HW&W Interview: DrewsThatDude

Sup yall. Today we’re joined by one of HW&W’s latest additions + elder statesmen, DrewsThatDude. The former NYC streetball legend/classically trained pianist/all around synth God speaks with us about his childhood in Hemstead, Mac Miller, and some of his favorite shit.

Low key the guy is a multi-platinum, Grammy nominated producer who has tracks with Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, T-Pain, you name it.. Even our old friend Omarion. So the question remains, after years of paying dues and finding success in the rap production world, why align himself now with HW&W?

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First things first, tell the people who you are…Other than the guy who is on every other Fortune track.

I am Andrew Lloyd aka DrewsThatDude aka Fortune’s big brother, not by blood though I just took him under my wing.

Ok so your name is DrewsThatDude…which for some reason made me automatically assume you were this dude from the hood. Is that racist? It’s definitely something.

I don’t know about racist haha.

Good, good. We linked up for the first time in LA a few weeks ago and I find out you’re more caked up than all of us. I think what you said is, and I quote, “I didn’t know how well off I was until I went outside and saw my white driver.” I think his name was Toby.

LMAO, ah shit. I wish niggas had a white driver named Toby, on some reverse roots shit.

Lol for all the people freaking out at home reading this, I’m just joking.

Word, me too.

Talk a bit about your background, childhood, growing up in NY…

Basically I was born in this town, Hempstead which is in Long Island, 30 minutes from NYC closer to Queens. My dad worked in a plumbing supply warehouse and we were an average, lower middle class family, but the area that we lived in was just shit. There was so much going on, but my dad eventually started his own business and that’s when we started moving around. I actually bounced around NY…lived in Cambria Heights, Queens for a bit. Man, to be real I had no childhood, I was a music baby. It’s crazy because nobody in my family does music but me. They stuck me in front of a piano when I was like 5 on some random shit too.

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You are a mother fucking classically trained piano player, who attended Berklee School of Music and shit right?

As far as piano, my sister didn’t want to take the lessons that my mom got her anymore, so I just had a natural attraction to it as a kid and stuck with the lessons… with different tutors that I had all the way until I got to high school.

Name some composers and shit you played that other classical motherfuckers will be impressed by.

I mean all the main shit…the Bach’s, the Mozart’s, but honestly when I got to high school I quit. LMAO, I felt lame cause I was from a rough area and nobody where I was from was doing music, everybody was hooping…so I started to hoop. LMFAO. That’s when I picked up bass,
cause I didn’t wanna leave music alone, but I wanted to play a “cooler” instrument. I was dumber back then, LOL.

Ok, so then how did you get into Berklee? That shit is hard as fuck to get into, no?

It’s super competitive to get in. I had to go up there, audition, and write this crazy long essay. Most people didn’t even get to the audition portion back then. This was like 2008, so I think its a little bit different now, but it was a pretty intense program.

So you went in and auditioned, what did you do? Did you just play the fucking bass?

LMAO, naw I actually went back to piano randomly on some G shit, even though I haven’t had lessons in 4 years.

Was it like it was in Whiplash? Did JK Simmons come out and yell at you and make you feel worthless?

Well, you got a prepared piece you play, and then they’d have you sight read. It was like an evaluation and shit. LMAO, yeah, making you feel like you’re just the shittiest musician ever or like you make a mistake and you’re nervous cause you know they think you ain’t shit.

So you just nervously (high as fuck, I’m sure) fumbled around on the piano and they were like, “You’re in.” After not playing the piano for fucking 6-7 years??

I wish. I got waitlisted, bruhhh. I mean, it was better than being rejected. I almost went to St. John’s, until Berklee accepted me a month before school started.

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How did you go from there to wanting to make beats?

Well when I was in high school a dude I hooped with made beats. He was making fucking bread and he couldn’t play an instrument and I’m like, “Man, I’m wasting my musical talents not making beats and making money.” Just seeing him interact with artists was dope to me, so I just got into it my last 2 years of high school.

