Rap Radar Podcast can teach you how a song gets made.
Rap Radar Pod has interviewed every important artist in hip hop this year (or it feels like that). During the December interview of Burna Boy he showcases the coolest accent ever. He’s got a deep voice with a Nigerian/UK combo accent. Nineteen minutes into the thirty nine minute and fifty three second interview Elliott Wilson asks about the song Location from Dave’s album Psychodrama. A simple softball about how it came about and you can hear his silence for a moment until he says “Dave is a genius, man.” Elliott laughs and references an interview they did with Dave saying “He said the same of you.”
Burna Boy says he expected to do a feature with a rapper, in and out, but he sat down and watched. He says Dave should live in a lab. Dave was interviewed shortly before that interview and got asked about that same song. Thirty Six minutes and twenty six seconds into that interview you can hear Dave talk about Location. He says Burna Boy freestyled his whole part in such a short amount of time he is still processing that speed. Burna Boy comes off his interview shaking his head talking about how Dave building his beats from scratch.
The two couldn’t be more different. The song that got eleven million streams in eight months from Burna Boy is called Ye and saw a 200 percent spike in streaming when Kanye dropped his album Ye people clicked on his during the confusion and liked it. This song that put him in more ears than ever turns out to have been completed in minutes and only came about when BB was drunk at a night club where a dude played him the beat over his phone and said the producer was upstairs waiting to record it. Instead of telling the guy to shove off he went upstairs, made the song in minutes(quickest song he’s ever made he says), and went on his inebriated way. It’s the perfect story. While African Giant is one of my five favorites of the album and is just as thoughtful as it is fun…it’s author doesn’t sit on material or question himself. Burna Boy is always in the flow of himself. His verse on location isn’t just about bringing girls to his location it’s about a dear friend who is on probation for five more years. When that hook hits and you sing along your still talking about the criminal justice system even if you don’t know it. He’s always in the flow of himself and that’s not just melody it’s introspection and political thinking.
Dave is a madman. He talks extensively in his Rap Radar interview about the reason behind making the song Lesley eleven minutes long. The need to not just have the arc but all the details and call backs and Easter eggs. I said it in September when I wrote about his album ” more importantly… this dude has a plan. He’s excited for us to get his FIRST Psychodrama. Great writers love to plan and develop and I can only imagine what this dude has for us in the future.” He opens the album in a therapists office getting personal right off the bat and giving you a setting that makes sense so you don’t feel awkward. He’s meticulous and diligent…maybe that’s not the right word. He’s so in love with finding the depth in art, the kind of depth that resonates, that working harder to achieve it doesn’t bother him in the slightest.
When these two linked up they made one of the years most interesting songs. The interviews gave us a chance to hear each appreciate a way of doing it they would never personally try on but respect intensely. It is much more valuable for an artist to have peers who work successfully and different from them than like them. When you have a window into the other side you can see things you wouldn’t even have gotten to on your own. It’s a good lesson for all of us.
Here is the video for Location