A$AP Ty Beats (born Tyshaun Holloway) is one of the most notable up-and-coming producers in hip-hop at the moment. He is the youngest member of hip-hop’s hottest rap/lifestyle collective A$AP Mob. Holloway hails from Virginia but also calls Harlem (139th and Lenox) home, he connected with front man A$AP Rocky via social media in 2011 and the rest is history. You may not know his face but you definitely heard his work as he produced Rocky’s two biggest songs “Pe$o” and “Purple Swag”. Holloway has also worked with TDE artist ScHoolboy Q (“Nightmare on Figg St.”) and Cutthroat Records artist Joey Fatts (“Pillow Talkin'”). He has been featured in numerous print publications including XXL Magazine and been shown on Global Grind TV. Read below as we discuss his career aspirations, the A$AP Mob, partying with Drake, and what he listens to personally. A$APPP!!!
AB: Your home state of Virginia has birthed some of the most prolific hip-hop producers of all time (Timbaland & The Neptunes). Does their positioning as hip-hop’s elite make you want to strive to be just as good if not better than them?
TB: Yes of course, having Timbaland & The Neptunes as hometown heroes is always something that crosses my mind and the legacy they are still building hasn’t stopped yet motivating me. Both continue to come out with music that is embraced by the older crowds and definitely the young generation. Personally, I look to be great, the records Timb and The Neptunes have produced are classics. I hope to be as good as them one day.
The samples you use for your beats are from artists that were popular decades ago, growing up did your parents make you listen to soul/R&B musicians?
Made me? No! I automatically grasped it. I always liked the music, it was all I can remember that got everybody together, happy, and partying at my great grandma’s house. What else can hit you without you feeling pain? I mean really, what would people do without music? I’m picturing a chaotic world. But who knows?
“Peso” and “Purple Swag” are arguably two of the most notable songs in Rocky’s catalog, both of which you produced. How much say or input did you have in forming Rocky’s sound in the early moments of his career? Did he always have that Houston/Cleveland-based aesthetic or did you build his current style through your beats?
“Peso” and “Purple Swag” are our biggest records so far, yes, yet I’d say Rocky already had an ambient kind of sound considering the first song I heard from him was “Get High” featuring A$AP Ferg, who’s coming up fast this year and dropping his project Trap Lord August 20th. It [“Get High”] sounds way different from my two records with Rocky with its more grungy guitar. Rocky stood out to me like crazy, it was something about how he played his part in the song singing, “We get higgghhh smoking reeefffeeer.” I was like, “This is so hot.” I hadn’t heard any song like it at the time. Then there was my favorite Rocky record, “Been Around the World”. I feel like I had my own sound and us together was a breath of fresh air to people. It was a perfect match though. The bass in “Purple Swag” when heard live sounds so ill, I couldn’t believe it and my drums [are] SLAPPING! I’m telling you, a few faces turn red in the crowd when it drops. We both have history in the South. I believe he was in Carolina for some time and I was born in VA but both of us grew up in Harlem. Our sounds have been influenced by the same things, I can see how we meshed it together.
How did you adapt to the A$AP Mob given that you are the youngest member? How was the transition from Virginia back to Harlem?
A$AP [Mob] treats me as if I’m the youngest. It’s hard to not be pointed out as the youngest actually. Besides the fact that I look like a handsome baby compared to everyone, I’d like to say as big brothers, the other members wouldn’t really let anything happen to me, not in their sights anyway, and vice-versa. Virginia and Harlem have always been my homes. I don’t remember living in any other state beside Georgia and that was the one summer my little brother was born. I couldn’t bare the slow life of Virginia because I had no car, not too many friends, and had been in New York for most of my teen years. It’s definitely nice to go to Virginia if you don’t like the sound of car horns and underground trains passing. I’ve grown to love both places.
How did you react when Nas tweeted that “Suddenly” (Ty Beats produced) was his “shit”? Just him tweeting that statement most likely opened your work and profile to older hip-hop heads who don’t follow New New York acts.
“Suddenly” was more of Rocky’s track to me. Maybe he felt I inspired the sound however that credit belongs mostly to him. Rocky being as humble as he is, he’d probably say he was honored that Nas tweeted about it. I loved it too, it was the finishing touch on the first album. I can imagine Nas getting through with listening to the album and saying I got to tweet about that last song!
My favorite beat of yours happens to be ScHoolboy Q’s “Nightmare on Figg St.”, it’s hands down my track off Habits & Contradictions. How did you connect with Q? I’m sure he was a fan of your prior work with Rocky. Are you excited for his new album, Oxymoron?
