DJ Mustard Explains the Story Behind Each of His Hits
“I’m like Kyrie Irving,” says DJ Mustard. His confidence permeates the room. It’s not Mustard’s fault that every time you turn the dial a record of his is playing; between “Up, Down,” “Nana,” or “2 On,” we guesstimate you’re destined to hear at least two a day.
Maybe because all last year, Mustard was the seasoning of choice, your new-favorite-producer’s flavorful sound transcending the underground onto bouncy, radio-friendly beats for the likes of Trey Songz, YG, Tinashe, T-Pain, Young Jeezy, Tyga, and more. Like Kyrie Irving, DJ Mustard’s moves were often imitated by others, but with little success. And then he finds new ways to flip that sound on a regular basis, making him even more unique.
Nowadays, many producers flutter at the sight of Mustard because he’s everything they’re striving to be right now.
He sat down with us and broke down some of his biggest hits and how each track magically came together.
Image: Getty/Bennett Raglin/BET
I was in New York. I was with one of the labels. I kind of just walked into the office. They were like, “We have this girl and her name is Tinashe. She’s got a song. We want you to reproduce it.” I was like, “Uh, alright.” But I didn’t take it serious. They said it had ScHoolboy Q on it. It’s a big song.
- Mike WiLL [Made-It] had already told me about the record. He was like, “If you don’t re-do it, it’s gonna sound like a knock-off. So when they tell you about it, you’ll know.” I was like, “Cool.”
So when I went to the label I was like, “Yo, somebody said that I need to do this.” I liked the song. I took it to the studio, rearranged some stuff, added some sound to it, and it took off. When Drake hopped on it, it was cool.
His A&R hit me and he was like, “I’m working with T-Pain. Can you send us some beats?” I was more excited when Rihanna was dancing to it than when it came out.
[Ty Dolla $ign]’s my bro. We do a lot of stuff together. It was one day where he was like, “I got this song,” and he played it for me. I was like, “Oh that’s cool.” Then he was like, “You could put it on your tape too.” I put it on my Ketchup tape, and he put it on his EP Beachhouse, and it just took off.
That was real smooth. I did the beat the day before I gave it to Trey. So I did a couple of beats and I went over to Trey’s crib. I was playing him beats and stuff on my computer. Then, him and Sam Hook were just vibing to it and they came up with the record so quick out of nowhere. I was like, “Man, this a hit.”
I had a record on Trey’s [album] before that. I don’t know if it’s ever gonna be released. But, I had a record for him before that and it wasn’t like, “Ah, this is a smash.” You know what I’m saying? Now, this record, this record was big and it blew up real fast.
That record took a long, long time. We were in Burbank, California, at the studio. We were going to the studio every day working on his album. I played him the beat. He was like, “It’s cool.” Then, months and months later, I was in Atlanta with him. We were scrolling through beats and I was like, “You remember this beat?” I said, “Man, you should do this song right here. This is the beat.” He was like, “Alright.” Then, Rich Homie Quan happened to walk in; Jeezy had sent Rich Homie Quan to the studio. Once he walked in, he just went in there and gave us the hook. And then, YG did a verse and Jeezy did his verse. Quan did his verse the same time he did the hook. Then it was gone.