Ok, so break it down for me…you were making beats, shit was hot.. did you send your shit out to production companies?

Naw, what happened was I used to be super active on forums…so I was selling beats to a lot of indie artists who actually were pretty good. So I started to develop a reputation and people would start contacting me.

Soundclick?

Yup. Really, Myspace too. I actually had a record with Jeezy and linked with Mac Miller before I got with that company.

Hold up, how did the Jeezy thing happen? And the Mac Miller shit?

This dude I worked with had a Jeezy plug and one day he hit me like, “Yo, you got any Jeezy type shit”? I sent him one beat, he added some things on it, and it got placed. Mac’s situation was that his camp…they’re like family. They reached out to me way back before he even dropped KIDS to be involved with what he was doing. I produced “Face in the Crowd” off of there, that was the first beat I ever sent Mac.

Crazy! Yall still close?

Yeah, but we haven’t connected as of late just cause everybody’s moving around. I linked with his manager when I was out in Toronto, he played me some of the album and it’s crazy. That’s the day I actually found out I’m on the new album lol..

That’s ill. So you got a few placements just off the strength of your music…Then you signed with a production company right?

Yeah, thats when shit gets fucked. LMAO.

Talk about some of the shit you did with them. I mean we might as well come right out and say it…Drew produced all of Enrique Iglesias’s shit.

This is true, “Bailamos”…all me.

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Why was the production company shit fucked? Did he have you locked in a studio, working on shit endlessly? Talk about the process, because for a lot of kids, thats the situation they WANNA be in…or so they think.

It was just bad business and me being young and taken advantage of. I got star struck by somebody I looked up to and was blinded by chasing placements. I got 1 or 2 and was so hungry for more, I thought I needed to get every edge. LOL, they think it’s great and they get promised all the lifestyle shit. You’re a slave. You make beats all day everyday and the guy runs in the studio, plays them and gets all the praise, credit and money. You’re basically at their will when you don’t have a brand or leverage.

Your situation was…work on beats and send this guy you looked up to all of them. Then, he would go play them for T.I., say he made the beat, take the money and get the credit?

Exactly. Bro, one time we were all in ATL together and this fool actually said, “Yo, imma go to LA, work on some shit and send it to me while I’m over there,” instead of bringing us with him. It was super self-serving and I thought it was about the team, but you realize that happens a lot in this industry. There were pros of course, I got a lot of dope placements on my resume, but I definitely would never get into a situation like that looking back.

Talk about some of your placements from this situation, like the most notable ones.

The biggest one is “How to Hate” by Lil Wayne on The Carter IV. ”Burn The World” by Tech N9ne off Something Else, “She Can Have You” by Tamar Braxton, Omarion’s “Paradise” and T-Pain’s “I Dont Give A Fuk.” Bro, we were working, LMAO.

That Weezy shit was fucking nominated for a Grammy right? For what? Song of the year? Collab of the year?

Yessir, 2011. It was on The Carter IV and it was for Rap Album of the Year, but I think ‘Ye or Kanye/Hov beat us, SMH.

What made you wanna get up and leave the production company? I mean, you were getting on albums, getting Grammy nods, what made you just say fuck all that shit?

I realized I was living a fake ass lifestyle with no substance, it was all just for show. I realized I didn’t have any money and wasn’t getting any. When I re-evaluated my situation, I figured out that it was fucked up business. That’s when I really started linking and hanging out with Kenny Beats from LOUDPVCK.

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Talk about some of the dumbest, lavish lifestyle shit you did while you were with them?

I used to be so dumb, like spending 4k a month on fast food type shit. Brazilian steak take out, fuck it, why not. $60 lunch with some dude’s girl, who cares! Just young and wild. All of it was just fake people who wanted access to a world that I didn’t even have access to. I was like this is washed and started focusing on the music. Me and Kenny linked. We just used to hit the bong and make music. That’s when I saw him kinda go in the more EDM lane, him and Ryan formed LOUDPVCK and when I saw that take off, it inspired me to get out of that shit.

