(AllHipHop Features) When Mass Appeal Records dropped “Old English” as the lead single from their upcoming compilation album, the line-up for the song came as a surprised to many. Three different regions and three distinct styles came together as Atlanta’s Young Thug, Indiana’s Freddie Gibbs, and New York’s A$AP Ferg traded verses over an energetic, electronic track.
The two producers responsible for fusing the song’s unlikely grouping represent different parts of the nation as well. L.A. resident Paul Salva (professionally known as Salva) hooked up with NYC native Nick Hook, and the two friends pushed out a banger that has already collected over half a million Soundcloud plays in just 10 days.
Salva and Hook first met at the Red Bull Academy in Madrid, Spain in 2011. Three years later, both board maestro have added numerous big names to their production credits. Salva’s resume includes songs with Schoolboy Q and Kurupt. Hook has already worked with Azealia Banks and El-P. The next few months are set-up to be an even bigger season for the two.
AllHipHop.com chatted with Nick Hook and Salva to get some insight into exactly how “Old English” was formed, what else they have coming around the corner, and more.
How did the “Old English” track come together?
Nick Hook: This is the first time I’ve really talked to anyone about it besides our friends. Salva and I made the beat around January 2013. I was working with Azealia Banks and we didn’t work one day, so I went over to Paul’s house and we worked on a bunch of music.
Then last August I went to Atlanta. We were working on making “The World’s Longest Rap Song.” We were at Stankonia [Studios], and my buddy said, “You gotta check out this new Young Thug.” He cancelled on us one day - I feel like I’ve spent the last three years of my life waiting on rappers – and we were actually like “f**k this dude” [laughs].
My boy Rob, said, “Nah, you gotta come through.” So he came through the next day, and he recorded his part for “The World’s Longest Rap Song”. Then my buddy was like, “Nick’s gotta beat.” Thug listened to the beat, was just staring at the speakers, and kept going, “This s**t’s hard.” He walked right into the booth. He did his verse and chorus within maybe 15 minutes. That was chapter one.
Then I sent it to Paul, and he got really excited. One day I looked at my email and Paul sent me this message that just said “I got Gibbs on this s**t.” I didn’t realize it was for our song for like two days. Then I opened the email like, “Holy s**t! Gibbs is on our song!” That was chapter two.
Chapter three was after Thug had started to get big. I worked with Ferg a bunch of times, and Ferg heard it and said, “I gotta be on this song.” It was kind of like this organic, growing flower of rap. I think the reason it’s cohesive is because it’s all based on friendship and art. I think a lot of people think “they must have paid these fools for their verses.” But it wasn’t like that.
I have to be honest when I saw who was on the track I was kind of thrown back a bit, because those three guy’s styles are so different, but when I heard the song it meshed well together. What has been the feedback that you’ve heard about the track?
Salva: I think that’s kind of the consensus. A lot of the media picked it up liked, “What the f**k? What is this s**t?” We make dope s**t. I don’t care if the track is called “F**king A-Hole.” Whatever it’s called or who’s on it, at the end of the day this s**t’s hard, and I know that. I knew that people were going to like it. Me and Nick would talk about if it’s a radio hit or not. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
I was presently surprised that a lot of people gravitated to Gibb’s verse, because I work with him a lot, and I really stand behind him. I think he’s dope. You got these two pretty flamboyant styles with Thug and Ferg, and Gibbs kind of set it off. Even speaking on the sound of their voice, delivery, and cadence – it was just a good juxtaposition.
It was a melting pot for sure. You got the two white boy producers from New York and L.A. with three dudes from all over the country. So it probably shouldn’t have worked, but it wasn’t like, “Yo, get on this track, because this person is on it.” Or it wasn’t like, “I need a feature because Interscope or Atlantic needs it for the record.” It was just like, “If you like it, put some s**t down.” So it was just some real dope s**t to come from it.
The track will be on the Mass Appeal compilation. Did you guys do any other tracks for that project?
Salva: We might have another one. I’m just really pleased to be part of that, because it’s going to be dope. It’s something that Nas is behind. It’s a lot of guys from different labels and media outlets. It seems like everybody over there [at Mass Appeals Records] is really working hard to make the launch dope. I’m honored to be part of the first single from it. It’s going to be really dope for sure.
Nick: Actually the “Old English” beat was sitting in Nas’ hands for a good six months as well.
Salva: I wanted Meek Mill and Nas on that s**t.
Nick: Nas wanted it. Danny Brown wanted it.
You guys have played a role in blending the EDM sound and Hip Hop sound together. Why do you think those two musical styles work so well together?
Salva: Electronic music was at the core of Hip Hop at its inception if you look at Soulsonic Force and Sugarhill Gang. Hip Hop is blending styles and reappropriating styles. It kind of went the other direction, and a lot of folks are reappropriating rap. But I think that’s only fair for a music style that borrowed other music for 30 years.
The “electronic trap movement” got big in certain cities. They love it. Trap music and dance music meshing makes total sense. It’s something that everybody can get into. I think that was partially responsible for electronic music getting so big in the States the past couple of years.
What else are you two working on? Nick, you talked about how you did a lot of work with Azealia Banks. Do you have any information about her project?
Nick: I know the album’s suppose to be done, but once you get in these big business situations sometimes everything gets a little complicated. I actually don’t really know, so I don’t want to say I know.
But right now me and Salva’s got some more music. I’m executive producing Baauer’s album. I’m working on making “The World’s Longest Rap Song” with Hudson Mohawke. I just did some music with Bodega Bamz. I’m making my album. Me and Salva got some tricks under our sleeves that no one knows about yet either.
You want to give some hints about that?
Salva: We just recorded with Bodega Bamz in the studio a few weeks ago. We recorded a New York anthem with a throwback Mobb Deep beat. I think the New York heads are really gonna love it.
I’m over on the West Coast, and I’m really trying to make my mark here in L.A. I have Problem’s next single for his album. I have a mixtape/free album coming out in September. “Old English” will be on there as well as some stuff with Freddie Gibbs, Problem, E-40 – some of the OGs, some of the new jacks. MPA Shitro is on there and the kid Paul Fisher from San Antonio. I try to basically get some unknowns to do some s**t, then get some OGs. For me that’s what I have going through the fall.
Nick: It’s going to be dope. I’ve heard it.
Salva, you mentioned working with West Coast artists. You released the “Drop That B***h” single. That was huge for West Coast Hip Hop. Can we expect some more tracks like that on your project?
Salva: My new label and the project is called “Peacemaker.” The idea behind that is kind of like how “Old English” came together – how we work and what we do. I like juxtaposing different styles and different people on the tracks. I know that a lot of times it can make for sloppy music, but that’s when a real producer will come in – not just a beat maker - and be able to make it work.
I had a little bit of writing credit on Schoolboy’s Oxymoron. I was in the studio with him on that. My endgame is to get in with Dre to do Kendrick Lamar’s album. Just do good music with grade-A rappers that are unknown or hyped. Just dudes that are f**king sick.
Purchase “Old English” with Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs, and A$AP Ferg on iTunes.
Mass Appeal Compilation Vol. 1 will also feature Pusha T, Juicy J, Pimp C, YG, Mac Miller, Boldy James, Fashawn, Bishop Nehru and more. The full album will be released September 2.