The Man Behind Tyga’s “Rack City”: Don Bleek Speaks To Los Angeles’ Music Producer & DJ, DJ Mustard
A day after wrapping up Tyga’s ‘Careless World’ tour, I (Don Bleek) got the chance to speak to West coast DJ and music producer DJ Mustard. The South Central L.A. native is the man behind Tyga’s “Rack City”, which is now almost double platinum and YG Ft. Tyga & Nipsey Hussle’s “B***hes Ain’t Shit.” He is keeping busy by producing new tracks for Bow Wow, Meek Mill and Red Café as well as working on his mixtape, Mustard On The Beat. During our phoner, DJ Mustard talked about getting his start as a DJ and producer, craziest tour experiences, which was the shooting in Omaha, bringing the West coast back with dance & fun music and much more.
During our phoner, DJ Mustard talked about getting his start as a DJ and producer, craziest tour experiences, which was the shooting in Omaha, bringing the West coast back with dance & fun music and much more.
I hear your name a lot, how did you start DJing?
Well, I started DJing at the age of 11. My uncle DJ Tee is a DJ as well and he left me at a party. I didn’t know what to do. I just started playing songs and after that, I started DJing.
So you just finished DJing on Tyga’s ‘Careless World’ tour, correct?
Actually, I finished it up on Tuesday (April 17). I just got back to L.A.
You basically been all over, what is your favorite city and why?
Milwaukee, because it was so turnt up there. People were screaming everywhere. They had the most energy out of all the cities we had been too.
What have been the craziest experiences you’ve had so far while on tour?
The shooting after the Tyga concert in Omaha, Nebraska. It happened so fast, we never expected something like that to happen because we don’t promote violence. That was the craziest thing that ever happened on the road. Thank god everybody was okay.
How do you prepare for a show?
I just listen to music, relax and chill. Just try to put myself in the right move. It doesn’t take too much.
Didn’t you start off as YG’s DJ?
Yeah, I did and I am still his DJ.
I read somewhere that YG is one of your best friends, and you guys recently did that 4Hunnid Degreez mixtape together, how did that collabo come about?
I started making beats for YG; he was one the first people to do my beats. I started with him, so for us to do a mixtape was easy. We created this dancing sound. I feel like we owed it to the streets and we’re not stopping.
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How did you link up with Tyga?
Through YG, Tyga hit up YG and said to him “who make your beats and he said Mustard” and we have been good every since.
What inspired you to start producing?
I’ve always had an ear for music. I always wanted to hear music; it was always something I wanted to do. It’s like when you conquered something, you want to conquer something else.
You produced “Poppin”, “In This Thang” and “Rack City” for Tyga, would you say “Rack City” is the song that got you the recognition as a producer and did you expect it to take off the way it did, because it’s almost double platinum?
It is my biggest record that I’ve produced but it’s not my only one. I have more coming but that is by far my biggest record.
You also produced tracks for YG, Meek Mill, Bow Wow, Teyana Taylor, Joe Moses, and Nipsey Hussle; do you have a favorite track that you produced?
It will be “Bitches Ain’t Shit” by YG Ft. Tyga and Nipsey Hussle. It was like bringing the West coast together on that one track.
Speaking of brining the West coast together, how do you feel about the new generation of West coast artists like Tyga, YG, and Kendrick Lamar?
The new West coast is like brining a new theme. Kendrick is a real lyricist, a real rapper, Tyga and YG make party music for people to dance too and have a good time. It’s not about gangbanging like it was before. I love it! I’m glad we can make people dance again and don’t have to worry about fighting.
Do you think that the spotlight as far as Hip-Hop is coming back to the West coast like it was back in the 90’s with NWA and Death Row?
Yes, I definitely think that. The West coast is almost at an all-time high right now. The West hasn’t been as big as it is now for a long time. I feel like YG, Tyga, Nipsey and all the young West coast artists are bringing the spotlight back to L.A.
So as a DJ, what are you doing to keep the West coast relevant?
I’m making music people can dance too. I’m taking people out of their comfort zone. I’m making Meek Mill do a West coast dance record, a record that people never heard him on. So I’m making him get a little West coast feel to him, so the game won’t be so like serious. It’s always serious and people always want to rap about the serious stuff instead of having fun. We making music that people can have fun too.
Let’s talk about the whole “ratchet city” movement, what exactly is it and how was it started?
Ratchet City is just a L.A. vibe. It can mean several things; a girl or boy getting around, ghetto or just having fun. It’s kind of like the Hotboys were, back in the days. They weren’t scared to have fun, be ghetto, still be Black and do what you want to do. It’s like we’re bringing back the West coast but with a new sound to it. We just are having fun. Everybody can be ratchet. You can bring ratchet out of the smartest girl [laugh].
Do you enjoy producing or DJing more?
They come hand and hand. I love DJing and I love getting the crowd hype to my own beats.
How important is the role of a DJ for an artist career?
I think it’s real important. A DJ does kind of play an A&R part. You know what to play in the clubs, whether you like it or not. If the people like it, you have to play it. You have to know what you’re getting yourself into. You have to let the artist know. You have to keep your ears to the streets and be the artist A&R.
Who are some of the DJ’s that influenced you to DJ?
Drama, Scream and Prostyle. You have different DJ’s for different stuff. Prostyle do clubs, Drama do mixtapes and clubs, Scream do mixtape and radio.
If you are able to host one artist mixtape, who will it be and why?
Lil Wayne because he’s the hottest rapper alive!
So what’s next for you and what projects are you currently working on?
I’m mixing Bow Wow new record “We In The Club” and I produced it, I have a new record with Red Café coming out soon, I’m working on YG’s album, new stuff with Tyga, Honey Cocaine and I did Meek Mill new record “I’m Rollin”.
Today, a lot of DJ’s are doing album like Drama and Khaled, would you ever do that?
Yes, I’m actually working on a mixtape, entitled Mustard On the Beat, which is dropping June 5th. I have a lot of artists that I deal with that are doing songs for me.
Five years from now, where do you see you career?
I want to be like a Swizz Beatz or Dr. Dre, just an icon producer.
For more on DJ Mustard, follow him @DJMustard
Picture Credit: Kwynn Phoyography
Word by Donovan “Don Bleek” Moore
Follow me @donbleek88
[Sidenote] I published this interview on HHW.