i-DJ: neenyo and bevstmode
Neenyo teams up with Bevstmode for sixty minutes of future hip-hop.
As well as residing within the PARTYNEXTDOOR OMO camp, Toronto's very own Neenyo is fast becoming known as one of Canada's most innovative producers. Having produced for Lloyd Banks and Dipset in the infancy of his career, Neenyo now creates compositions for Drake and chills with P.Diddy. For his i-DJ with BEVSTMODE, Neenyo waited until the early hours to find true inspiration. "I usually produce music at 4 am. I search for new music at 4 am. So I worked on the mix at the same time because I needed it to feel as open and introspective as a 4 am conversation." Intimate it is; Press Play on this sixty minute mix of beats, rhymes and life and ready yourself for the dawn of a new day...
The first beat you learnt to make was Tupac's I Ain't Mad Atcha. Why that beat and what made you want to produce in the first place?
Pac is one of the highest points of our culture. It's almost my responsibility to know and study what he was able to do and contribute. As with other genres, if you have a band it's probably wise to learn from what the Beetles did. In terms of getting into producing, well, my older brother was DJing at clubs and my uncle was a radio DJ so I got into DJing around the time mixtapes were starting to bubble up. There was a point that there was certain songs I wanted to hear, but I couldn't find them. So, I decided to learn to make the songs and sounds I heard in my head but couldn't find. That's what I'm doing till this day.
How have you progressed since that first attempt?
I've been fortunate to work on two #1 Billboard albums since starting off with that Casio keyboard. I think a lot of the people who are discovering the music I make now have no idea of the journey. I started off doing really dark hip-hop — Jadakiss, Mobb Deep, street shit. But now R&B is the new rebellion. It's young and unpredictable so the transition makes sense, and I feel like I can push further creatively. SOTB [Sex On the Beach by Partynextdoor] is a song in a 6/8 time signature and borrows from UK garage/house. It's hard for a rapper to take a risk like that.
What was the outlook for a young Canadian producer when you started out, compared to now?
As a producer it's great now. A lot of people are influenced by our sounds. Still, no one's figured out the secret of how to get their drums like we do up here though. As for the artists, we still don't get the credit. Other cities put out a ton of artists, but we focus on making quality music and artists that will stick around.
What have been the key moments from you as a newbie to now hooking up with PARTYNEXTDOOR?
A little while ago I was sitting down making a beat, just zoned out, eyes closed. I was getting frustrated mixing my 808 cause this other dude in the house had his turned up really loud. I took off my headphones to take a break, and my surroundings just hit me. The dude playing his 808 too loud was Metro Boomin and beside me were GOOD music artists writing verses. I turn around and behind me playing the piano is Mario Winans, with Boi-1da in the distance at the pool. I walk to the living room to talk to the man of the house, Puff, as he has Kendrick on speakerphone. I was so focused on creating I didn't realize how much of a moment it was not just personally, but for hip hop culture.
How did you hook up with PARTYNEXTDOOR?
I've been with Party since before everything. We really grew up on the same street in Mississauga, which is a city right outside of Toronto. We both stayed in Miami early on to just be able to focus on music with no distractions. It's been amazing to see where things started, where they are now and where we'll be next year.
What do you like about PARTYNEXTDOOR?
He's a lot more creative than he takes credit for. We share a lot of ideas and have the same taste, so our creative process is just natural and easy. I may have a chord progression with nothing else, he'll hear it and know where it's supposed go and take it to the next level. He could have a rough idea with a hook and I'll build around it. Rich or poor, deal or no deal, we've made music under all of the above. It's not an industry thing.
What are you guys working on now and next?
He just finished the Partynextdoor: World Tour, so we're getting back to creating. The Partynextdoor album is what I'm working on now. It's been exciting to just go out in new directions creatively, take chances. He's been in a great space, especially since so much has happened since we did the PND2. Each and every song really is about a situation, not just what sounded like the wave at the moment.
Who else from Toronto should we be looking out for?
I've actually never met these guys, and you definitely know them but I've been going through some of Majid Jordan's old songs. There's one song called Hold Tight and I've had it on repeat as of late. They just have such a good texture to the music. I'm personally looking for what they do next.
What track do you wish you'd produced?
It's between Mobb Deep Burn and Justin Timberlake Cry Me a River.
What songs make a consistent reappearance throughout your life?
The only album I've had on from my flip phone to Blackberry and now on my iPhone is Jay Z's The Blueprint. That album is to hip-hop what "808s & Heartbreak" is to modern R&B and pop. Take away The Blueprint, there's maybe no Kanye. Take away 808s, there's maybe no Drake.
What's the secret behind the success of OVO and OMO?
Honesty, people know when they're being lied to. As a fan, I listen to artists I feel are giving me a piece of themselves in those four minutes. I know them a little more than before the song started. A big record label budget, PR or radio promotion can't buy that.
Anything else you want to say, please feel free!
Thank you to BEVSTMODE, Matt, Shay UA, MostHighh, VNSN, FWDSLXSH, Laura, Izzy and Sunny. Saugacitycomeup
Braeden Bailey - The Kids Are Not Alright
Christopher Dixit - Ano Gaki
Skvtr - 2/7
Joose Sanuku (Mozaic Remix) - AGO
Graves & Oshi - Sell Soul
LeMieuX - Crying in KOD feat. Father & KeithCharles Spacebar
ZepFire - Waves (Unreleased)
NEENYO VNSN- Play Cool (Unreleased)
J.Boogie & Thomson (Prod. By Thomson) - For The Low
RIKMARVEL - Different Love
Romby - crete
Ta-Ha - APRILIA TUAREG RALLY (MYTH SYZER TUAREGSHAWTY EDIT)
Cody - Why Is You
BMB Spacekid - The Get Together
SELVSSE - ShrooM
Rigga Wet Remix 1.2
Slomdug - Blow
AbJo - Travel Heavy
Johnny Cinco - I feel (Unreleased)
RASCAL - Blackscreen
MOSTHIGH - talk tha tings dem (Unreleased)
Kuma - Falling For Somebody New
T.I FT JEREMIH - RNF (PROD. BY NEENYO)
Tay Lwar - Zion Wolf (Tay Edition)
Eagles For Hands - Glitterall
Kuma - Petrichor
UrsTruli - Alina Baraz & Galmatias - Can I (Truli Edit)
Miloh Smith - PrettyDirty Feat. OG Maco
UVIBE - Removal (Unreleased)
Shorty K - Donít Make Me
Iman Europe - Bound To Fly
Guff - 401W Jayd Ink (guff Edit)
NEENYO - NGHTDRIVE (Unreleased)
Alexander Lewis X JNTHN STEIN - Day 6
Photography Shay UA