FROM DIZZY WRIGHT'S PERSPECTIVE
On how the song concept for "Maintain" came about:
I take little things from every situation that I’m in, like when I’m talking to somebody, and they say a lot, but I could take a little from that...I’ve been getting a lot of things from a lot of people around Vegas who are just like, talking about things that they don’t have. Just for the people who really just work hard for everything that they got, I just wanted them to maintain, so it was kinda like my ‘keep your head up song,’ just keep pushing forward.
On if he was speaking to anyone in particular:
Nah people in general, like the world.
On if he & Joey Bada$ discussed the direction of “Maintain” before writing:
Nah, it’s crazy. I wrote the song back in Vegas, and I just recently became a fan of Joey Bada$$, just finding his music, and I just thought it was so dope, ‘cause I’ve always been on my hip-hop shit, but I’ve never worked with someone on some hip-hop shit. And I thought he would be perfect for it, just especially with him being young and being a voice on the East Coast, I thought it would be super dope, so I kinda made the song for him before I knew him, and then it just kinda fucking happened, it’s crazy.
On how they recorded together:
I recorded mine in Vegas, and then I went to New York and I was in the studio with him, and we were talking about doing a track and I’m like, ‘yo I actually already did that I was already thinking about putting you on if you wanna hear it, tell me if you’re fucking with it.’ So I played it for him, and the whole Pro Era was showing love and fucking with it, and he wrote his verse and it was on.
On the studio session:
It was me, Pro Era and Ab-Soul. We was just in there smoking and just vibing. It was two studios so Ab was working on some shit. Oh, the Flatbush Zombies were in there too. And we was just in there on some hip-hop shit, just smoking and eating and shit. It was all cool vibes.
On if he got anything in with Ab-Soul:
No actually I didn’t, um, I actually had some shit too, same like with Joey, like I’ve already heard Ab-Soul on and I’m like I got some shit for Ab. But then, I dunno, because Ab has a cool fucking way of thinking and I really would like to just sit in the studio and come up with crazy concept with Ab. But yeah, we couldn’t make it happen, it started getting super late.
On his favorite style of rap song to do:
It depends, ‘cause when I’m home I vibe it. So, like, “Maintain” is more my sound when it comes to that, but when I’m on stage, I love to have fun, I love to dance, I love to smile and act silly, put that feedback energy to the crowd, so they could feed it back to me. And I know the strip club songs and the high-energy songs really bring that out. When I’m on stage and it’s like my slower songs, I be talking that real shit and getting people to listen and I love doing that, but I also love having fun and dancing and playing around. So it really depends on the situation, ‘cause I really all-around like it all, that’s why I do it all.
On if smoking weed helps Dizzy “Maintain”:
Yeah, definitely. I didn’t start smoking weed til my baby mama was pregnant. I didn’t grow up a weed smoker. I was just out here in life doing my thing, I didn’t really have no guidance. So how I started keeping myself cool and being able to maintain in my life was twisting up the dro and keeping it moving, and not letting the little things get the best of me. ‘Cause I started getting really angry at my situation, my life, and it started pushing me in the wrong direction because I felt like I gotta get this fast money and make this shit happen, but I found something that puts me in my comfort zone and help me maintain and just keep my mind focused.
On his favourite line/verse:
My favourite line is when I say, “whether you got you a son or a daughter/don’t run away from your problems or your partner/maintain/I know it’s getting harder but it gets harder/you gotta understand it’s the shit that make you a man.”
That’s similar to what I was talking about, like when I started smoking, my baby mama was pregnant, we was beefing, shit was crazy, that was like my partner, I was beefing with my family, so I was pretty much alone. But I realized the things that we were arguing about escalated, that shit escalated to, ‘oh well you ain’t gonna see your son,’ ‘oh well, child support,’ ‘oh well, woop-dee-woop-woop-woop.’ Later on down the line I was able to sit down and talk to her and we were able to work some shit out, and we didn’t have to go through all of that. So whether, “you got you a son or a daughter/don’t run away from your problems or your partner/maintain/,”-- I feel like if you decide to have a baby with somebody, don’t treat her like some bitch on the corner, you gotta show her respect, maintain, hold it together and just keep it g, that’s the shit that makes you a man, that’s what a man is. A main ain’t a nigga who run around and crown his baby mama and just fall into the typical baby daddy shit. So I’m tryna just give niggas the motivation to wanna be there not only for their kids, but the person who have their kids.