Q got that beat through Chace Infinite [A$AP Rocky’s manager] if I’m not mistaken. I think we met most of our West Coast homies through Chace. Q is going to have a great album I think. Out of a lot of the new artists out, he has his own style and kills it with his hype ad-libs and wild stories. The new album will probably have me hype and ready to fight. He’s dropped a few singles already and they sound good, so I don’t doubt the album’s success one bit.
What artists are you currently listening to outside of the A$AP Mob? What did you make of the electronic/trap-inspired Yeezus from a production standpoint?
My ears don’t discriminate, you might catch me listening to TDE or Party or Chance The Rapper. It’s all about the sound and the feel of the music. Kanye does and will always be able to do creatively what he feels. I felt Yeezus was a hard album. I definitely got some reps in at the gym to it. I think Kanye using a electronic/trap sound was him showing listeners he can be versatile again.
Your production highly varies for each track that you produce, for example “Max Julien” to “Gotham City”. What exactly inspires you to morph your sound, do you think it’s corny when producers say that they have a signature sound?
I like the “Max Julien” record way more than “Gotham City” because of the feel and the sounds I used. I don’t get too into the hard sounding beats because I feel it’s so easy to clash some sounds together and call it a hard beat, that’s what’s “corny” to me. To me, producers are sometimes told what their sound is. I also know there are producers who have a distinctive sound or instruments they use in their music. DJ Mustard, Jahlil Beats, and Harry Fraud all have signature sounds. The word “corny” couldn’t describe an original sound someone made, I’d say that’s genius. Each of us producers follow his/her own formula to making a track.
I remember reading an interview in which you said you wanted to establish your own college. This aspiration is something highly unusual of a person in your position. What motivates you do things outside from the typical artistic path?
Since high school I’ve felt misplaced because I was touring right after. I didn’t go straight to college, it bothers me sometimes that I don’t have a degree. That one piece of paper can open other opportunities. I could score movies, conduct classical concerts, and many other things, I suppose. I love challenging myself when I see the task can be done. You always hear if your Plan A doesn’t work, have a backup plan. Plan B is to become more educated, broaden my horizons.
What has been your wildest experience/night since you’ve reached your current status?
My wildest night might’ve been on the Club Paradise tour, Drake took us to this club and bought bottles for everybody. They played A$AP records, some of my favorite child hood songs were played. Drake rapped his and our songs right in my face, not even 20 feet away, and we just partied after the show. I was 17, I think and for sure the only 17-year old in the club that night. It was a nice night. I thank Drake and Rocky for allowing me to hang with them that night, it was epic.
There’s a viral video of you having a roast session with A$AP Ant on the A$AP Mob tour bus. Who’s the funniest person in the Mob? Judging from Yams’ Twitter, my assumption would be him.
The funniest person in A$AP has to be Chace. The roast sessions don’t stop sometimes. He jokes with everybody, it gets pretty funny. Yams has the last words to describe everything like he’ll say, “very rare” or something like that. It’s a lot of laughter if you’re with us, we have fun when it’s time to.
A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord is slated to be released on August 20th. I’m confident that you’ve heard most of, if not all of the album. Can you say anything about what it sounds like or what fans should expect from the Hood Pope?
Congratulations to Ferg for completing and releasing Trap Lord. It’s an awesome collective of work from him . I can’t wait to hear the final [version], I haven’t heard it all yet. He totally surprised me with a few of the tracks. Everyone is going to be playing Trap Lord into 2014 for sure.
Lastly, what other releases can we expect from the Mob in the coming months? Who can we expect you to work with outside of the Mob?
Checkout “Trillmatic” that I produced with A$AP Nast, that’s a classic if you ask me, Nas should listen to that and maybe get on it with Nast! A$AP Ant will be dropping some fire too. We got our other producer A$AP P on the Boards cooking up. Yams is always finessing. The whole Mob is working on music or touring. Twelvyy is stashing heat, I really think his release will be huge. A$AP Illz is always posting up his photo shoots. A$AP Ty Y’ keeps A Bike Life video posted. A$AP Bari and A$AP Josh are working on the fashion side of things. It’s so good that we aren’t too much the same. Our sounds differ and so do our personalities which makes it entertaining for the fans to follow what we’re doing. Shout out to all the homies though, if I didn’t mention you and you doing your thing it’s all love. Outside of the Mob I’ve been networking getting other contacts, I dropped my app ( The A$AP BEATS App) for Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). I’m also planning to learn business management, and I want to direct, score and act in a movie. I think as far as other releases, I’ll keep them a surprise.