Lil Playy Speaks on Writing for Rappers, New EP — Exclusive
Houston-born rapper on the rise, Lil Playy, has already made a name for himself in the industry penning tracks for super stars like Twista and Ludacris. Heard Luda's 'My Chick Bad' with an assist from Nicki Minaj? Yeah, he wrote the hook. Playy is the first ever hip-hop act to be signed by music moguls Suzanne de Passe and Rodney Jerkins under a joint partnership between their companies, de Passe Jones Entertainment and Darkchild Productions. The 22-year-old is preparing to drop his first mixtape, 'TourBuzMuzik,' and is currently working on his EP, lead by the debut single 'Birthday Dress' featuring Matthew Koma.
Playy stopped by The BoomBox to give a taste of his down south flavor. From describing the club episode that lead him to write 'My Chick Bad' to collaborating with Kelly Rowland, he shares it all. Check out the exclusive interview and video from Playy's visit below.
Who did you listen to growing up?
Who would you say had the biggest influence on your music?
Well, the one that got me started in music, I would have to say Lil Flip. And now, I have to say just music as a whole. I listen to all types of music. I listen to pop, pop-rock, Gym Class Heroes, all that.
When did you start writing rhymes?
I started for real, for real when I was like 15. But I was doing it way before that, but we really started getting into it at 15. I moved from Houston to Atlanta. And I moved to L.A. once I got signed to Interscope. That was like four months ago, but I had been going there off and on for like six to eight months, Atlanta to L.A., Houston to L.A.
You've already written for some big name artists. For example, you wrote the hook for Ludacris' 'My Chick Bad' featuring Nicki Minaj. What is it like writing something and then giving it away to another artist?
It's not hard, but that was my first song actually writing, too. So, it was really my song and I forgot to finish it. But [Ludacris] heard that song with just a hook on it and was like, "Yo, let me get it!" He got to my management and I was like, "Give it to him!" I wasn't going to do nothing with it. He put Nicki Minaj on there and now, it is what it is.
Watch Highlights from Lil Playy's Visit
Is it like a moment of pride for you to hear Ludacris and Nicki Minaj on your track, or do you almost wish you still had it for yourself now that you have your own album coming out?
I really don't. If I had it, it probably would have done good, but not as much as with Ludacris and Nicki Minaj and Eve and all of them on it. So, I'm really glad I did make that decision. That was a smart decision, 'cause that's when it all started going.
Will you be writing all your own music on your upcoming album?
I'm writing most of my own music, but also working with a lot of writers. I'm real open, we just got to make it real hot. I'm working with Big Shizz, who did a whole lot of stuff with Ray J. He works with everybody. Priscilla. There's a lot of crazy writers out there. Production-wise, I have Mars, Jukebox [the Ghost], who did 'Whip My Hair' for Willow and he did my single 'Birthday Dress.' We've got Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, I have Jim Jonsin, and we're still working on it.
Any collaborations with other artists?
I'm on Kelly Rowland's new album, 'Here I Am,' on a a song called 'Work It Man' and she's on my album too, on a song called 'Good Goodie.' Ray J's on the album, on a bonus track. And right now we're trying to get either Lloyd or someone else on this one track.
How was it working with Kelly Rowland?
Oh, it was great. We're both from Houston, so the connection was there already. It was crazy.
What's the difference between the Houston and Atlanta scene and what you see now in Los Angeles?
Business-wise, Houston and Atlanta are dying down a bit on the music. It's died down a whole lot to tell you the truth. Down there, everybody's just chillin'. They'll work a little bit, but L.A. is just everybody's doing something. Either you model, you act, you do production, you do something. Everybody's working and doing something.
Why do you think the music scene is dying down there?
I don't know. I couldn't tell you, 'cause there's a lot of talent down there.
Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics?
Just everywhere. I can go out one day and see something and write about it, while I'm in a club and then, take it to the studio.
What about 'My Chick Bad' for example? Did you have a girl you thought was badder than everyone else's?
Nah. I was just out one time, and I saw how dudes was looking at other dudes, 'cause they was checking out their girls. And I was like, "Your chick ain't that bad, I got one badder than yours!" [Laughs] That's how I came up with that, so I was like, "I'm about to write a song about that."
What about 'Birthday Dress'?
Actually, I was in the studio with Jukebox and he was going through a lot of beats and 'Birthday Dress' was one of them, and the hook was already on it and I said, "Let me get that." And he said, "I don't know, that ain't your lane" and I said, "Let me get it!" So I put my verses on it, played it for Rodney. Rodney loved it and it was like, "That's the single, you're taking off with that!" and that's what we did.
How would you describe your style of rapping?
Versatile. I do it all. I can hold a note, I rap. If rap and R&B and pop and all that failed and it was only country music left, I'd find a way to make a crazy country song. I'm just real versatile.
Do you listen to country music?
I'll start! I'll start! If that was the only genre.
What's one thing that you need to have in the studio, or else the session isn't starting?
It's just got to be loud. The music has got to be loud, other than that, I really ain't trippin'. Ya'll could have a circus behind me, if the music is loud, I'm good. I'll be in my own little zone.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
Very unique. I do whatever. The hardest thing about getting dressed in the morning is picking what shoes I want to wear [laughs]. But I do whatever; I got two watches on right now! And I went kind of crazy with the tattoos. It's a lot. Everything means something though. I don't got nothing crazy like Bart Simpson!