At 26-years old, Chauncey Hollis, A.K.A. Hit-Boy, already has a Grammy under his belt for producing one of the most memorable and original songs of 2011 with two of the (arguably) greatest rappers of all time: "Niggas in Paris." If you could say you worked on any song in the past decade, this epic tune is definitely one you'd want to lay claim to.
Hit-Boy broke from Kanye's GOOD Music label though to start his own imprint with Interscope, called Hits Since '87, marking the year of his birth. It's looking like his moniker and the label's title ring true. He's also worked on bangers like ASAP Rocky's "Goldie" and the ubiquitous "Clique." Not only does Hit-Boy -- who was discovered on My Space -- produce, he also performs. And he's coming to West Palm Beach with Lil Wayne on the America's Most Wanted Tour this Sunday. We chatted with him about his new endeavor, Weezy's possible retirement, and larger moments in time captured in song.
New Times: I wanted to ask you about your big news. You left GOOD Music and are working on your own imprint. What direction do you plan on going with it?
Hit-Boy: With the Hits Since '87 imprint, I'm just looking to bring that youthful essence to the game. I've learned so much being around people early in the game from Jay-Z to Kanye, and I'm just going to apply what I've learned and just try to take it to the next level with my own vision.
Who are some dream artists you'd like to work with on the label?
Well, I already have two artists signed to me. K. Roosevelt has a song that's doing really well now, called "Do Me Now," and the other act is called Audio Push. We also write and produce for other people. It's just a collective of young creatives. We're definitely getting our name out there and spreading the brand around. People are receiving it well, so you never know who we'll work with.
You're a producer and you perform. What's rewarding about each?
Definitely with performing, seeing people who you've never met know your lyrics, know your music. It's just an indescribable feeling. Just like with beats, I had the chance to go on a lot of the Throne dates, and just watch the way they performed "Niggas in Paris" multiple times, and people never got tired of it. That's an incredible feeling.
I have friends who performed "Niggas in Paris" karaoke like 30 times in a row as part of an art exhibition. It's incredible that people can hear it so many times back-to-back. What about that song makes it stick?
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Everything about it. From the beat to the lyrics, every line in the song is witty. The song is just fun. It's genius at the same time, adding clips from Blaze of Glory the movie. Just trying things. That song was just a moment. It was more than just a song.
Do you feel like you've captured "that moment" with any of your other songs?
Definitely. When you talk about performing, and I play songs I've produced. Anytime I drop a Kendrick Lamar song, or like "Goldie" by A$AP Rocky, the crowd just goes wild, and that's an incredible feeling.
What's your favorite thing about working with Kendrick Lamar?
It's his passion. We're like the same kind of guy, we're both from California, we've got the laid-back spirit. His hunger and his passion, it's great.
What do you think about Lil Wayne announcing his potential retirement after Tha Carter V?
You know, he's like 30 and he's been doing this for 20 years. This guy can do what he wants to do. He's been on thousands of songs, literally. It's just like if you have the passion for it, he might do a verse here or there, or maybe do another album. That's how it goes with people with that creative capacity, you never know what they'll be doing. Jay-Z retired a couple times and came back, so you know.
If you were doing anything besides music, what would you do? Any other dream jobs?
Actually, no. Music is everything. I can't see myself doing doing anything else.
Lil Wayne, as part of America's Most Wanted Music Festival, with T.I., Tyga, Hit-Boy, and G-Eazy. 6 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $25 to $89.75 plus fees. Call 800-745-3000, or visit livenation.com, youngmoney.com.
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