Interview: DJ Mustard Talks Producing For Rihanna & His $4000 Versace Jacket
The production master speaks.
Music 4y

If you’ve shaken your ass in a rap club in the past five years, there’s a huge chance that a song produced by DJ Mustard was blasting on the speakers.

Mustard’s domination of radio airwaves and club dancefloors across the world has been overwhelming. With his song’s preceded by the unmistakable ‘Mustard on the beat ho!’ tagline, he’s produced omnipresent singles like ‘Rack City’ by Tyga, ‘I’m Different’ by 2 Chainz, ‘Paranoid’ by Ty Dolla Sign and countless others. Alongside longtime collaborator YG, their joint success has been one of the major reasons for the West Coast resurgence throughout this decade.

We caught up with Mustard when he was in Sydney to talk about his early days as a DJ, his movements in the dance realm and his ever-important $4000 Versace jacket. See how it went down below, and head to your nearest rap club this weekend to hear at least seven songs produced by this modern master:

How are you finding Australia?

I like it. The streets is wild, the parties is turnt. It’s pretty cool.

You said that you DJ’d proms and the whole range of house party possible in LA when you were younger – what did those early days teach you about reading an audience as a DJ?

I got to learn to play for the people and not for myself. There’s so much you can do when you’re playing music – “I like this”, but it’s more about what the people like. It’s about meeting in the middle and making the perfect night for them, so I learnt how to judge crowds.

You’ve been signed to Roc Nation for a few years now. One of the recent additions to the stable that Jay Z announced was DJ Khaled. Any plans for you guys to link up?

Khaled is the big homie. He taught me a lot about the game. I’ve been keen on Khaled for a minute, so it’s definitely possible.

I was watching your interview with The Breakfast Club where you said you wanted to lose weight to wear Balmain jeans. Yesterday on Twitter you confirmed that you lost 80 pounds and now wearing Balmain…

Yeah I got some on right now! I got like 10 or 15 pairs, I lost 80 pounds. I’m really into fashion, and I just want to be healthy for my kids. I’m not even done losing weight, I’ve been eating shit over here but when I get back I’m going back to the gym and trying to get a grasp on losing weight. I like dressing, I like wearing designer clothes, I like going to stores and being able to buy the clothes in the store and not asking them to order in for me. I got a taste of that and now I’m like hooked.

What are some of your essential places to shop in Los Angeles?

I got a few spots. I do Barney’s sometimes, I got vintage stores on Melrose – I wear a lot of Iron Maiden and Metallica shirts, Young Cash and Scarface – I wear a lot of rock band shirts or old tour shirts. I’m just doing my own style. I wear a little Off White and Balmain of course. It’s crazy because I was trying to lose jeans to wear Balmain, and now I don’t even wear that much Balmain that I thought I would. I can wear whatever now.

I saw your Slipknot shirt on Instagram.

Word up.

Tell us about your $4000 Versace jacket you talked about on Twitter?

I did that like three years ago. I did the MTV Music Video Awards and I got me a jacket. I never told nobody, I feel like people don’t get it. Don’t act like you don’t see me in a $4000 Versace jacket. Ya’ll gonna act like you don’t see me in Off White all the way from head to toe. Don’t act like you don’t see me in the Yeezy 350s on. Don’t act like you don’t see me getting stylish on these niggas, because these niggas can’t fuck with me.

You and DJ Snake worked on a remix of ‘Faded’ and you’ll be playing a show alongside Skrillex soon – how do you feel about working more in the realm of dance, because a lot of rappers and producers are heading that way?

I like it man. I like it because it’s not corny, a lot of these dudes is corny. Me and Snake’s relationship was organic – when I first met him, we were at the studio but we weren’t even doing music, it was just like ‘Yo, what’s up?’ Then we started texting and we got cool, and that’s how that came about. Like me with Cashmere Cat, we got a lot of music together too. Mine is more organic and it’s something to do. For me, it’s a new hobby, and with everybody taking what I’m doing anyway, I might as well just try and dominate that world too.

You delivered a bit of that dance vibe on Rihanna’s ‘FourFiveSeconds’ remix too. Tell us about producing ‘Needed Me’ on the new Rihanna album?

It’s crazy because I did like 50 songs trying to get on that album, and that was one of the last songs we worked on. I remember I was at the studio and I was like “I don’t want to go, I don’t feel like going, I’ve done so many songs, she’s not going to like it’… The next day they told me she liked it. It was great that I had a team that could take me and actually get it done because if it wasn’t for them I probably wouldn’t have went. There would have been no ‘Needed Me’.

You said that your ’10 Summers’ tattoo is a promise to stay in the rap game. How do you think you’re going to achieve longevity as a producer and DJ?

Look at me, I’ve been here – ‘Rack City’ is four or five years old. Over the years I’ve been successfully trying to push the culture forward – do music and not be afraid to do songs like ‘Whole Lotta Lovin’ with Travis Scott, and not be afraid to collaborate with DJ Snake or Cashmere Cat. I think that’s what’s going to keep me going because I’m interested in everything, and I got people on my team that’s interested in music and know what they’re talking about and help me. If I don’t know, they know. It’s just keeping good people around you and knowing what you want to do. This year should be a really good year.

March 18, 2016
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