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Papi Yerr talks producing for Chixtape 5, working with Tory Lanez, Chris Brown and T-Pain, and confirms upcoming solo album
Papi Yerr (Photo: Supplied)

Interview: Q&A

Papi Yerr talks Chixtape 5 & producing for Tory Lanez, Chris Brown & T-Pain

Having a success story in the music industry is incredibly hard to achieve, and often even harder when it comes to producers. Names like London On Da Track, Metro Boomin and Murda Beatz are universally known in the entertainment industry, but they put in years of dedicated hard work before they caught their big break. Countless others worked just as hard, if not harder, but never managed to carve out the same level of success. Unfortunately, having a heap of talent isn’t enough to standout as a superstar. For some, it’s just a matter of time until the right record pops.

Enter Papi Yerr.

Papi Yerr is a name that has quietly been building in terms of a brand and reputation. The Miami-based producer has an extensive catalogue of records and has collaborated with artists such as the late XXXTentacion, Tory Lanez, T-Pain, Chris Brown, Gunna, and more.

“The biggest thing I’ve had to learn was to be patient and allow God’s blessings to take place over time.” – Papi Yerr

Along with being talented musician slowly taking over the production world, he’s also stepping into the realm of being a solo artist. His official album debut, which is expected to drop in the new year, will see Tory Lanez as the only guest feature on the project.

The bubbling producer is credited with the production of three major records on the Chixtape 5 album which includes the lead single, “Jerry Sprunger” featuring T-Pain, “Love Sounds” and “The Take” featuring Chris Brown. With so many achievements already under his belt, Papi Yerr is clearly one to watch, as both an artist and producer, with 2019 only being a taste of what to expect in the new year.

I had the opportunity to catch up with the newly signed artist and bubbling producer to speak about, his come up, his extensive catalogue, his work on Chixtape 5, and his general love of music.

Papi Yerr talks producing for Chixtape 5, working with Tory Lanez, and confirms upcoming solo album

Papi Yerr (Photo: Supplied)

Q&A: Papi Yerr

HipHopCanada: My first question for you is what inspired you to get into music and how did you first get your start in the music industry?

Papi Yerr: I’ve always loved music; I was playing instruments before I learned how to read and write. I started with the drums and the piano, and then the guitar. As I grew up I dropped the guitar and stuck with the drums and piano. The first song that I did that got numbers was this song with XXXTentacion and Ronny J, called “Emoji.”

The same day I met X, we did the song, I did the beat with Ronny, and I sung the hook. At that time, Ronny J and X lived in the same house, X heard it and asked to get on the song. We really chopped it up that night when we were recording that song. After we recorded the song we all just chilled, X was just so down to Earth. The next day X had a show with Ski Mask and told me to pull up and we were all on stage and it was just lit. I knew he was special, I knew he was going to be a star. We ended up keeping in contact, we face-timed once and texted a few times. He showed a lot of love and he appreciated my sound. Shortly after that, he just blew up. Working with him was pretty legendary. Nothing but love for X and his family.

HipHopCanada: Before we dive into everything, I’d like to touch on how you and Tory first met.

PY: It started with my bro Uno. He made the connection to Tory happen. Shout out to Uno. It started back in 2011. Uno, Ronny J and myself attended the Art Institute of Miami. I met Ronny J there and he introduced me to Uno. And we all became friends and would be in my dorm freestyling, partying, etc.

We were the life of that school, we were the cool fly guys so we all just naturally clicked (Laughs). Uno told me that he knew Tory from back in the day. I started emailing beats to Uno and then Uno would play them for Tory. Then I eventually met Tory around the end of 2014, and when I met him I don’t think he liked my beats but I kept working, you know? So almost two years later Uno was playing a song for Tory that I recorded with me singing on the hook and Tory was really impressed. It was a song called “Touchdown.” That song is gonna be on my upcoming album, so be on the look for that. So a couple of months after I recorded “Touchdown,” Uno had called me and Tory jumped on the phone and he just showed mad love. He told me he had opportunities for me and just to keep working. This was big for me. This was when Tory was already multi-platinum, with a top 10 album on Billboard. At the time things were moving slow for me; so when he reached out it gave me a lot of motivation and inspiration to keep going.

