Jahlil Beats Talks ‘Living’ in the Studio With Meek Mill, Eating Hash Brownies & Producing Hits
Twenty-four-year-old Jahlil Beats is currently having the time of his life. He and Philly firestarter Meek Mill are no longer chasing dreams but living them. As the primary beatsmith behind Meek's explosive rap career, one could say that Jahlil's production credits are following the same trajectory.
Since 2008, the two have been developing a work relationship that hip-hop fans have already begun comparing to the rapper-producer bond shared by the likes of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre and Swizz Beatz and DMX.
"We have so many records, nahmean, it would seem like we've been together forever," Jahlil tells The BoomBox. "It was just that we were tryna get on. We seen the vision. We were tryna get signed. So we knew we had to put in that work. Together. So we were in the studio, living there, every single day."
Meek Mill had been coveted by a few imprints, including T.I.'s Grand Hustle, before officially signing to Maybach Music Group in 2010. Jahlil's signing day wasn't far behind. In 2011, he inked a publishing deal with Roc Nation and kept his hand on the production board ever since.
"Me and Meek had a crazy movement," Jahlil shares. "I'm from Chester, Penn., but you know, Philly's like my second home. We had it on lock since like 2008, until now. It was like we just clicked. Meek has that crazy flow and my beats compliment his flow, so it was just like nothing. I've produced for other dudes but it's like Meek just brings out the best in my tracks, in my opinion."
Jahlil calls last year's mega-hit by Meek, "I'ma Boss," which he produced, his breakout record, but this year's "Amen," off Meek's new mixtape, Dreamchasers 2, is primed to usher in a whole new legion of fans with its minimalistic (by comparison) production: delicate piano chords on a loop with occasional pipe organ notes sprinkled in. He co-produced "Amen" with Big Sean's go-to beatsmith, Key Wayne, but he's never been afraid to experiment with sounds.
Listen to Meek Mill's "Amen," Produced by Jahlil Beats & Key Wayne
For instance, last year's "Tony Story" sounds like nothing else on Meek's Dreamchasers tape. Jahlil exudes a confidence rarely seen in 24-year-olds, possibly because he's been around studio equipment for the better part of his life. "My pop was a producer-engineer," he reveals. "He had the first computer, a Commodore 64, and we had a studio in my house, in my pop's room. So I've been doing it, making music forever."
"I really started producing when I was like, 12. I was using this program called FL Studio," he continues. "I didn't really take it seriously until I went to college at AIU Buckhead in Atlanta, but I lost my financial aid so I came back and maybe two months later, I met up with Meek which is crazy, because I went to school to do music and try to get in the studio and try to get a deal."
Jahlil is used to working hard. He was busy before he signed with Roc Nation, but now his schedule is packed to capacity. The young producer has upcoming tracks on albums like Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't, MMG's Self Made Vol. 2, and of course, Meek Mill's Dreams and Nightmares. His credits span beyond MMG though. He's been working with DJ Drama, Busta Rhymes, Red Cafe, Big Sean, French Montana and J. Cole. A few days ago, Ace Hood's "Ballin' Like a Bitch" hit the internet, a beat Jahlil was behind as well. "I'm just all over the place right now," he admits with a laugh.
Even with all of his business obligations, Jahlil Beats knows what holds top priority. "We just have fun, nahmean? This is work but you gotta enjoy your work," he says. "There are so many crazy things that happen in the studio. One day, they brought some hash brownies. It was crazy. Meek gave me one and I ate a little piece of it. Man, I was in there bugging. But that's how we do."
The good times aren't relegated to the walls of the studio either as Jahlil tells of another experience with Meek which ended up being sort of a close call.
"We just shot the video for 'Flexin,'" he states. "It was crazy, we had fun. They had me hanging out the window and Meek almost killed me man! He was flying, I'm hanging out the window and he just stomped on the gas. Man, I almost flew out the car!"
The Pennslvania native is just at the beginning of his career, where many young producers falter and end up fading into the background, but it's evident that he's not close to being done showing the world what he and his right hand man are capable of. "We're just young dudes living out our life," Jahlil admits. "Doing what we love to do and having fun."