With Kodak Black’s debut album, Painting Pictures, coming out at the top of April, we wanted to reach out to his go-to producer, Dubba-AA, through his manager Chef for an interview. Dubba-AA been working with Project Baby since Day 1, before his rise to mainstream success. Dubba talks about his come up, career start, first placements and rise within the industry with Kodak as an artist and producer.
Where you from?
I’m from West Palm Beach, Florida.
How did you start getting into music production?
I started learning how to play drums at the age of 2 by watching my dad and sitting on his lap soaking it in. By age of 11, I started making beats as part of the group Pangea Kidz with members, Young Garah and Chris Da Great (CDG). We were the first group in South Florida to perform on BET’s 106 n Park.
We couldn’t afford beats so for Christmas my mother bought me a Roland Phantom as a gift. She suggested instead of paying money for beats, use the Phantom as an investment to make money making beats. As I was making beats and making music as a group, we were learning through trial and error.
So what point did you start taking music seriously?
I ain’t gonna lie, back in the day, Lil Bow Wow got me inspired to take music Seriously. My parents wouldn’t let me listen to the hardcore music that was out at the time and seeing the jewelry, braids, and girls, inspired me to start taking music, rapping seriously.
What were your first placements as a producer/paid placements?
Around 2006, when I was 14, I co-produced this beat with Chris Da Great (CDG) for an artist by the name of VanDam. That became “Body Slam” which became a local hit in our area. The song grew so popular that we became instant celebrities around our way; girls was liking us and guys wanted to be like us.
When “Body Slam” took off, were you aware of this business aspect of collecting payments and royalties off the song?
Not at all. We didn’t get any royalties from it. That was part of the trial and error. We were the young cats in the game, trying to solidify our name at that time. We felt that making beats, having that notoriety, the success was more than we expected. We thought that we were gonna make that beat, and that was gonna be it. Now, knowing what I know, we should’ve gotten that paperwork right, we could’ve made a couple dollars off that record. But sometimes you have to go through that, especially when it’s your first big record.
How did you meet Kodak Black?
Kodak had a song called “4th Quarter” that was buzzing locally and started hearing his name often. One day, my brother was at the house, recovering from brain surgery (he’s good now), he told me I need to make a beat for this artist. I asked him for who? He said for this guy named Kodak Black, he about to blow up. I told him I never heard of Kodak, let me see what he got.
So one thing led to another, I heard the music. Around this time I was in college. I sent the beat to him, and when I was in school, my brother called me and told me Kodak got on one of your beats, which became “Hungry”, which he put out his first video for. From there, we never stopped working and kept going at it.
Kodak Black “Hungry” (2013)
As a producer/rapper combo, what made the music click so well between you and Kodak?
Being from South Florida, we have a certain sound and culture, we got the gold teeth, we got a certain amount of 808s. What makes me and Kodak’s music sound so great together, we know our strengths, right amount of sauce to where we can be complementary to one and other. While he works with other producers that try to fill out other situations, our chemistry is just natural musically.
Around the time you guys started working, was Kodak dealing with legal issues? If so, how did you guys work around that dynamic?
The first mixtape I got on with Kodak was Institution. That was really the first time us really collaborating actively and working together. He had just got out of jail then, he really was trying to go the distance with that record and was hungry, same as I. That’s when I produced “Rock Bottom”, “Gospel”, “In Too Deep”. From that, we got plenty other records together that did not make the tape. After his run with Institution, Lil Big Pac, you know about the situation with that. Now with Painting Pictures, he’s in another situation now.
When Kodak was going through these legal situations, how did you guys keep in contact and continue making music?
Me and Kodak were talking back and forth in jail, every day, vibing out, getting to a point where it was becoming more than just music and a friendship, talking about whatever. He’d tell me to send him something, or ask me what new vibes you got? Or he’d tell me I got this song, and I’d record him through my other phone. I’d take that audio clip, I’d utilize it so by the time he got out I’d have a beat for it.
What was it like seeing his rise from working with him early days to now?
I’ma tell you this, it really touches me to know that a dream, whether it be me or Kodak, resulted in us making it happen. I tell people all the time, if wasn’t for Kodak, I probably wouldn’t be in this situation. I consider Kodak a brother to me. But to see him on stage, hear my music being played, that’s a blessing to me. It’s still not real sometimes. Sometimes I sit back and think to myself, what the hell just happened? Did we really just win? We really in the industry right now? It’s definitely real and amazing to see us, coming from the hood and being able to make an impact on people’s lives.
After achieving this success with Kodak, have you gotten any calls from other artists whether it be locally or in the industry for beats?
Yeah I’ve been getting calls for beats and verses. I’m working with artists such Kap G, K Camp, Gucci Mane, Lil Boosie, Zoey Dollaz and more. All of these guys, want to work because they see the vibes me and Kodak have.
As an artist, do you produce your own beats for your music?
Nah, for the most part, I enjoy rapping over other producers beats. I feel I’m more creative when I’m rocking on someone else beats.
We gotta couple records that about to come out. I’m the type of person that don’t like to talk about a project til it’s ready to come out. I’m an artist as well, aside from the fact I produce, I got a record coming soon with NBA Young Boy, we got a mixtape in the works that’s about 50% done but right now he got a little legal situation right now. Me and him dropped a record around Christmas, called “Don’t Matter” which I produced also. It got over a million views on Youtube. Once Kodak comes out we’ll be working again. Just because Kodak just dropped a project, don’t think he isn’t working. We’ll always be working around the clock.