By: Shirley Ju (@shirju)
Monte Booker is not your average producer.
Hailing from Chicago, the 23-year-old came up alongside Smino, who he reveals as the first artist to rap on his beats.
His sound is both eccentric and mesmerizing, bringing audiences into an enchanting soundscape of R&B and electronic music.
AllHipHop caught up with Monte at the sold-out Soulection show in Los Angeles to chat about the Dreamville sessions and love for Kanye West.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to when you were in ATL during the Dreamville sessions.
Monte Booker: I was just randomly putting my f##king crib together. I just moved to a new spot in Chicago. I was settling in moving some boxes around, and my homie Tim from Interscope hit me up randomly. He was the first one who flew us out from LA for the first time.
I was really just putting some s##t together at the crib, Tim was like “aye bro, Cole is trying to reach out to you. Do you mind if I give him your number?” I’m like, “What? Of course.”
As soon as that happened, Cole FaceTimed me like 20 seconds later. I’m like “damn bro what’s good? I f##k with you. Big respect.” He’s like “nah, big respect to you bro. I just heard Smee album, that s##t is crazy! I had to look up who made the beats.”
He told me his favorite songs. Fast forward two weeks later, we was in the sessions.
AllHipHop: Can you talk about the dynamic in the Dreamville sessions?
Monte Booker: Just imagine some of the most talented people in one building all on the same page, trying to make records and trying to make history. It was all positive vibes.
Shout out to all the Dreamville camps for being so welcoming to anybody they didn’t know. A lot of people probably didn’t even know who I was. They probably knew of me, but they gave a warm welcome.
As soon as I came in, they were showing love. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had musically.
AllHipHop: What was the best memory?
Monte Booker: The funniest memory was that Chris Bosh was just randomly there. I was making a beat in a room. I turned around and didn’t know it was him. Chris is from Miami Heat, he a legend. A champion. He got a couple rings.
I pull up like, “Hey bro, you look like Chris Bosh.” He looked at me and just started laughing. When he stood up to walk out, I’m like “oh s##t, this man is 7 feet. This is really Chris Bosh."
He was in there chillin’ for an hour and I didn’t even know it was him. That was the funniest experience outside of making some raw ass songs.
AllHipHop: Did J. Cole put you on any game while you were there?
Monte Booker: He didn’t necessarily give me any personal advice, but I learned a lot from the dude just the way he carries himself, and the way he carries himself as an artist. Being such a big artist and how he still stays grounded, grounded to his people. I learned a lot even him not having to tell me.
Being around him, I’m like “aw s##t, this dude is 100%.” I definitely have a huge respect for Cole after the sessions, just chillin’ and talking to him .
AllHipHop: Where did ya’ll stay out there?
Monte Booker: It was all different. Some people stayed in Airbnbs, I stayed in a hotel. I was leaving there at 5am or 6am, pulling up at 12pm. Getting a few hours of sleep and coming back.
AllHipHop: Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Monte Booker: Kanye West.
AllHipHop: s##t really?
Monte Booker: Of all time? Kanye going through it, but I still have love for him. He from the same place I’m from. Outside of Kanye, he’s overall.
AllHipHop: How about right now?
Monte Booker: Playboi Carti. I don’t think I played any album as much as I played Die Lit last summer. Most played. I haven’t played anybody album that much besides Ye, Jay Z, Wayne, people I grew up on. Kendrick, I’d say he’d be second. And then Kodak Black.