Mr. Hanky Beats has been on a roll, and he’s not stopping anytime soon. Born and raised in East Atlanta, Georgia, the songwriter and producer knows a thing or two about making hits, and he’s responsible for some of your favorite rapper’s biggest songs to date.
From Lil Duval and Snoop Dogg’s “Smile B####/Living My Best Life” to DJ Luke Nasty’s Gold-certified smash “On the Way” to most recently City Girls’ “Twerkulator”… Mr. Hanky continues to create and do what he loves best.
Mr. Hanky Beats, real name Corey Dennard grew up in a musical household, with his mother and sister being trained musicians. Getting his feet wet playing trumpet in the school band before learning how to play piano, he’d then take those talents to Southern University where he played in the Human Jukebox Marching Band — where he picked up the name Mr. Hanky Beats.
AllHipHop: You’re from East Atlanta,how does that play into your life and career?
Mr. Hanky Beats: Definitely from East Atlanta, went to McNair High School, Moreland Avenue area. It was cool man. A lot of people I grew up with are household names right now, people like Gucci Mane, Ying Yang Twins, a lot of those artists. It was cool.
AllHipHop: Your mom and sister are trained musicians. Was music always going to be your route as well?
Mr. Hanky Beats: Definitely. At one point I thought I was going to be in the NBA, but that didn’t work out. When I didn’t get drafted by the Hawks or the Bulls, I started focusing on my music.
AllHipHop: How did you learn how to produce?
Mr. Hanky Beats: I was a DJ at first, I learned how to do mixing and rock a lot of parties while I was in college. It was an easy transition knowing how to be a DJ and see what people like. I remember when Fruity Loops first came out, I had a trial version and figured it out from there. Started learning the MPC and working the keyboards, connecting all that. It was cool.
AllHipHop: Were there any producers that you looked up to?
Mr. Hanky Beats: I ended up working with one of the main ones I looked up to one time, Mr. Collipark. When I first started producing, I was signed to Collipark Music. We put out Soulja Boy, Hurricane Chris. Did a lot of tracks for Jeezy during that time, then you had people like DJ Toomp. A lot of local producers. Mannie Fresh down in Louisiana when I was in college, he was a major, major influence in everything. A lot of people, Dr. Dre of course. The heavyweights. Scott Storch, the list goes on.
AllHipHop: How did you link in with Mr. Collipark?
Mr. Hanky Beats: Ying Yang Twins was signed to Collipark Music at the time. One of my homeboys I went to college with, John Boy, he had a studio and they used to be up there all the time. When I’d come back from school, they’d literally be up at the studio. I had a beat CD at the time. I was playing beats, we’re chillin’. They said “man, we like them beats.” Okay cool. I didn’t know people got paid for this for real at all, I was just doing it.
It went from there. Another rapper in the area was coming up at the time named Young Joc. He’d dropped his song “It’s Going Down,” it had gone everywhere. I did a lot of work with him and it started growing from there. Once I started working locally, Collipark’s brother Derek hit me and John Boy up and said “I like what you got going on, I want to make y’all a part of the team.” And that was it.
AllHipHop: How would you describe your style of producing?
Mr. Hanky Beats: It’s all over the place. I’ve been blessed to have a lot of hit records. A lot of ‘em from “Living My Best Life” to “California,” to even the City Girls record that I have out right now, “Twerkulator,” none of them really sound the same. They’re not in the same vein. Even the “Walk Around The Club (F Everybody)” record, other records I had influence with, they’re all over the place. Their party, have fun, good records. Even the hood stuff, you gon’ have a good time with it.
AllHipHop: What was your breakthrough as a producer?
Mr. Hanky Beats: My first big, big placement is the one I did around that Collipark time with Cadillac Boys. They were a local group signed to Collipark and signed to Kirk from Love & Hip Hop, which is Rasheeda’s husband. That record led into doing some stuff with Jeezy and Hurricane Chris, it went on from there.
AllHipHop: What was the inspiration behind your name?
Mr. Hanky Beats: I got the name Mr. Hanky while attending Southern University. I was in the band, the world famous Human Jukebox. I was a freshman and back then, they’re called crabs. You had to shave all your hair off. South Park was a very popular cartoon at the time. I straight up shaved all my hair, all my facial hair off. I walked into practice and one of the upperclassmen said “man, you look like Mr. Hanky from South Park.” What? I wasn’t even thinking about it. He said “man, you look just like Mr. Hanky from South Park.” So the name stuck, I rocked with it.
