Hit-Boy Talks 2024 Grammy Nomination, How Nas Empowers Him to ‘Be the Best Producer’ & More

Hit-Boy Talks 2024 Grammy Nomination, How Nas Empowers Him to ‘Be the Best Producer’ & More

Music

After producing for Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Travis Scott and more for over a decade, Hit-Boy has solidified his stance as one of the best rap producers in the game.

The three-time Grammy winner is up for producer of the year, non-classical this year, and it’s the second time he’s been nominated in the category. “I didn’t have no label budget. Everything is funded by me, music by me, engineered by me, studio time by me, like literally coming out of my pocket. I feel like I already won for real,” he told Billboard News‘ Tetris Kelly. “I don’t have no big powerful manager like the rest of the producers. I’m thuggin’ this sh– by myself with a couple of my homies.”

But Hit-Boy isn’t always solo in the studio. In the last three years, Hit-Boy has executive produced six albums for Nas, with three King’s Disease and three Magic albums. Nas won his first-ever Grammy in 2021 in the best rap album category with the first King’s Disease installation.

“Nas empowers me to be the best producer I can and allows me to grow through my production process. When he comes [to] lay two, three verses and a hook, and [he’s] like, ‘Yo, do what you do.’ I’m doing breakdowns, I’m adding additional keys, I’m doing things to just keep the production interesting. And when he comes back to the studio, he like, ‘Yo! I didn’t expect this. My mind is blown. What made you think to put this sound and it matches what I’m saying?’” he says. “We got mutual, super respect. He allows me to be me and grow through this, and I allow him to be him. He’s one of the greatest, period. I just try to keep my ear open, my eyes open. That’s how you got 80 songs in three years — you got to leave ego out the room.”

The 36-year-old producer hitmaker (real name Chauncey Alexander Hollis Jr.) recently worked with another superstar, Jennifer Lopez, on her first single of the year, “Can’t Get Enough.” The song, which Latto recently hopped on for the remix, arrives ahead of J.Lo’s ninth studio album This Is Me… Now, due Feb. 16 via Nuyorican Productions and BMG. And it’s not the first time Hit-Boy has ever worked with her: His first official beat placement was on Lopez’s “Forever” from her 2007 album Brave.

But the most special collaborator he’s ever worked with is his father Big Hit, who recently finished serving nine years of a 12 year-sentence after being found guilty and convicted of a hit-and-run in L.A. resulting in great bodily injury in 2014. After being released from prison, Big Hit went straight to the studio and started getting back to work. The father-son duo released Surf or Down, Vol. 2 just in time for Father’s Day last year. Then Hit-Boy executive produced his father’s highly anticipated debut album The Truth Is In My Eyes, which was released on December 16, 2023, exclusively on Big Hit’s Bandcamp. Two weeks later, at the top of this year, Hit-Boy, Big Hit and The Game joined forces on the 9-track project Paisley Dreams.

“It’s a dream come true…. Sitting and just laying in the bunker in the cell, surrounded by all the concrete and all the noise, all the bullsh–, trying to block it out, I just told myself, ‘One day, I’mma be in the mansion. I’ll focus on the vision.’ And I stayed focused,” said Big Hit. And that focus doesn’t go unnoticed by his own son. “[I’m] getting to know different parts of myself through him and seeing his work ethic. Since I was a teenager, people be like, ‘All you do is work. You locked in all the time.’ I got that hustle in my blood, you know what I mean? Seeing him record 300 songs in seven months, I’m trying to keep up with him now!” Hit-Boy added.

Watch Hit-Boy’s full Billboard News interview above.

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