With his latest record taking off on the charts, we reached out to Virginia native Yung Lan, producer of Blac Youngsta’s hit ‘Booty’ to talk about his recent success and his come up within the industry.
Written by D-1
How did you get your start making beats?
I started making music around 2005. My mom had bought me a Yamaha Motif keyboard, an Akai MPC 2000 and was really into Kanye West production and sampling style. I jumped to Fruity Loops (FL Studio) in 2009 and been using it ever since then.
You had any musical experience prior getting into making beats?
No, my family is musical oriented, from my mom playing piano in church along with my family, but I never took lessons or none like that.
How you figured out making beats with the Yamaha from structuring?
I listened to popular songs on the radio and replay them the same way. YouTube wasn’t popular at the time so I didn’t really have any tutorials so I had to learn everything by trial and error.
So, what made you transition into using Fruity Loops in 2009?
Fruity Loops was just way easier to use and everyone was using it at the time. You didn’t always have to carry hardware, easier to travel with and for studio sessions so when you have the hardware it was too much stuff to bring so I eventually stuck with it.
How long did it take for you to master FL once you started using it?
I’m still mastering it now but it probably took me about a month to really get down the shortcuts and stuff.
What was your first start getting into the industry?
My first major placement was with Roscoe Dash, that was when he was red hot, had “All The Way Turnt Up” at the time. I got the placement was through Twitter by networking, where I got beat emails. I hit up his team, sending them a few beats, and he ended up using one of them and shooting a video for it.
How old were you at the time and what was that feeling like getting your first placement?
I was 18 at the time in high school, it was a surreal feeling. At that time, Roscoe was at the top and I say to myself ‘Damn, I got a record with one of hottest artists out’. It was a confirmation for me that I was on the right track, which I felt was going to be my career.
After that placement, you had any help managing or mentoring to help navigate through the industry?
Everything I learned was really on my own, I didn’t have a manager like that. My mom use to help me meet with entertainment lawyers, which was expensive; I didn’t know I could do percentage-based agreements, so really everything was based off trial and error, word of mouth and using YouTube, with people explaining stuff about the industry.
How long after did it take for you afterward to get your business situated to where you were prepared to go out and do business?
I didn’t start selling exclusive rights beats until 2012, but up until then I was mostly leasing beats online, sending beats out to major artists but they weren’t really paying like that, so I started focusing on selling exclusives back in 2012. I had a lawyer at that time and learned more about the business.
How did you meet Fetty Wap?
My barber, who’s named Frank White, who’s from Passaic, New Jersey, right by Patterson, showed me Fetty’s video for ‘Trap Queen’, before the song even blew up. He told me Fetty just signed to 300, you should check him out. I didn’t think much about it for real. Then a month later I saw him on a Hot 97 interview, and I see him blowing up so I said let me hit him up. Then I found his email on Twitter, sent him some beats, he responded that night and he told me ‘ya shit crazy bro keep sending me beats’. Then probably about a week later he recorded RGF Island and that ended up being our first song together.
How the beat came together for RGF Island? You remember what year that was?
It’s crazy, in 2015, I was real sick. I just had to surgery on my stomach, I was mad weak but when I got out the hospital that was literally the first beat I made. I remember making the beat trying to make an anthem, with piano, strings, something different than your usual trap beat. I sent it as part of a pack to Fetty and as soon as I heard it, I knew it was gonna be a hit.
That’s really inspirational to come from surgery and produce a banger like that.
Yeah. It came out on Soundcloud about a year before. Every month, it kept adding millions of plays, up north it was catching stream, but when the album was coming out, it started going up, I felt even blessed to be part of the songs, so many people liked the vibe of the song
After the success of the song, what kind of responses and offers you were receiving?
It was definitely crazy because I never had labels or a large amount of people hit me up for beats. So right as Fetty’s album was about to drop, the labels were having a bidding war to sign me. At the time my lawyer ended up helping me get to Warner/Chapel so I signed with October 2015.
Where I’m from, stuff like this don’t really happen like that, I never really thought Fetty would be my way to break into the industry, it’s just crazy how God works and things pan out.
So for producers out there not familiar, explain what it means for someone like Warner/Chapel to approach you for a deal and what their role is in your producer career?
Warner is a basically a publishing company that signs you, takes a percentage of your publishing, in exchange for an advance, which is basically a loan, where they’ll make their money back and make some on top of that. Then afterward you can renew your contract, make some more money. Warner has helped me but really all the placements I’ve gotten has been by myself outside of this one Kevin Gates record. It was cool at the time because I needed money, but at the same time, if you don’t need the money, I would recommend you just sit back, let the money come in, meaning collecting your royalties and stack your money up that way.
How did you meet Blac Youngsta
The same way I found Fetty, through my barber Dre, was how I met Blac Youngsta in Atlanta, who cuts Blac Youngsta’s hair. Dre was already familiar with my work like RGF Island and stuff, so he while he was cutting Youngsta ‘Hey I got this producer, his name Yung Lan. Yall should work together and come up with something crazy’. He Facetime me while I was in Mexico on vacation and told him I’ll link back up with him once I come back to the states. After we linked up, after a few sessions, I made ‘Booty’, which was a 10-minute beat.
Wow, only 10 minutes? Were you in the studio with him creating it?
Yeah, he used to be in Atlanta all the time, I use to pull up on him at the studio and work. I prefer to work face to face, occasionally I’ll e-mail.
Walk us through the session creating the beat for ‘Booty’.
I believe it was May 2017 when I did the beat, we met around December 2016, then throughout the period, we would make a couple records. That night, he had called me up late like 12, 1 am to come to the studio. I normally don’t like going that late, I be tired I don’t be as motivated but I was like ‘let me go’. At the time, my boy BeatMonster Marc, we had a crib, staying together, and I was like ‘Marc let’s go to the studio, then he came down with me. Blac was like ‘I need for you to cook me up something crazy for me’. That’s me and Marc’s trademark sound, whenever anyone wants us to cook something up for them. It took us about 10 minutes then after we left because it was kinda late. He completed the songs about 2 hours later. When we came back the next day, we knew it was outta here.
What was your reaction to the video when it dropped?
I was outta town, I was in Mexico again (laughs) when they were doing the video. I was like ‘Damn I missed it’ but everything happens for a reason so it’s all good. It took so long for the video to come out but once the actual video came out, they executed it perfectly, it was creative and unique, I don’t care what no one says, I think it’s one of the best videos of the year and perfectly fits the song.
What’s been the response so far since Booty started taking off?
It’s much easy now to introduce myself and get my beats heard because as soon as I tell people I made that beat, they go like ‘yo that beat was so hard!’. Before it was easy because of the Fetty Wap situation, but it’s kinda died down now, and because of this song so relevant and huge, it’s much easier now.
What upcoming projects you working on right now?
Right now, I got some joints on Kevin Gates project, three on O.T. Genesis album, four on Youngsta’s album that just came out, whole lot coming up soon.
Follow Yung Lan on Instagram here.