AllHipHop: How did “Smile B####/Living My Best Life” by Lil Duval happen?
Mr. Hanky Beats: That record happened with a DJ, my homeboy Bay Bay. He’s a huge radio DJ out of the Dallas and Shreveport area, shout out to him. I met Bay Bay back when I was with Collipark when we was doing the Hurricane Chris project. Because that song “A Bay Bay” is about the DJ Bay Bay, he’s saying “A Bay Bay, turn up my song.” Bay Bay hit me up and said “I want to do this song, I want you to do the beat.” I said “cool,” so I did the beat. He said “I need to get Lil Duval on it. I want to link y’all up, he wants to do an intro.” So we did the intro, it took about all of 5 minutes. Me and Duval were sitting there choppin it up. He did the “Smile B####” skit he’s doing on Instagram every Friday. He’d do it to a different old school song.
We’re sitting there, he did it. I said “aye man, do you have song for that? You need to put out a song for it.” I had a bunch of beats I did from the “California” era. I did the “Smile B####” on January 4, 2016. He pulled that beat up, he pulled up another beat, and that was it. Once I pulled that beat up, he did “Smile B####” for 4 minutes. There was no “living my best life” part, there was no rap, no verse, no nothing on it. I got the session and thought “let me put it in some format.” He said “who do I send it to?” Because he’s cool with T.I., I said “go ahead and send it to Tip. That’s your buddy, he right there.” He said “nah, I want to do it with somebody different. Let’s send it to Snoop, see what he does.”
2 weeks went by, Snoop didn’t say anything. On a random Friday out the blue, he texted me and said “check your email.” Snoop filled in the hook, the chorus, and did a verse to it. We got back in the studio and he released it, we hadn’t had the sample cleared or anything. He just put it out.
AllHipHop: What was your reaction when you heard it?
Mr. Hanky Beats: I called him and said “what you think about it?” He had a rough version of it. He said “man, they loving it on iTunes.” I said “what? iTunes?” It was still the rough mix, it hadn’t been mixed or mastered. Radio people was hitting me up for it so I went along with it. Pretty much like this City Girls situation, it got out and I had to roll with it.
AllHipHop: Talk about the City Girls situation. That’s amazing.
Mr. Hanky Beats: The City Girls song “Twerkulator” was done October, the fall before COVID hit. My guy Slab that you see a lot with Rick Ross, he’s a phenomenal songwriter. He said “I got this idea, I want to do a song for the City Girls called ‘Twerkulator.’ I need an uptempo dance beat.” I said “okay cool,” sent it to him. They did it. They’re supposed to put it out on their album but we couldn’t get the sample cleared for “Planet Rock,” so we weren’t gonna put the song out. Mysteriously about a week or 2 before their album was supposed to drop, the whole album leaked.
“Twerkulator” was supposed to be held back, but it got put out on the leak. Ever since it came out, people said “I like what you did with that City Girls song.” I tried to play it off like “what you talking about? [laughs] I didn’t want any legal issues because it wasn’t cleared at the time. A year later, if I went on my Instagram and searched “Twerkulator” City Girls, it’d be hundreds and hundreds, almost thousands of these tweets talking about “release ‘Twerkulator’!” It started hitting Instagram, I started seeing the challenge on TikTok. It was the #1 song on TikTok the other day.
AllHipHop: How does that make you feel?
Mr. Hanky Beats: It’s exciting but it’s crazy at the same time because we don’t know where we are with it right now. I’ve done 7 different versions of “Twerkulator” since then to get around the sample song. Last time I talked to Coach K, he said “man we gotta get this done. We gotta figure this out.” There might still be some hope for “Twerkulator.”
AllHipHop: Talk about your forthcoming single “Nutty Twerk” with Erica Banks.
The single “Nutty Twerk” is coming out very, very soon with Erica Banks. Shout out to her and 1501. The song, I can’t even describe it. It’s a fun song, but it’s a real song. A guy’s in a situation where a girl is twerking on him, she makes him wet his pants by either twerking or spilling a drink. It can go several different directions. It’s a great party record, Erica Banks went off. It’s a crazy record. The video’s crazy. The DJs are loving it. It’s going to be one of the songs of the summer, along with “Twerkulator.”
