INTERVIEW: As we continue to celebrate the 5-year anniversary of Rich Gang's "Tha Tour Part 1" mixtape, we spoke to integral producer Goose about his work on the project.
Producers have always been "behind the scenes," naturally, as the men or women who are "behind the boards." However with the accessibility of the internet and the power of social media, we're able to connect with characters that run the gamut of fame and status-- from low-level celebrities to tastemakers in the shadows-- essentially, allowing anyone to become a star in their own lane, with their own followers. We've seen how producers themselves have become famous in a league of their own, often times just as in-demand as a certain rapper's verse (right now, the rapper-verse of the moment would appear to be Da Baby).
Goose, for his part, has remained a lesser-seen figure when it comes to producers with star status, however, his influence and expertise should not go overlooked. He's underrated, as the kids say. The producer was born and raised in Atlanta, and attended the Atlanta Institute of Music for a year, right out of high school, to pursue producing music full-time. He ultimately only stayed there for one year. Always one to keep an ear to the streets, he reached out to Rich Homie Quan very early in the rapper's career, after hearing about him at a local radio station-- and the rest, as they say, is history. The beatsmith was quickly integrated into Quan's camp, which, at the time included a close affiliation with Young Thug; eventually leading to the formation of "Rich Gang" with de facto leader Birdman.
Goose, alongside now in-demand producers-- London On Da Track, Wheezy, and Isaac Flame-- were essentially the backbone to the Rich Gang mixtape that dropped five years ago on September 29th. It could easily be argued that they helped architect and influence the current melodic tropes of trap music and Atlanta music in general. Goose, for his part, has always had an interest in creating melodic production, and often would look to EDM and other genres for a sample of inspiration. Whatever the case, you can always expect to hear some unique sounds melded into an incessantly Goose beat, case in point, "Flava" off Tha Tour Part 1. The production is laced with bouncy piano keys and the eerie whining of a siren, creating something wholly different. It's this type of unexpected quirk that makes Goose's production stand out.
It's been a minute since we last spoke to Goose, so we had to get him back on the phone in the wake of the 5-year anniversary of Rich Gang's Tha Tour Part 1-- not to mention the rumors of a Rich Gang Part 2.
Read our interview, edited slightly for clarity and length, below.
Goose - Image by @geekster_skin
HNHH: Hey, Goose. It’s Rose from HotNewHipHop.
Goose: Hey, how you doing?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m doing alright.
What are you up to today? What’s a typical day for you?
Typical day for me? Did a little bit of running around, so now I’m just cooking up, working on a couple things, finishing some beats.
Ok, you’re in Atlanta?
Yeah, I’m in Atlanta. Born and raised.
Can you believe it’s been five years since Tha Tour Part 1 dropped?!
Nah man, it’s been a while. It still feels like it was a couple months ago.
Yeah, I had been working at HotNewHipHop for a couple years when it dropped. But still, I can’t believe it’s been five years. That’s significant, and the fact that people now refer to it as a classic. Do you think that’s weird? Did you see that evolution happen, where it dropped and slowly but surely people are looking back at it now and calling it a classic?
I think whenever you work on a classic, you really don’t know it’s a classic right then when you’re working on it. But, I did know who I was working with. I knew I was working with Thug, Birdman, and Quan who were some of the hottest artists. Everything they were doing together sounded good, so I can’t say that I knew it was going to be a classic. When you work with some of the best artists you should expect some of the best products, so I’m glad it turned out how it did. But, to answer your question, I did not know it was a classic when we were doing it. I knew it would be big but I didn’t know it would be a classic.
That’s so crazy. What do you miss most about that era of Thug and Rich Homie Quan, the era when they were together more and still coming up? Thug is like a house-hold name now. Rich Homie Quan is doing his own thing, he’s much more low-key. What do you miss most about that era?
