Points is exactly what his name embodies: putting points up on the board at all times. Points, real name Al Sherrod, is a Grammy-nominated, multi-Platinum producer and songwriter who loves music down to the core.
Hailing from New Jersey but now calling Los Angeles home, Points carries an innate talent for putting words together — while bringing the vibes in any given moment.
Music has been a staple in his family since he can remember. At 5-years-old, Points created his first song. Playing it on the piano for his neighbor across the street, he fondly remembers her saying “this is actually good.”
“Music was always a big thing, I used to take the jingles off the commercials on the TV then make my own words to them,” Points explains. “Make people laugh, comedy and music was my s### as a kid. I want to spread joy and positivity, also speak for the ones who can’t speak for themselves.
It was in 2010 when he exploded onto the scene working with famed actor and singer Jamie Foxx on his standout album “Best Night of My Life,” as well as Mary J. Blige’s My Life I and II albums. Two years later, he co-wrote Jennifer Hudson’s “Think Like A Man” featuring Ne-Yo and Rick Ross.
Fast forward to 2020, Points is establishing himself as a recording artist in his own right. Following the release of “Free Man” released on Juneteenth, he returns with his newest banger titled “On Me.”
AllHipHop: Being from New Jersey, what was the household like growing up?
Points: It was a typical hood story. I had parents with substance abuse problems, that was rough. Some days gotta get yourself dressed, take yourself to school. Come home, your parents still won’t be there. It was cool because no matter what, they showed us a lot of love. Sometimes their issues made them unable to take care of us in the way they should, but we never felt like we weren’t loved. My grandparents took over when I was 10 years old, I moved in and lived with them until 17. My childhood was a struggle, which happens a lot in the hood.
AllHipHop: Who were you bumping growing up?
Points: I was bumping everything. Coming from a real musical family, I listened to a lot of R&B: Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye. I grew up in the Hip-Hop era so where I’m from, we’re killing it at that time. We had Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah. We had New York right there so I’m a big Jay-Z and Nas fan. I grew up at a time where MTV was really popular. I listened to music that came on Road Rules and Real World like Red Hot Chili Peppers and a lot of those rock and roll bands. I even liked NSYNC when I was a kid. My music background was really diverse, I’m the king at karaoke.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite song to karaoke to?
Points: I’m the karaoke king. I might get up there and sing Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way,” or Cameo’s “Candy.” I might sing “Contagious” by The Isley Brothers, it all depends. I like to do the things that’s going to really surprise people.
AllHipHop: How did you get into producing?
Points: I started with Fruity Loops when I was 14. My brother was in college, he had a compact computer and put Fruity Loops on that s###. He came home one time for Spring Break and I commandeered his computer for a week. I locked myself in the room, learned how to use it. I made my first mixtape, literally recording myself on his internet microphone onto the Voice Notes on his computer while playing my beats. I made the beat, then played the beat through the speakers of the computer. I take that onto the tape recorder, then I played the tape recorder loud while I recorded my song back onto the computer. I burned the whole s### onto a CD and made a whole 14-song mixtape in a week after learning Fruity Loops.
AllHipHop: What about songwriting?
Points: I’ve been writing my whole life honestly. Professionally I started in 2010, I was able to get on Jamie Foxx’s album Best Night of My Life. I wrote 2 songs on there, it’s been going ever since. Really in December, it’ll be 10 years since I‘ve been professionally writing songs.
AllHipHop: Can you describe that moment working with Jamie Foxx?
Points: I was invited to come out here by a producer named Eric Hudson, he did “Flashing Lights” by Kanye. He said “yo I’m about to work with Jamie, locking in with him doing 7 records. I want you to come out.” My first day stepping off of the plane, we went to the studio. Usually, Jamie would have 6 different writers around him. For some reason on this Friday night, nobody was there. Jamie was trying to fix up a song, it’s taking a little longer than he wanted to. He wanted to go to the club.