FROM DJ HOPPA'S PERSPECTIVE:
On how the beat came about:
I was actually working in the studio with a different artist when I came across the main sample in the "Maintain" track, and I knew right away that it was something I could flip for Dizzy's upcoming project that he's doing, so I tucked it away and came back to it the next day and made the beat.
On the sample:
The sample is from a well-known artist, I don't like to reveal specifics but the kids on YouTube have dropped it in the comments a couple times if you can't figure it out.
On if he created the beat specifically for Dizzy:
Yes and no. I definitely sent it to Dizzy first, and had a feeling he would like it, but I didn't try to cater to him necessarily. I just did what the vibe of the beat told me to do and hoped that we would dig it.
On if he was in-studio with Dizzy Wright & Joey Bada$ during the recording process:
Unfortunately, I wasn't there during the recording. I had flown out to do a show with Dizzy in Las Vegas after I sent him the beat and he showed me the track with the first two verses on it, and it was a rough version without Joey Bada$ on it. I don't think either of us knew Joey would end up on the track until Dizzy flew out a week or something later to New York and had him record the third verse. We just got to perform the track at a show in SXSW and it was definitely a dope dynamic on stage.
On his favorite type of beat to create:
I love sample-based beats. To me, they just carry an energy and feeling to them that hits right to the soul. Boom-bap sample beats is my shit. I have been getting into using more synth and current production styles as well, though, trying to stay rounded.
On the equipment used to create the instrumental for “Maintain”:
I sampled the beat into Ableton, and used my Akai Max49 controller to chop it up and lay down the drums. Everything else was done within Ableton.
On his go-to machines:
For the road I don't leave without my Macbook Pro, and I always need a Rane TTM57 mixer at the shows. In the studio, I was using the Akai MPC for a long time but now I use the Akai Max49 cause it has the keys and pads all in one controller, and it works great with Ableton.
On how he initially linked up with Funk Volume:
In early 2011, Hopsin was planning his very first tour to promote his Raw album, and he wanted to have a DJ hit the road with him and SwizZz. Dame (owner of Funk Volume) approached me through email about it, and I hadn't heard of Hopsin at the time. He came and saw me DJ at a local residency I had, and we set up a practice for a show they had in Bakersfield. We played the show, it went great, I was added to the roster, and now there's no ending in sight!
Giving you the direct perspective from Dizzy Wright & DJ Hoppa, "Track Breakdown" is an HNHH series that highlights a specific cut by speaking to both the artist and producer about the song's creation.
Dizzy Wright was recently crowned a 2013 XXL Freshmen (by the people's vote, nonetheless), which is sure to make his stock in the rap game rise. However, he's as humble and as hard-working as ever. This is evident on his new track, "Maintain," which offers support for people and their every-day struggles, instead of glamorizing hard times, as rap can do.
We called upon Dizzy Wright and Funk Volume's resident producer and DJ, DJ Hoppa, to talk about the creation of the Joey Bada$$-featured "Maintain." As Dizzy currently works on his new mixtape, he has teased fans with true hip-hop tracks like "Maintain" and "Kill Em Wit Kindness," which show his versatility in the rap game. From previous weed-smoking tracks on SmokeOut Conversations to strip club anthems like "Hotel Stripper," Dizzy can do it all, but we found out what his favorite style is in our interview.
Of course, that hip-hop sound on "Maintain" would be nothing without DJ Hoppa. We heard from DJ Hoppa about the track's creation and sample, and dug a little deeper to find out how he linked up with Funk Volume in the first place.
To find out more about "Maintain" directly from Dizzy and Hoppa, click through the images above. If you haven't heard the track in discussion, give it a listen below.