The thing I miss most about that era is probably the studio sessions when we used to work. Everybody used to be at the same studio. Thug was in one room, Quan was in one room, producers might be in the side room working and cooking up. It was like one big machine. Just being in there and working with the guys through that time period was the most memorable thing for me.
Speaking of the recording situation for when you guys were doing the tour, was Birdman actually present? Was he in Atlanta with you guys, or was it just the producers, Thug, and Rich Homie Quan?
Well actually, at first they all came together at the same time. Thug and Quan was already in Atlanta, and Birdman was here for the majority of the sessions too, like 95%. There might have been a couple sessions where he wasn’t there. He might have even moved down here for a couple months, just because he was working with the guys. There would be times when we would do a song and come back the next day and Birdman might have a verse on it. So you never really knew what was going to happen, you were just working as hard as you could. We didn’t really even know how the records were coming together, you might do a song with Thug, he might want Quan to get on it, you didn’t really know what direction it was going.
For the recording of that whole project, you know how when Dreamville did the compilation they had everyone come down for a whole week, it was like. we’re working on this album, we’re getting it done. But for Tha Tour Pt. 1, was it pre-planned? Was it like “Ok, we’re going to work on this album, Birdman’s coming down, we’re going to have this studio for the whole week until it’s done,” or was it much more spontaneous?
It wasn’t planned as far as “Hey, we’re going to get in the studio, we’re going to knock out this tape by this date.” But when I did get with the situation, they were working on music, I’m pretty sure they were working on a project or whatever, but it wasn’t like “Hey let’s lock in the studio, let’s do this and that.” It was really just the in-house guys, it was me, and London, Flame, Wheezy. They called outside people to come in and work on this album to get it done. It was more of like “Well, they’re a group, these are the producers who we work with.” There are still songs that haven’t come out or leaked, we made a lot of songs and they just picked from that bunch to make the project. We were actually working on the album. Like after whatever happened between Thug and Quan, we were working on the “official official” album.
That was supposed to follow the mixtape?
Yeah, exactly. It was weird times because there wasn’t streaming back then.
Yeah, it was so weird because even with that mixtape, it’s available for download, so you can find it on HNHH and download it, but it’s not on Apple Music or Tidal. I saw that it’s on Spotify, but there’s three songs missing. Do you know why that’s the case? Why it’s not on streaming services?
I’m not 100% sure as to why it’s not on all streaming services. But, I believe if they had put it on streaming services a couple years ago the album could’ve went gold or maybe even charted. But I don’t really know why they did it like that.
I wonder if they’ll ever put it up like--
Like Drake did?
Yeah, even Wiz Khalifa, put Kush and Orange Juice on streaming services. But artists are doing that so that would be cool if they re-released it and actually put it on streaming. That’s so weird, because you can download it but who goes to a website, downloads, plugs in their phone, uploads it onto their phone, like it could almost get lost in the internet that way.
What was the most memorable moment from all the Rich Gang studio sessions you had? Is there any particular song you made that stood out, or any particular moment that you just have a really good memory of?
Yeah, there’s a lot of good moments that I remember. One moment I can remember for sure is when I was working with Quan one night and I was in the booth with him and he fell asleep while he was recording, like while he was recording the line he fell asleep, his head was leaning on the mic. I was like, “You good, bro?” He woke up and he just said, “Run that bar back.” We were doing that song “Everything I Got.” He fell asleep in the middle of it, he just woke up, and picked right back up.
Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan together at the 2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards - Prince Williams/FilmMagic/Getty Images
When did you first meet Thug and Rich Homie Quan? Was it Rich Homie Quan that you met first? How did you connect with them and what was your first impressions?
Well actually, I connected with both of them before Rich Gang. Quan was the first one I connected with. I was kind of just a young producer just looking for anybody to work with and I had seen that somebody from the radio station hit up Quan, so I hit him up. That’s where we started, and Thug is kind of similar. I’ve always had a good ear for artists before they get big. So I reached out to these guys and started a working relationship. It wasn’t like heavy. They knew who I was, I knew who they were, and we all got together for Rich Gang. Birdman was the only guy I didn’t know. We met him the first day. Everybody clicked good.
