It’s safe to say that no producer in hip-hop had a bigger, more productive year than Mike WiLL Made It in 2012. Mike WiLL spent 2012 producing three Billboard number one singles and co-producing on a fourth and, elsewhere, producing for the likes of Rihanna, Chief Keef, French Montana, Brandy, Gucci Mane, Kelly Rowland, and more. On December 24th 2012, Mike WiLL Made It released Est. In 1989 Pt. 2.5, the third installment of his Est. In 1989 mixtape series. The tape includes features from Gucci Mane, Rihanna, Kelly Rowland, Juicy J, Big Sean, B.o.B., French Montana, Young Jeezy, Lil’ Wayne, Rick Ross, TI, and more.Read more
Born and raised in Marietta, Georgia, producer Mike WiLL Made It first got into music hanging around his Uncle Al, a musician himself, who not only fostered Mike’s love for production, but also a sense of pride in accomplishment that comes from perseverance, individuality, and developing one’s own identity. “It’s because of him that I do things the way I do,” explains Mike of his uncle’s influence. “I take the road less traveled. I pride myself on that, and I’ve been like that since I first got started.”
Mike WiLL bought his first beat machine, a KORG ES-1, at 14, starting to produce locally at the urging of a childhood friend, and eventually forming a group with fellow rappers from his neighborhood. The experience gave Mike his first taste at what music stardom might feel like. “With my group, we built a buzz in our county,” recalls Mike. “The first time a song of ours got played on a mix-show out there, it was like a pit bull tasting blood for me, it really set me on the path to where I am today.”
At 17, Mike WiLL’s journey got a boost when he was formerly introduced to the music industry through his experiences networking at Patchwerk Recording Studios in Atlanta. Mike WiLL’s consistency and dedication paid off, and found him landing his first placement, with Gucci Mane, just a short year later. Gucci and Mike recognized an instant chemistry and continued their work together, with Mike producing half Gucci’s No Pad, No Pencil – tracks like “East Atlanta 6” – along with all of Gucci’s freestyles from the accompanying Hood Affairs DVD, three tracks (including the street classic “I Smoke Kush”) on Gucci and Shawty Lo’s Guapaholics mixtape, and “Kill The Parking Lot” from Gucci’s Gangsta Grillz mixtape, The Movie. Later, this string of music led to Brick Squad inviting Mike, along with Lex Luger and Southside, to join a production group that the label was starting. Instead, feeling like he wasn’t ready yet – like he needed to continue honing his own sound – Mike again chose the path less traveled, stepping back to continue his development, a move that ultimately led him to grow his own production company, Ear-Drummer Entertainment.
With that, the Mike WiLL Made It that music fans know today was born, the name first serving as calling card – a way to help the hungry beatsmith spread his name – and developing into a statement of triumph and accomplishment. “Starting off, it was Mike WiLL Made It, as in I just made the beat,” explains Mike on the double meaning behind his name. “But now it’s more than that, it’s all encompassing – I’m really producing the full song: making the beat, delivering the overall vision, and the execution of that vision.”
Since that first placement, the now 22-year old producer, who makes his beats on a mix of equipment that includes hardware like the Akai MPC 2500, KORG TRITON, Native Instruments MASCHINE, Yamaha Motif, and Roland Fantom, and software programs including Image-Line’s FL Studio and Propellerhead’s Reason, has amassed a list of production credits long enough to turn even a veteran producer’s eyes green with envy. The list includes names such as Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Young Jeezy Gucci Mane, Lil’ Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Waka Flocka Flame, Yo Gotti, 2 Chainz aka Tity Boi, Future, Lil Boosie, Soulja Boy, OJ Da Juiceman, Shawty Lo, Rocko, Sean Garrett, Jeremih, Travis Porter, Don Trip & Starlito, and more.
As a result of his hard work and perseverance – an overwhelming majority of Mike’s early placements were for unpaid mixtape tracks – it’s 2011 that has proven to be a breakout year for the young producer. Early in 2011, Mike WiLL produced “Tupac Back,” a song featuring Rick Ross and Meek Mill that wound up becoming a single from Maybach Music Group’s album, Self Made, Vol. 1. Artists including Chris Brown, Jadakiss, Tyga, Jim Jones, Joell Ortiz, and more have since remixed the song. “I’d been speaking with Spiff from MMG for a little while,” explains Mike. “I sent some beats over and Spiff – and even Ross, himself – reached back out saying they were dope, that they had a hit.” Keeping busy since then, Mike WiLL followed the single’s success by producing six songs on the Gucci Mane & Future mixtape, Free Bricks, producing “Nicks 2 Bricks” and “Sittin’ Low” on Young Jeezy’s The Real Is Back 2 mixtape, producing Future’s “Ain’t No Way Around It” single for DJ Drama’s Third Power album, “La La” by 2 Chainz and Busta Rhymes, Ludacris’ “I’m On Fire” Ft. Big K.R.I.T., and much more, like producing “Girls Gone Wild,” the lead single from 50 Cent’s forthcoming fifth solo album. Currently, Mike is in the studio with Ludacris, Future, Yo Gotti, Rick Ross, and others, as they prep their albums.
Also coming is Mike WiLL’s own mixtape, Est. In 1989, a collection of singles and previously released tracks that Mike has produced, a way to catch new fans and Johnny-come-lately industry representatives up on what Mike WiLL has been up to over the past few years. Also included on the tape are handful of previously unreleased exclusives, including the tape’s lead single, “Itchin’,” which features Future and has already garnered radio play, and “Animosity,” a track that features Gucci Mane and Yo Gotti.
All told, Mike WiLL’s placements have earned him well over 20 million YouTube views, heavy radio play, his first Billboard charting single, and his own burgeoning production company, all before the age of 24 – and with plenty more still to come. “I want to work with everybody, whoever I haven’t worked with yet,” remarks Mike, noting that he has no intention of limiting himself by genre as his career continues to flourish. “From street rap to Disney to pop; I want to do it all.” And as it’s been since he first discovered his love and passion for music from his Uncle Al as a young kid, no matter what he’s doing, Mike WiLL Made It will do it in a style all his own.
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