How to Produce for Future, Waka, and Young Thug: Southside’s Guide to Success

After getting his start as Waka Flocka’s right-hand man, Southside of production team 808 Mafia has an impressive roster of collaborators; over the past several years, he’s worked alongside Young Thug (Southside single-handedly produced “Danny Glover”), Gucci Mane, Machine Gun Kelly, and dozens of other heavyweights.

The ATL native now routinely serves the base to Future, having produced (nearly) all of 56 Nights and DS2. #FutureHive, you can thank Southside for crafting the 808s and distorted frequencies that prop your leader’s signature sound.

He’s been in the game for a minute, but Southside’s rise to the top wasn’t all smooth sailing, and his esteemed reputation wasn’t achieved with luck or ease. Lucky for you, though, he’s broken down his most imperative tips for reaching success as a producer, rapper, and music industry entrepreneur.

1. No Game Plans Necessary

We didn’t try to make any of DS2. There was no name; we just made 200 songs and picked from those. We didn’t plan anything out or anything like that. We were just having fun. This was not a plan; it was just, “Let’s mess the world up.”

2. Not All Good Things Take Time

I made all the beats for 56 Nights in one night. I sent them to Future, and he did all the songs in one night.

3. Have a Hand in Everything

Future gives us a lot of input on the mixing and recording of the songs. Don’t get it messed up; he’s awesome at what he does. But it’s a team thing. We have [DJ] Esco, Metro [Boomin], Seth, the engineer, all of us. Future might do a song and rap through it, but me and Esco might go in and change the whole thing around. He won’t argue with us or anything—that’s why I love working with Future.

4. Wear Multiple Hats

When I go to the studio, I’ll rap on five songs and I’ll make 20 beats. I started rapping with Waka, which is how I ended up making beats. I fell back from the rapping to let him blow up. I’m about to drop my fourth mixtape, Free Agent 3, any day now. I’m not telling anyone when that’s coming out; I’ll just drop it and it’s gonna be everywhere.

I host and DJ, too, which comes from being on tour with Waka. He might be doing something crazy on stage, and I’ll just grab the mic and say what’s up to everybody. I don’t really look at anything too seriously; my hobbies just turned themselves into a job. It’s fun to me.

5. The Golden Rule

Don’t sell your publishing. Don’t do a pub deal, unless they offer life-changing amounts of money. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned, hands down.

6. Don’t Sleep on the New Guys

I have a new artist, Slugg Mania. He’s like, every college kid’s new favorite rapper. I think there’s a lot of great stuff coming out of Atlanta right now, and he’s up next.

7. Don’t Be Scared to Start from Scratch

I’m doing all of Flockaveli 2. I took all of the crazy features off it though; I redid the whole album. Flockaveli 1 changed the sound of hip-hop. 2 has to top 1.


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