The hype for Wu-Tang member and Staten Island OG Method Man's album has reached boiling point. August 21 marks the day The Meth Lab will be officially released to the world via Hanz On Music and Tommy Boy Entertainment, so as we sit 14 hours in the future - waiting for the news to be announced American time - we thought we'd have a chat to our New York connect J57, who has an announcement of his own.
Jimmy has had the pleasure of producing the single 'The Purple Tape' for Meth's album - a milestone moment for any producer, working with hip-hop royalty. As we sit on the cusp of Meth's first album release in five years, we ask J what the entire experience has been like for him.
Producing a single for a member of Wu-Tang is huge news! How did talk of J57 handling the production for the The Purple Tape come about?
It was such an honor and such a bucket list type of thing. I still can't believe it happened. Back in March, I was getting ready to leave to go rock SXSW (was rehearsing with the four different sets I was a part of), when the head A&R at Tommboy, Freddy, called me and was like, "we need a sample-free banger for the new Method Man album...can you turn it in before you head out to SXSW?" This was a Monday and I had to leave by Thursday and had every second planned out till then... so I of course said, "yes!"
Method Man is a hip-hop household name - what was it like working alongside a guy with so much history embedded in the culture?
Man, it's crazy because I own every Wu-Tang album and almost every solo album ever made. I've been a die hard fan, and they've been my favourite group for more than half of my life. So, to work with Meth is such a beyond surreal type of dream come true. Like you've said, he's a household name; my mom knows who he is and has for a very long time, without me having to tell her who he is - THAT says it all. I'm ridiculously grateful. Again, I still can't believe it happened, but it made a hell of a lot of sense for me to have my first big placement outside of underground hip-hop be the biggest celebrity, and one of the most well known members of my favourite group. The universe is good.
Were there many other beats that made it through the selection process, and roughly how long did it take you to create this one?
After my man Freddy called me on that Monday, I quickly scurried off to rehearsal (always wanted to use 'scurried' in a sentence) then got home dumb late at night and was exhausted but very, very anxious to start working on beats for Meth. I made four beats that night and one of them became The Purple Tape. I sent Freddy three of the four beats Tuesday morning and gave him a disclaimer that I had one more that was "it", but I wanted my man Akie Bermiss to come through and lay down some extra keys and some background vocals, and that I would be sending that to him before I left thursday for SXSW. Akie came over on Wednesday, and absolutely laced the keys he added and killed the vocals. Then I had my man Moth record our extraordinarily talented new artist, Nichelle, to layer Akie's vocals with some female vocals; she killed it. Then by Wednesday evening, I was finished with the layout of the track, but I was having trouble levelling Akie and Nichelle's vocals, so, my bro Optiks swung by in the clutch to help me level the vocals out so they sounded more digestible and like a sample, kinda; he did an excellent job too - he's the best.
This is how it went down. I turned in the final beat to Freddy and Rosie (President of Tommyboy) by approximately 8pm Wednesday night. I hopped on the subway to go check Statik Selektah deejay, got off the train an hour later and got a barrage of texts from Freddy saying, "holy shit, this is IT!!!" and amazing things of that nature. I went in to Statik's event on the Lower East Side, did some shots with him to celebrate, left around midnight, went up to my boy Katiah's apartment on the Upper West Side, passed out for three hours, then Katiah and I met Jesse (from Antcs) at the airport around 6am, and we left for SXSW. I felt like I was in a movie.
Also, long story, very, very short; the real version of my beat for this song had the synth that's in the intro, during the hooks, and had Nichelle & Akie's background vocals every 8-or-so bars in the verses. I also had a VERY epic 2nd movement-outro consisting of a crescendoing synth, reverse piano and Nichelle and Akie singing this Danny Elfman-style melody. It would have been so epic, but the guy over-seeing Meth's album (not from Tommyboy) cut that all out and didn't show Meth, BUT Meth loved the version he heard and decided to use it still. I KNOW he would have liked my version better, so I'll be sure to tell him in person about that, haha!
Besides The Purple Tape, what are some other tracks from The Meth Lab that stand out to you as absolute gems?
Well, The Purple Tape is obviously the best song on the album (ha!), but my second favourite is '50 Shots' featuring my bro Mack Wilds and Cory Gunz. I've always loved Cory's style, so it's always good to hear a new verse from him.
Finally, what's in the pipeline for you? Any shows or new material we can expect to come our way soon?
I've got a list, next up:
Juan Deuce 'Sock Money' EP (produced entirely by J57) drops Sept 23rd.
Koncept & J57 'The Fuel' EP drops in late November.
A La $ole & J57 'Elixir' EP drops early December.
Antcs 'There's No I In Antcs' drops early December.
J57 'Landmines' Instrumental EP drops mid December.
J57 'I'm The J57' (solo album where I rap) drops mid January.
Mike Two and Mean Joe Scheme's albums are being finished up now, and they're FIRE!
You can check more of what J57 has to offer and stay up to date by following him on his socials, and peeping these websites.