphoric, above-the-clouds anthems like “Calling Your Name.” “When I started listening to EDM and pop-type records, I wanted to bring that over into my world. I wanted to bring that to Thug and Quan cause nobody had really done it.”
Goose is grateful to have spent his whole life in the ATL; “I’m glad I was born and raised in the right spot.” He began producing early into high school after getting his first computer and stumbling upon a pirated copy of FL Studio. After graduating, he attended the Atlanta Institute of Music for a short while before calling it quits, as he was turned off by the engineering focus of the program, instead wanting to connect with artists as a hands-on producer.
But he had no connections to rappers or to anyone in the industry. His hopes lay in the Internet, and he made an effort to connect with artists before they attained serious followings. Quan was the first artist who actually hit him back. In early 2013, he messaged Goose on Twitter a day before the release of his breakout tape, Still Goin In, telling him that one of his beats had made it onto the project -- on the triumphant final track “Ayoo.” The “reloaded” version of Still Goin In, released a few months later, still sits well within the top crop of Atlanta mixtapes over the past few years.
Quan was turning into a big deal, and he soon found himself under the watchful eye of Birdman, who situated him with another young sensation in Young Thug. Quan brought Goose along with him to be a part of Birdman’s master plan, and thus began the nonstop studio camp that led to the creation of Tha Tour: Part 1. Joining Goose behind the boards were other adventurous ATL producers like London on da Track, Dun Deal, and Isaac Flame.
“Quan would be in one room, Thug in the other, and both their doors would be open,” says Goose of his time spent working in the Rich Gang studios. “I might go in there and do something with Thug, then he might go to Quan and ask him to hear something.” Goose knew he was in a special place, but he was so immersed in the collaborative experience that he didn’t think about how the work would be received. “At the time, we wasn't really thinking we're making one of the biggest tapes ever in hip-hop.”
Of the several songs on Tha Tour: Part 1 he was a part of, Goose cites “Bullet” as his personal favorite. “It was the first time I did a song with them where Quan and Thug were in the booth together going back and forth. On my beat. It was special for me."
Tha Tour: Part 1 was just a small portion of all that was created during those days, and Goose’s biggest regret about the Rich Gang fallout -- aside from seeing two close friends part ways -- is that the world never got to hear the Rich Gang album that had been in the works. Not much has changed regarding his own personal dealings in the wake of the break-up, as he’s continued to work frequently with both artists despite them steering clear of one another.
With Barter 6, the Slime Season series, I'm Up, and now JEFFERY, Young Thug has continued to approach superstardom at a steady rate. There’s no telling how high he could be at this time next year. Goose contributed two beats to the original Slime Season and three to its follow-up. Most all of them showcase Thug as the unrestrained yet increasingly engaging vocalist heard on JEFFERY, his latest project, which presented a marked shift in the pop direction.
On two of the notable "Slime" tracks, “That’s All” (SS1) and “Phoenix” (SS2), Goose makes use of the more tranquil sounds of EDM and creates blissfully atmospheric soundscapes kept grounded with trickling, occasionally explosive 808s. It’s beats like these that bring Thug into his element and thus show why he’s so special.
Another one of Goose’s most prized productions came on “Proud of Me,” a song that never saw an official release as it was part of the massive Young Thug leak that unearthed incomplete recordings of several months’ worth of material. And the song is likely a favorite of those who dug through those leaks, as Goose’s melody inspires a passionately sung hook from Thugger that ranks among his most memorable. “I know that song could’ve been a top ten record on radio,” says Goose. “I’m mad that it leaked, but it pushes me. If we can do that once, then we can do it again.”
Goose was a part of a leading candidate for one of JEFFERY's potential radio hits, "Floyd Mayweather," which he helped produce as part of a supergroup that includes TM88, Wheezy, and the Billboard Hitmakers. The team is like the youthful Atlanta counterpart to the array of industry playmakers behind Kanye West's beats. There's a certain chill to the "Floyd Mayweather" instrumental that's a product of the trap foundation the production cast was raised on. But what's most striking about the beat is not its toughness but its careful arrangement. Atlanta producers are known for their productivity and understanding of how to set a record off in the club. Beats like "Floyd Mayweather" warrant increased respect for their musicianship.
Compared to his former sidekick, Quan’s post-Rich Gang output hasn’t been received with nearly the same enthusiasm. To be fair, he hasn’t received the same industry backing, and his If You Ever Think I Will Stop Goin' In Ask RR, on which Goose produced "I Been," is an excellent exhibit of what he’s capable of as a solo artist.
Though Quan can sound hoarse to the uninitiated listener, few artists can translate real-life pain into their vocals in the way he can. A prime example is on the Goose-produced “Why,” a standout off November’s Album Before The Album tape, Quan’s most recent project. Goose builds an entrancing vocal melody underneath Quan’s free-flowing confessions, giving his words an existential grace. It turns out that Quan was in a particularly tormenting frame of mind when recording the song.
“It [‘Why’] was around the time his dad had gotten shot,” explains Goose. “He called me one day, and he asked me for something slow, a beat made for storytelling. He wanted to get deeper. I went home, played the keys -- and I don’t even really play the keys like that. I put it together quick, sent it to him. The next day he sent it back, and I knew it was a smash. One of those type of records.”
Being the first artist to ever bank on one of his beats, Goose enjoys a rare sense of trust when collaborating with Quan. They each have complete faith in each other’s respective duties. “When I’m working with Quan, he never listens for more than 5 seconds before he tells me he's loaded up. He don't wanna hear it anymore. He trusts that I'ma bring my end on the beat, and that opens him up on his end -- that helps us keep our relationship up. And he's the only artist like that.”
In addition to the former partners who’ve been much of the present focus, Goose has also put out records with YFN Lucci, Trouble, Lil Bibby, Shy Glizzy, and G Herbo. His work with the latter non-Atlantans offers a taste of the more menacing sounds he’s capable of when producing for more straightforward street rappers. He expects Quan to make a strong comeback and will continue to be one of Thug’s secret weapons. Should the time ever come for the eccentric ATLiens to reunite, Goose will be ready to lock in for what’s sure to be another classic.