Written by D-1
After having a break out in 2017, JW Lucas looks forward to creating more hits and spreading his brand of motivation through his platform. We spoke to Lucas about producing one of the biggest songs last year, Lil Uzi Vert’s “Xo Tour Liife”, the backstory behind the beat’s creation and release.
How did you get your start making beats?
I started toward the end of my football career because of injury. At the time, one of my teammates was on his laptop making a beat on FL Studio and I was blown away at the fact he was able to do it on a laptop and I got hooked on it.
So once you started making beats, how long did it take you to get used to beat making such as coming up with melodies, structuring a beat and so forth?
I just popped it open and had fun with it, pretty much make drum patterns. I didn’t really know how to make chords, know scales, melodies on top each other. I would say around 2008, 2009, is when I got a keyboard, that allowed me to use different types of sounds on my keyboard inside FL Studio. That’s when I started going on YouTube to learn chords and progress the sound. I only started to get real good at it about 4, 5 years ago, now I’m making music every day.
As you continued getting better, what was the turning point for you as a producer?
XO Tour Liife basically (laughs).
Of course (laughs), so how did the beat for XO Tour Liife come about? I remember DJ Ave McCree crediting you, breaking down the melody of the beat in one of his videos.
He’s a corny motherf****er, I used to make beats with him. He’s a geek. He likes to put my name all over his platform, my name in his mouth, he always trying to build clout off people, he put TM’s name on everything. He used to be a cool dude, but now he’s a complete geek. I wish I could see him in real life, so I could slap this piss out of him straight up. He didn’t have anything to do with it, at the time I didn’t have social media, so he was my contact to TM (TM88).
I linked with one of the members of 808 Mafia, who put me in contact with TM. When I got sent him some smoke, he told me my shit hard, send him some flps (FL Studio Project Files). I sent him two beats, with the main two melodies, and another melody similar to what he did, he rearranged the melody, then he added drums, added percussion. He sent it back to me as a slower version of the beat at first.
Me and TM got into it because there was an artist from California, who wanted 3 beats, which was one of the beats me and TM did, but the bass in one of them was too loud so I had to fix it. I was like ‘send me the track outs’ and he said I got you. A few days went by, two weeks go by and he’s not responding. I’m like “TM I thought you was a real one but obviously you a fuckboy. When I see you, you already know what it is. I pretty much made an aggressive remark to get his attention, and I was dead serious too. He hit me back and said ‘I sold my soul to the devil for chump change. We don’t send track outs. We tell the labels to suck our dick unless it’s a paycheck’. I told him, ‘I see you on that super Hollywood shit, when I see you, I’m at your door’ and that was the end of it. He blocked me and I couldn’t even get a hold of him.
The next month, I’m on the treadmill, XO comes on and I still hear my melody on it, it was sped up a little bit. That’s when I hit DJ Ave (Mcree) to reach out to TM. TM instantly denied I was apart of it then I reached out to TM’s manager like ‘I’m not trying to sue you guys, I’m not trying to make a big deal of it”. Then TM hit me back saying “Bro I forgot, I smoke a lot of weed, and I told him it’s all good. We arranged our splits and moved forward.
I have a couple records on the 808 Mafia coming up, one with Young Thug that’s hard as fuck and on TM88 album so some of the songs we did will be on there. We would work on more but they trying to sign me to his production team but I’m not signing to anyone because I want all the money. Fast forward to now, I got my own team of producers and I’m about to get a lot of records out this year.
When did you make the melody that TM used? Because initially when I first heard it through Ave’s video, it sounded like an arp (arpeggiator) used.
Like 2016, and it wasn’t an arp. It was a Nexus preset, a violin Orchestra preset inside Nexus that I used for the melody but it was rearranged and slowed down.
So when the song actually dropped what was your reaction to it?
I was in the gym, on the treadmill, and when I heard it on the radio, I hopped off and was like this hard as fuck. Uzi been one of my favorite rappers. I been telling people I was gonna take off with this music shit. It’s one of the biggest songs of this generation. I think it was the second biggest song streaming wise, behind “Humble” (Kendrick Lamar’s song). In 5 years, it’ll do more numbers than Humble. It just one of those records, where kids gonna remember where they were when it dropped. I’m not worried about one song because I hear music on a higher level.
With your newfound success, what’re some of the upcoming projects you working on?
Right now working with TM’s project, I got a record coming up with Kodak Black, Tunji (Ige), producer of Khalid’s Locations, Frank Dukes, and working with my team of producers.