When you were describing the studio sessions for this it sounded like there was Thug, Rich Homie Quan, and Birdman, but the rest were all producers like Isaac Flame, London on da Track, and Wheezy. That seems like a different dynamic, like it’s more producer centric, it was almost focused more on the producers and Thug and Rich Homie would just rap. It just doesn’t seem very typical.
It’s kind of one of those things in Atlanta, I don’t know if it’s Atlanta or the whole industry, when artists work with certain producers I guess they can get comfortable. But I think that can make them uncomfortable sometimes working with other producers. So, I guess the fact that we started working and they seen what we brought to the table and what we were doing I guess it made them comfortable working with us. So, that just made it more of an in-house thing. I remember Mike-WiLL [Made It] came through a couple of times. There were a couple of the huge producers that came, like Metro [Boomin]. I remember Travis [Scott] used to come through all the time.
In an old interview that we did with you in 2016, you were talking about the Rich Gang album and the “Proud of Me” leak. At the time it had leaked and you were upset because you thought it could be really big. But now it’s the same song that Lil Keed refurbished and released. That’s the same song right?
Yeah, it’s the same song. It leaked back in 2014 or 2015, and I was super disappointed because it was one of my favorite beats I ever made. So, recently, before Long Live Mexico, I’m cool with one of the A&R’s at 300 and he had an idea to put Keed on it. I was definitely for it because I always wanted the song to have an official release. And then to have Keed on it who I just did “Nameless” with, it was a good dynamic.
Did you change anything about the beat? Did Thug record a fresh verse for it? What happened there?
Nah, it’s the same beat. Actually, in 2015 I did change the beat a little bit because it was supposed to be on the album but the album didn’t come out. But they just opened up a verse and pushed Thug’s verse back, it was the same Thug [verse] and the same beat that I made. They just added Keed.
Okay. In terms of Rich Gang, Birdman teased a Rich Gang Part 2 with a photo of him, Jaquees, and Young Thug. Is that something you’ve been aware about? Has anyone contacted you about that? It kind of got rumors going that there’s a new Rich Gang project with these three. What do you know about that?
Well I haven’t really gotten an official call or anything for Rich Gang 2, but I still work closely with Thug and everybody around so I’m pretty sure that if they put it together, I’ll definitely be involved.
Who is the last artist you sent beats to?
Last artist I sent beats to was… I believe it might have been Keed. I sent some beats to him when he was on tour. Sent him some new vibes.
When you send Young Thug beats, what happens? Like you send them on email if he’s not in the studio with you, do you get a response back from Thug himself like if he’s excited about it? Or do you send it and not expect a reply? What’s the dynamic there?
Usually I’m in the studio with him, but when I’m not I’ll send them. You never really hear directly back from him, like “Hey, I like this beat.” You kind of just have to know who to get at. I’ve been working with them for a while so everyone kind of knows me. But to be honest with you, when you send beats to Thug and nobody lets you know that he did it, you just hope that you catch a snippet one day. A lot of times I’ll find out about a person through a snippet.
Producers are getting more credit these days, I think, but, the lid has been lifted a bit about the hassles of being a producer, and trying to get paid. How do you avoid issues like that? Do you have any tips for upcoming producers for making sure you get paid for your beat?
One of the main tips that I have for upcoming producers, and I know this is easier said then done, but you just really have to try your best to get a good legal team or manager. You have to have a team together because it’s gonna be hard to call the label yourself trying to get paid. They’ll move slow. The most important thing, I think, is a legal team, or however you want to work it out, but you need to put a team together.
Yeah, like a lawyer is probably even more important than a manager in that case. You just need someone who knows all the legal guidelines and can get the shit done.
