On February 28, Swae Lee emerged from his chrysalis with "Hurt To Look." Since 2014, the public has watched Lee transition from the prepubescent sugar rush of Rae Sremmurd's "No Flex Zone" to the nocturnal adrenaline spike of "Black Beatles" two years later. He's brought titans of pop like The Weeknd and Future into his world. Lee's pen inspired a nation to get into "Formation." His hook was literally and figuratively "Unforgettable."
What many may not know is that Andre "Bizness Boi" Robertson along with Fwdslxsh and EY helped create the bed for Swae to so expertly flex on "How To Look." The 30-year-old spent years building toward this moment. In 2011, his grandmother assisted the then-aspiring producer in his move from Milwaukee to Atlanta. Over the course of three years, Bizness worked with artists like T.I., Lil Scrappy, and Trae the Truth. In 2014, his relocation to Los Angeles led to work with PartyNextDoor ("Don't Run," "You've Been Missed," "Don't Know How") and 6Lack ("MTFU").
It takes a village to build a pop star, and Bizness is helping lay a solid foundation for the Rae Sremmurd star-turned-soloist. In an interview with MTV News, Bizness Boi reveals the origins of "Hurt To Look" and describes what it is like to collaborate with Swae Lee.
MTV News: How did you first connect with Swae Lee?
Bizness Boi: So my homie Jon Wells — he's a DJ for them. He was just listening to me and Ye Ali's [L.A.-via-Indiana rapper-singer] music. Basically, they heard it. They was on a tour bus. Rae Sremmurd was on a tour bus. Then Swae Lee was like, "Yo, who is that?" Then he let 'em know. He's like, "Yo, who making these beats?" Jon hit me like, "Yo, Swae and them are loving your beats. Can you send a pack?"
So I started sending beats to Jon, and Jon would forward them over to Swae Lee. Then Jon was like, "Send them straight to Swae Lee now." So I was sending, sending, sending beats. So I DMed [Swae Lee] one day. I was just reaching out to him. I was like, "Yo, I'm gonna send you a pack today." He hit me back like, "Yo, I love your beats. You already got two on my album." I was like "Oh, OK."
MTV News: How did "Hurt To Look" come about? Was it something that you had in mind for Swae Lee? What was the origin?
Bizness: When I work with artists, I like to give them new sounds and new types of beats, basically. Just so they can step outside their box. Just push themselves.
I was sending him all types of beats. He gravitated to the newer sounding — I don't want to say pop beats, but, like, the single that just dropped, more of those types of beats he was gravitating to. The "Hurt To Look"-type sound, just something different from the Rae Sremmurd stuff.
MTV News: Have you gotten a chance to get into the studio with him and see how he records and writes?
Bizness: Yeah, when we came back from OVO Fest, he invited me over. 'Cause we was like, "We're flying back today." Me and my manager were flying back that night. He's like "Yo, as soon as you touch down, pull up to the crib." I pulled up. I was doing beats.
He actually records himself. He know how to record himself, do all the effects and everything. Basically, he if like a beat, he'll just load it up and then put the phone right there and press record and go in.
MTV News: What do you think it is about your production — Swae Lee ghostwrites, so does PND — that attracts them?
Bizness: I just understood throughout my journey, once you work with writers and R&B artists, artists period, it's our job as producers to make the most melodic or simple beats possible, if that makes sense.
If you put too much in the beat, it kinda takes away from their creativity, because they'll be restricted on melodies and stuff like that. So when I make beats, I try to keep it minimal, but real standout-ish.