Today marks the official musical return of Boosie Badazz as the Baton Rouge rhymer’s full length album Touch Down 2 Cause Hell hits stores nationwide. The 19-track LP is Boosie’s first since coming home from prison and his first under Atlantic Records.
While Touch Down serves as the reintroduction of Badazz, the album also features significant production work by the hit making team known as the Night Rydas. The collective’s leader, Kenoe, is responsible for four cuts on the project, and the Louisiana native also served as an A&R. Night Rydas producers Black Metaphor and Roc N Mane are listed in the album’s credits as well.
The general public may not be familiar with the names Kenoe, Black Metaphor, Roc N Mane – or their Night Rydas counterparts The Beat Bully, A Jayones, Snizzy, and Samuel AsH – but they have all been behind the boards for some of Hip Hop’s hottest tracks lately.
The squad’s collective résumé includes Nicki Minaj’s “Beez In The Trap” (Kenoe), The Game’s “Ali Bomaye” (Black Metaphor), Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin” (Beat Bully), Lil Wayne’s “Nightmares of the Bottom” (Snizzy), and more. The most recent focus for Kenoe and Night Rydas Production has been Boosie’s Touch Down 2 Cause Hell, but the company is constantly cultivating the next round of hit records.
AllHipHop.com spoke with Kenoe about working with Badazz and what else the world can expect from his creative crew in the near future.
Can you give some background about Night Rydas?
Night Rydas originally was a crew from Louisiana. We were a couple of guys who were rapping together. When I decided not to pursue those types of dreams anymore and I was looking for a production company name, I just took that.
How did you first connect with Boosie?
I’ve known Boosie for a long time. I actually knew Boosie and his brother just from being around the way. Boosie used to play basketball with an AAU team, and I knew him from playing ball.
We were from different parts of town where people don’t like each other, but I would always see him through passing. We ended up with everybody having their own success in music, but we never really worked together.
But when he was locked up, his brother reached out to me and said, “When Boosie gets out I want to mess with you and your team, get a new sound, and do something different from what we always are accustomed to doing.”
When he told me that I started putting together tracks as well as hitting up my production team and letting the producers know the next big project we’re working on is Boosie.
The day before Boosie got out, his brother saw me and said, “We’re about to be working.” I said, “I’m ready to go.” I drove from Miami to New Orleans and met up with him. Right away we cut about 8 records in one night. That night we cut “Mercy,” the intro, and “Spoil You.” We did a lot of records.
As the A&R for the project what was the process for deciding which tracks would make the album?
It was a process, because when you start working on an album you have a couple of songs and ideas, and then you have a potential release date. Then when the release date doesn’t work out you gotta go back to the drawing board. In my position, I had a vision. I would present certain records and features to Boosie, and 95% of the time we were in agreeance with it.
But as far as the final tracklisting, it wasn’t my decision. It was the label’s decision on what the final tracklisting would be. The label might not like a record or a sample might not get cleared. It’s never the A&R or the creative people’s final decision on a tracklisting. You have a potential tracklisting and sequencing that you can steer what you may want it to be, but ultimately the label will have the final decision.
The “Black Heaven” track was an interesting pairing with Boosie and J. Cole. Their approaches to the song’s topic was interesting too. What were the conversations like between everyone when you were creating the theme around that song?
The theme came from when me and Boosie were in the studio by ourselves, and I played the beat for him because I thought it was a great beat. I told him, “We need something like this on the album.” At the time, I was looking for records we didn’t have or felt like we needed.
I’m telling him, “We need this.” When I would go see him, he would have a bunch of those club records that he did with his in-house producers. He already had that covered. The records he would traditionally do, he already had.
When I pulled the record up, he just rapped some stuff on it, and at the end of the first verse he said, “Black Heaven.” I said, “Damn, that’s it. Leave it like that. That’s gonna be the name of the song, and we’re gonna get somebody to make a hook for it.” We sent it to Keyshia Cole, and she laid the hook. Then Boosie laid another verse, and after that Cole did his thing. The rest was history.
