Mike WiLL Made It premiered his latest single "23" on Hot 107.9 Atlanta earlier this week. He also took the time to announce he's now signed to Interscope Records and has his own label, Eardrumma Records. It's a big step for the Atlanta producer, but right now he's just focusing on growing his career and promoting his own label.
"23" will be included on Mike WiLL Made It's upcoming album Est. in 1989 Pt. 3. The song features appearances from Miley Cyrus, Juicy J, and Wiz Khalifa. On the song, Miley raps and sings the hook. It's obviously not their first collaboration, as Mike has played a big hand in Miley's forthcoming Bangerz album as executive producer. Plus, Mike is responsible for her hit single "We Can't Stop," too. We sat down with Mike WiLL Made It to ask about his response to all of the controversy surrounding Miley's VMA performance, what to expect from his new album, and why he chose to sign to Interscope.
You just announced that your label, Eardrumma Records, is signed to Interscope. What went into that decision?
I just feel like it was time to take things to the next level and help those who helped me. I feel like I’m in a good position right now and I can expand a lot of my ideas. I can’t make it all come from me, I can’t continue to be my manager, my everything. I can’t do all that anymore. EarDrumma was already a successful company but it’s time to make it into a real company, to have a staff, and to [help] those on who always helped me. I want to help them, bless them, and build my company.
The fact that anybody would say anything to Miley about rapping...the only reason they would say that is because she’s white. And I never knew you had to be black, white, Asian, or whatever to rap, I thought you had to just be talented.
The first single off of the mixtape is “23.’ The last time we talked was before you became close with Miley. Now you both are inseparable. What’s your response to all of the controversy around her right now?
I look at her like how I do music. She is a fan of all music, just like I am. A lot of times, older people don’t get the new generation. The new generation will listen to a pop song, a hard ass hood song, and come back and listen to another pop song. "23" is a representation of that and for those people. But, for the people that are stuck in only the hip-hop box or only the pop box, that song wasn’t for them. Or it’s there to break them out of their box. The fact that anybody would say anything to her about rapping, the only reason they would say that is because she’s white. And I never knew you had to be black, white, Asian, or whatever to rap, I thought you had to just be talented.
With rapping, that’s just another form of expressing your music. Whether you’re going to rap, you’re going to sing, it’s whatever you want. She still sings on that song, so it’s just another way to express it. It’s just a good song. As long as it’s good, nothing matters. She does her thing. As far as rapping goes, as long as you are telling the truth and you have a good flow, then you win.
Was that the first time you heard her rapping?
We did that at the same time we did “We Can’t Stop.” I think we did it the same day. I let her hear it and she said, "I can pull that off." I said, "Yeah right" and she said, "I can, for real." She went and knocked it out.
She’s just a fan of urban culture. She comes from the country culture and pop culture so she knows that, so she’s a fan of the urban culture in the way that I am from the urban culture and am from the hood and am a fan of the pop world.
What other songs on Bangerz did you produce on?
I've got eight songs on there. I executive produced the album.
She was working with Pharrell a lot before, did she switch up her style after you guys worked on "We Can't Stop?"
Her and Pharrell are like brother and sister. Pharrell is an Aires too, so me and Pharrell think alike. She’s just a fan of urban culture. She comes from the country culture and pop culture so she knows that, so she’s a fan of the urban culture in the way that I am from the urban culture and am from the hood but I am a fan of the pop world. That’s why I wanted to work with her. Pharrell is a legend. She ended up just taking a liking to my sound.
It's apparent that you two are fans of each other. Does all of this controversy surrounding her bother you?
People are going to hate. A lot of times, it’s the media that is hating and not the real people, the real people are saying, "What’s the big deal?" Anything she does, if she claps her hands three times they will say, "Oh man, why didn’t she clap four times?" If she came out to the VMAs and she wasn’t twerking and she wasn’t doing all that, everybody would’ve said, "Oh she was supposed to twerk why didn’t she twerk. She’s not real." They would shoot her down regardless because she is successful.
When you are white and successful, it’s hard for them to accept you trying to do anything black. When you are black and successful, you’re supposed to do some real ni***rish shit so they can talk and shoot you down or you are supposed to do the white way and they will call you perfect.
When you are successful you get people to talk, and when people watch you grow up and play a role on Disney, they are going to put her in that box and stay in that box. She’s not that character, she’s herself. It is what it is. It’s part of the world and country we live in. When you are white and successful, it’s hard for them to accept you trying to do anything black. When you are black and successful, you’re supposed to do some real niggerish shit, so they can talk and shoot you down. Or you are supposed to do it the white way and they will call you perfect. She’s 20 years old, a fan of music, and extremely talented and she can do anything. She just proved that.
I feel like you’ve been so excited about working with her, what is one thing she taught you and what is one thing you taught her?
One thing she taught me is that she’s really good with country harmonies. I always told her, "Be yourself and don’t try to sound like another else. Be yourself." So sometimes I would be vocal producing and she would have to do it because we would bump heads if I would vocal produce her. So when she was in the booth, I would leave the room, then come back and blend different things and tell her what she needed to fix.
I feel like one thing she taught me was about country harmonies. She put me on different old rock bands and country songs and I put her on Est. 1989, old Gucci Mane mixtapes, all that shit. It was like a history lesson. I taught her how to be in different pockets. I’m 24, she’s 20, we have a long way to go. I feel like she’s the next Madonna for real. Madonna is 55? So she’s got 35 years to put in work.
What is the other big feature that your really excited about on your upcoming album?
I got a lot of different people. I’m excited about the whole thing. I’ve been working with will.i.am, Puff, Future, Chainz, Gucci, Kendrick, Schoolboy Q, everyone. Up and coming artists like the artists signed to me, McCoanan, Joey, and Atlanta artists like Two9. It’s really however I can get 10 perfect songs. Whenever I get 10 perfect songs, my album will be complete.