This was in 2016 so it took two-three years of me just grinding and figuring out my sound before I really caught the attention of Tory. At the top of 2017, Tory inspired me to start taking my solo music serious, and he kept telling me that I had a unique sound and a unique voice. He expressed to me that he was feeling my music and that was all the motivation I needed. So, from there I just locked in; did my whole project, produced it by myself, recorded it by myself and then I’d get a couple of songs done and play it for Tory when he’d come off tour. He really saw the growth in me. I learned a lot by being in the studio and being around him as well as his energy that rubbed off on me. It inspired me to keep going harder and harder until we got to this point. This was before I started working on Chixtape 5 or anything we have going on now, I didn’t know any of that was coming. I put my head down and kept working. I knew I had someone watching me who was respected and very relevant in the industry, and I knew that if I put together some music that was true to myself, something was going to come of it. And something did come of it so that’s how I met Tory. Shout out to my brother Tory, that’s a really great dude. We’re about to take over the game. The music will speak for itself.

HipHopCanada: Let’s talk The Chixtape 5. What are some of the records you produced for the project? And what’s the energy like with Tory in the studio?

PY: Everything that came together was organic and natural. I didn’t really know any details of Chixtape 5, no one really did. I saw him talking about it online, I put two and two together and started working on my own. The songs I produced on the album are: “Jerry Sprunger” featuring T-Pain, “The Take” featuring Chris Brown, “Love Sounds” It’s crazy because I made some of those beats towards the end of 2017, beginning of 2018, and I didn’t really think anything of it. Some of those beats I made in bed, literally. Sprung is my favorite by far, that was a beat I made in bed (Laughs). If I had the pressure of knowing that T-Pain was going to get on this song before I made the beat I don’t know what would’ve happened. I mean, it’s really big to take one of the biggest records in his catalogue and remix it in hopes of it being so good that he’s inspired to get on the song. It’s a big moment and almost scary in a sense because you don’t want to disrespect someone’s song. But thankfully he liked it. I saw a video online of Tory playing him the song, he was going crazy. He was literally screaming and it looked like he genuinely felt the music. It was crazy for me because T-Pain is a living legend. His sound inspired me to take music seriously. He literally changed the whole spectrum of modern music today across all genres. It’s humbling to now work with him because I really come from the bottom. There was times I slept in my car, there was times I’ve been homeless and times I was kicked out of apartments. Moving to Miami at 17 by myself was pretty rough. I come from humble beginnings. So, to see one of the goats acknowledge my work was great feeling and to me that was by the grace of God.

HipHopCanada: What was your creative process like while producing the beats you made on Chixtape 5?

PY: My process is so simple. Some producers might fabricate the creative process and make it seem much harder than it is but for me it’s simple. I make all my music at home. I really don’t even make music in the studio. I mostly go to the studio if an artist is in town and they want to work. But all of my beats are made at home. I got a crib on the water in Miami and I do everything at home because it’s comfortable and I can literally just jump out of bed and go. Not to say you shouldn’t go to the studio, but for me I’m just kind of different I’m in my own world. I think all that matters are the end product and the results. And As far as the creative process of how everything came together; I just started by going on YouTube searching for classic songs that left an impact on me during middle school/high school. “Sprung,” “Take You Down,” and “Falsetto” were iconic to me when I was younger so I had to sample them. When I was working on “Sprung,” I knew I wanted people to dance when they heard the beat and I specifically created the drum patterns to hit in a way that instantly makes you want to move. There’s a certain rhythm in the drum pattern. I could’ve easily turned it into like a trap R&B beat; but I wanted to do something different and bring back some feel-good vibes. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that the hi hats start hitting as soon as the song starts. I purposely did that because I knew that one detail would make an entire difference in the pace of the song. I wanted it to be a song you can hear in the club, radio, or just in the house. But I definitely wanted it to be uptempo. I noticed a lot of songs on the previous Chixtapes were a slower pace; so strategically I went against the grain and made that song uptempo so it would stand out on the project and catch people’s attention, and it worked.

HipHopCanada: How did the record “The Take” featuring Chris Brown come about?

