Atlanta rapper Future is in the best musical shape of his life. Within the past five months he’s dropped Monster, Beast Mode, and now 56 Nights, the last of which is produced entirely (minus one song) by Southside. Southside is a founding member of the 808 Mafia production crew, alongside Lex Luger. Born Joshua Howard Luellen, Southside founded 808 Mafia in 2011, and today it’s grown to be one of the most popular beatmaking crews in the country.
But all is not well in the 808 camp. After 56 Nights was released to quick critical acclaim, fellow 808 Mafia member TM88 hinted at the possibility of shark biters on “Diamonds From Africa”:
I spoke with Southside briefly about what it’s like working with Future, why there’s beef with TM88, and what he’s got coming out next.
WatchLOUD: Congratulations on the success of 56 Nights. It seems like Future is in this crazy zone, working with individual producers and trying out different sounds.
Southside: Really what he’s doing, he’s working with all of us at once. Everybody don’t know that. I might send him 30 beats and he’ll rap on all 30 of the beats. Zay might send him 30 beats and he’ll make 30 songs on Zay beats. Metro [Boomin] might send him 30 beats and he’ll do 30 songs on Metro beats. He just ill, bro.
When I see footage of him in the studio, his work ethic just seems crazy.
I’ve never seen another rapper record like him. He does songs in 10 minutes, bro. I’ve never seen anybody else in music record like Future. Ever. The only other person I ever seen work like Future is Young Thug. That’s it.
Were you in the studio with Future working on 56 Nights?
I was periodically, because I’m on the road for shows, but when we’re both in Atlanta at the same time, he’ll call me like, “Yo bro, pull up to the studio. Play me some beats or come hear these new records I did.” But we work off email and pullin’ up. We just got a good relationship.
You did every beat on 56 Nights except for “March Madness,” right?
Yeah, that’s my young gunner Tarentino. Gotta let the world know who Tarentino is. Tarentino 808 Mafia, he a monster. He really responsible for a lot of Gucci’s recent stuff. If I had to compare somebody to me, who would be my next protégé? It’s Tarentino.
I know there are a ton of members in 808 Mafia. Can you name ’em all?
Well first off, we gonna say fuck TM88, ‘cuz he’s not 808 Mafia anymore. Second off, Tarentino is the new gunner. Chris Fresh, DY, Fuse. It’s so many of ’em, I don’t wanna forget none of ’em. It’s a lot of us, man. Those are the main ones. I also have an artist named Slugg Mania. He’s going crazy. He’s the new wave hippie. I’m finna drop a tape with him.
Another artist who’s going crazy right now, we just did his album, me and Metro Boomin, is Travi$ Scott. Travi$ Scott is amazing, I just left the tour with him. We’re working closely together. That’s my boy. That’s my little brother, man. His shows are amazing. I wish y’all could see it. I just left the Rodeo tour, that shit is amazing bro. I was in the house with Travis for like a month doing his album. We all lived in one house. Me, Metro, Travis.
Days Before Rodeo took a lot of people by surprise.
It did. I did “Quintana Pt. 2” on that record.
So when you make a beat, is it specifically for an artist?
I make beats specifically for Future. I make certain things for him because I know what he likes. Any other artists…I make beats for Slugg and beats for Waka, but any other artist, I just send em’ whatever and if they do something to it, then they do it. But those three I specifically make things for them. I have a lot of artists sittin’ there like, “Yo send me the stuff you sendin’ Future!” And I’m like, “The shit I make for Future is not for you, bro. It’s for Future!”
How did you get your start?
Um…I started with Waka man. Waka came to the studio one day and was like, “I wanna rap.” I was cookin’ up something and said you can have it. Six months later he was one of the biggest stars in the world.
I saw TM88 on Twitter a couple days ago saying there were sounds on 56 Nights that were his or something?
That’s crazy. He said “Diamonds From Africa” was his sound. He’s such a fucking idiot. “Diamonds From Africa” is a sample from like 30 years ago. So I’m just trying to figure out how that’s his sound, and you’re signed to me and I brought you into the game. You feel me? I’m the reason you’re TM88. All of them are signed to me, bro. I don’t even wanna speak on that no more. I’ma let that clown be that clown.
What else you got comin’ up?
We got Travi$ album dropping in the fall. We got Jeezy’s new album getting ready to drop. I’m dropping rap mixtapes every month for the rest of the year. The 808 Mafia album comin’ also. Waka Flocka’s album is comin’ also. Future’s album is comin’ also. We everywhere. Go check out that “Commas” video too.
Congratulations on the success of 56 Nights, man.
Yeah, man. I went and seen Future at SXSW actually. I went to his hotel room, and soon as I walked into the hotel room, he’s like, “Oh, I’m glad you came, bro! I’m dropping a mixtape tonight with all your beats.” I was like, “What? What do you mean!?” [Laughs] He was like, “Tonight, bro! Right now.” I was like, “Aight bro, come on, let’s get it.” If he can surprise me, he can surprise the rest of the world. He is the new wave of this generation.
I had arguments with a lot of people who said, “He’s not gonna come back. He’s not gonna go nowhere. He’s not gonna do nothing.” I’m like man….you’re fucking crazy. I’m ’bout to blow him back up, have him back poppin’ because we ain’t went nowhere. He just need the right sound. He’s Dirty Sprite Future again.