One of his background singers said, “you said you write songs right?” I said yeah. He said, “go help Foxx right now, we’re trying to finish this up.” I’m nervous because it’s my first day, I said “me, right now go help him?” He pressed that talk back button like “Jamie, Eric’s boy is a writer and he’s here. You want him to help you?” Jamie said, “hell yeah come on.” I was thrown right into the fire. Next thing you know, I’m giving him lines and telling him to sing something again. We bouncing back off each other. By the end of the session, he told Eric “your boy’s dope, I want him to come back.” We’re living at the house for 2 months, helping him finish up that album.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name Points? Does it have to do with producer points?
Points: Yes it does, I came up with it. It has to do with always having to point to the s### I say, the s### I do. No matter how abstract or crazy it might seem, everything I do has a point. Everything everybody does should have a point, whether that’s a point to prove or whatever it is. There’s always a point to what I do.
AllHipHop: You released “On Me,” how’s it feel to be on the other side of the mic?
Points: I’ve been putting out music here and there. I had a band a hip-hop band a couple years ago I put music through, but this my first time really stepping out, standing on my own, and really depending on me. It’s cool it’s getting a good reaction, we’re doing really well on Spotify. I’ve been picking up a lot of new followers and fans on Instagram. People are catching on. I’m building, I want to keep putting out music because content is f###### king. You want to keep putting s### out, keep building, keep allowing people to find out more of who you are and what your talent is. Somebody told me a long time ago, you can’t be an artist if nobody knows where your art is. That’s what I believe, so now I’ma keep knocking them upside their head with new s###.
AllHipHop: You say “I came from a city full of murder and felony,” talk about your come up from the trenches to where you are now with the Balenciaga and Givenchy drip.
Points: Newark! I grew up in a place where my whole life, whole childhood was the top 10 worst cities to live in America. It’s mad cities in America, but my city was 5 worst cities to live in. Even now, the murder rate is still through the roof. It’s a hard-ass place, it’s a place you don’t go to unless you have a reason. I was able to make it out of there, transverse through the f###### b#######, stay focused, and find my way out.
My brain took me out of there, not music. My brain allowed me to say “these are the choices I need to make to better my life and my situation.” I was on welfare my whole life, I know what it is like to struggle. We lived in basement apartments, we slept in cars. My first video game, my first bike I ever bought got sold to the pawnshop. [Laughs] I knew that wasn’t a life I wanted for myself. My other friends might get some fast money, but these n##### either going to jail, killing somebody, or getting killed themselves. That wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Mentors too, I had some dope mentors by the time I got to high school like “nah you’re going to college.” I wasn’t going to go. My mentor picked me up, dropped me at my house like “I’m taking you to this college, you gon’ fill out this application.” If you don’t go, I don’t know what’s about to happen to you. People were able to steer me into the right direction, that’s what I want to be for other people too through my life. My music’s a way to introduce myself to people, “I f### with him, I understand where he’s coming from.” When they follow me as a person, hopefully, it inspires them to do greater and bigger things for themselves.
If I can make it out, you can make it out. What the f### is you telling me? You get into LA and the industry, n*ggas want to play games and do shady s###, or even try to make you doubt yourself in a lot of ways too. But if I would’ve never become successful as a songwriter, I already won because I made it out of where I come from.
AllHipHop: What do you want fans to get from this record?
Points: “On Me” is about a reality because in today’s world — whether you’re dealing with hood n*ggas, police crazy racist white m############ — you might want to really strap up. You might want to have something to protect yourself in the world we’re living right now, but you can still have fun. When I first heard the beat, this beat happy as s### but I need to say some gangster s### on here. The world is about juxtaposition, it’s about yin and yang. It’s about that duality. It’s good and it’s bad, you mix it all together and that’s how we have this f###### beautiful thing we call life. I have people who hit me up like “my kids love this song, they can’t stop humming it. They can’t stop singing it.” I had somebody hit me up, “why are you promoting violence?” I’m not promoting violence. If you run up on me, it’s not going to be as easy as you think. That’s all.
