INTERVIEW: DP Beats talks about orchestrating his wide range of collaborators, unreleased music with Lil Uzi Vert & more.
DP Beats is the kind of producer who seems to exist only behind a computer. His name is spoken quietly between the artists on his beats, or between the audiophiles of SoundCloud. He’s the kind of artist who connects for an interview over his personal cell phone and meanders through conversations with stories about the time Jay-Z called Wiz Khalifa while he was in the midst of making a track for the latter, or about how he’s working to buy a house despite the uphill battle of a felony conviction.
Today (August 17), the 23-year-old beatsmith, born Don Paschal, is stepping out from behind the computer. He is releasing an album that features some of his most faithful collaborators. Wiz Khalifa, Playboi Carti, Don Q, Rick Ross. These are names partitioned across various subgenres of rap music, so it might be hard to imagine their voices strung into one coherent album, except that’s exactly what DP Beats does on his latest release, DP On The Beat 3, and it’s exactly what he’s been doing for the last three years. DP Beats has moved in and out of the lives of rappers like Chief Keef, Soulja Boy, and Uzi, briefly delivering great hits and shaping the styles we now associate with these acts, before moving into something else. A strong believer in astrology, DP Beats has summed up his greatest collaborations as a string of fated intersections between his Aquarius and those artists' Leo.
Yesterday, just before the project was set to release, we had a chance to speak with DP Beats about it. He talked about the challenges of establishing a distinct sound with such an eclectic catalogue, and his hopes for himself as an independent artist now that he’s taking steps into the spotlight.
HotNewHipHop: How are you feeling about the album drop? You must be excited.
DP Beats: Yea definitely. I just like to keep content flowing, always, keep new stuff out so people can hear what I've been working on, here my new sounds. Because a lot of the times, stuff that I do won’t come out for months.
Is that because you’re such a prolific producer?
Yea, that and a lot of the times the way people release [music] they put my stuff in the vault for some reason. DP stuff is the special stuff they don’t drop until like it gets leaked or something crazy like that. Or it pops up on a mixtape and I’m like, "I didn’t even know y’all was gonna use that."
When’s the most recent time that happened and who were you working with?
I’ve been trying to stop that, but a lot of stuff I’ve been doing recently has been a lot of [Chief] Keef. I’ve been trying to get Keef back in his glow like he’s supposed to. We haven’t worked closely like I be doing now since I did Sorry 4 the Weight.
I feel like you’ve been doing producer albums since before it came so popular. A lot of producer are packaging together their own albums now. Have you always wanted to take a lead role this way?
Yep! You know who I admire a lot? I admire DJ Khaled a lot. Him and DJ Carnage, I admire DJ Carnage like right next to Khaled. When they just go in there and put the record together. When you do it that way, I would like to be in control of figuring out “I like this beat, I think this person would sound good on it.” That’s what I recently did. I did it with a Yung Bans song that just came out called “Let’s Play” with Lil Uzi and Lil Tracy… put Uzi on the hook, put Tracy on the back part of the song. I want to do that a lot more and more often. When you give people a batch of beats they come at it how they want to come at it. If I was to be like, “Thug do this part, get Uzi to ad-lib that part, and get Herbo to do this part…” You know just certain stuff, I think I would be able to accomplish some raw-ass shit.
I’m going to try and venture in that way by doing my thing, dropping EPs featuring everybody.
I was impressed with the way you transition between all those voices in this album. At one point you have Playboi Carti on the amazing song “Check,” and then a Don Q song. Are directing them or do you feel you have to bend to each artist’s taste?
When I first pick my instruments and I’m building a track, I already know who I want on it. I can hear their cadences in my head. I be making a beat and I hear an Uzi ad-lib or a Carti ad-lib. You can hear off the bat— “I think this person would fit good on this.”
With this album I wanted people to see that, okay I got my trap sound, he got his Drill Chicago type sound, he got radio kind of sound, that trendy trap Carti type shit. There’s a lot of different ways you can come at trap. People don’t get to hear everything from me. I try to just stick to a certain group of individuals everybody know me for and keep it exclusive within that circle.
I did a DP On the Beat-type album before, but it wasn’t like from all types. I just dropped it online. It was mostly trap so I thought, “The next one I want to mix it up.”
How did you make that transition from Keef to Lil Uzi Vert?
The way [Uzi] described what he wanted from me was different. He would give me a color. He wouldn’t tell me what sounds he wanted. "I want it like grey and blue, or like purple." I was probably in the studio for one song, and it ain’t came out yet.
What’s the name of the song?
It’s a joint called "The Coupe." I ain’t gonna lie, that beat in that track is hard.
You need to get that out.
I ain’t gonna lie, industry be low-key snubbing me out because I’m not signed to anybody.
Have you been looking for a deal or are you trying to stay independent?
Everybody be trying to sign me but I can’t take no deal right now. I’m stuck in a deal I’ve been locked in for a couple years. Only thing I can’t complain about that— I own my masters. I got my catalogue, I get a lot more of my backend. I got my own publishing company.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
My favorite song on there. I’d say I like “Hardly Ever Home” by Wiz the best. That’s one of my favorite low-key songs. The beat is kind of slower. I normally like fast stuff. I like that song because it’s that original Wiz type vibe. It’s like the old Wiz. I like that I was able to bring the old Wiz out of him.
Going forward, what kind albums are you thinking of dropping? I know you said you wanted to work with Chief Keef again.
Almighty DP 3. If there’s anybody else on there [besides Chief Keef], it will be Uzi and Herbo only.
How would you describe that future direction you see yourself moving in, and the direction you seem to be initiating with this album?
Well, a lot of people have heard my stuff but they still don’t know who I am. So this is just to get people's ears warmed up to me. When you hear a beat and you know it without the tag? I want to trademark my insignia a little more.