AllHipHop: How’d that collab happen?
Mr. Hanky Beats: We already had the record done. The guy Richy Coinz that’s on the record as well, he has a great relationship with her manager. We put the record together, made it happen.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to when you made “On the Way” featuring DJ Luke Nasty.
Mr. Hanky Beats: That’s another beat done around the same time I did “California,” which had Young Dolph, Ricco Barrino, Colonel Loud, and T.I. That was in that same batch of beats that had “Livin My Best Life,” all that. We had “California,” then Luke came out with “Might Be.” Luke came to town because had a show here in Atlanta. His manager Waleed Coyote with EMPIRE, who’s over our account with Empire for “California,” he said “hey man, Luke’s in town. We love your sound.”
We went to this club called Taboo 2 in Atlanta on a Sunday night, I’ll never forget. We got plastered. We went through 2 bottles of Hennessy. I got a video of me and Luke sitting in the back of a BMW, I was playing the beat and he started singing it. He started singing the hook because a girl called him and he’s telling them he was on the way. Luckily, someone caught it. We caught it on tape ‘cause I don’t think any of us remembered it. We went to the studio and that was it. All organic over here.
AllHipHop: What do you make of all these organic relationships?
Mr. Hanky Beats: It’s a thing you gotta have. Nothing’s ever forced. Even with the City Girls situation, we were prepared to make it happen and give them what they needed. It happens. The success of the records and the popularity speaks to that because they’re all records that people can identify with. They’re very relatable records, they aren’t forced. It helps out with the overall success of it.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your producer tag?
Mr. Hanky Beats: The first I tag I got from a young lady, she was in a singing group and had a great British accent. She was joking one day ‘cause she started talking like that. The new one I have is from a young lady who’s British. She said “I can tell that the other person that did it is not authentically British. I’m going to do you a real one.” She went in and did it, that was it.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Mr. Hanky Beats: I need a woman, I need several women in the studio. [laughs] I need wings and water.
AllHipHop: You need women at all times?
Mr. Hanky Beats: At all times. I’ma tell you why, because women are brutally honest. They’ll tell you if they like something, if they like a beat, if they don’t. Especially the ones I know, they’re brutally honest. “Ehhh, this okay.” Or “this sounds like somebody else’s stuff,” or “that’s wack.” They’ll tell me straight up. That’s what I generally base everything around because most guys don’t care. They’ll say whatever to speed up the process so we can go to the club or what not. But women will go out and support: they’ll buy tickets, they’ll buy t-shirts. They’ll actually go buy and download things.
AllHipHop: Talk about starting your own company called Cultural Resources.
Mr. Hanky Beats: “Nutty Twerk” will be the first record released under Cultural Resources. What’s different is it’s my record featuring Erica Banks and Richy Coinz. I’m using that to launch the label, the company. I have a couple of artists I’m looking at to sign under Cultural Resources.
A very necessary move because as a producer, there’s only so much you can do. I’ll still be making records for other people but look at Dr. Dre, look at all the greats. Puffy brought out Biggie, Dre brought out Snoop, they’re all under their own company. So it’s very necessary as a producer because a lot of times, we’ll be able to get an artist a hot single.
It could be the #1 record in the world, the label comes in and brings in their producers and songwriters, then the whole project fails. It’s mainly to be able to create and see something all the way through without the politics of all the labels getting involved.
AllHipHop: Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Mr. Hanky Beats: My goal is to create a superstar, I’m doing that right now with a young lady named Kissie Lee. She has a record called “Sheesh” going crazy that I produced with her and LightSkinKeisha. It’s doing very well out here. She got over a million views in 2 or 3 weeks on her video “Sheesh.” Like the Dr. Dre’s and all those people: I can make hits, but now I’m trying to make hits and create superstars.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Mr. Hanky Beats: A lot of up and coming artists or other artists, they might get intimidated. I’ve heard that before because of the big records I’ve done. They feel as if it’s crazy, but I’m one of the most approachable people ever. I’m still looking to work with more artists. Just ‘cause you hear me with City Girls and all these big huge records, you can hit me up on the Gram and we can make it happen.