I felt like it should have been the main single from the album. I was preaching that from day one. I kept saying, “This is the biggest record you got.” But the label wanted to go with Boosie’s traditional way of records he drops – the club records. The label was looking for another “Wipe Me Down.”
But what they don’t understand is you can’t go back and create another “Wipe Me Down.” But what you do is you give them something new, and that’s gonna open him up to a new fan base. Like I said, sometimes it’s out of the creative people’s control. As far as the vision, I think that record is special. I knew when we first did it that it was special, and if they got behind it it would be big.
With Touch Down being Boosie’s first album since his release from prison, there is a high level of anticipation for the project. Did you feel any sense of pressure for it to be an exceptional body of work?
Not at all. For me, it’s never pressure. It’s just about getting work done. I never even look at it like that. This is your job. It’s what you love doing. It’s what you’ve been doing all your life. So you just go in there and get records done.
From an artist’s perspective, I wouldn’t know that. But it didn’t seem like there was no pressure for Boosie. He was just rapping, and enjoying life. Enjoying being home and being able to feed his family. I didn’t see any pressure from him.
Between you, Black Metaphor, and Roc N Mane, the Night Rydas handled about a third of the production on the album.
Yeah and we had more records than that. But records end up not making it or get recycled. At one point, we had about ten on there. It was actually gonna be a double disc. It was records floating in and off that album. I even heard “Mercy” wasn’t gonna be on the album at one point. I was like, “This is crazy.”
With there being such limited space and you guys doing all these tracks, is there ever any friendly competition among you for placement?
Within my camp?
You know how some rap crews say when they’re recording they’re competing against each other in the studio to try and get the best verse. Is that ever the case among the producers? Like, “He just made a great track. Let me get back in the lab and try something else.”
Working with Boosie, that’s not the atmosphere. When I go over there to work with Boosie, we’re working – me and him. We know each other away from music, and even some of the people that’s around know we got a history.
It’s a certain level of respect where people are just honored to be around. Because where we’re from, we’ve become legendary for what we’ve accomplished in the music business. Being from Louisiana, there’s really nothing. You either make it in sports or music. Or you’re going to college and getting a degree, but most people end up working locally.
So when somebody who’s where we’re from has the amount of success that Boosie and I have, other people are inspired to have that same type of success. It’s an automatic respect thing. I’m more so dropping jewels on the producers. They’re asking me for advice, so it’s never no type of competition.
Your team has been responsible for producing some of the most recognizable Hip Hop tracks over the last few years. Do you feel Night Rydas are appreciated enough for your contributions?
I don’t think we are to be honest. We never do a lot of press. For the most part, I never cared about being famous. I tell that to any producer that’s signed to me.
Some of these producers that’s on Twitter and Instagram got like 100,000 followers and celebrities tweet them, but they’re broke and live with their moms. I would always tell my guys focus on getting money. The notoriety is good to have, but it’s not what you want to put your hat on. I think by us not emphasizing that type of thing, we don’t get recognized.
We had three to four records on Jeezy’s last album. We had three records on T.I.’s album. But we did no interviews about it. Beat Bully did Meek’s intro which was probably one of the biggest records in the club last year, and some people don’t even know who he is.
Speaking of Meek, Night Rydas are doing a couple of tracks for his next album?
Well, we were. Again, you don’t know until it comes out.
But you’ve been in the studio with him?
Yeah, we’ve been in there. We submitted beats to him just like we do every year. But like I said, until that final album comes out, we really don’t know what’s what.
What else do you guys have coming out in the near future?
I got a song deal with T.I., Grand Hustle. We’re always doing a lot of work together. Jeezy’s back in the lab, so that’s another project. 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne. Jayones produced [Wayne’s] “Gotti” record.
Whenever they decide to drop that [Tha Carter V] album, we got a few things with Wayne. We got a song deal with Cash Money, so we’re always working with them. That’s like family. We’re working on a few up-and-coming artists. We’re just submitting records and getting in with whoever wants to work with us.
Follow Kenoe on Twitter @kenoemusic.
Follow Boosie on Twitter @BOOSIEOFFICIAL.
Stream Touch Down 2 Cause Hell via Spotify below.