PY: My boy Rajah sent me the “Take You Down” sample randomly at three in the morning, right before I went to sleep. I was half way asleep but when I heard that sample I literally woke up and just went crazy and finished the beat. Then I pulled up on Tory and we were in the studio until like 5 a.m. and he just went in the booth and bodied it. It was a special moment. And of course, Breezy is an icon to the culture. I always wanted to work with Chris, he’s the Michael Jackson of our time and it’s dope that we got to redo one of his classics with him on it. I’m grateful that Tory gave me the opportunity to do that. Shout out to Tory and Breezy for that.

HipHopCanada: Can you give us a quick break down of how you produced “Love Sounds?”

PY: “Love Sounds” is a sample of “Falsetto” by The Dream. The Dream is a goat to me. In my eyes he really changed the sound of R&B and “Falsetto” is one of my favourite songs. Dream as a producer/songwriter is so underrated. His production, the melodies, the writing; it’s immaculate. Sampling that song was pretty special for me. For this song, I wanted to add a really heavy bass/808 with a wavy drum pattern on top. But, I wanted to keep the production minimal at the same time. I think minimalism is very important in music right now. It gives the artist more sonic space for melodies and ideas. Less is more.

HipHopCanada: What’s an important key piece of advice you can give to an upcoming producer or artist?

PY: To be honest, sometimes I think giving advice can be cliché because everyone’s story is different, I could give you advice that works for me but it might not work for you and vice versa. But what works for me is having faith in God and just working hard and smart. Working smart is key. If you think about it, there’s only so many things that we can control in life, everything is under God’s will. So, for me, it’s simple. I just keep my faith in him and work smart not just hard. If it’s in God’s will and you have faith it’s always going to work out no matter what. So that’s number one, number two is discipline and focus. I feel like if you focus and discipline yourself in anything, you can receive massive success. Like right now if you decided that you’re going to go to the gym for seven months straight and you discipline yourself to eat right and to do the right workouts while remaining focused and disciplined, your body is going to respond based off the little things you do every day and you will definitely see the results. I think a lot of people fantasize and romanticize about the idea of being “successful” and “rich” but honestly who’s really maintaining their discipline and focus while putting in the work every day to be successful? It’s like the ten thousand hour rule. Like, who’s really putting up the ten thousand hours? I mean, if you’re putting in those thousands of hours it’s going to show in your work and if you’re not, it’s also going to show as well.

HipHopCanada: What was the best piece of advice you were given in the industry?

PY: Remaining patient. When I started working with Tory, he’d always tell me to be patient and let my blessings manifest. When you put in the work sometimes you just have to be patient; nothing happens overnight. In the bible it took God six days to create everything and it’s not like he couldn’t do it with a snap of his fingers. I think it was to exemplify that great things take time. People always talk about evolving but it takes time and patience. For example, there’s a bamboo tree that grows in China that takes five years to grow but it only physically grows in its fifth year. Think about that. It only grows in year five. So, for the first four years the seed is underground and you can’t see it’s physical growth, but in the fifth year the tree literally grows to become 90 feet tall. To me, that’s powerful. Great things always take time no matter what. The biggest thing I’ve had to learn was to remain patient and to allow God’s blessings to take place over time as well as not being too anxious for things to come.

HipHopCanada: That’s quite an interesting viewpoint. My last question for you is what can the hip-hop community here in Canada expect from you?

PY: Right now, I have my hands in a bit of everything including directing and acting. I just directed my first video for my upcoming single, “Bentayga.” It’s from my solo album I have coming out. I’m combining what’s hot right now with what’s going to be hot tomorrow and mixing it with my own sound. Like R&B, trap, heartbreak, soul, acoustic. It’s fire. I’m also producing for a lot artists. I don’t want to say all of the names I just want it to be a surprise and let the music come out and do what it’s going to do. I’m also doing live DJ sets. On my Instagram, I have videos of me remixing songs live on the MPC; it’s pretty lit. I have a bunch of shows coming up and I’m going to be remixing songs live. So, you can expect a lot of music and great vibes coming from me in 2020. Shouts to my brodies Ra, Zach, Los Santino, Sosa, Joel and everyone at One Umbrella. WAVYYYYY.

Papi Yerr talks producing for Chixtape 5, working with Tory Lanez, and confirms upcoming solo album

Papi Yerr (Photo: Supplied)

You can follow @PapiYerr on Instagram.

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