Yeah, exactly. I have a lawyer, I don’t have [an] official management on my production end. But if you have a good lawyer, they kind of do similar things but not really, but a lawyer can guide you. They’ll make sure you get paid.
One other beat I want to talk about, just because it’s so epic, is “Floyd Mayweather.” It has a lot of co-producers, how was that beat created? Who passed it to who? Or were all the producers in the studio together at the same time.
The majority of the producers-- me, Billboard Hitmakers, Wheezy-- we were all in the studio with Thug one night and we just started cooking up. Thug actually had input on the beat too, he was kind of giving a little bit of direction. I think Wheezy started the beat, and I think he passed it to Billboard Hitmakers, and they passed it to me. It just kind of got passed around, but that wasn’t it though, that was the first night. I believe TM, got on it the next night, I wasn’t there. There was like a couple days and more stuff got added but that was the basis. It was us in the studio that night and we just started cooking up.
When the first version of it was done were you guys like, “Oh my god this song is crazy”?
To be honest, the song was originally for Gunna, but this was before Gunna was--
That’s what I was going to ask you about! Because I remember when this song dropped and I saw Gunna’s name and he was still obscure at the time. I saw the name and I was like “Oh yeah I’ve heard of this guy, I’ve seen his name, but I don’t really know who he is.”
It was really for Gunna, but Thug was going to get on it. Thug I believe was doing bars and then leaving bars open, and do another bar, and then Gunna would come in and fill in the empty spaces. They went back and forth like Quan and Thug used to go back and forth. But then everybody else got added later and I didn’t know they got added. But when I heard Gucci and Travis and them was on it, you know it was lit.
That’s so crazy. Gunna must have been working on one of his first projects if that was originally for him, for like a Drip or Drown kind of thing?
It might’ve been. That’s kind of just how it is in the studio with him, like you might be in the studio with Thug and Gunna, and Duke might be in there, and Thug might not be recording right now so Gunna might start recording. Sometimes there’s not really just [a] one-person session. Whatever project he was working on, I’m pretty sure it was for that project at the time.
So Thug was like, “This is too fire, I need this one”?
Do you like that version? Because I remember the song first dropped without Travis Scott on it, right?
I think there’s like two or three versions.
Which version do you like best?
I like the original version. I think that’s the one I’m used to. When certain people come in I’m used to it, and then when I hear the other version like parts from later in the song coming in, I don’t know it’s kind of weird for me. But I like the original version.
What are you up to these days production-wise? Any specific projects you’re working on? New artists you’re working with?
I’ve been working a lot with Roddy Ricch lately.
Oh shit, that’s so exciting. I love Roddy Ricch, I can only imagine. He’s super melodic that’s the perfect pairing. How are you guys working together? Over email?
Yeah, we haven’t been in the studio yet. But we’ve been working and talking over email. So we been knocking out some records. And that’s one of the artists I really wanted to work with too because just like you said, he’s melodic, I happen to have melodic sounds, so you know I got stuff coming with him. I have a lot more stuff with Keed. I got some stuff with Lil Gotit. More stuff with Bans and Thug of course.
You mentioned identifying artists before they’re big, or just fucking with artists like Thug and Rich Homie Quan before they really were Thug and Rich Homie Quan. Is there any artist like that right now where you’re like, “I have my eye on this guy” or “I want to send beats to this guy” but he’s not known yet?
Not right at this moment. But the last person-- like the “Nameless” song with Lil Keed. When we did “Nameless” last November, no one really knew who he was. I was sending beats for Thug but then I thought, what about this new guy Keed? I reached out and we made that so now Keed is...you know. So, I always try to stay looking for new artists and keep my eyes open.
Thats dope. Thanks so much for talking on the phone. I’m excited to hear what you have with Roddy Ricch for sure. Definitely keep us posted. We’re going to be checking for that. Anything else you want to let the readers know about before we sign off?
Nah, I think we covered everything. You’ll be hearing from me soon, some more records coming.
Dope. Thank you so much. Have a good rest of the day.