(AllHipHop Features) If you don’t know his name yet, it will only be a matter of time before you can’t avoid it. Anderson “Vinylz” Hernandez is a Grammy nominated producer and the mind behind some of Hip Hop’s biggest tracks from the last year.
Vinylz’s resume includes Drake’s “5 AM In Toronto,” Jay Z’s “F***WithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” and DJ Khaled’s “No New Friends.” And that was just what he offered in 2013.
Since the new year rolled around, the Washington Heights, New York native’s production has taken over music blogs and streaming sites. From Nicki Minaj’s highly jacked beat for “Chiraq,” to Lil Wayne’s latest single “Believe Me” featuring Drake, to Travis Scott’s buzzing Big Sean collaboration “Don’t Play,” Vinylz is stamping his name as the go-to beatmaker for rap music’s elite.
The frequent partner of OVO affiliate Boi-1da is far from done. After inking a new publishing deal with Sony ATV, Vinylz is on the path to becoming Hip Hop’s next superproducer. Get familiar with Vinylz in AllHipHop.com’s exclusive interview.
How did “Believe Me” come together?
The “Believe Me” beat was done last year. Myself and Boi-1da made a quick beat. I started on it, and he just added some finishing touches to it. Then he sent it out to Drake. Recently, Drake hit up Boi-1da, “I was in the studio with Wayne, and he got on this record.”
Wayne is working on his album now. Did you do any other tracks for him?
I heard he’s still working, so I hope so. I was told he got on a bunch of our beats.
He said this will be his last album. Has he ever mentioned that during the recording process?
I’ve only met him once. I always hear that from a lot artists though. Hopefully, it’s not.
You also did Nicki Minaj’s “Chiraq” beat. You’re well-connected with the whole Young Money camp. Did you know Tyga and Game were going to use that beat for their Lil Durk/40 Glocc diss “ChiRaq To LA”?
Nah, I had no idea. I just always knew that beat was going to get remade and used by the whole world. I had a feeling when it dropped.
How do you feel about a lot rappers using that track for diss records?
I’m not with the whole diss thing. I more about music, so I’m not into all that. I’m just happy that everyone’s getting on the beat.
Did you do any other tracks with Nicki?
Yeah, we did a few out there. She flew us out before Thanksgiving. We did a whole bunch of records with her. Hopefully she has some more on the album.
She’s said she feels like she’s leaning more toward Hip Hop as opposed to some of her pop stuff on the last album. Were you able to get a direction of where she’s heading with the project?
I’m not sure on the direction. I just know that she’s really coming with lyrics, harder bars. She’s not only getting at the females now. She’s actually getting at the males. Her raps are right up there with the guys. She’s just coming with it. She’s going hard on this one. The beats are more bouncy – some hard Hip Hop stuff.
Do you have an idea on the subject matter she’s focusing on?
I’m not sure of any subject matter. I just know that she’s has a lot to say. A lot has happened. A lot of controversy. A lot of people were getting at her for putting out a somewhat poppy album, so she’s got a lot to say.
Speaking of controversy, Drake and Jay Z had their back-and-forth recently. It seems to be more about the competition of Hip Hop than “beef.”
Yeah, it’s Hip Hop. It’s all competitive. They don’t really have no real issues, I’m sure. It’s just Hip Hop. It’s actually fun. If everyone gets along, it’s kind of boring. [laughs] It’s a competitive sport.
Got a verse for anybody wanna talk about the clique
I’ve been takin’ s**t light, you don’t wanna hear me trip
God damn, do y’all really know who y’all f**kin’ with?
– Drake, “Believe Me”
Going back to “Believe Me,” some felt Drake was taking a couple of jabs at Jay on that. Do you think that was the case?
I’m not sure honestly. I can’t call it. I didn’t think so.
Travis Scott just dropped his track “Don’t Play.” How did you connect with Travis?
Travis hit me on Twitter last year. This was around the time “No New Friends” came out. I co-produced on that as well. He just hit me on Twitter like, “You’re a beast. We got to hook up soon. Let’s work.” I don’t have management, so everyone just usually hits me on Twitter. So we linked up in New York last year, and we’ve just been working ever since. Last month we were in L.A. working on his album. That’s how the song came about.
I noticed the end of “Don’t Play” is kind of like the end of “Believe Me.” There’s an extended break with a slight beat change. Are you adopting that as your signature sound? Is that something you’re going to explore more?
Not really. If people look back to all the stuff that I’ve done, nothing really sounds the same. Everything is completely different. I just try different things. I don’t want to have a sound. I want people to wonder who made the beat.
People in the industry know you, but you’re probably not as well-known to the public as other producers. Does that bother you even though you have all these hits?
Sometimes it does, but then I realize I have these hits. The people that count – my competition – knows who made it. I’m not worried about it. I’m not someone that really likes all the attention anyway. They’ll find out eventually.
I read that you worked with Kanye on some things.
I didn’t work with him directly. I was working with Travis Scott on some stuff for him. I submitted some stuff.
There have been reports that his next album is going to be spoken word. Have you heard anything about that?
No. I definitely haven’t heard about that. You know Kanye’s very secretive about his stuff. People just make up rumors. Who knows? I just know that album is going to be crazy.
People always expect him do something that he’s already done. Everyone’s saying that he should go back to The College Dropout days, but if he does that people are going to say “He sounds like College Dropout” or “we heard this already.” People are just hard to please.
That goes back to what you said before about not really wanting to have a signature sound, wanting to be able to branch out and explore [musically].
That’s why [Kanye’s] been around for so long. He’s so versatile. You have to try new things. That’s how I feel about this production. I always try to do a different tempo, different style. That’s how you have to do it.
Last time we talked you mentioned some of the producers out now that you like. Are there any producers that came before you that you respect or like their production style?
Yeah. There’s Bink. There’s Nottz. They’re both from Virginia. I love Pharrell. Timbaland, I just recently met him at the studio in L.A. He’s a cool dude. Dr. Dre of course. DJ Kahlil. I love his stuff. A bunch of people.
You and Boi-1da are pretty close. I saw when the Raptors lost to the Nets he wasn’t too happy. I know you’re from Manhattan, but was there any friendly trash talk during the Toronto-Brooklyn series?
Me, 1da, and my other friend are in a group chat, so we’re always going at it. There were a bunch of emjois going on in that conversation as soon as they lost. I was getting at him.
What else are you working on right now?
I’ve been in the studio with J. Cole lately in L.A. I’m working on Fab’s album. Sammy Adams, Prince Royce which is a Latin artist. Jeremih, I’m doing a lot stuff with him. DJ SpinKing. He’s an up-and-coming DJ from New York. I’m working on his album. A bunch of people. Some more stuff with Drake.