At the top of the year, the music industry and Los Angeles geared up for the 62nd Grammy Awards ceremony. Having been nominated before, mega-producer Hit-Boy prepped for the highly anticipated night for weeks in his studio, doing what he loves; creating music.
Born Chauncey Hollis; Hit-Boy has spent years perfecting and fine-tuning his craft as a music producer, rapper and songwriter. Having worked with some of the biggest names of the industry, his career path seems to continue to expand despite any setbacks and heartbreaks. As a now Grammy-winning producer, Hit-Boy reflects on the past year and what led up to creating his new music and winning the award for Best Rap Performance at this year’s show.
From the looks of it, 2019 had been a good year, having worked on highly regarded songs, Grammy nominations and more. Moving from working in his home studio to a location in the city, he began working with more artists due to proximity, including Meek Mill, Yo Gotti, and the late rappers, Juice Wrld and Nipsey Hussle.
“When I was working on ‘Racks in the Middle,’ I was also working on Juice Wrld album; which is crazy they both gone now,” he shared. “I would leave Nipsey here [in his studio] he would be recording his verse because he took his time with making sure he said everything he wanted to say. So I would leave him here and shoot up to Juice Wrld studio and in like a week and a half of working on his album we would do close to 20 songs because he was just that fast.”
“It’s crazy that that connection, like ‘wow they both gone’. It kind of spooked me for real.”
Still operating out of the same room, he reminisces on memories made with his peers. “I still look at the door daily when I come here and am like, ‘I just could imagine [Nipsey] just popping in.’” Having had a history of working on prior projects, their relationship solidified top of 2019. The two spoke on a near-daily basis, with visits from the late rapper to his studio to work on new music throughout the weeks.
“That’s why it was so crazy when it happened like I was messed up,” he expressed. “That was one of the worst moments of my life.”
Rapper Nipsey Hussle was murdered May 31, 2019, a death that shook the nation and Los Angeles to the core. However, the aftermath enlightened a spiritual awakening for some; Hit-Boy shares the surreal feelings he and others experience while working in the same room Hussle’s spirit once filled.
“For him to leave his energy and people come in here and they’d be like, ‘I don’t know what it is, but I love being in here. I love working in this room,’” he says, “I just have a real advantage.”
“It made me more confident in myself. Seeing him pass, obviously, it makes you just appreciate life and take advantage of it, but just really lock in on what your plan is. Don’t worry about who popping right now, don’t worry about how [people] perceive you; just do you and just do it to the max.”
This confidence prompted the producer to tap back into his skill of rap yet again. His last solo project, “Tony Fontana,” which released 2018, the name referring to his hometown Fontana, CA. Since, he has been working on his latest album, “The Chauncey Hollis Project,” which released January 10, 2020.
“Just getting back to that energy that I had when I first was making my own music and people really seeing the growth, not just myself,” he expressed. “I’m just leveling up.”
“I’m still dropping it as I make it and it hasn’t been any challenges. I’m taking my time. I have no deadline. I’m doing it as I feel it,” he shared. “Knowing that I’m really going in, but people seeing my progress is keeping me going. I’m not doing anything but talking about life and my perspective.”
Growing up in Pasadena, his father in and out of jail, Hit-Boy’s mother gave him the freedom to find his creative niche. Also with his uncle being Rodney Bedford of the R&B group, Troop, Hit-Boy watched his rise and fall to fame. However, at age 13, he and his mother moved to the Inland Empire, San Bernardino to be exact, which changed the trajectory of his life forever.
“That was the turning point for me to just to have that space to be able to just lock in on my music,” Hit-Boy explains. “Moving to the I.E., that was something good for me.”
Having started making music at 15-years-old, he knew then the goal was to maximize his potential in all areas of music production. He spent years studying music, developing himself on a professional and a personal level. Over the years, he’s imitated the sounds of his favorite producers, which he reflects on now, taught him how to create a vast array of sounds.
“All that shaped me, and just made me like ‘I’m about to just go in, I don’t know how I’m going to make it but I’m going to just do it,’” he says. “I always keep that perspective. Like now I’m just attracting so many great artists and great people that want to work with me.”
“I’m where I want to be position-wise, but now it’s time to execute to the level that I know want to and I know that I can,” he stated. Having a clear focus and strong work ethic, he shared some advice, “You can’t get caught up on what’s going on right now like you have to look to the future.”
Outside of taking care of himself and his family, he aspires to consistently create and reach the top of the charts. As far as his Grammy win, Hit-Boy explained this meant something different for him. “It’s bittersweet, but it’s going to be a blessing to see [Nipsey Hussle] name up high.”
“This is a record I saw literally through from top to bottom. I A&R this record, I produced this record.,” he said. He and Hussle worked on the song for nearly a week and adding budding rapper Roddy Ricch to record was the perfect touch. “To be on a song with him [Ricch] and this his first Grammy, we really made something happen.”
As for what’s next Hit-Boys says, “the sky is the limit. Going from doing like one or two songs on people’s albums and now I’m doing people’s whole albums. It’s just about to be a different beast, a different story, a different way people look at me.”
With his Grammy win and a new album, the world for Hit-Boy remains full of opportunity and advancement. Proud of the journey he’s been on so far and never forgetting where he started, this is just another new beginning for the multi-talented artist.
As for those watching his journey, his biggest takeaway is just this, “Lock in on what your passion is. Focus on that as much as possible. Learn as much as possible.”