AllHipHop: Talk about writing on Brandy’s “Borderline,” how did that happen?
Points: I started working with my boy DJ Camper, the crazy dope producer from Atlantic City. He was working on Brandy for a few years, he said “I want you to come to the studio and lock in with us for a week.” I came over to Westlake, locked in. The first day I was there, we did “Borderline.” Shout out Kaydence, she came with a crazy melody. I’m the type of writer that if I go in the booth and I do a dope ass melody, we agree it’s a dope ass melody, everybody’s vibing and the feeling’s right in the studio, then let’s go with that. Sometimes when you co-write with other writers, they make it a competition thing. It’s not about me, this is about getting the song done. If the s###’s fire, the s###’s fire. We don’t need to be going back and forth.
Kaydence went in there did a melody, Brandy thought it’s dope, Camper thought it’s dope. Alright, let’s put the words to it. When we did the song, I knew it was special. The whole album is an abstract R&B, almost interpretive jazz, it’s really far out there in some ways. It challenges the listener to raise their level of how they hear R&B music. “Borderline” gave you that, but still give you a commercial sounding, something familiar, something middle the road enough to where you can be like “oh I like this, I get the structure to this song.” It’s doing what I thought it would do. I’m hearing some whispers, we might have to go get some suits come January/February time. Brandy’s the dopest.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Points: Weed, good and fun vibes. Relaxed, people who aren’t about trying to perform, judge, or critique. People who want to come together and create good music. Last thing, I like Snapple fruit punch or Martinelli’s apple juice.
AllHipHop: Saw you post the Lambo while holding your daughter in the air, can you describe this feeling?
Points: It’s almost indescribable, honestly. I never even thought I’d have a kid. I made it to my mid-30s with no kids. I have her now, it’s all a f###### dream. Every day I wake up, I’m living a dream. That picture looks like some s### somebody would dream to do, that’s the happiness and the joy she has is a dream. We all try to get back to that feeling. She doesn’t know nothing about all this s###, all she knows is simplistic happiness. She just turned 5 months, that’s it. I put her in the air like that, that’s pure joy. That truck doesn’t matter to her, what I’m wearing doesn’t matter, no chains matter, no plaques, no money. That movement mattered to her, that connection is all I need. You can take the other s### away, I don’t even give a f###.
AllHipHop: How’d it feel to be nominated for a Grammy with Fantasia’s “Without Me” in 2014?
One of the dopest feelings I ever had. It was unexpected. I knew the song was dope. Every single person we played that song to for the whole year prior to Fantasia releasing that song, went crazy about it in the studio. I knew it’d be a single, it’d be a popular record for her, did not think it’d be Grammy-nominated. Nominated for Best R&B Song that year, it was a surprise and a shock.
I doubt myself a lot in different ways. Being around so many other songwriters and being in this industry, I always thought other people were going to have those accolades before me. I ended up getting my s### before everybody who I thought was going to get it before me. It was a cool experience to go there, walk the red carpet, do all the interviews. To have and share that moment with my homie, RIP K2, who’s from Newark too. We did that song together, he passed away the next year. To experience that together: from going to college together to riding in the limousine down to Staples Center, walking the red carpet, doing that whole thing together was a crazy dope experience.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next?
Points: Next is a record called “Perfume,” right after that is an EP called Everything Is F#####. It’s world inspired, it means f### it! That doesn’t mean that you need to be depressed about it. All good things come to an end at some f###### time. If this world’s going to s###, you might as well get whatever the f### you could get by any means you can get it. Go out here and go for it. The title track to the EP, the first lines I say “everything is f#####, I might as well go get my money.” I might as well get my s### off because everything’s going to s### anyway. We gotta choose between f###### these 2 m############ and live in a country with all this crazy s### going on, I might as well make the best of it.