Explain that transition, what happened after?

It was really rough man, I didn’t really know what to do. I graduated and knew I had to get my situation handled, but I wanted to focus on making music. I felt like I couldn’t trust anybody, so I couldn’t make placement moves. I got 1 or 2 things after that situation…like I got a song with Havoc from Mobb Deep on the low and some indie stuff, but things just slowed down. I was gonna quit, dead ass, but I had a shorty and she was like, “Don’t be a fucking dumb ass.” I was listening to mad music around 2013 and I stumbled upon a Ty Dolla $ign interview where he was talking about music…how he listened to Ta-Ku. I had never heard of him so I looked him up and was like, damn an instrumental guy is being talked about by a major artist. I wanna be that person that artists are listening to instead of that person trying to get artists to listen to them. I wanted to make major artists fans and for people to hear all the music that I wasn’t allowed to release while I was in that situation. And then it blew up to this, LOL.

I first heard of you through SoundCloud and your collab joints. I always liked when your name was on something. It wasn’t until Gravez was at my house in LA, when he told me he needed Drew to “add his touch” to this track and then played me the Jay Prince record y’all did, I was like, “OK, ok, ok,” and I hit you up. Then for like a good 3-5 months, I was kind of blowing you off a lil bit. I remember hitting you and being like, “Listen bruh, if you really wanna cut out all the BS, just send me some new shit.” And you send me this folder that had what later ended up becoming the core of your upcoming EP, En Amor. But it wasn’t until I heard those joints that I was like, “Holy fucking shit, this guy is the shit.”

LMAO, thank you man, that means a lot to me for real.

Those 3 or 4 joints in that folder you sent me changed everything. I hit Gravez immediately and was like, “Bruh, imma bring Drew into HW&W,” and he was like, “You goddamn right.”

Gravez is my guy man, he’s one of the most genuine people out there, for real.

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Any last words?

Big ups to everybody on the squad. It’s an honor to be down with y’all.

Aite, let’s just end with some Top 5s my g.. I’m hungry.

Top 5 Restaurants
Peter Lugers
STK
Bonchon
Burritos Bandidos
JR Crickets

Top 5 Athletes
Patrick Ewing
Michael Strahan
Baron Davis
Deion Sanders
Ken Griffey Jr.

Top 5 Bad Bitches
Elle Varner
Sofia Vergara
Vashtie
Nicki Minaj
Topanga

Top 5 favorite Cartoon Characters
Bobby Hill
Cartman
Killua from HunterxHunter
Spike from Cowboy Bebop
Jake the Dog

Top 5 Films
Fight Club
Pulp Fiction
Training Day
Gladiator
Shawshank Redemption

Top 5 Places I’ve Smoked Weed
Mac Miller Tour Bus
Magic City on a Monday
small hotel room bathroom with a beautiful east african girl in midtown NYC
toronto condo balcony with same girl but she got my penny hardaway jersey on
Jamaica with a true rasta

Top 5 NY Sports Moments
Giants busting Tom Brady’s ass twice for rings
Knicks Finals Run as a 8 seed
Knicks/Nuggets Brawl
Isiah Thomas getting fired
Melo dropping 62 at the Garden

Top 5 Vintage Cars
1972 Chevy Nova
1980 Aston Martin V8
1987 BMW Alpina B7
2003 Ferrari Enzo
1984 Lambo Countach

Top 5 Producers
The Neptunes
The Underdogs
Bryan Michael Cox
Battlecat
Polow Da Don

Top 5 Concerts
Stevie Wonder
Earth Wind & Fire
Talib and Mos Def with Jay Electronica opening in 08
Watch The Throne
Macadelic Tour

Top 5 Cities
Toronto
LA
ATL
Houston
Miami

You can follow Drew on Soundcloud and Twitter. Check out his new mix “After Hours” below.